Get Well Sooner
Being sick is no fun. But one thing that makes it more bearable is a get-well visit from a friend. In this week's portion we see how when Joseph heard that his father was ill, he went right away to visit him and to see how he could help (48:1-2). A get-well visit is a Torah value and something that can make people feel better in body and spirit.
In our story, some kids discover what a get-well visit can do.
MELTING THE ICE
Andy felt like his body was made out of cement as he stretched trying to reach the comic book on the nightstand next to his hospital bed. "Ach, forget it!" he sighed and collapsed back onto his mattress. Being sick was a big pain, in more ways than one. Though the doctors had told him his operation went fine and he'd be able to be home by next week, he just didn't know how he was going to last in this dumb, boring hospital until then.
"Mike, I know we made up to go ice skating today," Donny said, "but what do you say we do that tomorrow and instead go visit Andy today and see how he's feeling?"
"I dunno, Donny I feel bad for the kid, but, you know, I feel kinda funny going to the hospital. Who says he even wants company? And beside, maybe tomorrow will be warm and the ice will melt."
Back in the hospital...
"Here's your lunch, Andy - enjoy!" the busy nurse said as she wheeled the tray over his bed and turned on her heels before Andy could even ask her to hand him the comic book.
Maybe it looks better than it smells, the boy thought as he lifted the metal dome that looked like a flying saucer up from the plate to take a peek, but then he quickly slapped it back down before it could escape. His mom promised she'd bring him some stuff he liked to eat after she got out of work, but that wasn't going to be for about a million more hours...
"Are you sure this is a good idea, Donny? Maybe we're gonna catch some germs or something?"
"Don't worry, man. I'm sure there are less germs in the whole hospital than there is in your gym uniform that you haven't washed all year..."
Andy stared at the white ceiling, then for variety, he decided to stare at the white walls instead. He felt like he was ready to start climbing those walls - but he had no energy to do that, or anything else either. If only there was someone around to talk to. If only there was someone to help him...
Andy looked up, to see the glowing faces of his buddies, Donny and Mike.
"We just came by to pay you a little get-well visit and see how you're doing," Donny smiled.
"Yeah, and we brought you some snacks and stuff," Mike added, handing Andy a bag of the first normal-looking food he'd seen in days.
"Wow, that's great! Thanks guys!" Andy said, surprised to see he had the strength to sit up.
"No problem, man," Donny said. "I know what it's like to be cooped up. "Is there anything we can do for you?"
"Um, could you maybe hand me that comic book over there. You know, to read after you guys go - which I hope won't be for a while."
As the friends chatted, Andy felt better than he had in days. Somehow having friendly, familiar faces around just made all the difference.
The two boys stayed until the nurse came in to take Andy's temperature and stuff and they had to leave.
"Did you see how glad he was to see us, Mike? Wasn't it worth putting off skating for a day - or are you still worried about tomorrow being too warm to skate?"
"You know, Donny, even if it is, it can't be nearly as warm as this visit made Andy's - and my - heart."
Q. How did Andy feel before his friends visited him?
A. He was feeling uncomfortable, upset and bored.
Q. How did he feel afterwards?
A. He felt much more up and able to handle his situation.
Q. Why do you think Andy felt so much better when his friends visited?
A. Besides the physical problems of being ill, it can also really make a person feel down. Knowing he had friends who cared enough to visit made him feel much better. Plus they were able to help in a practical way, too.
Q. Why do you think people hesitate to visit the sick?
A. It can feel awkward, not knowing what to say, etc. But the great kindness we do by even just coming to show we care, is more than worth any discomfort involved.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Our sages say that visiting someone who is ill actually helps to cure him. How do you understand this idea?
A. For one thing, the positive energy we give to someone with our caring visit can give him more physical and spiritual strength to recover.
Q. If a person is being taken care of by professional health-care providers, what can our visit possibly add?
A. Even if someone is getting good care, there is nothing like the boost seeing someone who's there because he cares and not because it's his job. Besides, when the doctors, etc, see that a patient has people actively concerned, it can motivate them to try harder to help him, too.