Here’s the most important thing I learned last week. If you want to feel lucky, visit the Mayo Clinic on an ordinary day when you are just along for the ride.
It’s easy to take so much for granted. Clean water, abundant food, cell phone service, ATM’s filled with as much cash as our account balance will permit, gasoline at pumps, and a dry bed to crawl into come to mind as just a few of those things that we all take for granted until we can’t. One natural disaster removes all chance that a person will ever take those things for granted again, I’m sure.
And then there’s medical care. Most of us take that for granted, too. Because even when we may gripe about our high deductibles or not being able to see the doctor we want, we know that in a true emergency that we will still be seen and treated by qualified nurses and doctors in clean hospitals pretty much wherever we live here in the U.S.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, 1.3 million people from all fifty states and 137 countries were seen there in 2016. The organization employs over 63,000 individuals. The day we were there, we learned that one of the labs sees over 1200 patients every day just to draw blood. It is an amazing place. Just amazing.
Patients are rich and poor. Male and female. Different races and religions. Many speak English, and many do not. There are tiny, brand-new humans pushed in strollers and frail, not-so-new ones with walkers. The ravages of disease are evident on many who slump in wheelchairs pushed by worried family members. Whether you happen to be a president or a prince, a pauper or prisoner, once you enter the Mayo Clinic you have just one title: Patient. In a world that often seems more and more divided racially and socio-economically, this is reassuring. The Mayo Clinic displays the best of who we are, I think.
And maybe that’s why I left there feeling luckier,healthier, and more hopeful than I have felt in a really long time. Going along for the ride on an ordinary day to witness a healing place like the Mayo Clinic will do that.