Friday, March 23, 2012

Losing Battles

Would I not thrash against the rails of the hospital bed?

An uncovered leg protruding below the disheveled sheets is brazenly exposed by a skimpy gown. Arms are blackened and bruised from losing battles with phlebotomists and IV lines.

Eyes squint as faceless bodies in gray fabric roughly flip on light switches at varying hours of the night. The pressure rises as blood vessels are squeezed tightly and released. A thermometer is momentarily inserted and then removed.

Medicines are delivered in tiny paper cups and thrust forward with minimal explanation and large glasses of water. Family members gather by the door, in the waiting room, and outside the lobby. Doctors hurry in hoping the chairs surrounding the bed will be empty.

Days are measured in seconds. A tireless parade of anonymous drones poking, prodding, reporting, and then disappearing. A patient lies flat waiting for an infusion to finish, a fever to decline, or a laboratory value to normalize.

The tears of a child re frame the question and squelch the quips of futility oozing from the doctors lips.

And every time, I leave your room, the same questions echo through my head.

Would I listen to me?

If I was in your shoes?

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