Oct. 15, 2021


 I was living in Little Rock when I made the decision to  visit someone in the hospital-- I didn't know.  My friend on Facebook, Lisa' Garman, lived in Texasand was very upset. Due to her responsibilities, she was unable to be with her daughter, Leslie,  who was a patient at St. Vincent's Hospital in Little Rock. 
In just one week, because of a series of errors and mishaps, Leslie was having surgery to remove part of her foot. I told Lisa---who'd recently purchased my book---I'd be happy to visit her daughter and deliver the book--- in person. Since only family is allowed to visit patients in ICU, I decided to be Leslie's Aunt Sally.
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"Since way-back-when, I've disliked Hospitals regardless of whether I was a volunteer, a patient,  or a visitor. My upcoming visit was extremely important and---I couldn't let my phobia of Hospitals stand in my way. I had a mission and it meant visiting a stranger-- in ICU-- at St. Vincent's Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas.
I told the nurses behind the desk I was Leslie Best's Aunt and--- walking down the hall to bed # 16--- I felt great emotion, like I was truly a member of Leslie's family.
BRAVE. That was the word that came to mind after introducing myself and spending almost an hour---  visiting with such a charming and yes--brave-- young woman named Leslie. Imagine being in the hospital-- surrounded by absolute strangers. Imagine too--you are facing major surgery--an amputation-- that will forever change your life---and you are all- by-yourself.
Earlier, when I was walking from the parking lot through St. Vincent's front door, I couldn't help but remember a long-ago St. Vincent's--- when Catholic Sisters, wearing traditional habits, greeted visitors at the front door-- in the Cafeteria-- and on every floor. Back then, as a patient-- I remember loving the Catholic Sisters who so-willingly helped me "find-my-way" through major kidney surgery--just weeks after giving birth to my second child.
Not only were the Sisters available to spend personal time with me---a patient who found herself suddenly-away from her family but--- they were also available to spend personal time with the families who suddenly-lost a person they loved.
Today, the Catholic Sisters are nowhere to be found; the very- personal and human touch is gone forever.  Today's Hospitals are huge corporations that operate as bottom-line, for-profit businesses.
Everywhere I looked--  buttons had to be pressed for food service---wall phones had to be listened to for directions--- and even-more phones with robotic voices were necessary to simply--- open doors.
There was nothing warm or personal about my Hospital Experience except for my new friend---Leslie. She made my visit extremely-memorable and very-worthwhile.
Please pray for the Leslies of the world. My friend Leslie is another young woman who-- like many of us--- must face the unknown. Life offers no guarantees. Young or old, rich or poor, alone or well-connected, Life never discriminates when it comes to illness, surgeries, difficult treatments, and sometimes-- loss.
Yes, Leslie was BRAVE. She didn't run away from the enemy that invaded her body but, instead, she accepted what she couldn't change. Leslie faced her surgery like a strong and brave soldier who refused to surrender.
Thank you God for directing me to bed #16 that Sunday Afternoon. Thank you for giving me the strength to overcome my Hospital Phobia so I could  meet my "niece"--Leslie--and help her feel loved rather than alone.
By the way, I don't feel the least bit guilty telling the hospital staff I was Leslie's Aunt. I believe WE ARE ALL Brothers, Sisters, Aunts and Uncles in God's Family.  We are all a FAMILY---united in God's love.
Sally Miller