An old friend in a business suit appeared by my bedside in the stroke unit. "I built this hospital," he told me. We had lost touch. He is a VP in hospital administration now, but he started his medical career in physical therapy working with – get this – stroke patients. "Anything you need, honey, you just let me know. My office is right downstairs."
From that point forward it felt like doctors became more accessible and nurses became more attentive. Most importantly, here was someone who knew me and what I was made of.
He was my first crush in seventh grade. By high school we were acting together in plays. We took ballet classes and college-level French courses together. "You have a long, hard road ahead of you, Marcie. But if anyone can do it, you can."
His words became a beacon once I started to face the naysayers and statistics. As I reflected on how lucky I was to have such an advocate (and worried about the many who don't), a vision from long ago came to me: A scalpel piercing a sheep's eyeball – liquid squirting out, the rubbery, chicken-skin look of cartilage.
I phoned my friend. "Were you my lab partner in biology class? And did you agree to dissect the sheep's eyeball if I would write the report?"
"That was me, honey."
|Paul and I get into character for a one-act version of Sweeney Todd. (1982)|