The gift shop in the hospital lobby has a little coffee bar that I frequent. I can never remember its hours on the weekend, so I usually make at least one trip in vain.
I was on one such trip the other day and felt that familiar irrational surge of rage to see the dark shop. I started to turn back when I heard someone say, “Are you Diana?”
I looked to see a somewhat familiar face and said, “Yes.”
She then gestured to a young woman standing beside her and told me that I had been her daughter’s nurse. “Remember? You used to have to straighten her up all the time.”
I looked into her daughter’s eyes and suddenly remembered a young woman who arrested at home. Her family had performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. When I met her she had just transferred to the floor. Alive and doing physically well, but a childlike shell of the person she had been.
“She’s about 90% recovered. Just some short-term memory problems.”
I gave her a hug and told her how glad I was to see her doing so well. She never said much. I doubt she actually remembered me, but her mom continued to gush. “You were one of our favorite nurses. I know you guys don’t hear it enough, but this is why you do what you do.”
I had gotten my fix after all.