Education and Beyond · Nanotales

I Woke Up Today

Nov. 6, 2021

I used an ATM yesterday and I wasn’t alone.

The guy next to me turned to me and said, “Today is a good day because I woke up today.”

I turned to him and replied, “Yes, today is a good day,” and smiled behind my mask.

He did his business at the ATM and I finished mine soon after, and we went our separate ways. This encounter must’ve been less than 30 seconds, and yet, so impactful that I’m writing about it.

Have you been in a situation where you didn’t know what to say?

I knew the gravity of what he told me, because so many things went through my mind when he acknowledged how monumental it was for him to wake up. Could he have survived a suicide attempt and is grateful that he’s alive? Has he suffered from depression, alcoholism, or drug abuse and is grateful that he got out of bed? Did he have an accident or near death experience and awakened from a coma?

At the time, I could only offer a small token of agreement, and that is what I believed. However, in retrospect, I could have added more encouragement, such as, “There are so many more days where the world will need you to wake up” and “You are important.”

There was another incident earlier this year when I didn’t know what to say. I was getting my second COVID shot, and there was something going on with the young man administering the needle, because he was talking a lot and fast. The more he spoke the less comfortable I became. I asked a bunch of questions to ease my discomfort, but the more I asked the less safe I felt.

I learned that he was a 20-year-old who got wasted the night before, and consumed something that made him hyper and kept him alert. My appointment was at 9:45am so I was probably his fifth patient that morning. I regret not recognizing that he was probably telling people this because he needed someone to help him.

I may never find out why it was important to that man to wake up yesterday, and I may not know if that young man got the help he needed, but let’s be grateful that we have another day to wake up to and make the most of it.

NanoPoblano Day 6 Done!

2 thoughts on “I Woke Up Today

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