celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘hospital

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own whirlwinds, we forget the whirlwinds of those around us. Thank goodness for Facebook and Twitter! With just a quick tap and a scroll, I can catch a glimpse of what’s happening with everyone else and realize that my issues are, in fact, just a drop in the bucket compared to someone else.

I really love using social media to stay connected with friends and family. In this fast-paced world in which we live, sometimes it’s the only lifeline I have to know when people are hurting or when there’s cause for celebration.

Today was a perfect example of the importance of being connected.

I saw this post on my Facebook feed from a gal I knew in high school (we sang together in show choir):


Oh my goodness! This is serious stuff! It’s incomprehensible to imagine someone my age, that I went to high school with, having to battle such life-changing situations.

However… There is joy in the journey! I love how my friend requested absurd balloons – how funny is THAT?! So awesome!

After work today, I stopped by the Dollar Tree and picked up a few goodies, each with a special meaning. My only purpose was to make my friends smile, so they know they mattered to me. 😊



Yep, that’s right – I bought a Princess balloon for a grown man in his 40’s who I know would rather be mud-bogging than trapped in a hospital bed with a gown that only ties in the back. Princess indeed!

I laughed all the way back to my car!

I got Mountain Dew to jump start that old heart of his with caffeine in case the surgery didn’t work. I added a box of Lifesavers as a last resort for survival. I bought a crazy-faced Pez because, well, you’re never too old to get Pez as a gift! I also bought a pack of Pez refills because NOBODY gets excited by the lemon Pez candies that come with the package. C’mon now Pez makers… Would it be too much to ask for some grape and strawberry?

Then I added two 100 Grand chocolate bars, because both my friend and her husband are worth 100 Grand to me. ❤️

The gift was received with laughter, which made me smile, too. Take time today to reach out to those around you! A quick note, a small surprise, just letting people know you care.

Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be surprised by a Princess balloon, too. ❤️

Advertisements

Today is one of those nasty weather days where you just want to crawl back into bed and sleep until the darkness brightens and the temperature rises. I am not a fan of cold, drizzling rain. It dampers my Pollyanna spirit! Thankfully, the rain wasn’t severe enough to spark deadly storms like the ones causing devastation in the Midwest, but it was still dreary just the same.

20140429-171819.jpg

After a long day at work, I was more than ready to head home and spend some time relaxing with my kiddos, but I knew I had an evening meeting to attend across town. I had plenty of work to keep me busy, and as I pulled out papers for one of my many projects, I had an urge to check Facebook.

Now I know many of you might laugh, but I take these moments seriously because more often than not when I have one of “those feelings”, I discover through the amazing venue of social media a need, a request for prayer, a timely question… and today was no exception!

My Facebook feed showed most recent posts and there, right at the top, was a request for prayer for a dear friend’s wife who was admitted to the hospital today for breathing problems.

It was in that moment that I found my rainy day joy. 🙂

I stopped what I was doing. Said a prayer for healing, then packed up my project. My work here was done – I was needed elsewhere! I quickly drove to the local Dollar Tree and purchased a smiley faced balloon (yes, just like the one in Sunday’s blog post) along with a small container and all the chocolate I could find. I was headed to the hospital to visit my friend.

20140429-172914.jpg

Two floors up and a few feet down the hall, I knocked on the hospital door and was welcomed by the sweetest smile you’ve ever seen. Now, I haven’t seen my friend, Cristie, in quite a bit of time, but all that distance was erased the moment our eyes met. Oh the joy!!

We spent the next hour catching up, trading stories and doing a LOT of laughing. Cristie has such a genuine spirit and she is so funny, I wasn’t sure who was lifting up whom. Even as she was taking her breathing treatment, she was making jokes. “Listen to me… I sound like Darth Vader… Luke… I. Am. Your. Father.” It was hysterical!

After a few photos to document our fun, it was time to head to my meeting. As I gave Cristie a final hug goodbye, I said a silent prayer for the joy in treasured friendships. What a way to brighten BOTH our days!

20140429-173611.jpg

The next time you read about someone you know being in the hospital, think how wonderful it would be to carve out time in your busy day to spread a little joy with an unexpected visit. You might be surprised to find how happy it will make you, too!

Be blessed dear friends and don’t let the rain keep you from blessing others! It’s OK to get a little wet! 🙂

Today I had the opportunity to share in a very special random act of kindness; one not of my own, but of a friend.  Pam Larson, one of my high school gal pals from two decades ago, reached out to me and asked if I’d like to share in doing something in memory of her mom, Patricia.  On this date fourteen years ago, Patricia closed the chapter on this life as she passed away from congestive heart failure at the age of 54. She had many medical issues in the ten years leading up to her death: kidney transplant, quadruple bypass surgery, squamous cell carcinoma in her sinus cavity… not to mention other complications and setbacks along the way.  To say Patricia was a fighter, is an understatement.  She gave all she had, again and again, just to have as much time as possible with her family.

IMG_1801

IMG_1802

Patricia also spent A LOT of time in the hospital.  Her sunny disposition was a bright spot through all the trials.  In fact, one of her favorite songs was “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin, an upbeat song released in 1988, two years prior to Patricia’s kidney transplant.

It was in that spirit of celebrating joy instead of sadness that Pam asked me to join her today’s RAK.  We brainstormed a bit about what we could do (thankfully, Pam didn’t have 14 inches of hair to cut and donate because that might have ended up with her needing a wig, lol.)  We finally decided that delivering 14 smiley faced balloons to the cardiac unit of the local hospital would be a welcome surprise to bless others and share Pam’s story of honoring her mom’s memory.

Our first stop was purchasing the balloons.  Pam and I were almost giddy watching the store associate blow up each balloon, floating to the ceiling of the store, its long white curling ribbon trailing down to our eager fingertips reaching above.  Before leaving the store, we taped a memorial RAK card to each balloon so the recipients would know more about this special RAK.

IMG_1747

The memorial RAK card attached to each balloon

The memorial RAK card attached to each balloon

The RAK card included this quote by John Barrymore:  “Happiness often sneaks through a door you didn’t know you left open.”  We thought this would be a great quote because these happy balloons would be sneaking into the rooms of 14 different people! 🙂

Our next task was somehow getting all 14 balloons in Pam’s very compact car.  Below are the photos from THAT adventure (so much laughter!)

IMG_1749

IMG_1750

So many balloons!

So many balloons!

Success!  Let's go!

Success! Let’s go!

As we headed to the hospital, Pam reflected on various stories about her mom.  It was a sweet time of remembrance and I knew that her mom would have loved what we were doing in her memory.

We arrived at the hospital and walked towards the entrance, the wind whipping the balloons all around us.  Have you ever had to carry so many balloons at once on a windy day?  It is NOT an easy task, let me assure you!  We approached the main desk and were directed to the cardiac unit on the second floor.  It was time to share some joy with others!

IMG_1756

The head nurse of the cardiac unit intercepted us almost immediately.  “How can I help you?” she asked with quizzical smile.  Pam explained our purpose: that her mom had passed away 14 years ago and she wanted to honor her memory by making 14 people smile with an unexpected surprise. The nurse informed us (after checking with her supervisor) that we would not be allowed to enter the rooms, but she would peek in her patients’ rooms and if they had a visitor, she would ask if the visitor wanted to step out in the hallway to receive a balloon from us.

Before she could finish her explanation, one such visitor stepped out of a patient’s room and said, “I would love to bring in a balloon!”  Our first RAK! We were thrilled!  As we giggled to one another, we realized we had a bit of a quandary… all 14 balloons were in a tangled mess from the wind blowing outside.  Although it only took a few minutes to separate a balloon, it felt like an eternity with this hospital visitor standing beside us waiting. Thankfully she was patient (a hospital pun for you medical people out there, lol) and after accepting and delivering our very first balloon, she returned to the hallway to hug Pam and pose for a picture.

Finally untangled!

Finally untangled!

Pam's first RAK hug

Pam’s first RAK hug

It wasn’t too long before Pam spotted a visitor walking down the hall.  “Excuse me, ma’am, are you visiting someone today?”  The lady smiled warily before she responded, “Yeeeeessssss”, then her smile spread across her face as Pam told her about the meaning behind the smiley balloon.  This lady stopped.  Listened.  Hugged.  She even added her own thoughts about this experience.  “We each have two dates – the day we are born and the day we die.  Then we have this line in between.  What you do during this line is what matters.  This is your purpose.  And what you are doing today is part of your purpose.”  These words nearly opened the floodgates for sure!

IMG_1792

There were more hugs.  More smiles.  I am convinced that just walking around with a smiley faced balloon in hand can make people happy.  We saw so much joy in the eyes of others today!  We were also able to share a few balloons with the oncology patients, too – a perfect place to continue our RAK in Patricia’s memory.

IMG_1793

When all 14 balloons had been given away, we left empty-handed, but our hearts were full of joy.  Pam told me on the way out of the hospital, “You know – this is the first time I have ever been happy on April 27.  Usually I am so sad and depressed, missing my mom, but today I know she is smiling down on us.  She would have LOVED this!”

So essentially… it was a healing RAK for Pam, too.  🙂

Be encouraged my friends to share your joy with others, even if it takes you a little bit out of your comfort zone.  I promise the rewards will multiply as others pay-it-forward, too!

As always, thanks for reading and sharing in my fun-filled RAK adventures!

 


Follow celebrate kindness on WordPress.com

Blog Stats

  • 45,677 hits
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: