Last night, Josh and I were at InstaCare until about 10:30. He has been having some health issues that needed to be checked. We went to a different InstaCare than we would normally go to. We were told to go to this location just in case they needed to do a CT or ultrasound - which they did. We arrived at about 8 pm. Just behind us was a young girl, her young husband, and a very sweet service dog. I knew exactly why she was there, even before she told the receptionist her reason for needing to see a doctor. My heart broke for her.
As Josh and I sat and waited, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. I watched as she cried uncontrollably. Her sweet husband rubbed her back as she cupped her tear-soaked face in her hands. Her service dog kissed her every chance he got. Finally, I couldn't sit still any longer. I took my coat off, walked up to where they were sitting, cleared off the chair next to her and sat down. She didn't see me. Her face was covered by her hands. I whispered, "Hi." She responded with a tearful "hi." I said, "My name is Heidi, what is your name?" She responded, "Krista." I said, "Hi Krista." Then I said, "I don't know what brought you here tonight, but I know what it's like to be where you are. I was hospitalized a few years ago. I know you're scared and embarrassed and sad and frustrated. I also know that everything will be okay in the end. And, I am so proud of you for coming here on your own. I had to be threatened with police to show up." She sobbed out loud. I asked her if she wanted a hug. She nodded her head, then fell into my arms and cried uncontrollably. I just held her.
I asked her if she had ever been hospitalized. She said she had, about a year ago. I asked her if she thought she needed to go back. She didn't know. All she could do was cry and shake and cry some more. I asked her if she had taken her medicine. She said she had missed a few days. I asked her what medication she was on and she wasn't even able to remember. Her sweet husband pulled it up on her phone. Turns out she has cystic fibrosis on top of her psychological issues. Fun. I asked her to try to remember when she took her medication last. She thought it might have been a week ago - she just kept forgetting to take it.
As it was obvious that she was in a constant panic attack, I asked her if she had been taught what to do while she was in the hospital. She said they hadn't and she didn't know what to do to pull out of it. So, together, in the lobby of InstaCare we did our four on - four off breathing. Then we did our body relaxation together. Then we did our visualization. Then we did our breathing again. She was not calm. I asked her if she wanted to lay down. She did, so I laid her down. It was at that time that Josh and I got called back. I promised I would be back to check on her. We got busy with Josh's exam and I wasn't able to get away.
A nurse walked in after we'd been in our room for a while and said there was a girl at the front desk who wanted to see me. I went out and saw my Krista Nicole. She had been given medication and was feeling a little better - stable at least. She told me she had been praying for me and that I was her angel. I told her to go home and make herself a note to remind her to take her medication this morning. I told her how proud I was of her for getting help. I told her that she was stronger than she thinks she is. I told her she was loved. I reminded her that everything would be okay in the end.
I saw myself in Krista Nicole. I remember so vividly how sick and wounded I was. Krista had me. I had Miss Birdie. I still have Miss Birdie. I was so grateful last night for my time in the hospital, for my compassion for her. I was so grateful that I was well enough last night to lift her and carry her through her trauma. I was so grateful that she let me. I was so grateful for the undeniable truth that we are children of God.
Her sweet husband whispered thank you to me, then "God bless you," as he walked her and their sweet dog out. I winked at him and told him he was doing just fine.