This place is staffed with an incredible number of volunteers. We walked out of one elevator on our way somewhere new and we obviously looked lost...a man approached and directed us quickly to our elevator. Another volunteer quickly scooped up Heidi's dropped napkin and she said she could reuse it...he waved her hand away and ran and got her another.
And we met Laura, a woman with symptoms that mimic Heidi's in many ways. She has a brain tumor and is facing possible brain surgery and the tumor is located in a section of her brain that could erase all speech and memory. She has four children and is trying to imagine waking up from a surgery where she wouldn't recognize or remember her husband or her kids. Heidi and I are meeting people who are in worse shape and handling these situations with humor, tears and a level of cheerfulness that we have to admire.
And then, we met "Big John." Big John was a huge man in a wheelchair, wearing sunglasses and trying very hard to hit on pretty young women. He finally made it over to Heidi and sucked up to her....she mentioned that she is happily married (note the huge rock on her finger!) with three kids. Big John has a last name but he had asked the desk secretary to notify the staff that they were not to use his last name....they could call him Big John and they did call for him to go for his test this way!
We heard one young man who had just finished his EMG talking to his father. Dad asked how it went and the young man indicated he had puked his guts out...worse than chemo. Heidi was going in for that test in a half hour. Guy looked pale and wiped out.
Another young man was asked to go in for his test and he was holding his dad's hand (kid was about 16). The nurse looked at him and asked if he would like his father to accompany him and the young man said, "pleeeassseee." It was the longest, most heartfelt word I have ever heard and filled with so much emotion...I teared up which I find I am doing quite a bit here. We never know how lucky we are until we look carefully around us. We are truly blessed.
One woman told me that despite a huge family and 10 friends on her friends list in her phone directory that not one person had called to see how she was doing or to wish her well...again, what can you say, except, "I care and good luck?"