I have a special friend. I have never seen her or talked to a member of her family. I don’t know how she decorates or what style clothing she prefers –except her shoes, we talk a lot about shoes. I can also tell you what she can eat and entire pages from her life story, but, before last year, I didn’t have an idea that she existed on the planet.
It was an unexpected, and totally unexpected, pairing. The nameless woman that brought us together is an office manager in a busy doctor’s office in the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City (check out US and World Report – HSS is ranked #1 in the U.S. for orthopedic care). I had followed two leads that both led me to the office of Dr.Edwin Su. He is renowned for his work on hip repair and I had been told he might be the man to tackle my uncooperative hips. I called and asked if Dr. Su had prior experience doing repair on Ehler’s-Danlos patients, because the entire game is a bit different. His manager said she would check and call me back. When she called (yes, she actually did!) she said that he had expertise in that small niche and that he was willing to see me. She was helpful in setting up an appointment expeditiously. Before we hung up, she blurted out, “I take voice lessons with a woman with Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome. Would you be willing to talk with her sometime? She has never talked to anyone else that has it.”
“Of course, she could call my house and get two of us here!” I laughed.
The office manager confirmed that I wouldn’t mind if she shared my information with her friend and teacher. I put her mind at ease that she was free to do so.
The call came about a week later. A woman whose voice I can best describe as having a honey and lemon quality – some zing in the smoothness—introduced herself as Lynn.
She was in her late 70’s, wasn’t diagnosed until 65 or so, after an unfortunate lifetime of medical calamities. I was drawn to her immediately. She had humor, perspective, and grace, but still managed to maintain her straight-shooting-I-tell-it-like-it-is attitude. Really, almost impossible to resist. She had recently moved from her lifelong home in New York City to Princeton, N.J.. Lynn missed her community, her roots and her life in the City. Her son was raised there, her career as an opera-singer was built there. Her husband felt finances dictated the move. We swapped the basics and promised to talk in a few weeks.
Lynn has been a totally unexpected angel to touch my life. During my very hard weeks in the Rehab. Hospital last summer, she sent me cards of encouragement regularly. She
continues to call every so often, and if I don’t answer within a week, she’ll try again. She said she senses something must be going on because I am usually prompt about returning her calls. If I pick up the phone to call her, I can never guess there is anything else going on in her world than making time for me. How a writer in Whately can recognize in an opera-singer from New York City the prospect of hope, I can not guess. However, Lynn, repeatedly over the past year, has found me in times of darkness and brought me light.
Apparently, there must be something to that line in King James Bible, Exodus 1:3 when God is reported as having said, ”‘Let there be light.’ So there was light.” It seems that light can take many forms and colors in our lives.