Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • It is a Tuesday. I'm tired but my nerves take over and I'm awake. Today is the first day that I start volunteering at the hospital here in town. I shower and get dressed in the clothes that the hospital requires us to wear. Black slacks, and a hospital issued purple smock so that people can know that we are volunteer just by looking at us. The smock is a size too big, I look like a little kid trying to be grown up. They don't specify on shoes just ones that are closed toed so I choose my gray Converses.

    My role at the hospital is to go to 5 different floors and visit the patients. Talk to them and their family members and make sure they are being treated well by the staff and if they have any complaints. I know that I will have to do some damage control so the proper use of words here is essential. I try to remember everything I learned in my counseling classes in college.

    I pick up the hospital census from my supervisor which is just a list of everyone in the hospital and their room number I scan it and go to my first floor. I stand in front of the first room, peer in, knock on the door take a deep breath and enter...

    That day and the following weeks since have been beyond what I could have ever expected or prepared myself for. The use of words have gone by the wayside and I am left speechless by what I see: I have seen patient's loved ones never stop looking at the patient even when I'm talking to them. Almost like if they stop looking for even second, the patient will vanish. I have seen a man in so much pain that he can barely construct a sentence. I have seen a woman so weak from cancer she can't scoot herself up in her bed so her brother and sister are on either side of her trying to figure out how to get her scooted up and comfortable without hurting her, the pain of the situation on their faces. I have seen a grandson sit with his grandmother keeping a watchful eye on me as I talk to her. I have talked with a the daughter of a patient who spent the night on the hard, cold floor because she didn't want to leave her mom. I have told a patient about the weather because she hasn't been outside in weeks. I have ridden the elevator with new parents the glow of their happiness almost illuminating the tiny space. I have met a WWII veteran who missed the funeral of his last friend from the war because he was in the hospital. I have met couples that have been married for over 50 years and are still so madly in love with each other. I have been told that if I had come 5 minutes earlier I would have seen the patient and his wife curled up in the twin sized hospital bed sleeping because, after 48 years of marriage, it is hard to sleep alone. I have walked into rooms of people who are anxiously waiting the results from their test. I have seen a women with cancer, the disease apparent and her husband, still gazing at her like he is falling in love with her all over again, still seeing her as the most beautiful women in the world. I have laughed with people, come close to crying with others and I have listened to their stories.

    Hospitals are intimidating. This is true. But as I walk down the halls of every floor there is a sense of hope and undying love. A love that is true and pure and will endure. In sickness and in health.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.