A grocery shopping trip that ended in a hospital emergency room
Hospitals are very interesting places in the sense that everyone that is there is on the same level. Your career or social status mean nothing when you enter those doors. A Lawyer is on the same level as a Walmart greeter, while a Scientist is on the same level as a grade schooler. It’s a very simple system they have; the sickest person is first to be seen by a doctor.
It was a regular Saturday in June. The plan was to pick up a few things from Costco as we do on most Saturdays, but something wasn’t right. I was not feeling so great but did not want to spoil the day by being the person that goes to the hospital emergency department so I stayed quiet.
We were almost to Costco when I told wifey we’d better head to the QEII hospital as I was not feeling good. Of course my first thought was Covid, but with so many possibilities for what it might be, I figured it would be best to see a doctor to be sure, due to my compromised immune system.
I was not pleased at the fact that I had, in my mind, ruined our day together. I mean, it was Saturday and what else would anyone in the world be doing other than shopping at Costco, Right?
I’m no stranger to the QEII so I told wifey to go grocery shopping while I waited to see a doctor. There were extra precautions in place due to the ongoing pandemic. After being triaged, I made my way to the main waiting room. The chairs were comfy and my phone was charged. There was even free wifi.
The waiting room was modified for Covid in such a way that each chair was carefully distanced from the other. I have to say that this is the coolest hospital waiting room I have ever visited, and they even had all types of cell phone chargers for us “waiters” to use, free of charge. There was so much room that I was able to comfortably stretch my legs and arms without worrying about touching anyone close by.
Shortly after supper the nurse called my name and just like that the six hour wait was over. I was placed in a room and told that a doctor would be in shortly to see me. A nurse came into the room to start an IV and draw some blood for testing. I was calm and comfy, with one of those pre-heated hospital blankets wrapped tightly around me.
Eventually boredom set in and I peaked my head out the door looking down the long hallway which was filled with EHS Paramedics waiting to offload their patients. Suddenly an elderly women appeared in the foreground of my sight and said: “God will bless you”.
You see all types of interesting characters in places like this so I figured maybe she was on some high grade medication, or maybe she was just that enthusiastic about God.
I took the bait and went next door to the room that she was in which was a public room that could accommodate four patients somewhat comfortably. She was like many of the seniors I have interacted with in similar situations in that she had a perspective on her current health status and life in general, that few would have. A perspective that only comes from years of experience. She was calm.
Her name was Sherry and her current situation was, she had just been taken off of Kidney Dialysis and was told she would die within hours, possibly days. Typically I would be quiet yet polite when around seniors like this but Sherry was my kind of gal. She had been dealt a bad hand yet she still maintained an optimistic perspective, at least outwardly.
Sherry was widowed 30 years prior and due to Covid restrictions could not see all of her friends and family. By now it was getting late and Sherry was having a difficult time getting in touch with her loved ones and they were not entirely aware of her serious predicament.
Then she asked me a question that still makes me tear-up to this day because I can’t believe anyone in such a situation would even have to ask this.
Her question: “Could I hold your hand?” I said “of course”, but really I wanted to say “are you kidding me, of course you can hold my hand and heck, you can even have a hug if you so wish”.
I was completely unconcerned with what the doctors and nurses thought because this was a unique situation where a human was about to pass-on to the next step in their journey. There was simply no way I was going to let her sit there alone with her mind wandering and wondering what the next hours may hold. We were wearing our masks of course.
By now I’m still waiting for test results and am sitting patiently with Sherry while we hold hands and talk about everything life-related. She spent years working as a Baker and had travelled to many places in North America throughout her life. She told me that she loved taking photos with her camera. At this point it was clear that fate had brought us to this moment together as I too spend most of my life taking photos in the outdoors. She specifically asked that I take a photo of us together and if it wasn’t too much trouble, if I would write a blog about her. In Sherry’s words; “would you put me on the internet?” You got it girl.
Then, a doctor walked into the room. I was thinking, if he objects to my holding of Sherry’s hand, I really don’t care. He did not object but instead said it was encouraging. Some of the nurses had even shed a tear, saying that they rarely see this kind of humanity and that it was refreshing.
Sherry lived on the Sambro Peninsula. She told me that the last photo she took was of the baseball field in Sambro, near Crystal Crescent Beach. We continued getting to know one another throughout the night. She told me that one of her friends was a stone carver. I thought that was so cool and just kept listening to her talk.
Eventually she needed to get an X-Ray and had asked if I could walk her to the X-Ray room. I told her that she can have whatever she wants. We walked slowly to the X-Ray room with the Porter close by. She looked at every patient and paramedic in the hallway as we passed by and said: “God will bless you”. That’s all she said the whole walk to and from the room. She even made a point to say it to patients who were in their rooms as we passed by them. In some ways it seemed like she was already gone as she was speaking so prophetically.
We returned to our room to find two more “Golden Girls” who had less critical health conditions. I can’t remember their names. One women, who was also widowed, was very opinionated on everything and had no issue speaking her mind while the other women was the wife of an RCMP officer and was less overt with her opinions. We spent the night and overnight talking about everything life related.
This is where I see fate hard at work once again. See, I had been assisting investigative journalists with their Portapique investigation for months, then coincidentally, one of these women tells me she had a rather curious encounter previously with the denturist from Portapique at his Novelea clinic and the other women was the wife of an RCMP officer. I’m looking at the ceiling like: “you gotta be kidding me.”
Not only did this women have a curious encounter with the Gabriel Wortman, she also happened to share the same last name as him. She was not happy about that. She had commented to Wortman that he was very handsome, noting that his green and blue eyes were mesmerizing. She suggested that Wortman’s mom had good genes. Gabriel’s eyes turned black and she said that she could not explain the dark weird feeling she had at that point. A simple comment about his parents had brought the evil that was in him to the surface. You can tell when a person has seen something that has shook them
Sherry’s eyes were becoming more empty and her hand was gently shaking. She was scared like anyone would be but she did her best not show it. We talked openly about death and what she was facing. It was a depressing situation but I was honoured that fate had chosen me to be by her side. I asked her to keep an eye on me from above and she agreed to.
My tests were all good but the docs kept me for a bit longer as a precaution. At 4:00 a.m. I noticed Sherry was deep in conversation with the others so I retired to my bed next door. I had been hesitant to fall asleep as I was concerned she would be gone when I woke up.
At around 5:00 a.m. I woke up and as I anticipated, Sherry was no where to be found. I thought it would be weird if I go looking for her. I asked the nurses where she was and they weren’t sure so I left the hospital and went home, having been touched by an Angel. One does not easily forget an experience like that and I’m grateful to have an extra Angel watching over me.