I’ve had very little interaction with the people who make up our health care system. Probably twice in my adult life that I can recall have I had regular, daily exposure to these folks.

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Once, when my mom was sick and I left LA to help take care of her, and then the following year when one of my dearest friends got the kind of cancer you can live through, and my freelance lifestyle made me the perfect candidate to be her “Nurse Bonnie.” I got really good at giving her injections and helping her with chemo-related things.

I remember thinking it was nice to be a part of the care process with someone who wasn’t dying, and that these people who spend their lives in service of those in need of health care — whether dying, fighting, living through it all, or just improving something electively — are very special. They’re nurturing, they’re kind, they’re precise and efficient and clinical when circumstances call for that, and most of all, they’ve dedicated their lives to comforting those who are going through some really scary shit, sometimes.

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Click to enlarge if you really want to.

Well, over the past couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure (yes, pleasure) of dealing with some of the most phenomenal health care workers I’ve ever met. Again, I haven’t met a lot, because I’ve spent most of my life avoiding doctors as much as possible (due to a combination of a very early life experience that was medically terrifying, lack of insurance, and generally excellent health, frankly), so it’s not like I have a huge basis for comparison. But, even so, this daily exposure to health care workers — from the urgent care center to the after hours on-call team and from the anesthesiologist to the PAs and from the surgical team to the wound-care and post-op check-up folks — has taught me something I suppose I needed to learn.

There are people in this world who are built for bringing comfort to others. There are people who — no matter how scared the person on the receiving end may be — can bring peace into the situation. There are people who can calm, care, and educate while also compassionately (and creatively) handling billing so that the uninsured is not also the “royally screwed” by unnecessary or bloated charges.

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Coming out of anesthesia — in love with the lights.

No, I’m not ready to talk much about what I’ve just been through. Yes, I’m fine. Better every day. I am ridiculously lucky to have the type of career in which I can still thrive as long as I have an hour a day during which I can focus and do my work, and I am *really* fortunate to have the type of personality that has systems in place for keeping everything afloat even when something catastrophic happens. More than anything, I’m blessed to be surrounded by my family of choice, my team of ninjas, my besties and my loves, because even though they were scared too, they rallied and helped me be less scared, which is of greater value than anything else.

Every single person I have met along this journey — EVERYONE from the parking lot attendant to the cashier at the pharmacy (not just the health care workers, actually) — has been filled with love for what they do in life, and I guess I’ve just not had enough exposure to people outside the entertainment industry who gleefully live their dreams. I am so glad that there are people out there whose dreams include taking care of folks like me from time to time.

Our health care system may have a lot wrong with it, but for all its flaws, it attracts some truly phenomenal people and I am so freakin’ grateful to have had my life in their capable and caring hands.

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Avatar Ero February 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Dear Bonnie,

    I have been having a biz related little cloud hanging over my head all day. I finally thought “why not try asking for Bonnie’s advise?” and went on your blog. I read your post and I think I’ll postpone asking for now 🙂 Be well! And I am sure you will be, because it takes one to know one, and the fact that you recognized these people’s love for their work and your expressing your gratitude, is enough to speed up any heeling process.

  2. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie February 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Aw, thank you, Ero. And please feel free to ask me anything! I’m here to help, and you know I love what I do, so it helps the healing process along too. 🙂 Thank you for the good vibes and I continue to get better every day. Yay! Much love.

  3. Avatar Whitney March 12, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Hi Bonnie,

    I came to the blog to look up some info and am so sorry I did not see this post sooner. I hope the fact that you are at SXSW means you are healing well and feeling great! I’ll be sending good thoughts your way…

    Best wishes,

  4. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie March 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Hiya Whitney! Thank you for checking in. Glad to know you come here to look up goodies! That’s awesome. 😉 Yeah, SXSW was wonderful, but I probably traveled too soon. Had a wee setback, but y’know, I’m always healing. THANK YOU for the love and vibes. You rock! XO

  5. Avatar Lashay March 26, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I must agree, Bon. When I got breast reduction surgery in March 2011, I couldn’t believe how phenomenal my doctors were to me. From start to finish, everyone was so kind, nurturing, and calm. When I needed a drink, my nurse was there. There was even a second nurse monitoring my vitals. I had a wonderful hospital experience. I pray that you are healing well. Take it easy. 🙂

  6. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie March 26, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Lashay, thank you for stopping by and always being so wonderful. I’m getting better every day. My surgeon and wound-care nurse say I’m healing WELL but SLOWLY, and that’s both good and bad (but mostly good). I’m just taking it day by day and I’m so freakin’ grateful for the miracle that *is* this life, y’know? 🙂 XO

  7. Avatar Fazia R. March 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Awww. This post made me feel lovely.

    I’ve lived all my life around health care workers – mom was a nurse (newborns), other family were lab technicians, phlebotomists, doctors, surgeons – you name it, it seems like someone in my extended family was there. Even so, only recently did I experience a major hospital stay from the family-of-a-patient-perspective… and I had the same feeling. What a wonderful group of caring people, from the folks who bring the meals, to the volunteers guiding people through a maze of corridors, to the nurses, PCAs and doctors!

    I very briefly considered the health care industry myself, though now I like to say “My sister is a doctor — I want to play one on TV.” 🙂 You’ve been much the same kind of helpful and caring force for actors, especially new ones like myself. I’m glad you’re on the mend!

  8. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie March 28, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Awwwww, Fazia, {{{hugs}}} that was awesome. Thank you! And I *love* the “play one on TV” line. That’s hilarious!! Keep rockin’! I’m getting better every day. Definitely ready to have my body back, but healing takes time, apparently. Ah, well… I’m getting to work on my patience, for sure.

  9. Avatar Elena April 18, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Oh Bonnie, I’m so sorry you had to go through this! Get better!

    in the past years i was unlucky to undergo surgeries as well… i hated coming out of that state.. next surgery i asked to just knock me out with drugs.. i’d rather be half asleep then 100% out of it..

    but things are looking up.. this year it wasn’t as bad and me quitting smoking 4 years ago helped my case.. i guess.

    I wish you great health! Without health, nothing matters.. i know that now for a fact (unfortunately) or fortunately, because getting hit by things like that , change you…

    all my love,


  10. Avatar CrackerJack April 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Elena – I’m glad your health issues are looking up. ^_^

    Bonnie – I wish you a safe and uneventful continued recovery. <3

  11. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie June 18, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Good news, you guys. Had a visit with the surgeon of my second surgery (5/23) just yesterday and she said everything looks GREAT and I can head back to my normal life, with another follow-up in six weeks or so. Yay! 🙂 Thanks for the love and vibes. Here’s to good health for us all! XO

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