Stomach Aches

I found Nancy* lying in bed because she wasn’t feeling well. In particular, her stomach hurt, and she was waiting for nurses to provide her with some medication to make her feel better. I sat by her as we waiting, the alarm sounding fainty besides us.

After a few moments, I went to get a nurse who nonchalantly told me that nancy frequently complained about stomach pains and that another nurse would be sent to see her. Shortly after, a nurse came and explained to Nancy the situation. Apparently, Nancy hadn’t eaten anything the day before, and this caused acid to build up in her stomach, and she would eat a bugger breakfast than she should have. Afterwards, the nurse went to grab medication for Nancy who obediently took it. For me, it was interesting seeing the nurse’s interaction with Nancy. While the nurse was kind, she was also strict and demanding in an agreeable manner. It was important that Nancy understood the situation.

After taking the medication, Nancy and I spent some time catching up. I didn’t go into to much detail about my time in Peru this visit--although I know that I will want to in the future. However, I did bring her a chocolate bar that I had gotten in Peru. It was unique because of the fact that the cocoa was from Peru and it had fruits it in that were only found in the area. Understandably, she said she would eat it later when she was feeling better.

Somehow or the other, our conversation ended up being what I was doing. Again, I explained to her that I was applying to medical schools. In turn, she told me that her son was a neurologist. This piece of information was not new to me, but still I listened intently. I did learn a little more about her son and his relationships in the family. When I told her that I was insure where to go into future for medical school. She immediately told me that I should attend Harvard. Moved she said that she would pray for me. Subsequently, she did so and closed her eyes tightly and spoke aloud her prayers. I was so moved and I squeezed her hand in mine gently.

One particularly memorable moment occurred in the middle of our conversations. I will say that our conversations during this visit were very enriching and I got to learn a lot more about her. During one of our conversations, she held my hand in hers and gave it a kiss. Smiling, she told me that she didn’t really believe in doing gestures like these. Yet, she continued, she found herself doing it because it was an act of love. Turning these words in my head now, I realize how true it is. I felt her love both emotionally and physically even as I left the building back into the cold November, chilly weather.

*Name changed for privacy

-Ellen Zhang