I spent part of the morning getting Grizzly, our (now) huge pound puppy, up to date on his shots and his yearly checkup. I was reminded how often we seem to connect with people as a result of Zoe being in the hospital — it’s happened to both Michelle and I in the past few days with different circumstances, different people. It happened to me again this morning.

I was discussing Grizzly’s treatment and they were trying to encourage some treatments/medications that he really didn’t need or which we already had at home left over (ear cleaners and such), and I explained that we really didn’t want to spend money on things that weren’t absolutely necessary right now due to a child in the hospital. I left it at that.

After the Vet left, the Nurse, who Grizzly really liked and who seemed very nice, explained that she understood probably more than we could realize, but didn’t elaborate.

She continued on doing his billing run down and explaining his shots and medications, and at one point, sensing her continued interest, I explained that Zoe was 2 months old when she went in, is almost 3 months old now, and that it was likely to be a long term thing for her. She looked away, back to her computer screen in the examining room for a moment, then back to me with a much more serious look on her face. Until that point, she had been really sweet and upbeat, part of the job I’m sure, but that seemed to fade for a  moment.

She said, “You know, you have to have faith. It doesn’t have to be God, but it has to be something, you have to have faith.”

I smiled at her and she continued, “When I was little, I had Grand Mal seizures, and the doctors told me I wouldn’t live past 16, if I even lived that long. I’m here today because my mom told me that I would live. I really believe that I wouldn’t be here today if my mother hadn’t had faith in me.”

I would guess she’s around 28 now.

There is a personal barrier that being really really sick, or having a sick child, seems to cut right through. People seem to stop putting up their brave face or their happy face or work face, drop their guard, and connect to each other much more quickly. It’s easy to spend a great deal of our day to day insulated from that harsh humanity and emotion that can come from these illnesses, but I’m increasingly realizing it’s those connections that are most valuable and real; I’m not sure why we work so hard to put them aside or conceal them.