Sometime around noon today I found myself in the Defibrillator Clinic at the Toronto General Hospital trying to maintain some semblance of composure as I explained to my mother, in the public waiting room, that I was being admitted, yet again. I need a third surgery to fix a misplaced lead in my heart. My Mom immediately grabbed my hand and suggested we say a little prayer. “Let’s just give this to God. He’s already here,” she whispered. So I began to silently chant, “God you are taking care of me.” We were sent downstairs for x-rays and blood work while my room was being organized. I kept chanting.
As I stood in line for blood work I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful young Caribbean girl, maybe 16 or 17 years old, in line in front of me. Her hair was wrapped in a lovely head scarf, she looked about four months pregnant and like she felt quite ill. When she approached the desk to register everybody in line learned that she didn’t have a Health Card, and the test she required cost thirty dollars, which she didn’t have. Before her conversation with nurse ended I started to frantically tear through the black abyss I carry around as a purse, looking for thirty dollars. All I could find was a twenty. I ran over to my Mom, who had not seen or heard the situation, and barked at her to quickly give me ten dollars. The look on her face at any other time would have been Candid Camera material, but I in was in a hurry. I caught the young woman at the doorway and slid the money into her hand. She turned and collapsed in tears on my chest. “Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you.” I just held her and told her everything would be okay. I hope I didn’t lie. A little while latter, we bumped into her again as she was coming out of an elevator. She offered me the $1.50 in change left over from the thirty dollars. I kissed her cheek and hugged her. I didn’t know what else to do.
I got in the elevator to go up to my room. In that moment all the fear and anxiety that I was feeling evaporated. It was only thirty dollars, but this third surgery is worth it.