Improvising (Wherever You Go, I Shall Go)

10403364_10206037095222989_8676968453124620162_nNot lost. Turned around just enough to enjoy the challenge of walking as the crow flies. Longwood, Shattuck, Tremont and Huntington, surrounded on all sides by imposing edifices of medical research, practice, teaching–Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s, Dana Farber and families who’ve taken up residence here because this is how life is now, residents and med students and doctors, men and women wearing suits or scrubs in a hurry.

I don’t hurry, but walk purposefully, the way I do in cities, feeling that return of self that’s never far and comes to life when there is sky above rooftops and the hum of the morning and just blending in, improvising my way to Starbucks even though I briefly turned the GPS on, but felt better just winging it, knowing I couldn’t go all that wrong. And the satisfaction of finding my way back to this courtyard. Oh, there it is!

I like improvising and thankfully it seems to like me back. We’re a good team, set loose in search of a big iced latte and to take in my surroundings a bit, get my bearings, bearings that in hospitalandia can get warped by rounds and nurses and time a pinpoint of pain meds and attempted rest and up and down the escalator to the café.

Today I will get a stuffed animal at the gift shop per Pearl’s tearful request on the phone last night. Whether they realize it or not, my girls are learning this art, too–of improvising because life asks this of us, won’t take no for an answer when we love and will do whatever it takes to get the right and best care for our people.

I would lie down for them and I hope they know this. I told her wherever you go, I shall go. And here we are. She is on the 14th floor and I’m here on the street, wondering if everyone around me thinks of themselves as improvising, too. Aren’t we all?

I’m not sure what else there is but to enter the dance and stay on the floor, to leave a little and get lost a little but not too much and then come back. Don’t forget to eat. Take a walk. Sleep when you can. Turn off the GPS. And tune in to those instincts when you need them most. Which may be always.

post-script: We’re heading home later today after a few days at Brigham & Women’s in Boston. Thank you to everyone who has sent love and good wishes this week.

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