In the fall of 2004, at the end of several days of asthma during a business trip to Ohio, I wound up being taken by ambulance from the Charlottesville Airport to the Emergency Room at UVA Hospital. I am a very independent person, but on that day I had realized that I had reached my limit, so I allowed myself to be taken care of.
I have many a quarrel with the conventional medical system, but that brief period of enforced observation (I tottered home the next day) reminded me of the love and caring that may be found within any such institution.
When I got home, I wrote up a little cinquain — a form of haiku consisting of lines of 2, 4, 6, 8, and then 2 syllables — to express what I had felt as I had been taken care of by a succession of people from the EMTs at the airport, to the ambulance crew, to the ER doctors and nurses, to the very janitors who do their part in keeping the place functioning. There is a saying, “God has no hands but ours,” and I felt its truth that day.
To these calm strangers, knowing them