Dribbling and Writing to an Ambition

By Kaylee Bushell


A hospital is a pot of emotions.The ingredients include a lullaby playing over the loudspeaker—a baby is born. Then a commanding announcement calls for a rush to the emergency room—the mission to save a dying life begins. Someone cries. Someone smiles. Someone prays. Someone hopes for the best. Someone prepares for the worst. I am suspended in this mixture of emotions at Marin General Hospital.

I started working as a hospital volunteer in my junior year. Never did I expect that the hospital would compel me to draw on my own dish of experiences as a journalist and impromptu basketball teacher.

Two years ago, I began mornings with a basketball pounding the driveway of my aunt’s house. The ball traveled to the basket. My eyes followed the ball’s arc. I felt pride when my younger cousin, Erik, made the shot, even though we were competing. If I lost, I also won since I taught him to shoot.

I am close to Erik and my other cousins. Though we live on opposite coasts, I spend a chunk of the summer in New York. Late July produces a bittersweet feeling about returning to California.  

Initially, Erik did not like basketball. As I taught him, his interest grew into a passion. His excitement was infectious, inspiring me to pursue my interests with more vigor. The student became a model for the teacher. I returned home, pushing myself, like Erik, to be as excited about my own interests, from lacrosse to journalism. I jumped to be a leader whenever the opportunity arose. I joined the school newspaper and stepped up to be Sports Editor this year. At the hospital, I stepped up to assist people. My job wasn’t finished until I helped every person who approached me. When I solved a problem, I felt I was watching the ball go through the net in my aunt’s driveway and seeing that big smile stretch across Erik’s face.

When talking to those in the hospital’s hallways, I employ the same sensitivity and compassion that comes with being a reporter and editor at The Redwood Bark. At both the hospital and while reporting on stories, I listen to narratives, some saddening, some uplifting. I have quickly come to realize that people just want to talk. I saw this when I met Judy, who came to pick up the clothing of her deceased sister, Sara, who looked like Judy’s twin.

Judy wiped the drops of water under her eyes as she asked me to help her get Sara’s things. We folded the flower child clothing into a white shopping bag. I nearly welled up a bit myself. After talking to Judy, it was as if I was getting to know Sara well enough to write an in-depth feature story on her.

As I have become acquainted with the rhythm of the hospital environment, I can direct people to any place in the building. Sometimes helping is as simple as writing down room numbers for older folks or for children who I think might forget. I wander through halls like an investigative reporter, after attending to doctors’ orders. I watch doctors and nurses comfort the patients’ families. I listen, picking up on how they break the newsgood or badlike seasoned anchors. With the staff as my example, I make sure I am there when someone wants to talk. One lady tells me she is afraid of elevators. I offer to ride up with her. As we are going up in the elevator, I see she is more comfortable with each passing floor. I think of Erik’s first days shooting the ball. Once he starts to get more balls through the net, he embraces the game. I fal; in love with helping others in the hospital in the same way. I now want to become a doctor.


Kaylee Bushell, a graduate of Redwood High School, is a Freshman at Boston University.

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