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Updated: Jan 26

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Everything is a miracle, or nothing is.

I find it amusing how many deep thoughts are attributed to Albert Einstein. I have no idea if this is truly his statement of not. I find that I generally agree with the sentiment, if not the words. Life is too complex to be binary, but it is a lesson in how we look at the world.

Today I’m going to tell a very short story from my own life. For reasons blessedly unrelated to me directly, I have spent a fair amount of time in a hospital this week, and I want to tell you about one particular morning, because everything about this morning was a miracle.

We arrived at the hospital around 5:00 AM.

We drove there from an hour away from where we live, because we were told check in for the procedure started at 5:30, and we assumed we needed time to park, find the right wing, right desk to sign in at, etc. We were there by 5:10, and registered. We waited, as the hospital woke up.

At 6:00 we were in the admission wing. Bed 22 of 60. A long u-shaped room filled with a steady trickle of patients, nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, friends, family and others. Vitals were taken, surgeries explained. I had thought this was a specialty wing, but as I listened, I heard about many day surgeries. Defined lightly as, “If all goes to plan you are home tonight.”

Breast tissue excision, biopsies, hernia repair, skin graft, abscess drainage, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, rotator cuff repair. I heard others but those were the start.

I waited an hour as the procedure was done, they called me to be the pick-up and driver on time, explained the outcome of the surgery. We were on our way out the door by 9:45.

We arrived home at 11:00 AM.

There is nothing above that is not a miracle. I wrote this because I was struck by the hospital, but that is not the only miracle. I drove on roads for forty miles maintained by people I will never meet. Electricity kept the grid running and lights on, timed to keep us all reasonably safe. My combustion engine car moved along without exploding, and I parked 100 feet from the hospital without a problem in a parking garage built for the size of the facility such as it was.

But in the hospital the real miracle started.

Either everyone in that building was incredibly good at lying, or they all cared. Everyone was nice. They used their first names, and they used ours. They were smiling, compassionate, (Yes at 5:30 – 6:00 AM) and they were efficient.

I struggled some to find the right word for the experience. I thought about shopping, but that was all wrong because nobody shops for medical procedures they want. I hope. But something about the dance, beautifully choreographed of check in, prep, surgery, recovery, and out, with a genuine appearance of joy at helping was… a smorgasbord of everything that science, medicine and administrative organization can offer all in one place.

It was a miracle. Every kind of day surgery you can need, performed by experts, with organization under one roof with reliable timing. Every one of those “casual surgeries,” were impossible 100 years ago and most would have been impossible in any format 50 years ago and many wouldn’t have been performed as they are today in 20 years ago.

It is so easy to tear things down. It is easy to complain. It is easy to think that you could have done it better, or there are problems with a system. It is hard to remember how much better it is today than yesterday. Just because something can get better, doesn’t mean it is broken, it means it is in progress.

Yesterday was hard. Yesterday someone I love had a surgery.

Yesterday was also a miracle.


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