Thursday, November 11, 2021

Nurses in the House (José and Eleanor)

Remember last month when the two nurses Simmoune and Kaitlyn came to Best Day and wrote a few stories. Well, they brought friends this week! Two more coworkers and their head nurse, and I heard they do their own medical themed Story Slams at Jefferson Hospital. Maybe we could do a crossover event, or we could all go to The Moth together? 

It was great to see them back, and touching to hear them share stories of their work in the field. Many of them were about love and loss, and we want to get them transcribed as soon as possible. In the meantime, here are a few more stories from a few of our older buds about love and loss:

José Dominguez


Alex and his Tribulation

At the age of 15 circumstances took us, Alexander and me, to meet at Chihuahua City. Both coincided at the Instituto Regional from Chihuahua at the third secondary grade. My father didn’t want me to study at our border city because there were no educational opportunities such as he desired for me and Alex was ejected from the capital city of Mexico since he was a precocious boy that wanted to get married at an early edge. In those days I had the tendency to meet all those students that came from out of town because in a way we shared the same destiny, meaning no family around and no parents in the vicinity. That's why we shared the all year in the same grade. Alex and I split at the end of the school year since he was again preparing to get married now with Carolina his new girlfriend; his father, a prosperous journalist and magazine owner decided to send him to London. Our lives developed independently but several times we met mostly in Mexico City, El Paso Texas, and Houston, and in a way, our friendship continued regardless of our lack of coexistence. Today at 77 years of age we interlace our lives speaking about the possibility to meet again one of these days. His wife, Mireille is 100% disabled. Even when I didn’t send him lots of emails, I keep him informed of my way of life and share with him the images so I have sent him lots of photos of Philly, of the parks I like, museums, the senior Center, the Moth contest at the World Cafe, my family, the Italian Market, etc. Suddenly two weeks ago he didn't respond to my emails, I didn’t dramatize his lack of answers since a long time ago decided not to interpret as offensive the silence and lack of comments or lack of response to any of my contacts. But suddenly I received an email that I will translate:
I even have not answered you due to the current sad condition that my family and I are experiencing these days!!!
After 25 years of irreversible physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental decay, hopelessly the end of life is very near to Mireille!!!
I’m devastated!!
We have lived together for 60 years
I met her 60 years ago.....
When I recover a little emotional calm I will call you
In any case, when the inevitable event arrives I will notify you....
A friendly Hug,

My thoughts flew towards Mireille remembering her as a charming lady always welcoming me at her home always with a smile. So I responded
I am very sorry to hear the sad news about the ordeal that you and your family are living and it is explicable since Mireille always has been a great woman and a great person
Alex just answered:

Eleanor Kazdan


A Sad Week, Part 1

Death came to two friends this past week. Brenda and Loretta. Brenda was a beautiful, vibrant forty-four -year old. I met her when she was working as an acupuncturist at my son Adrian’s wellness studio. One day I saw that Brenda was offering a group hair sparkling session at the studio. I had no idea what that was, but thought it might be a fun activity to do with my daughter and daughter-in-law. Brenda expertly wove multi colored strands of silk into our hair. I became a fan of this fun way to spruce up my hair. I started going to Brenda every few months, sometimes with friends. Brenda was so cute, open and charming. She knew how to get to the heart of life. In no time at all she seemed like a best friend during our sessions. Her hair was curlier than mine and she wore it long and wild. After a time Brenda left Adrian’s wellness center and opened her own practice on the 24th floor of a medical building. Waiting for her to finish with an acupuncture client I would sip herbal tea and look out the window at a panoramic city view.
Soon after I started going to her she told me some devastating news. She had been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. It was hard to believe that a young woman, so full of life and spirit had such a terrible illness. As the years went by Brenda still looked great, and her cancer was controlled by medication. She became a spokesperson for the organization “Living with Breast Cancer” and they made several short films about her cancer journey. I kept hoping that Brenda would be one of those miraculous long-term survivors. But about two months ago things took a terrible turn. The cancer had spread to every part of Brenda’s lovely body. Before things got dire, she underwent whole-brain radiation and chemotherapy. She lost her gorgeous hair. Her spirit was undaunted, though. I saw social media photos of Brenda in matching head wraps and long dangling earrings. And photos of Brenda out for lunch with her devoted sister Natalie. The disease won, though. We got the news that she had passed away. A moving, sad, and still joyous celebration of life was held. I still hear Brenda’s musical voice and feel her warm presence.
To be continued.

If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds worked as doctors or nurses then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.


And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri