My Name Is Juanita

In hospital waiting rooms, you do just that – wait. It can feel like an eternity. When a loved one is in ICU, you don’t want to leave for fear something might happen. God forbid something really dire happens, and you’re not there. You know that your body needs rest, but you can’t take a chance of missing a doctor or nurse who might have an updated status.

Lourdes never left the hospital while her husband was in ICU. In one corner of the ICU waiting room, she had taken up “residence” so that she could be close to her husband. There were several Publix shopping bags full of food, bottled water, travel bag and lots of coffee cups. A pillow and blanket was folded neatly on one of the sofas when she wasn’t using them.

Every evening a large group of family and friends came by. Kids under 12 aren’t allowed to visit patients, so the two that came romped around the waiting room while the adults took turns visiting their father/brother/friend. Cartoon Network blared on TV with no one really watching. For several hours, the waiting room was pretty chaotic, Fresh clothing, hot meals and more coffee were brought in for Lourdes. More importantly, love and support surrounded her.

One morning, it was fairly quiet and Lourdes had one visitor. They sat in the corner quietly, speaking Spanish to each other. On the other end of the waiting room in a corner, was another lady. She sat alone and every now and then looked at her phone and typed a few messages. In the chair next to her, she had a box of hospital-grade tissues, definitely not the soft branded-kind! She received a phone call.  As she talked on the phone, she wiped away tears with the tissues and piled up the used ones next to the tissue box.

After a few moments, Lourdes’s friend walked across the room to this lone lady. She spoke softly and placed her hand on the lady’s arm and said, “I saw you sitting alone, and saw you crying while on the phone. I don’t know you or your situation, but I know you are hurting. My name is Juanita, and sometimes people just need a hug. I just came over to give you a hug.”

I never saw Juanita again, but she made a lasting impression on me. Now, when I see someone alone, and especially obviously hurting, I just speak a few words. Sometimes it seems appropriate to touch them softly on the arm or give them a squeeze to one of their hands. The power of human touch and a few kind words don’t seem like much, do they, until you’re the one who needs it.

All I remember is her saying to me, “my name is Juanita, and I came to give you a hug.”  It was just what I needed that morning.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Norma
    May 01, 2015 @ 20:30:45

    I don’t know her, but I love Juanita…

    Reply

  2. Ronni Wharton
    May 04, 2015 @ 16:43:49

    This was beautiful!!!!  I have been holding you and your husband in my prayers.  I hope that things are still continuing to improve.  I would love to chat with you.  Can I call?  Please send me your phone number.  I know that I can get it from the back office, but I’d rather get it from you.  Love, Ronni

    Reply

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