Yesterday I walked into Truman Hospital for the first time in 16 years – since the night my youngest sister died with dignity in their care. I haven’t been ignoring the place. I just haven’t had a reason to stop in.
You see, I have health insurance and no recent need for hospital care. So as not to be confusing, my sister may very well have had health insurance but her auto accident placed her in their amazing hospital by proximity. It was her closest and best hope.
I went to Truman to show my support for the health levy campaign, which Kansas City voters will vote on in April. I wanted very much to stand there with my friends from the Kansas City CARE Clinic and continue to share with the world the need for safety net providers and all that they offer to those without insurance. Truman Medical Center is another place where those without insurance can always find care. Always. Politics is a funny business and has never had a big place in this blog I share with my sister. If you want to know more, click here.
On my walk alone back from the board room, I was transfixed by the art in the hallways, waiting rooms and sky walks. Gorgeous. They were all well lit and very, very pleasing. Wood cuts, prints, water colors, pastels. Wonderful. I have a true love of public art and tried to take time to absorb. But I needed to get back to work.
I made myself exit through the emergency waiting room. Our family was never made to wait the night my sister died – we were swiftly escorted back to a room without her in it. I did not dwell in the daylight, but I did take a moment to take in the art, the upholstered chairs, the seating arrangements, and the kind staff. Good things, sad things, and amazing things happen every day in the buildings on Hospital Hill, and I found myself there on one of those days with a full heart.
I left, got in my car, and pulled half a block down the street to take in, again, one of my favorite pieces of public art in Kansas City.
It reads: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed. It blesses him that gives and him that takes.”
It stops me in my tracks every time. What started as decorative architecture has a home in front of one of Kansas City’s premier care facilities. Yesterday I walked even closer to it than I ever have. I noticed the chisel marks near the 5 on the “1905″ curving edge. A human may very well have carved this piece that hung over Kansas City General Hospital all those years ago.
p.s. I am including a closer view below. You can’t see the chisel marks, but you can read the words and see better the carving and design. This is on Holmes right before you get to 20th Street.