In my deep fever, I was able to leave my body and fly. I did. It was a fever float. I distinctly remember flying over Kuwait, over the water, banking my arms, swooping. I flew to the jungle. I dived over the ocean.
In my fever, I was stripped raw, open. I felt my very being exposed, my emotions, my energy, my senses. And I could see and feel the light of people around me.
I’ve been in the hospital two weeks now. It’s only the last two or three days that I actually have a “clear” head. I’ve come out of the fever float. And I remember moments of incredible beauty and grace.
In the early days, I was subjected to multiple tests every day….x-rays, CAT scans, ultra sounds, echocardio.I was poked, prodded and injected. I was wheeled around on trolleys with an oxygen tank attached, clinging and clanging as we went. I’d stare at the ceiling and float.
One morning, I was lying on the trolley staring at the ceiling, waiting for my ultrasound. A tall woman in a black veil followed a trolley out of the room. She was accompanying her elderly mother who just had an ultrasound. She paused as she passed me and put her hand on my chest, lingering just a moment and saying something in Arabic. Then she lifted her hand and returned to her mother, moving quickly down the hallway out of my range of vision.
What did she say, I asked?
She asked for blessings on your health.
Imagine. Caring for her own sick mother, she took a moment to bless a stranger.
On another day, a dark day, I was again in the hallway, facing the ceiling, waiting for a test. During this test, the doctor would take a needle, push it between my ribs and drain fluid from outside my lung. I was too out of it to know I was scared. I was just waiting for another test.
A cleaning woman came to the side of my trolley. She had a beautiful, round dark face. She grabbed the railing of my trolley and smiled at me. She beamed at me with her eyes and smile and held my gaze with hers for long minutes. I felt her pouring her light into me. I saw her pouring her light into me. The words “you are an angel” went through my mind in that moment. I cannot tell you how blessed I felt. She had given me love and strength. She floated up to me then floated away…and I will remember her smile and all that light always.
On one dark day, a doctor from the ICU came to see me. My friend Sarah was visiting me. He said that my team of doctors was worried about my deteriorating health and they might need to take me to ICU. He spoke with a calm, professional tone. He was tall, broad in the shoulders, curly salt-and-pepper air. Handsome. He stood confident though gentle. He explained my condition and what might happen. Then he asked about me. About my work in Afghanistan. He said he’d be interested to see my photographs and stories, to see what I’ve done.
The whole time he was talking he was radiating light. He glowed. He was beaming light at me. I could see and feel it.
After he left, I said to Sarah: He was radiant. He was a radiant being. Did you see it? Did you feel it?
Sarah agreed. Yes, very strong, beautiful energy. Beaming.
Out of the fever fog, it seems strange to read the words…that I could see and feel people’s energy, that I knew people were pouring love and light on me.
Again and again and again, I was the recipient of acts of kindness and caring. The woman who brings my tea each day places her hand over her heart and blesses my health. The cleaning women who sweep and mop the floor around my bed always stop and raise their hands to the sky and offer a prayer for me.
Late one night, I was coughing so hard I started to vomit. A veiled woman sitting vigil at the bed across from me called a nurse to bring me a bowl…such a beautiful gesture in the middle of a lonely night of fever. She stops to see me every day now and asks about my health and blesses me.
These are just a few examples of the many gestures of kindness I have received from total strangers. And then there are friends and family who have burned candles in Oregon, Paris, California and Alaska for me. My family and friends have lifted me up with their unwavering love and care.
In my fever I lived what I’ve always known: we are always surrounded by love and light, always held in it, blessed by it.
And angels are everywhere.