I was approaching the handicapped entrance to the pool, and I saw her rushing to open the door for me. Rushing like it was urgent. She saw I was a man with a bandaged foot riding a scooter thing. She saw a tube connecting the foot to a shoulder bag. She took all this in and spoke five words:
"I hope you get well."
As soon as she spoke, the slur of her voice told me she suffers from a neurological condition of some sort. Her voice felt of some pain, but for me and not her. It said the woman identified with me as a fellow sufferer.
I was drawn in by her words, as in the four months since my first surgery-gone-wrong, I have sometimes wondered if I will ever get well. Again and again I have hoped to get well. In four more days I will have yet another surgery trying to bring that about.
She asked was I going to swim in the pool, somewhat disbelieving, I thought. She was wondering how someone in my condition could get in the water. I explained about the device that waterproofs my wound in a vacuum sealed covering and allows me to swim.
Her words—"I hope you get well"—stayed with me throughout that day, and are with me still.
A few words from the right person can mean a lot.