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An Act of Kindness

Life Story Club Contributor

June 24, 2020

I’m going to start out and just give a little bit of backstory. In 2016, my father had to have an emergency triple bypass. And he had it at Johns Hopkins, an amazing medical institution. The circumstances under which that came about were pretty difficult. And again, it was an emergency triple bypass, so there just wasn’t a lot of time to process or anything like that. It was just go, go, go, go, go. And throughout that whole entire experience, I happened to be visiting my parents at that time and was always going to go to doctor’s appointments with them whenever I would see them. And so with this experience, it was the same. I stayed with my father throughout the whole entire thing, sleeping at the hospital and just kind of like maintaining, I guess, sort of like a vigil.

He made it through that operation successfully and had a protracted rehabilitation period, but eventually was able to come home. So that was good for a bit. That was a super intense experience for us, and I had not ever gone through anything like that. And even though Johns Hopkins, they are very, very well resourced medical institution and they try to make their waiting rooms and things like that as comfortable as possible, but to be there 24/7 for about 10 days was really challenging. But I learned how to cope with it and just came up with different measures.

Fast forward a few months and a dear friend or a dear family friend, they were having to consider having an open-heart surgery for their young son. And this is a picture of Jean Paul. And they were just beside themselves about how he would make it through, and I told them that based on my own very recent experience, that I wanted to try to support them as much as possible. And Jean Paul and my daughter went to school together, and so at that time, I organized a meal train and all that kind of stuff. But in addition to that, I really reflected on the things that I wish that I could have had when I was keeping vigil with my father during his surgery. They had actually started to ask people in the community who wanted to try to help out for. Lots of like hand lotion, for example. In a hospital you’re always in your hands or hand sanitizer, and then they get all dried out.

And so it was just like little things, little comfort things like for the family, but also things for Jean Paul himself. And one of the things that I had asked people for was just like toys and things like that because at this point, he was eight years old. And people were just so generous. But that blanket that you see right next to him, the gray plaid blanket, that was something that I actually picked out for him. And when I was looking for something for him, I wanted to find the softest, most cuddly kind of blanket that I could find, and that was the one that I got for him.

And in terms of the way that we would leave things for the family, we would just leave things on their porch because we didn’t want to intrude. And so this was one of the things that they actually ended up taking to the hospital because Jean Paul just took to this blanket immediately and he started sleeping with it before the operation. He took it to the hospital, and as you can see, after his operation, he had it by him. And he’s now 13 and he still has that blanket. That’s just something that he sleeps with every night apparently, according to his parents. And I’m just glad that it was able to do something for him. So that’s my story to share.

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