Last Thursday, February 25th, 2010, I had surgery to remove a 3 cm mass from behind my thyroid gland. Because of the nature of the surgery, which was near my windpipe, I needed to be monitored overnight for swelling.
After recovery I awoke in room 310, which I shared with another woman. Each half of the room was assigned a letter, and since I was closest to the door, and the bathroom, I was assigned the address of 310A; my neighbor became 310B.
Around 1:30 AM on the 26th, I was awakened to the sound of a male night nurse as he gave my neighbor in 310B an injection. While waiting for him to finish up, I laid there under the glare of the overhead lights, and became acutely aware of how alone I was. Yes, I had my neighbor only 10 feet away, but my family was not allowed to stay with me overnight. What if something happens to me, and my loved ones are not here? With a heaviness in my chest, and tears welling up in my eyes, I tried vainly not to cry.
Moments later, however, something happened that brought me out of my melancholy mood; I felt a soft gentle touch on my right check. Looking up, I saw no one next to my bed, but the feeling still played against my skin. With my right hand, I touched the spot where I felt the sensation, and knew that I was not alone; an unseen visitor was keeping watch over me. With a feeling of comfort and peace, I closed my eyes, and soon fell back to sleep.
A short while later I heard a stirring in my room again, and looked up to see my night nurse standing at the foot of my bed. “I’m sorry, but I need to take your vitals”, she said with a soft, gentle voice. I nodded in acquiescence, and offered up my left arm for the blood pressure cuff. “If you don’t mind helping me,” I whispered, “I need to pee.” Minutes later the kind nurse gently helped me out of bed, and led me to the tiny stall to relieve myself. Wanting to give me my privacy, she walked out of the room, and down the hall.
Pushing the hospital room closed, and pulling the I.V. Rack with me, I slowly backed towards toilet. About two feet from the restroom door, I heard a male voice directly to my right. “Hey there,” came the whispered, disembodied voice. The sound was soft and gentle, but still shocked me as it came from only about 12 inches away. The only other person in my room was my neighbor in 310B, and she was nearly twenty feet away. Hoping to see the voice’s owner, I looked in its direction, but saw nothing.
“Hi. Sorry, but I can’t see you. Thank you for being here”, I replied. After waiting for a response, and getting none, I finished up, and then headed back to bed, and off to sleep.
Was the sensation I felt on my cheek an after-effect of my surgery? Was the voice I heard an echo from a nurse down the hall from my room? I can’t tell you for certain that they were not. However, I can tell you how the “touch”, and the “voice” made me feel. In the darkest hour during my hospital stay, I felt and heard something that gave me a sense of peace and comfort. When I thought I was all alone, “something” made certain I knew I was not, and for that I am very, very grateful.