Saturday October 21st 2006, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Non-Knitting

My hospitalization and testing were actually going to be last week, but my doctor and the hospital couldn’t get it together on the timing, and it got put off till this week. Which left me thinking, okay, I know from experience that timing is everything: I wonder. Who does that mean I will see that I wouldn’t have seen if it had been earlier? I put a white baby alpaca/silk lace scarf in my knitting bag to take with me so I would be prepared for whoever whenever.

Three years ago I was admitted to Stanford in such a state that my husband wasn’t the least bit sure I would still be there the next day. Noel, the nursing assistant assigned to my bed, took one look at us and knew we needed him. He spent as much time as he reasonably could in my room with us, being himself, being warm and kind, being very funny, making my Richard laugh at a time he felt laughing had become extinct. Even I cracked a smile over and over, at a time when it took all I had just to breathe.

When I asked him at one point a few days later if the picture of the adorable little girl he had hanging from his neck was his daughter, he said softly, looking me in the eyes, that, no. That was his niece. She had not made it. And now he works here, taking care of other patients.

I pulled through that setback, and later went back to Stanford with a wool hat I’d knitted for him as a way of telling him how much what he had done and how he had given of himself had meant to us. He loved it. He told me I had caught him just before he left; he was moving home to Hawaii and going back to school to become a full-fledged nurse. (And I thought, goodness, what would you ever do with a wool hat in Hawaii?)

I have often wished him well, wherever life might have taken him since then. He was such a good one.

So. My second day at Stanford this week, someone just happened to walk past my room, and I found myself exclaiming in thrilled disbelief, “Noel?!!” He stopped. Looked just a moment–and hey, we’re talking me with, in effect, a bald head, and three years since we’d laid eyes on each other–and he exclaimed back, “It’s YOU!!” He came bounding in and we threw our arms around each other. I reminded him how he’d made Richard laugh, and thanked him once again. And asked him, “But I thought you moved to Hawaii!”

He’d had the plane ticket for three months. Two weeks before he’d been supposed to leave, his brother, who lives in this area, was diagnosed with cancer. Noel had stayed by his side the whole time. Of course he couldn’t leave. He was very happy to add that his brother had been in remission two years now.

So he had stayed here. I gave him that scarf, for his mom, or whomever he chose. And I just happened to be in the right room at the right time with the door open at the moment he just happened to walk past it in my department. And somehow he recognized me.

But then, he was always someone who could truly see.

7 Comments so far
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Hi Alison,

I think of you all the time! I hope things are going well for you there at Stanford. I’m so glad you got to see Noel again – how special is that?! Take good care of yourself and know there are people all over the world wishing you the best. {{{HUGS}}}

Comment by AmyS 10.22.06 @ 8:50 am

Hello, i’m commenting just to say that i am knitting your rabbit tracks scarf, and i’m loving it!!

Comment by Anita 10.22.06 @ 9:08 am

Thank you, Amy. Someday I have got to play tourist and go see your country; maybe we could throw a knitting party. Would camel hair yarn fit the part? And thank you for telling me, Anita; it’s just one of the coolest things in the world to find out somebody is enjoying making something I designed and put out there. (Boy, I tell you, I can’t wait till Martingale gets my “Wrapped in Comfort” book out there!)

Comment by AlisonH 10.22.06 @ 10:47 am

I love stories like this. Thank you for sharing, Alison. I hope you are feeling a little better today.
mary anne
richmond bc

Comment by Mary Anne 10.22.06 @ 5:21 pm

I guess this means Noel put the hat to the good use for which it was intended. Go Alison!

Comment by Robin 10.22.06 @ 6:12 pm

[…] wrote a few days ago about knitting for the staff at Stanford, and here’s an older post that is important to me as well.  You’ve got to go see what Teri just did!  Wow! 1 […]

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