Respect, dignity toward others

To the editor:

She held my hand.

As I waited in the lobby I had butterflies — you know, the ones you get just before a surgical procedure. They called my name and off I went not knowing exactly what to expect. They told me I would get a local and would be awake through the process. My thinking was that I would be placed in a chair, the doctor would come in and remove the three suspicious growths and that would be that.

This is what actually happened: Two women helped me upon the bed, dressed me in one of those backless gowns, put a stylish paper cap on my head, tucked me in with a warmed blanket and hooked me up to a blood pressure machine and some sort of finger clip. One left the curtain open and turned the light out. I felt very cozy and the butterflies were a bit less. Shortly, new people came and wheeled me off to another room. I glanced around and saw so much equipment that I wondered if they were planning on reconstructing by body. They worked quickly and efficiently preparing me for the procedure. Their voices were happy and comforting, a little. A radio was softly playing Christmas music. They had told me about these things before each task was completed: They would paint my face with something cold, placed cloths to catch the blood and cover my face, leaving a peak opening for me. Things were ready.

I felt her hand reach under the blanket for mine. The needle gently pierced the sensitive skin on my face with a nasty pain. I squeezed her hand, I couldn’t help it. She then patted my hand and returned to her duties as the doctor’s assistant. I chattered nervously. I said, “I smell something burning.” The doctor said with a smiling voice, “that’s you.” I felt him lean close, grasp and firmly tug what he had to do as he finished the last procedure. It was then I felt my entire body relax and the butterflies were gone.

Back in the recovery area, two different women efficiently helped me get dressed, returned me to the wheelchair and took me to my car.

The entire event was a pleasant experience at the Valley Surgery Center, there on Sunset Boulevard. However, the special memory that stays with me and brought comfort not only to my body, but also my mind and soul, was when she held my hand. Thank you, whoever you are. I also want to sincerely think the entire staff and Dr. Samuel Licata for their respectful, efficient and professional service to me.

Wouldn’t it be such a precious gift to comfort one another with respect and dignity simply by holding their hands when they are in pain, physically or emotionally?

Merry Christmas.

Mary M. Paice