Have you ever heard anyone say, "Oh yay! I get to go to the hospital!"
Other than the occasional pregnant lady, I doubt it.
I imagine, like me, you're glad you have access to quality medical care, but hope you don't have to use it very often.
However, many times we find the greatest kindness when we are physically or emotionally wounded and can finally get the help we need.
The nurses, doctors and support staff seem to breathe kindness as a way of life. They may be working on little sleep or longing for a sandwich to fuel their stomachs, but they radiate the willingness to help others first.
I've had two women send in stories recently about the kindness they are finding and giving through the health care field. The first is from a woman named Joanne who got to bring home a special gift for her mom, thanks to the generosity and thoughtfulness of some pharmacy employees.
"When my mother was recently diagnosed for the second time with metastatic breast cancer, she said 'I won't take it lying down.' She takes so much medication it is hard to even count them, so she spends a lot of time at the pharmacy.
"Her positive attitude certainly seems to be noticed by the people who interact with her.
"I stopped at her regular pharmacy to fill a prescription for her. The pharmacist told me how much they love my mom and how special she is to them. They also said they know how much butterflies mean to her, so as a special act of kindness, they ordered her a cane covered in colorful butterflies. I brought it home to her with her meds. She was so surprised and cannot wait to use it the next time she goes to the clinic and visits the kind people at Dakota Clinic Pharmacy."
Wendy Pederson used her own traumatic experience as a catalyst for making other people's experience at the hospital just a bit more comfortable.
"I like to have a few Hospital Survival bags ready, just in case.
"The bags include wet wipes or baby wipes, nice fuzzy socks with gripper bottoms, dry shampoo and a hair brush, a travel-size bottle of baby powder and some kind of snack.
"I started making these after an unexpected hospitalization of my own a few years ago. I wasn't let out of bed for the first five days, and it's amazing how gross it feels when you can't wash your face or hands, not to mention your hair. If one of the gifts or snacks is not something to the patient's liking, then they can share it with the nurses or their roommate, continuing the kindness."
We may never go out looking for kindness at a hospital or medical facility, but if you happen to be there, I hope you notice all the ways in which you are surrounded by people who care.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.