Rated: E · Short Story · Young Adult · #1559360
A story of a boy struggling to cope with his mother's medical condition.
| All three of us arrived inside the poorly lit waiting room on the third story. It was decorated in pathetic shades of purple and red. The carpet on the floor was randomly scattered with blots of green, yellow, and the same reds and purples. We were the firsts of the day, but soon the room was full of overweight coughing individuals all attending to their own affairs with the same solemn faces about them as though it were a prerequisite to enter. Every few minutes, the receptionist in her red vest would stroll through the fake oak door to call in her monotone voice the name of the next patient. They offered coffee on the opposite side of the room from where we sat but after that last few visits there we learned not to drink it; they never cleaned their filters so a rotted bitter aftertaste could always be seen from the rookie patients. Even so, it was very early in the morning so I decided to take the risk, but nothing had changed since the last visit. We waited for two hours while enduring the wailing of a young boy desperately calling out for his mother who had been admitted only minutes earlier, but his grandparents paid him no attention, although the entirety of the room soon paid all their attention to the boy, and all their grimacing faces towards the grandparents. The boy ran around the room, in a toddler like stutter-step until he had had enough. He ran towards the old oak door where his mother had entered and unleashed a bone chilling scream while hitting and kicking the door. |
I was seated next to my mother on her left with my father on her right. For the two hours we did not speak, but entertained our minds and focus on separate tasks all to detour any kind of thoughts about the purpose of our visit. Mom slumped in her chair slightly, leaning towards me and reading a scrap-booking magazine while my father leaned back cross-legged indulging in a game application on my mothers Iphone. I was fidgeting around in my chair reading a novel about a boy who liked to write stories and thought that I would never like to write stories because they all seemed too made up. Too fake. Nevertheless, we waited and waited until the elderly red vested woman came through the old oak door and spoke my mothers name.
Passing through the dank hallways of the hospital always seemed the same. Once I crossed the threshold I immediately noticed a bad taste in my mouth, but I wondered whether it was because of the coffee or from the smell of my new surroundings. Everything smelled of anesthetics and medical tubing which hung from empty bed mattresses left lingering outside the rooms. The woman slowly led us passed an outer wall with a few windows that exposed the rainy and overcast weather of the morning. Coming in the opposite direction was an old man hooked up to oxygen riding his bed while a young woman dressed in red scrubs pushed him lazily into a dark room that was occupied by a doctor in full battle gear; a breathing mask, shower cap, complete with wrist watch and disposable shoe coverings. I wondered why he needed to cover himself so and why we didn't have the same protection, but I didn't have time to contemplate as our guide shouldered the door into the operating room.
Forced smiles and melancholy greeted our presence. I immediately started looking at the patchwork tile floor, keeping my eyes detoured from the oversized beeping machines lined against the walls. We approached the third room on the left, which faced the nurses desk and then the opposite rooms. My mother stood inside the room hidden by a mismatched shower curtain. Waiting outside, me and my father examined the nurses room, but nothing had changed since the last time we came. Nothing ever changed at the hospital, and neither did the reason we had to come there.
When the curtain was withdrew, we found my mother laying on top of her own medical bed wearing her gown. We waited for another twenty minutes in silence with the exceptions of my mothers restlessness. I took a seat next to a plastic hand sanitizer pump which was placed just above the back of my chair, forcing me to slump forward to keep a squirt of foam finding its way on my crown.
The nurse pulled back the curtain and walked to Mom's side unwrapping her blood pressure pump.
"How are you doing today Lisa?"
"I'm doing fine, thanks."
"I'm gonna need you to put this on."
"Ok. Tim, Jack, this is Nikki, she has high blood pressure, and high cholesterol and she has heart problems in her family too."
"Is that right? I guess you know our situation pretty well then." said Tim.
"Yessir. I worked in the heart surgery operating room for ten years, but I still can't seem to take care of myself. I know how, just can't get into that groove."
"You work in a hospital and you don't take care of yourself? What a moral booster..." I sneered. I hated hospitals.
"Now when the procedure is over with Lisa, i'll sit down and talk to you about what your diet needs to consist of and some good tips on easy exercising ok? Guys, i'm gonna need you all to head on back to the waiting room. It'll only take about an hour."
I wanted to take my mothers hand and rip her tubes and valves out of her. Hospitals, I thought, were full of failures and hypocrisy. First, they couldn't fix her heart the first time. After five bypasses and three stints, they still failed. And now, I find out the very people treating Mom and advising her diet and exercise were people in worse shape than she was!
I resigned myself back to the poorly lit waiting room and waited for the results. This time, I felt pity for the screaming child. I knew what he felt; we were one and the same, except he had the courage to speak from his heart. I envied that child.