Saturday, January 29, 2011

sweet lemon. kaiser

this is a big shout out to kaiser. two weeks hwubby ago hwubby was gurneyed into the vallejo rehab center straight from an air ambulance that flew him in from bellevue hospital, new york city. poor guy is all messed up, severely injured. the taxi slammed into his right side. so the clavicle is broken. a bunch of broken ribs, lung bruises, liver lacerations, pelvic fractures, and a dislocated left pinkie. fast forward. one week in bellebue, mostly in trauma ward. intense pains and spasms. ten on a scale of one to ten. then two weeks in acute inpatient rehab. as of yesterday he can walk on a cane. he says, today i can yawn. really. when he was in bellevue a tiny burp triggers excruciating pains. they can put him in casts because those bones need to move. indeed. how can you breathe if your ribs can't move. anyway, he says, i am learning to do everything all over again, turn over to the left side, sitting up in bed, move my legs across the bed, get myself in and out of bed, tie shoelaces, go to the bathroom. really, it's a major miracle that he can wipe his lovely butt all by himself. he says, i am living in such gratitude, with every little move i make i feel like i am opening a book that has been closed for a long time.

such is the power of the force of healing and transformation.

on fridays there's a splendid farmers market in front of kaiser. a pakistan farmer insists i try a slice of what looks like lemon. i do a double take, make a face, shake my head. he really insists with a wise smile and assures me, it's sweet. i take a leap of faith. and my o my. it's a sweet lemon. a sweetness is is delicate, exquisite, some taste i have never had or imagined before.

against the background of this vibrant bounty i see an army of red-jacketed youths working hard to valet-park visitors to kaiser. all of a sudden i realize this complimentary service is not just to show off how de-luxe this facility this. this is an act of compassion. i see a woman driving an elderly man to the facility. now she can focus on her family. she doesn't not have to worry about parking the car or navigate the distance between the parking lot and the hospital.

i am not saying kaiser is perfect. i have my issues with them. how about the premiums escalating at least twenty percent every year? but this rehab facility and my own experience shine a whole new, bright light on my perception of this institution.

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