My niece Jordanna gave birth to a little pink bundle of cuteness last week. I was eager to get up to the hospital and snuggle with wee little Jesslynne. Coincidental, a friend of mine was in the hospital having surgery at the same time.
I stopped at the store and bought a stuffy and some pink tulips for Mommy and baby and picked up a planter filled with multiple plants to take to my friend. Of course baby took precedence so off I went to the maternity ward on the first floor.
In due time, I left the baby's room and headed, plant in hand, for the elevator to take me to the third floor where my friend was recovering.
As I stepped off the elevator, I felt like a magnet as several young men, aged 25-30 or so, gravitated towards me. Each in turn asked me how I was doing or commented on my beautiful plant.
I quickly sensed that I might not be in the right place as I bolted for the nurses station and asked for my friend Lois' room.
"Um, I think you probably want the surgery wing," was the nurses reply. "You took the wrong elevator."
A glance around me confirmed that, yes, I had stumbled upon the psych ward.
She graciously explained that I had to take the elevator back down to the main floor and get on a different elevator to get to where I needed to be. She leaned over and pushed a button on the wall and then left the nurses station.
Had I realized that her button push was momentarily unlocking the guarded elevator I would have ran to it. But alas, in my naivety, I stopped when an inmate (did I say that out loud? I meant "patient") flagged me down.
"Hey! Nice planter."
"What kind of plants are they?"
"Oh, I'm not sure. I just thought it was pretty so I bought it for a friend."
"Here, give it to me and I'll tell you what they are," he says as he reaches out towards me.
Slightly unnerved, I feel some relief as I hear a male voice behind me say, "Quit bothering the lady."
I turn only to have my heart pick up speed when I realize it is not in fact a nurse or doctor but one of the first patients who had asked me nearly the exact same questions when I had encountered him as I stepped off the elevator.
Ignoring the suggestion to leave me alone he stepped closer to me, put his hand around the planter and sternly said, "Give it to me!"
I am proud to say that I neither peed my pants nor screamed, "Mommy!" I simply handed him my plant so that I could have both hands free to frantically thump on the elevator button.
It was then that I had a lightbulb moment of "Duh! Of course the elevators are locked to prevent escapees."
Then to my astonishment the young man held up the plant and looked at it from all angles and proceeded to tell me all the types of plants in the pot. Now, I can't confirm or deny whether he actually knew what he was talking about but he used words that sounded like Latin botanical terms. He told me how the fern (he had a long name for it) was from the crustacean period and if the conditions were right, it would grow like a weed. I suspect he'd had a little too many encounters with weed and such and that's what landed him here in the first place, but I sure has heck wasn't gonna argue with him.
I nearly fell to my knees in worship when a male nurse came along and asked if I wanted the elevator unlocked.
"Uh, ya think?" I pounded on the down arrow one more time and the patient wished me well and handed me back the plant as I the stepped onto the elevator and scrambled for the "close door" button.
Visiting the sick and afflicted really isn't one of my gifts and talents.
But Jesslynne sure is a cutie.