Experience as a Flashlight: During the winter of 1985, I contracted Hepatitis A virus which spreads when an infected person does not wash his or her hands after using the bathroom and then comes in contact with someone else. I had spent time around my friend Ron who had eaten at a restaurant where a chef was ill. The incident was reported to the Center for Disease Control because Hepatitis is a contagious disease.
During the time I was sick I spent three lonesome days in a motel room because no one wanted me near and I had no health insurance. My skin turned yellow and I had a fever with no energy. I had nothing to eat until I finally forced myself to go out and buy some grape juice.
I flew back home and stayed in my mother’s apartment (she was in Florida) and slowly recovered. It seemed like just a painful time until it finally dawned on me why this may have happened.
I was going into the ministry and until that experience I did not comprehend what it felt like to be bed bound and alone. This incident sensitized me to the needs of hospitalized people and those in nursing home.
While I was in that motel room, my friend John called from a thousand miles away. He had heard I was sick and called to see if he could do anything. His words and his tone told me he was upset by what was happening and that he would do anything to help.
Years later a similar thing happened when a fellow clergy person, a woman, showed up in my hospital room to see how I was doing. She was concerned for me and was a great comfort to me through her visit, words and prayer.
I know someone in a nursing home whom I promised to visit before Christmas and forgot. As I write this I am trying to put myself back in that motel room so I can recall the feelings of abandonment. Maybe you also know someone who is bed bound and alone. Let’s visit them in the next week. We never know if or when it might be our turn to be bed bound and all alone. I know from personal experience it is no fun, but a visit from someone makes a large difference and helps heal the hurt.