Thursday, March 26, 2009

Speaking of roads...

I went "into town" with one of my sisters for lunch today. The rest of the family is gone, so we took Braska and Kinlee and headed for Chinese. Town is about 7 miles from the house, and getting there means traveling a couple more of those hilly, winding roads that are prevalent around these parts. Joy was driving ahead of me since she had to go to work after lunch, and the girls were quiet little chicks for the drive in, so I left the radio off and took in the sights as we drove.

Just down the road from the parents' place is a corner that I will forever notice. This time it's not for something I was involved in but instead for someone I knew. Sandy was the nurse at the first medical clinic I worked at 12 years ago. It was a new after-hours clinic that was beginning here, and there were just three of us involved: Sandy, Dr. S, and myself. It was a very neat experience overall, and it began my career in medical practice management that continued for the next 11 years. Sandy and I spent hours just sitting at the front desk working on setting up, waiting for the next patient to walk in, and we passed the time talking about everything.

Sandy was a thinker, an analytical person through and through. She was the same age I am now, which seems so weird, because I thought her just enough older to be so wise. And she really was wise. She was also hurting, in that she had recently been divorced, moved to Dent County from St. Louis, and missed her son desperately. He had stayed with his dad for a variety of reasons, but he visited or she went there quite often. She had an amicable relationship with her ex-husband, and I met him several times. Sandy wanted to understand everything. She just LOVED trying to figure people out, and it was constant fodder for her that I had just begun to date this crazy guy that I met online. M's quirks and idiosyncracies were always interesting to her, and she had a philosophy and backstory for each one of them. I think, now that I'm so far into life with him, that she was right quite often. She taught me alot about the clinical side of medicine, and I really believe that working with her made me a better manager through the years to the many nurses that have worked in my practices.

Sometimes I'm still amazed at how much I think of her and wish I could get some of her analysis these days. But I can't. Sandy was headed home to her parents, who don't live that far from mine, and she crossed that intersection at the wrong time. I had already moved to St. Louis by that time, a year or so later. I got the news and was told that they took her to St. John's Mercy Hospital where she was in the ICU. That was difficult for many because that is the hospital where she worked before she moved here. Many of her friends and former coworkers came to visit her, but she did not regain consciousness. I went to see her, and even though I've made literally hundreds of hospital visits in my lifetime for friends and fellow church members, this was one of the hardest. She was not there. Her body was not even what it had been due to the accident, and it was very tough to see her that way. She died soon after, and I attended her funeral. It was good to see her son and her ex-husband. I spent a while with her son, and he just sat with me and said nothing. For my part, I simply told him that his mother adored him and never went more than two minutes without telling me what he was doing or what he had said when he called or how excited she was that he was coming to stay for the week. She loved him SO very much.

That corner bears a small white cross with flowers on it. I hope it is always there. Not that I need it to remind me. There will never be a time, no matter what is happening around me as we pass that place, that I don't think of her as I cross that intersection and remember fondly all the wise things she said and the great conversations we shared as we waited for another patient to enter the clinic. She gave me a panda bear figurine for Christmas that holds a small apple, and even though I'm slowly thinning out the panda collection from years gone by, that will never be given away or sold. It will be mine for life. And if the parents ever move and I no longer drive through that intersection any longer, I will kind of miss my little moments of remembrance. But I will never forget her. That is certain.


  1. She truly sounds like she was a wonderful person. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It's crazy to think that life can change in just a blink of an eye. Thanks for sharing that story. Sometimes we need to be reminded that life is too short and we really need to treasure every moment.

  3. I see that every time we go to town, and I think of YOU, as well as Sandy.
    Love you!!

  4. Thanks for sharing the good memories of your friendship. We are all a little better for the good people we have known. I'm glad you two were good friends.


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