Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Are You Holding the Wrong Hand?

The neurosurgeon found me in the hospital waiting room and said the surgery had been a success.  After four hours, it was finally over.  He had  removed most of the spousal unit's meningioma.  A meningioma is a benign tumor growing in the lining of the brain.  You can see where it is from the MRI, but you don't know what you will find until you get in there.  If it's spongy, you can suck the tumor out with a straw.  If it's hard, you have to chip away at it.  In any event, the surgeon got most of it out and Ron was doing great.  He was being transferred to the intensive care unit, and I could go up in 15 minutes.   I was relieved and eager to see him.

To get into the ICU, I had to identify myself through an intercom.  If acceptable, they would buzz and the doors would open.  The first time I tried, they told me to come back in 20 minutes.  The second time, the high wide doors parted like the Red Sea.

A nursing station was in the centre of the ICU area.  Around the perimeter of the room were 18 curtained areas, each containing an ICU bed, a patient, and numerous beeping monitors.

These cubicles were numbered.  Number one was to my left.  A nurse emerged from one of the rooms and I asked her where my husband was.  She thought for a minute, then said, "Room 10."

I walked around to Room 10 and peeked inside.  A man is lying under a sheet, moaning and snoring.  He looked awful.  The shape under the sheet seemed to be about the same height and girth as my husband's.  His head was covered with a turban of bandages.  His beard had been roughly shaven.  I had never seen my husband without a beard.  I had never seen anyone immediately after brain surgery.

I was ready to love this ragged, shipwrecked man.  I took his hand and stroked it.  He'd been through a horrible ordeal.

I held his hand, said soothing words, and waited... and waited.  He didn't wake up.

Hadn't the surgeon said that he was awake and asking for me?  I noticed a clipboard at the foot of the bed.  I delicately placed the hand back on the bed, and went to read the name on the clipboard.  Damn, I'd been holding the hand of some other guy.

I peeked in the adjoining rooms and found Ron in #12.  Except for the 50 staples in his head, he was his same handsome, bearded self.  "What took you so long?" he said.

Whose hand are you holding?  

Could you be holding the wrong hand?


  1. Great to hear that Ron made it through one of the trickiest operations there is. Plus a mitzvah for the guy in room #10!

  2. Sad and funny story. I have always held the correct hand.

  3. John Kennedy: I spent 10 years wondering if I was holding the right hand. Then we got married, had a daughter and it's been 16 more years wondering. Perhaps it's best not to be so certain all the time. I have walked the streets of Paris, Prague, Munich, Tel Aviv, and a few other cities hand-in-hand with my wife and daughter. During those moments, I know for a fact that I am the luckiest man in the world. Then my daughter demands to switch so that she can be in the middle. Children: they're so self-centered.

  4. Thanks for providing these question ideas. I also blog about the family friendly lifestyle at http://forevertogetherfamily.blogspot.com and recently referenced your ideas in a post about things to do during a long car ride. Thanks for all you do!

  5. So glad it all worked out. They both should have a refuah shleimah ~ complete recovery.