Archives For Johns Hopkins

From B to D to C to B.

April 28, 2018 — 4 Comments


After surgery they make you walk. So we walk. 

We’ve been here since Monday, walking and resting and healing in room 11 of Pavilion 4B.

There are three other pavilions on this floor joined by four long corridors. When we walk, we pass all the rooms on 4B and then 4D and 4C before heading back to her room. There is a heavy fire door leading to 4A so we never go that way.

The pavilions are organized by cancer type. 4B is for woman being treated for gynecological cancers. I can’t figure out what is treated on 4C but 4D hits me hard every time we walk there. It is the pavilion for pancreatic cancer, the cancer that killed my father. There are mostly men there, about as old as my father was when he was hospitalized. They walk and rest and heal, just like us.

We walk slow, holding hands, and I remember that when my father was diagnosed I feared that there was nothing that could be done. But his surgery went well and soon he was back home making the best of the extra time he was given.

When Kathy was diagnosed I had the same fear, but again things have gone well.

So today I do not worry about tomorrow. I just walk these halls holding her hand, remembering my father and hoping for the best.


The halls at Hopkins

March 14, 2018 — 2 Comments

When we first arrived at Johns Hopkins Hospital we expected a short consultation and then a return home to await the start of a treatment plan. We left three days later. We started in the outpatient center, spent time in the Weinberg building and were assigned a hospital room in Zayed.

These buildings and many others are connected by a maze of bridges, tunnels, escalators and walkways and I spent much of the first visit wandering around looking for flowers and places to eat .

Since that visit I have walked past the Administration Building dozens of times and today I decided to stop by to visit a statue I knew was there.

It is called Christus Consolator and was donated in 1896 by William Wallace Spence. Since then countless patients and family members have visited this place for solace and inspiration.


Some leave flowers and messages. Others pause to say a prayer or rub the exposed foot for luck. I have nothing to place here today, but hope that those who were here before me did not leave in sorrow.

There are many other placards and markers installed on the walls of the hallways here. One pays tribute to the persons who served in “The Hopkins Units” during the first and second world wars.


Another is much more worn and hard to read. It tells of two sons who died within months of each other, on opposite sides of the world. One was a Marine who died during the battle to take Okinawa. His younger brother served on a bomber and was lost over the English Channel two weeks after D-Day.

Thousands of people walk by this plaque everyday and I hope that at least a few stop to read the story of sacrifice that it tells.


Legend claims that the when Christus Consolator was delivered, the doorman remarked that “Jesus came in through the front door.” Today, I came in from the back door and spent a few minutes thinking about the journey that lies ahead and the people who have been down this path before us.

Change in my pocket

December 22, 2013 — 2 Comments

Wanting to add a little mileage to today’s run, I extend the boundaries of my normal route. I run up Overhill and down Northway past the million dollar homes adorned with wreaths and red bows. I turn left and pass Sherwood Gardens, just as lovely in the winter as it is when it is full of tulips in April. Turning right I continue to the edge of Guilford and into Waverly, the much poorer neighborhood just beyond the stone walls and fences that separate it from its wealthy neighbors to the west.

I run south on York and it starts to rain. I pass people waiting for the 8 bus, huddled with coats but no umbrellas on their way home or to church or work. The houses here that are not boarded up vacants are run down and in disrepair. I turn at 33rd and head back towards prosperity. I pass Johns Hopkins and the expensive high rise condominiums that overlook downtown.

Running north I reach the intersection of Roland and Cold Spring. It is raining harder now. A figure stands in the median strip with a cup and a cardboard sign that I can’t read from my side of the street. Five cars pass him by, but one stops. As I get closer I notice that he is an old white man with a dirty white beard. He is thin and his coat is brown, dirty and wet.

I continue north and pass Baltimore’s most desireable private schools before turning south. It occurs to me that if the bearded man had been wearing a Santa costume and ringing a bell next to a kettle, everyone would have stopped and contributed. Yet when confronted with a real person in real poverty only a small fraction of my neighbors were willing to part with even a few coins.

And I am no different. Just two days ago, while on my way to court, I passed another person in need. “Spare some change?” he asked, crumpled on the ground and leaning against the corner of the building. “Sorry, don’t have any” which, while true, was not the real reason I wasn’t going to give him anything. “Merry Christmas” he said sincerely as we walked by without saying anything in reply.

Today I wonder how many others passed that poor man on Friday and offered excuses but no change. I also regret that I was not more like the driver who stopped instead of the five who ignored the man with the white beard on the corner of Roland and Cold Spring.

On my second lap he was no longer at the intersection. Even if I had change to offer, it would have been too late to help. I turn for home having made my New Year’s resolution ten days early. From now on I will always carry change in my pocket and be the one who stops.