Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Heart of a Woman

What I love most about hospital (there's a first line you never thought you'd read), are the stories of people's lives; the moment of intersection when the life of a stranger becomes forever entwined with your own. Not necessarily in the despairing moments either, but in the long quiet hours of in between.
On my third day on SSSU, I met a tough little Hong Kong Chinese lady. She runs a chippie in Letchworth now despite the rare cancer scavenging her liver. We met just before her biopsy, I wished her much luck, but all the talking occurred in the hours after the biopsy, when pain was at its height.
The way a woman relates her life story in the aftermath can tell you a great deal about her, don't you think? And yet... she can punctuate her story with a pessimistic shrug or an optimistic trill, and still, the heart of a woman remains a mystery. Sui Chim's optimism could have lit a stadium, but she was alone.
Pauline on my left, was 84. An hour after her gall stones were removed, she perked up and invited me to accompany her on a little excursion to the hospital shopping centre. Realising I wasn't quite as fit and healthy as herself, she gave me an encouraging pat, tripped along by herself, and returned, glowing, chocolates at the ready to share. What Pauline loves most about hospital is the company, the chat - at home there isn't even a cat.

I have never had to face hospital entirely alone; but sometimes when I am alone, the courage of other women sees me through.

7 comments:

Oldsoul_NotQuite said...

Oh Shaista, this is nice! And you sound so British, talking about a chippie! Makes me think of learning the word more-ish from you.

Maggie May said...

This is a wonderful slice. I'm so glad to have read it. hmmm you should put together a bunch of vignettes about your experiences through your illness.

Jeanne-ming said...

Beautiful Shaista,so true, so true.

Sabrina said...

Thank you very much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!!!

Best Regards
Sabrina

A Cuban In London said...

This is a post that exudes strength and humour in adversity from the start. And yes, sometimes other people's courage will pull us through the most difficult situations.

Greetings from London.

Sreddy Yen said...

Hmmm...this sure is an interesting view on hospitals. It's wonderful that in times of need, someone will always be there for you. Thanks for sharing this stimulating post and thanks for visiting my blog.

Sreddy

Samosas for One said...

This post and the one with the poem from Iran has inspired my next post. Thank you for sharing these things.

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