Wednesday, May 22, 2013


The clock on the wall never moves it's hands, yet this patient will not stop moving hers. She's cooking up delicious delectables for her family who aren't present, stirring imaginary pots and frying chickens unplucked. At the end of the long night, she folds her hands and hopes that there is enough. If not, she says, they can go get a hamburger. I chuckled at her but she was cooking imaginary food for her family, who she wanted so much to be with.

One day my feet flew out from under me as I carried a tray across the room, and slid on some water in the floor. Landing flat on my back with my leg underneath me, I was stunned I wasn't injured. Embarrassed for sure, but uninjured. The patient jumped up out of her bed, grabbed her foley catheter and chest tube box and came over to me, offering to help me up and for me to lay down in her bed. I looked up at her face , and even cutting through my embarrassment, I was touched beyond words. I assured her I was Ok, and to prove it, I stood and shook the food off of me, laughing and helped her back to bed. Then I slunk off to check my leg and lick my pride.

Patients are a never ending source of amazement to me. Their humanity facing down their own mortality, scary surgery and painful recovery often surprises me, as they worry about the patient next door, or the one who they heard didn't do so well after surgery. Or the nurse who fell, or is working a double shift, or working while ill. People in hospitals are generally expected to be at their worst, so this comes as a surprise to many. They reach way down inside and grab ahold of some empathy even they didn't know about.

They also bargain, bribe, beg, threaten, swat, push, punch, curse, spit and bite. They disregard instructions, pull out tubes, pick at their incisions and piss and shit on themselves. They vomit, drool and sweat, bleed, ooze and spurt. They are human beings, imperfect and crass, criminals and saints. Teenagers to centenarians. Children of God, people who walk the earth people who have free will and ability to use tools and with large (most of the time) cerebrum. Rational beings, with souls and heart. But not always so evident. Sometimes you have to dig around under a layer of hurt and doubt. Many people cover up with a callous and hide their goodness to survive. I believe most people are inherently good inside, misunderstanding, ignorance and survival make a person hard.

This is a rough draft and the prompt that got me started is "hospitals"

Back later....

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