The Kindness of a Stranger

She hadn’t felt well for a few days.  The coughing and sore throat turned into cold chills, fever, and more coughing.  She researched and found that she had the symptoms of pneumonia.  I called the doctor’s office first thing the next morning and we were off to get an official diagnosis.

She was asked to wear a mask while we were sitting in the waiting room.  She looked so tired and pale. She couldn’t talk without coughing so I had to go back with her to answer all of the questions.  The first thing they did was take a strep test.  Negative.  Then we were asked to go to the hospital for a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia.

The receptionist handed me the x-ray orders and I turned to open the door to leave.  I felt her hand on my shoulder and I knew that something was wrong.  As I turned around I noticed that her eyes looked strange.  Everything had went fuzzy and then black.  I caught her before she went down.  The receptionist quickly grabbed a chair so that she could sit down and then she ran and got us a wheelchair so that I could get her to x-ray.

There I was walking through the hospital pushing my girl in a wheelchair. It was a strange feeling to know that she totally depended on me to get her to where she needed to go.  I had no idea when I woke up that morning that I would be thankful for a wheelchair. But I was.  We wouldn’t have made it all the way to x-ray without the wheelchair.

After the x-rays she climbed back in the wheelchair and we started on our way back to the van.  We took a different route leaving x-ray than the one we had taken going in.  I found myself faced with the obstacle of a closed door.  I opened the door and then I began to struggle with how to hold the door open and push the wheelchair.  Suddenly a man appeared and asked if he could help us.  I thanked him as he held the door open for us. He held a second door open that led to the outside.  I pushed my girl through the parking lot, she climbed in the van, and I took the wheelchair back to the doctor’s office.

The call came a few hours later.  The diagnosis was pneumonia.  I ran to the pharmacy. picked up the prescription. and knew that she would soon be healthy again.  But my heart still felt heavy.  It felt heavy for the mom who doesn’t get to take the wheelchair back into the doctor’s office and leave it. My heart felt heavy for the mom who has a child with a medical condition that isn’t going to go away with a quick trip to the pharmacy.

Today we pulled into the hospital parking lot.  She walked in and registered for her follow-up x-ray.  I was thankful that her temperature was normal and that she wasn’t coughing.  I was thankful that she didn’t have to depend on me to get her where she needed to go.  And I was thankful for the lessons that I learned.  Walking is a gift.  A wheelchair is a gift to those who aren’t able to walk.  Simply holding the door open for someone can be one of the kindest things you can ever do.  But most of all I learned to be thankful that this trial was temporary.  Because somewhere tonight there is a weary mom loading a wheelchair into the back of her van.  She’s hoping that someone will offer to open a door for her.  And she wishes her situation were only temporary.  But it isn’t.  As we lay our heads on our pillows tonight may we each say a prayer for her to have strength to face tomorrow.  And may we brighten her day tomorrow by smiling and holding the door open for her.

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