My Day Was Just Beachy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   On my first day volunteering at the local hospital, I did not really think I would learn anything new. After all, my job as a candy striper was limited to being a gopher for hospital personnel. I spent my time organizing charts, delivering flowers to the patients and was even fortunate enough to tote "specimens" from various parts of the building to the lab - in a funky fiourescent green cooler. I also had the opportunity to bring discharged patients outside for their pick up by relatives - I felt like a store merchandise distributor. The majority of these people were older, and to me, aging seemed pretty depressing. I would dread bringing up the wheelchair to the elderly patients, yet I had a deep respect for them. The basis for this feeling is unknown to me, but it is perhaps that they have experienced so much more than I have in my 16 years (and it's not just birthday parties).

As the days of volunteering blurred, I suddenly experienced one unique day that altered my outlook for the rest of my summer. On this particular sunny, breezy and balmy day, requests were slow and I was daydreaming of being anywhere but there. "Sarah, discharge in Room 201." Suddenly I was brought back to reality, the air conditioning feeling as cold as a winter day. I brought the wheelchair up the elevator, around the corner, and down the hall into the designated room. A woman in her seventies greeted me with a bright smile.

"Hello, I'm going home today." I was not sure if she was slightly crazy or really friendly. As I positioned all her flowers and gifts around her in the wheelchair, she began her chatter.

"I'm Louise. What's your name? It looks very nice out. I'm sure glad it stopped raining. What have you been up to lately?" I politely answered all her questions, becoming more comfortable and open to her talk. BING! The elevator was back to the bottom floor - and the door to the sunshine only feet away. As Louise's daughter went to get the car, I continued conversing with my only discharge of the day. Louise went on,

"I love the beach. It's too bad I'm not as young and able as you, because now I can't chase after all the guys." With my sudden laughter, I saw (or imagined) a special sparkle in her eyes. My patient obviously enjoyed her ability to bring pleasure to others. I felt that I brightened her day with my laughter. Hopefully it made her prospect of being indoors a little more cheerful. It definitely made my duty of returning to the air-conditioned hospital a whole lot warmer. fl


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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