Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nurse Jennifer

The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success.”-- Genesis 24:40

What is it about this woman that makes me cry every time every time I speak with her?

Nurse Jennifer called me again this week. She’s the nurse from my insurance company who has been checking up on me ever since I got out of the hospital last month.

She made the first call the day after I had been discharged from Lutheran Medical Center.

I was in such a fragile emotional state at the time that I started blubbering uncontrollably as she gave me all this great advice about making my apartment safe should I decide to have surgery.

Later I thought Jennifer was calling solely as a company employee, making sure that I wasn’t needlessly racking up medical bills.

However, I have since come to believe that this lovely woman has genuine goodness in her heart that has nothing to do with profit or loss.

Each of our chats starts off the same way. Jennifer recites some legal boilerplate spiel about the call possibly being recorded for instructional purposes and how the company values my privacy.

But then the tone of Jennifer’s voice immediately shifts from robotic to empathetic and she’s ready to hear my story and offer me advice and comfort.

I decided to call her the other week when I returned to work after getting a colonoscopy. It seemed that nothing whatsoever was working for me. I felt trapped, angry, and isolated, and I needed to talk to someone immediately—or sooner.

I could’ve reached out to a number of people but something made me call this total stranger who is just a voice on the telephone. But it’s a very special voice to me. So I dialed her number and promptly freaked out all over the phone.

Voice of Reason

“I want to quit my job!” I wailed. “I can’t take it anymore!”

Jennifer listened to me while I ranted and whined and then gently advised that this was probably not a good time to make such weighty decisions since I was so agitated and confused.

“I’ve been there,” she said with incredible sincerity. “I know what it’s like.”

Hearing her talk so gently and so sensibly helped calm me down. We agreed that if things really got so bad at work that if I couldn’t take it, then, yes, I should probably think about bailing.

I voice my concerns about losing health benefits and she reminded me that I could always sign up for COBRA if I had to. That’s not an attractive choice, by any means, but it is an option, and one that I had been unable to see thanks to my nutzy view of the world.

She promised to call me in a week and, yes, I got all teary-eyed. Lord, I’m such a mutant…

Jennifer was as good as her word and she called me a few days ago. I was feeling much better by then, both emotionally and physically, and I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to do.

I told her I was getting second and third opinions on my condition and she said that was a good idea. And then we agreed that it was time to close the file on my case.

My company is switching to a new insurance carrier on the first of the year, much to my regret, so it is unlikely that Jennifer and I will speak again. I thanked her profusely for all her help and wished her and her family the best for the holidays.

“If you need to call me,” she said before she rang off, “please feel free.”

“I will,” I said, my voice cracking, “take care.”

And once again I started to cry.


Bijoux said...

Oh, Rob . . . Believe it or not, I know exactly how it feels to be talking to a stranger on the phone and break down. There are times when it's impossible to hold it all together, especially when you are dealing with health issues or concerns about a loved one.

I hope things continue to improve for you and I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Rob K said...

Thank you so much, Bijoux!

It's so nice to know someone else knows what it's like to freak out like that.

Take care, much love, and have a very Merry Christmas!

Jay said...

Mutant? No. I'd call that perfectly normal. It's often the kindness of strangers that opens the floodgates. What a lovely lady she seems!

I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up. I'm determined to start blogging again in the new year, but in the meantime I've been shelving the whole Blogosphere except when something which seems important catches my eye on Facebook. Seems you're still in that dark tunnel, my friend! My advice is simply this: kick back and enjoy Christmas. Enjoy the love of your family and friends, and say to yourself 'I'll deal with this in the New Year'.

Even if you have to deal with it before then, it might just help you relax for a while. Don't meet trouble halfway - that's what my mother used to say!

And yes, I'm a fine one to talk!

Rob K said...

Heu, Jay, great to hear from you!

I think you make an excellent point about the kindness of strangers. Perhaps it touches us because it is so unexpected.

No worries about not keeping up--except for the fact that I miss the hell out of you!

I intend to take your advice, enjoy Christmas and handle my troubles in the New Year.

Your Mon had it right--now let's both listen to her.

Take care and Merry Christmas!

Jay said...

Oh, that's so sweet of you, Rob! Thanks! :)

Yes, I wish I'd listened to my Mum more ...

Rob K said...

We still can! In fact, I think it's more meaningful to heed their words now that they've left this world. It becomes a tribute to their memories.


Ron said...

Rob, Jennifer is no doubt an angel sent from God and I truly believe that. Often when we are going through challenging times, help and guidance will come our way in the means of DIVINE intervention.

I remember back when I was going through financial bankruptcy and felt just like you, SEVERAL angels were sent to help and support me through it all.

I have a feeling that things are all going to turn around for you in the New Year and that 2015 is going to be a year in which all your wishes and goals will manifest for the best!

So keep the faith, buddy, and know that you are loved and supported. And not only from your friends here on this earth, but from God above.

Have a Merry Christmas, Rob!

Rob K said...

Gosh, Ron, what wonderful comments.

I like your view of divine intervention--it's certainly better than my (often) negative outlook.

And while we're talking about angels, I'll have to include you and all my other blogging buddies on that list!

Thanks so much for all your support and warm wishes, buddy! Let's all make 2015 our best year ever!

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I think I missed this post when it first came out! But if you still need a Nurse Jennifer or a stand in please reach out to me! I am always all ears! Start with my email and if you use it I will share my number as well :) I always want to be available if a friend is in need!

Rob K said...

Oh, Shae, that is so kind of you! I'm ready to start blubbering right now!

Let me extend the same offer to you. I'm at and anytime you need to reach out to someone, please don't hesitate!

Take care!