a widow returns to the hospital after her husband's death from Cystic Fibrosis.
|I went to the hospital today. I have not seen the inside of that hospital since the end of April of last year, and I vowed never to return on pain of death, and yet, here I was. When a dear friend has her appendix removed, you don't say "Sorry, but I think it would be psychologically damaging to visit." I was walked past the pulmonary function lab on my way to her room, running my fingers across the raised letters of the sign.
This was a wing I knew well. So of course, it was how I got to the surgical unit in this labyrinth of a hospital. I closed my eyes as I walked through, trying not to take in the rooms, but it was impossible. I knew it too well. Even with eyes closed, I heard the the puffing of the neb, the soft whisper of oxygen, and a harsh cough that put my stomach into a knot. I opened my eyes briefly, and saw an old woman sitting with her husband and rubbing his back while he did a neb treatment. That should be me. I closed my eyes again and felt the vertebrae in Ry's back as I comforted him during a coughing fit.
Then I was jarred back to reality as I nearly killed an RT.
Smacking full into him, he steadied me, and I saw confusion, and then a flicker of recognition which made his face light up, and then, when he looked into my eyes, the memory that his patient had died 10 months ago. "Allie" He said in an unsure tone, awkwardly trying to say everything at once. He squeezed my shoulder. " Ry was great...we all...thought he was great" Was. I couldn't breathe due to the attack of the past tense verb. "Thank you" I nearly whispered. I was losing control, I had to get to Roberta.
I hurried off down the hall, trying to escape the hell on earth that ward was. As I reached Roberta's room, I sat down on the first avaliable chair, trying to to hold back what this place held for me. Roberta looked at me gently. "Allie, you didn't have to come" I lifted my gaze from the tile floor. "I wanted to-" My voice almost broke. Ry suffered so much here. The atmosphere began to eat at my soul. "Excuse me, I have to go find a bathroom"
I walked calmly halfway down the hall, and then began to walk quicker and quicker, until I was running toward the door at full speed. I burst out of the hospital like a horse out of a burning barn, my legs already shaking with anticipation of a breakdown. I ran to the side of the building, ignoring the cold soft drizzle that had begun to fall.
As I lay my head against the cold brick of the building, the bitter tears began to fall. As I cried out for some justice in this world, a tear entered my mouth. A flavor that had defined so much of my life. A taste of salt.