One Voice Can Change a Day

Dear Reader:

You might remember a few years ago I shared with you some interesting facts about songs, music and communication…Theologian Quinn Caldwell shared these findings…

“There are about 5,400 species that sing.  The majority live in the trees, a few live in the oceans, a very few live underground, but there is one—only one—singing species that lives on the ground: us.

Another thing: humans are the only singing species with a precise and shared sense of rhythm, which is what allows us to sing together.  Two birds might sing the same song, but they cannot sing it together.”

I am sharing all this information again because Emily Dickinson’s metaphor on hope and feathered creatures came to light for me yesterday at the North Charleston Oncology Center.

There wasn’t a nurse dressed up like a feathered bird singing…but there was CAT-Scan technician, Sheila, who gave voice to hope for me…a voice that plucked me from the waiting masses and gave me extra attention… saving me lots of waiting time.

Yesterday was one of the days I dread…my annual CAT-SCAN that covers just about every part of my body….looking to see if the tumors are still behaving themselves or if they have grown or decided to move around. Needless-to -say it is always somewhat nerve-wracking. (Will get the results later in the week)

This time I was even more concerned because they were trying to fit my lab blood work in on top of the scan…it first and then the scan. The lab work is done on the downstairs main floor, whereas, the specific scans and other tests are performed on the second floor.

My type of scan requires that the barium sulfate drink be consumed two hours before the scan….it’s not awful…but thick and grainy-tasting first thing in the morning…a little iffy on my fickle stomach due to the oral chemo’s I take daily. So I always worry about how my stomach is going to tolerate it.

When I got there Monday morning…I knew things were already backed up…there was a lengthening line to check in…never a good sign. Sure enough  I heard later they were short several workers while others were having to “double dip.” Never a fun way to start a Monday morning…I’m sure.

My prayers had been I would get called back quickly… so as to not give my stomach time to get queasy again….but my hope was diminishing as more and more patients packed in.

Suddenly…from this one lone chair in the back of this large waiting area…I heard a voice calling me….”Is there a Rebecca Dingle” in the room?” I jumped up while raising my hand…can’t take the student/teacher habits out of a retired educator.

It was Sheila (who I didn’t initially recognize with the mask) the Cat-Scan technician. She motioned for me to follow her. We walked outside and got in the elevator. Hesitantly I asked her if it mattered that I had not gotten my blood work done first…since it was the first item scheduled.

She assured me we were flipping procedures to save time…no worries there. Within ten minutes I was in and out of the machine. I didn’t even have to drink more barium sulfate which is usually the case.

I was silently thanking God and repeatedly thanking Sheila for “saving” me from the long wait line downstairs. She smiled and then said…”Wait a minute…let me check your blood work…I just might be able to do it myself up here while you are still lying down… outside the machine.” 

She smiled and said she could handle it…so as I came out of the scans…she took my blood and checked that item off too.

I felt like shouting “Hallelujah” and profusely continued thanking her…she said she had been trying to help out all morning with the delays from a shortage of workers…and hopefully taking care of as many procedures as she could… it would do the trick.

Isn’t it amazing how one voice can shatter our darkness and bring light into our lives…make our day. Sheila did and I know she continued to do it for others, long after I left, on this sunny/windy/ rainy (can’t make up its mind) Monday!

So until tomorrow…

Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

How true…Sheila asked nothing of me but just gave from her heart to her patients.

And if that wasn’t enough…I came home to Honey’s two gifts she gave me from the Pine Forest Inn. Jeff had asked if he could work on them when I showed them to him one day…

The metal was bent on the planter and swing….there was rust to be cleaned and then he chose black to make it pop…and there they were yesterday, in front of the porch, waiting on me…he said “No charge…it was fun”…but two can play that game. I will get him back…he will get repaid! 🙂

And warmer temperatures sent spring flowers into “opening day!”


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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5 Responses to One Voice Can Change a Day

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    Angels come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they come clad in medical clothing, a mask and with a voice like the song of a bird when she calls your name. Thanks, Sheila, for being our friend’s angel yesterday. I am praying for a good report. It won’t be long now after a long cold and rainy winter, all the birds will return filling my trees with the most beautiful sounds. Was it Shelley who said, “If winter comes can spring be far behind?” Your flowers are beautiful, and being a history lover, Congratulations on owning a part of Summerville’s colorful history.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thank you Jo….how sweet! My guardian angel definitely popped up in a crowded room yesterday. And then again bearing gifts of history when I returned home.

      I appreciate your prayers…I always am apprehensive over this annual “cancer” exploration procedure done this time each year. We know it is there…just need to know if it has moved, multiplied or grown.

      I loved having such a wonderful part of Summerville’s history on my porch upon my return and also in my backyard…but the best history is my friendship with Honey- now that is a treasure!.


  2. Beth Brewer says:

    Keeping you close in my prayers as you wait for the results. So glad you had someone who was caring to see you through the scan.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Wow…thank you Beth…February is always a little nail-biting…waiting to see what is going on inside oneself…You would think you would get used to it…but you never do…because simply no one knows until something shows up on the scans…so it is so nice to know that I am armored with prayers from such wonderful friends like you…and of course…God is holding my hand. Thank you Beth!


  3. Rachel Edwards says:

    So glad that all ended up well. I missed being there with you but actually it was good that you said you were going to Mandy’s and needed to drive because my 1st vaccine did a number on me for 24 hrs…lots of sleep and Tylenol and Aleve did the trick…will be in prayer for good results…the gifts from Honey are beautiful…so very thoughful and kind


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