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LESLEY CREWE: The dance you dance when you have a sick friend

Lesley Crewe
Lesley Crewe - Contributed

We’ve all been there.  

I get a call from the daughter of a dear friend.  

“Hi sweetheart!” I sing. “What a lovely surprise. What nonsense are you up to today, and can I come along?”  

“Mom’s in the hospital.”  

Instantly, my Spidey senses are on fire.  “Oh, my god, what’s wrong?”  

This brings hubby into the room, even though he’s in the kitchen talking to the kids, who are home for the weekend. We both have radar ears when one of us is on the phone. It’s a prerequisite when you’re as nosy as we are.   

I look at him, while still listening to the story over the phone. He looks at me and mimes, “What? Who?” I hold up my hand, and he waits.  

Thus, begins the dance you dance when you have a sick friend.   

“How can I help? What can I do?”  

Apparently, nothing right now. She’s in good hands, with her family around her, great doctors, just waiting to be sent to Halifax for further tests.  

“Call her if you want to,” that sweet daughter says.  

But should you? When someone is in the hospital, you imagine them being hooked up to things and doctors running in and out, and maybe your dear friend is sleeping and you don’t want to wake her up. You dither and dither. You don’t want your friend to think you’re not thinking of her. But it’s not about you, is it?  

So, you fret and then call. Only for a minute. You basically call to say you shouldn’t be calling and you’re hanging up this instant. It’s really a useless call except that you get to hear her voice and she gets to hear yours. Not so useless after all.  

Then the worry about the husband.  

“Should I call him this early in the morning?” hubby asks. “I want to catch him before he leaves for the hospital. He might need the lawn mowed.”  

God love men. I’m sure the last thing on the man’s mind is how high his grass is, but you never know. And it’s kind of hubby to think of it.  

Then I go into housewife mode and think about food. “We should have him over for dinner.”  

“I think he wants to be at the hospital.”  

“He needs muffins for breakfast!”  

So out come the old bananas and that’s done. Hubby brings them over and runs into another neighbour who’s bringing the poor man tea biscuits, because that’s what women do when you can’t get the patient’s mate to come over for dinner. You also don’t want to leave something that might need to be refrigerated, in case no one answers the door, so endless carbs it is.  

Then there’s the actual hospital visit, only after ascertaining that it’s OK with a close relative.  

“I don’t want to be in the way.”  

Naturally I get lost looking for the right department. I know it’s on the third floor but I go left when I should’ve gone right and end up wandering into a day surgery ward.  

A nurse looks up. “Goodness! Are you here to sign books?”  

“I think I’m lost.”  

Bless her, or I’d still be roaming the corridors.  

The next time I visit, I know where to go, but the door won’t open. It wasn’t locked the last time. Someone luckily comes along and opens it for me. That’s when I notice the sign on the door saying ring for entry. How long would I have been there not noticing that sign?  

Have a lovely, but short visit. I am ready to flee the moment she yawns. I bring her two banana muffins. The least I could’ve done was bring her three.  

I managed to scrounge a loonie and toonie from hubby before I left for the hospital, so I can leave the parking lot. I put the toonie in, no problem. Then, I put the loonie in and it falls to the coin return slot and the gate won’t open. Now I have to back up the car because I’m too close to open the door. I squeeze my way between the door and the machine, retrieve the loonie and push the coin in the slot more forcefully.  

Clink. 

I end up getting that darn coin out of the return slot six more times. If it wasn’t for the lady who pulled up behind me in a truck and got out to wave her badge at the machine, I’d still be there.  

I sure hope my friend comes home soon. 

  

Lesley Crewe is a writer living in, and loving, Cape Breton. These are the meandering musings of a bored housewife whose ungrateful kids left her alone with a retired husband. Since all her pets have now died, she's very cranky. Her 11th book, “Are You Kidding Me?! Chronicles of an Ordinary Life,” (a collection of her various columns over the past 20 years), will be available in book stores this month. 

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