Thuong has had knee pain for 20 years.
She lives with her sixty year old mother who was unable to travel to Hanoi for Thuong’s surgery. The only relative she had in Hanoi was her aunt, who could not be there on her surgery day. As I tried to help her to get clean for her surgery, I saw the most precious thing: camaraderie.
Another mid-age woman who was one bed away from Thuong got up and help her prepare for surgery. This woman also suffered from chronic knee pain, and had so for years. Every step she took to get to Thuong’s bed, she put forth genuine effort not to cry out loud in pain. She sat down and started to use the soap the hospital provided to clean Thuong’s knees.
“Sister, can you help me keep my bag while I am in the surgery?” Thuong asked the woman.
“Sure, leave it with me. I will guard it for you. Don’t worry about a thing,” the woman replied.
Later, when Thuong was in the OR, I asked the woman:
– “Have you two known each other before?”
– “No, we just met yesterday”
I looked at her and was stunned at how easily I had forgotten the trust that can be established between human beings. Having five to six patients in a 4mx 7m is not ideal. However, I saw something so beautiful, so human in that crowded patients’ room. There was a genuine friendship that was formed between patients who needed not only medical care, but also love and support.