"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dark End of the Spectrum

Hospitals are strange places.

Every possible range of the emotional spectrum is taking place somewhere within the sterile, white walls. There are the beaming, blurry-eyed new dads taking the brand new carseat up to it's newborn occupant. Nurses are contagiously optimistic about everything from therapy schedules to jello selections. Children look bored, uncomfortable in the whispered atmosphere. Estranged relatives arrive with flowers and determination to make things right. Relief and joy at good results. Devastation and heartbreak at the unexpected. Walking or wheeled out, grateful to be going home. Staff and visitors smile, even laugh, as they go about their business. Those moments of happiness seem to make the bleak faces more stark in contrast, those that are carrying out labeled plastic bags containing the personal belongings of a loved one that no longer has need of them. Their cried-out eyes barely registering the presence of others, with minds already running ahead to changes to be made or lingering on last conversations, things left unsaid.

It's those faces that I can't help but watch. What is their story? What is their loss? Would a hug from a stranger help? Keep your distance and don't make eye contact. Pretend that you will never be in their shoes. At least not today.

Then there are those that are waiting. The waiting are left in limbo. Good news? Bad news? No news. A doctor is looking around at the assortment of friends and family. He looks weary, maybe a little grim. Is he looking for me?

Hospitals are strange, strange places. And I really wish I weren't in one.

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