Jody Vance

The Man in the Next Bed – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Sturti

Over the past week our family has been experiencing “the best of a worst case scenario”.

Two months ago my Mom had a colonoscopy that found a cancerous mass that needed immediate attention.  Being that this is mom’s second time having surgery to remove cancer from her colon, the first was 20 years ago, we were all rightfully worried. This time around, unlike the 8 inch scar from surgery #1, it would be arthroscopic — far less invasive — yet still very scary given that she’s 79 years old next month.

We held our breathe awaiting the CT scan results.  We collectively exhaled when it came back “contained”.  Once again, a precautionary colonoscopy would save her life.

We are thrilled to be able to take her home today, after 8 days at St. Paul’s Hospital where she received incredible care day and night.

Mom has been in a ward with three other beds, she in the one by the window overlooking English Bay from the 10th floor.

While two of the other three beds saw the people come and go…the man in the “next bed” was in from her arrival, and is still there.  We chatted on my daily visits, he is kind and gentle in his tone and concern for mom.  Yesterday when I went in, it was clear that he had undergone another surgery (He has Chrones) and his moans were heart-wrenching.  He’s had many visitors, so this is not a sad post of loneliness — however, I’m worried about him.  His great attitude and calm were a steadying force for our family and yet, here he is struggling to re-gain his health.

As we gather our mom’s belongings, and get set to happily take her home, we send love light and healing vibes to the Man in The Next Bed.

Hug your family and friends — and above all, value your health.

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  • Reply Shari Whittaker September 14, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Happy your Mom is OK. I understand. They found colorectal cancer in me through a colonoscopy about 8 years ago. I was in the hospital for surgery very quickly. I would say Dr. Raval at St. Paul’s saved my life. Because I had to have an ostomy bag for a year I was in St. Paul’s twice for a total of about 20 days. I can only say good about that hospital and the care they give. My bed overlooked the Sheraton Wall Centre and I used to say when and if I ever get out of here I am staying there first class for a weekend. Of course I never did. I too felt extremely fortunate to be able to leave and lead a fairly healthy life compared to many I met during my stays. Hugs to your Mom.

  • Reply Linda September 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Yes, people are ‘real’ in hospital, little camouflage, we all can be nervous, naturally. I too wish ‘The Man in the Next Bed’ all he best. Moments in time with a person with such spirit are uplifting, makes one feel humble……did you take his telephone number, maybe he would enjoy a cup of tea with your mum when he comes out!

    Cheers for saying.

    Ciao, Linda

  • Reply Bev Blais October 26, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Nicely written. I’ve been in that situation a number of times. You’ve truly captured the reaction of mixed emotions. The love and concern for your Mother, the pleasure of meeting a caring and positive person as well as the sadness of leaving that person who is at risk.

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