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When you meet an Ángelita

It's not very often that we get reminded of the good that we do. Yesterday was one of those times.

For those who don't know, I tore up my left knee pretty bad a few weeks ago. Won't go into details of what happened or how bad it is, just that I had to go get an MRI on it. As I hate going into San Antonio for just one thing, a doctor's appointment and infusion clinic also got scheduled. We also stopped at our favorite feeding ground where the manager, cooks, and wait staff are familiar with my food allergy aka a stress-free place to eat that feels a lot like Cheers because everyone knows our name. The MRI was supposed to be at 5:30, so we figured we could either wait there and possibly get in sooner, or we could wait somewhere else to kill an hour. We opted to wait there. And wait we did.

It was almost 7 o'clock before I got called back. My patience had long since worn thin. It was the usual spiel of taking anything with metal off, including the bra even though it was my knee going into the tube. I also got some sweet relief from the newest gadget the doctor put my knee in and those cute little socks with the rubber grippers on the bottom to add to my collection. I hobbled out to a second waiting area and heard the tech bring someone else back for the second MRI machine.

First, I saw Momma with her baby duck trailing behind her, wearing those horridly fitting paper shorts, and looking scared enough to vomit at any moment. The little Ángelita sat down next to me as Momma went to get her other two ducklings from the big waiting room and a lot of strangers. While gone, Ángelita asked about what an MRI does, what the contrast does, whether it is loud, whether will it hurt, and many more questions. I answered them in the least scary fashion as any Momma with experience would do. She then confided in me they found something growing in her baby parts and pointed to her tummy. She was only 12 years-old. I was well into my thirties when I had my scare. I had to resist the urge to pick up this sweet little child faced with a very adult thing happening to her and hold onto her until her fear was eased.

Momma came back with two more ducklings, younger than the first. Momma opened her laptop to get work done. I tried to not be judgmental but understood her position. The kids asked all the same questions as the little angel. I answered them in the same careful way & watched them relax a bit. Momma gave a look of gratitude.

Tech came out & asked Momma if she wanted to go in with Ángelita. Momma gave a worried look, but someone needed to stay with the younger two. My heart ached for them as I went back for mine. 20 minutes later, I hobbled out of my MRI to see the little Ángelita in tears holding onto her Momma. I asked Momma if she wanted me to sit with the little ones, when Ángelita came over grabbed my hand & begged me to stay with her. Momma gave her consent. I sat holding her hand while the machine made a lot of noise. Over the digital sounds, I told of her to think of it as an off-world symphony. She gave a giggle at that. I asked if she played videos games & which ones. Her favorite subject in school along with what new thing did she learn recently. Does she have a pet? Anything to distract her mind. The tech came back in & it was time to access a vein for the contrast. She was a trooper as he expertly accessed the vein on the first go-round. I explained to her that she would feel very warm in her groin like she was going to the bathroom, & assured her that in fact, she had not. I could see the tech was relieved that he didn't have to explain it.

Five minutes later, it was all over. Like Velcro, she stuck to me as we left the room, then went & hugged her mom. Momma thanked me profusely & called me her angel for helping them through this. We exchanged emails & she assured me that she would let me know the results.

The three-hour wait now made sense. I needed to be there in that moment of time to help someone in need. I now feel blessed to have been there that long. Remember, kindness only takes a moment of your time.

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