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It was 6:30 a.m. on a rainy, gloomy November day. I walked into Millard Fillmore Hospital for my fourth cerebral angiogram since having an aneurysm in 1997. One would think by now I was used it, but not so. I still felt apprehension in the pit of my stomach.

I walked up to the receptionist and was greeted with a heartwarming smile and welcome by Shirley, an impeccably dressed and coifed woman. I began to feel a little calmer, and commented on how pleasant she was.

Her reply was right from her heart. "Why I love you and everyone who comes in here. I love my job, and good luck with your test." I headed to my floor a little lighter for having started my day meeting her.

On the fifth floor I had the privilege of being in the care of other special people. The perky nurse in the testing lab, regretfully I didn't get her name, whose cheery chatter and efficient care helped me to feel more secure in the room of cold machines, strange faces and an unknown outcome.

When a doctor came to talk to my husband, I was on a cart in the hall but not close enough to hear. The nurse noticed this and asked the doctor to speak up so I could hear. He continued to talk just to my husband, so she pushed me closer so I would be included in the conversation. Bless her assertiveness.

Back to my room for a five-hour recovery. My good fortune continued as my nurse, Judy, a personable gal, seemed to know every technique to make the long wait more comfortable and always had time to care for my needs. Before I knew it, she popped in to say I could go home.

This test was the day before Thanksgiving and I had much to be grateful for. The friendly smiles, the caring hands, the people who are often overlooked during those vulnerable times in our lives. I'm glad they passed my way that rainy, gloomy day.


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