I recently had the occasion to spend a few days in the hospital. Since it was not a planned visit there was a lot of confusion and waiting, unscheduled tests galore, and pretty much organized chaos. I can’t say I was treated badly. Everyone in the medical field was respectful, just not very human. I was a patient and they were not. That put me in a separate category somehow. This is an old story that you’ve heard many times. To their credit, I must say that it is evident progress has been made. It had been thirty-five years since I had been hospitalized and there was a big difference in the way I was treated now compared to then, but something was still missing. On the last morning shift change a new nurse came in to introduce herself. She did all the same things other nurses did, but she talked to me differently. I’ve been trying to figure it out ever since. I think she talked to me from some real space inside of herself, a place of simple human kindness. There was no rehearsed script she’d learned in school, no patronizing (boy had I had enough of that!), nothing but her talking to me. Although I don’t even remember her name, in the space of that one day, I had a lifelong friend. She was real in an unreal world. As I was wheeled out that day I looked for her and there she was, rushing down the corridor to someone else’s rescue. Our eyes locked in a moment I’ll never forget.