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Coming Home: Hospital hallway that once held fear now full of hope

There's a long hallway in a hospital, connecting two parts of the building with plain beige carpet and tall windows that let the light in from the street.

"I got up from the waiting room chair to check on the squeals coming from that long hallway where we would take turns strolling with Dad as his surgery wounds healed and my breath sort of caught at the sight of it -- a man we weren’t sure was going to live walking hand in hand with a baby we never thought would be born."
"I got up from the waiting room chair to check on the squeals coming from that long hallway where we would take turns strolling with Dad as his surgery wounds healed and my breath sort of caught at the sight of it -- a man we weren’t sure was going to live walking hand in hand with a baby we never thought would be born."
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There's a long hallway in a hospital, connecting two parts of the building with plain beige carpet and tall windows that let the light in from the street.

All day, every day, nurses, doctors and employees rolling carts of covered chicken and Jello to be delivered to patients who may not want to eat but have to eat, walk these hallways as part of their routine, wearing their shoes and the carpet a little thinner with each step.

To those employees, the hallways of their hospital become a part of the fabric of their day, a relationship that may or may not be complicated. I don't know for sure. I've never worked in a field where my job is to physically care for a person or to use my training to open up a body and save a life, so I can't speak for them. I don't know what goes on in the hallways of a hospital from their perspective.

But I do know from the perspective of a daughter who watched her dad come back slowly from the brink of death after an emergency flight and an open chest bypass surgery for a condition with devastating odds three years ago in that hallway.

And I don't think about it often anymore, because when it turns out the way you want it to turn out, you get that luxury. But I'm thinking about it today because last week we found ourselves there again, the whole family, sitting in the very same waiting room where we would sit with Dad for a change of scenery during that weeklong hospital stay.

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Only this time he was the healthy one, visiting a family member who hit a little rough patch, offering to get food and magazines and trying to help me wrangle a wiggly 1-year-old who found it hilarious to take off running and giggling toward patients' rooms.

"Let me take her on a walk, Jess," he said as he grabbed her hand and headed for the hallway with the windows.

In those late nights sitting with Dad, I remember making plans for the barnyard and the corrals, the cows we would buy and what we would do that summer to move us forward. And a few times during our stay, I walked down the block in the freezing cold wind to talk to my doctor about infertility treatments, to do tests and try to figure out if we were ever going to have a baby.

I got up from the waiting room chair to check on the squeals coming from that long hallway where we would take turns strolling with Dad as his surgery wounds healed and my breath sort of caught at the sight of it-a man we weren't sure was going to live walking hand in hand with a baby we never thought would be born.

And, just like that, a hallway in a hospital with plain beige carpet and tall windows turned sacred.

Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughter on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com . Readers can reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com .

Related Topics: FAMILY
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"We are all teachers and preachers, whether we know it or not,'" writes Kevin Holten.