The Wheelchair Kept Squeaking
“She was supposed to be okay,” the letter read, but then, “we found out she had multiple strokes in her head from the Coronavirus, basically because it’s a complication from the virus itself. She was growing a bunch of clots in her head, a huge clot in her heart, and it spread all over her legs. She was dying right before our eyes.”
Once they had this realization, they wheeled her husband over from his room to be with her in her final moments.
“He was in the wheelchair, and all he wanted to do was just hold her hand. So, he kept moving the wheelchair. It was the most awkward thing to witness. Everybody’s just watching the wheelchair move in an attempt to get it right, to get them close enough to touch. But the wheelchair kept squeaking,” the letter reads.
The Bread Pudding Promise
“She grabbed my hand and she looked at me. ‘I’m scared,’ she said,” Coley recalled. To get his patients to open up, he asks them if they like to cook.
“Cooking transcends patients and nurses. We are on the same level when we talk about our skills. I asked her if she liked to cook,” he wrote.
Then, she said, “If you can get me out of here, I’m gonna make you a bread pudding that will knock your socks off.”
“I really thought she was going to die. And in that moment, I felt so strongly that if I ever saw that bread pudding, it’d be a miracle,” he thought.
We’re Gonna Be OK
Irving Cartegena dreamed of becoming a doctor growing up, however, his journey was tougher than he could have imagined. His college experience was lackluster, which made it difficult for him to get into any medical school in the U.S. He eventually decided to go to medical school in Mexico.
The next seven years of his life were filled with “one failure after another.” He couldn’t pass his board exams and one day, the dean of his school called him and said “Irving, look. I know you’ve been doing this for a while, and I admire your persistence, but I think it’s time to consider a change.” He was devastated — this was his life’s work.
He turned to his faith and prayed for clarity. Then, one night, he had a life-changing dream where a mysterious figure told him, “You know, I always knew you wouldn’t make it. You and me, we’re gonna be alright.”
To Cartenega, this was God telling him, “He had a better goal prepared for me” and “All of this was part of the plan, but it wasn’t THE PLAN.”
“Throughout this entire pandemic, the hardest thing to see has been the look and feeling of loneliness and fear in the eyes of a patient who can’t see or speak to their loved ones,” he wrote.
He realized that we are not in control. “That presence—whatever you want to call it, I call it God—that love, that desire for good to happen in all of our lives, and for good to exist in this world, is there and it always will be… and we’re gonna be OK!,” the letter read.