Thursday, October 22, 2009


It’s only 8:54 this morning and already I’ve heard two heart rending stories told by co-workers that I just barely met.

The first I was getting to know and I asked what his wife did for a profession. He told me that she started out in the early 80’s as a nurse. A nurse, who contracted a staph infection, was in a hospital bed for 40 days where she flat lined twice. A nurse who 5 years after healing from the infection was then poked by a needle improperly stored in a sharps container. A needle infected with Hep C. Which she contracted. A nurse who 5 years after that found out she had liver cancer. After waiting a few years on the transplant list she eventually was saved by her own son’s donation.

Which triggered the second co-worker to tell me of his recent experience. One May morning he took his 18 month old daughter in for her check up. Upon examining her abdomen the pediatrician cancelled his family trip and told him they’d be taking her to get a CT scan. They found a tumor in her liver the size of a softball. For the next 6 months their lives revolved around the hospital. He showed me a picture of his adorable little girl taken on the official day of remission. One week before Christmas. The holidays for them last year were euphoric. Her middle name is Noel.

Sometimes I’m blown away by the experiences that people go through. You look at someone on the surface and see them plugging away. You see them just living their lives and figure you know who they are and what they’re about.

But you don’t.

Almost everyone has an amazing story like this. Everyone has deep, real issues that they rise above on a daily basis. Amazing.


Anonymous said...

The secret lives of the people right next to you!

funny, there are some people who it seems have never gone through anything traumatic. At least that's my perspective - when I tell them that my sister was murdered at age 23 when I was 15 - some people are so shocked - like that stuff doesn't happen to real people. Oh yes it does.

It's not just people in bad neighbhorhoods with hoodlum boyfriends. Real, wonderful, kind and beautiful, trusting people have horrible horrible things happen to them.

I think I really shock some people when I tell them, because it happened 24 years ago and I can speak about it matter of factly.
Then they are stunned because it's new, shocking information.

Oh... and I think it's 'staph' as in Staphylococcus.

Robyn said...

I am thankful that my life is so boring.

Janssen said...

I feel exactly the same way. Everyone has all these interesting, inspiring, heartbreaking stories you just know nothing about.

Tyra said...

It's really so true! I found a quote just this morning that I am going to LIVE by: "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Greeneyes said...

It's remembering everyone's hurt that helps me get through the day when my co-workers are being jerkalicious...

My Southern Belle friend has a trite but true little motto for such times: "hurting people hurt people".

It's so true that everyone has a story, a hurt, a challenge. Sure does lend perspective.

dad said...

Life is full of these stories. Who would ever imagine a mother and a father in the same family both dying from cancer in the prime of their lives.

We need to tell each other how much we love them so we don,t forget.

I love you.

MSmith said...

Yup, I seem like a hard-core professor/teacher, but hardly a day goes by that I don't look out at my flock of 120 and realize the struggles: breast cancer, death, mental illness, suicide attempts, eating disorders, lonliness, rejection, car accidents, kidney loss, H1N1 - and that's just one semester. I try to smile more :)

Holly said...

Whwnever I hear real life stories like these, it always helps me put my own trivial problems into perspective.