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September 4, 2015 / 20 Elul, 5775
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Happy Alone


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Chosen recently to participate in a clinical trial for an illness, I trekked my way to my assigned isolated room in the hospital – solo. I didn’t mind being one of the few patients who came alone to the hospital, as my personality liked being miserable by myself. Moreover, I preferred that my friends or family not see me in this situation. Undoubtedly, they would’ve been there for me had I asked. And my kids wanted to come, but they were too young. There was no reason for them to be exposed to what transpires in an isolated room in a hospital.

Settling in my “private” room (in actuality a glass partitioned-off area with curtains), my preference was to keep it that way. I didn’t want to chat with others or reel out my anecdotes and vast arsenal of wit, or listen to theirs. Reflecting in medicated induced solitude would have suited me fine, so it’s understandable why my heart sank when a lady entered, guided by a nurse, just as I was being hooked up to an IV drip. The lady looked at me and my expression shouted that this isn’t happening. No, no, no. There went my meditation, and any sleep through the medication – all dead. She probably snored or talked too much.

We puttered about awkwardly and then introduced ourselves. “Do you have family?” I asked. She nodded and showed me a shot of her husband and kids on her cell phone. So I fired up my laptop and showed her my own. Soon brunch arrived, and our plates were crammed on a tiny shared table. We chatted about our kids, our illness, our husbands, their work, and our travels. Soon we were exhausted. We decided to try to get some sleep. She told me to nudge her if she snored. I wished her good night.

With all the intermittent squeals of noise on the other side of the wall, I didn’t get much shut-eye despite being medicated. But she did. When a nurse came in, she had to rouse the lady to take her vitals. She asked me if I slept. I lied and said I did. It was already time to go home!

When my roommate realized I’d be going home by subway, she kindly offered to drive me, even though it was completely out of her way. Not wanting to put her or her husband out, I declined. She persisted, not taking no for an answer. It would take them an hour out of their way, a roundtrip ride of two extra hours, and she didn’t look like she was doing too well. I felt bad and wouldn’t let her, as it was already very late. We exchanged phone numbers and said our goodbyes. Having her there helped me get through it. The time flew by.

Hashem truly works in mysterious ways. I had planned on being alone in the room but Hashem had other plans for me. Hashem knows what’s best. Hashem has a plan for every person according to their ability to cope. I believe I will cope with whatever the future brings. I will face a future based on emunah and gratitude that I am here with my husband, children and grandchildren, friends, and relatives – all of them davening and rooting for me.

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