Story time: Reconnected

I will never forget the time an old friend came to mind randomly as I sat at my desk at work. I worked for a medical office and I did patient care via phone. One day I received word of a patient that needed a phone call about a particular issue. So, the first thing I did was enter the patient’s name into the database, and as you can imagine this particular individual had a somewhat common name and because of this there were many people that pulled up in the database. This is obviously nothing unusual, and happened most of the time when I entered someone’s name into the computer. This time, however was a little different because at the top of the list, I found someone that I knew and who I have not seen in many years. This man had become a great friend, but because of his circumstances and his health, I knew that he had become functionally homeless (going from hotels to eventually a short term nursing home).

The line on the computer stood out to me, and I made a mental note that I was going to try to find him and reconnect. I decided to spend some time later calling around to different hospitals because I just had this feeling deep inside that he was not okay. Oddly enough, the first call I made was to a hospital I remember him going to years before for a rather minor issue. Sure enough, I found out that he was at that hospital at the time that I called. So, I decided I was going to use a day off to go visit him. It was going to be a wonderful surprise, and in my mind I thought I was going to walk in to a situation in which he was watching television and eating Jell-O as anyone would be doing in the hospital. This was not exactly the case for my friend. He was a very large man and needed a custom breathing apparatus to make sure his body received enough oxygen. The medical technician had already struggled with fitting his breathing mask on him for nearly 2 hours. I walked in to both of the arguing about the comfort of the device. When he finally saw me, he began to weep.

No one knew how bad he was doing, and no one knew he was in the hospital. He had lost connection with most people that he loved and outside of his children, he felt as if people had forgotten about him. He was so excited to see me that he ripped off his mask that was giving him oxygen, just so he could talk to me. This nearly send the medical technician into a fit of rage because of the long hours he had already put into the project. He stormed out of the room, and while I felt sorry for him, this did give my friend and I the chance to reconnect. I sat with him and talked for a few hours, and we laughed, cried, and shared memories. He told me about how he was estranged from nearly everyone he knew, and the fact that he no longer had a phone, it was very difficult to keep in contact with people.

My friend had no money, and the one thing that he wished he had at the time was a Bible to read. I told him I would get him one to read from the hospital gift shop. Unfortunately they did not have large print so I promised him I would get him a new Bible the even had his name engraved in it. He nodded and smiled. I then left. It was such a sweet time together.

My friend died in his sleep a couple weeks after I visited him in the hospital. I couldn’t believe it because I never knew he was that close to death when I saw him.

I realize now that it was God who prompted me to reconnect. I am glad I listened.

-Landon DeCrastos

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