“A hospital alone shows what war is.” -Erich Maria Remarque
I was the watcher. I was supposed to watch over my patient. But I did more than that. Actually, my patient did not need much of my ‘watching’ because he slept through the entire waiting time. So what I did was quite a retaliation on my part because I did not want to be there. I did not put on a fancy black dress to pace back and forth on the tiled floors of the emergency room. All I wanted was to have a peaceful Sunday morning, have a quiet breakfast, hear mass and sleep through the entire afternoon. But I was there. I had too. I did not have a choice. That was my choice though. To be there. And so I had to make myself productive. I watched then. I watched every single drama in the emergency room. I was bored, but I was being moved by the things I was seeing out of watching.
I could not imagine to be in that mother’s shoe: being blamed by her husband and her mother-in-law for missing a wink of watching over her son, and just like that, her son got hit by a tricycle and bled on the ground. She was trembling as she was trying to explain how everything that fast could happen, convincing her family, but more so herself, that she did not mean for the accident to happen. Of course, it was an accident. I saw the blood on the poor boy’s forehead. It was a sight that would have had me unconscious if that boy were my son. What a torture it is indeed to feel blameful for something you did not intend to happen. I mean the last thing you wanted to do is to hurt the one you love, but it happens and it breaks your heart why it should happen. Is it really beyond your control? You begin to question yourself. That is the thing about accidents I guess. My heart goes out to that poor mother.
I saw half a dozen sick babies at the Paediatrics today. They were just babies, and yet they were there, crying, but not entirely understood what was causing their pain. Many times we want other’s attention for the pain we feel and yet they don’t seem to understand, and really, all we can do is cry. Like babies, we cry. And these mothers? They kept on explaining to every doctor, every nurse, every random staff attending to them, what had started the pain their babies were enduring, and yet, no one could really pinpoint what was wrong. They could only guess. Yes, guess. This pain guessing game is really complicated, right? Why can’t we just admit where and why and how we are hurt. It is not like we are babies who could not speak for ourselves. But then we are all like babies sometimes. We let other people second guess our pains, and all we receive are second-rate antidotes for our pains. Babies continued to cry. One stared back at me for a moment, stopped crying, and then started crying again. The crying might never stop.
She looked like one of my teachers before. I smiled at her, waiting for a recognition, but maybe she just resembled her because she smiled back without the recognition I was waiting for. She was out of breath while seated on her wheel chair. She did not have anyone with her. It might have been terrible to catch your breath, alone, without a hand to hold as you try to fill your lungs with air. When we are out of breath sometimes, we yearn for somebody to breathe with us, to remind us that life goes on. But sometimes we are too busy worrying where else we can get a breath of new air and fail to notice that we have been on life-support all along by another person’s breath of air. Why do we worry so much? A sigh itself is a waste of breath, but we let go of it in despair, and complain of being out of breath. I did not know much of the lady’s case. I did not have time to talk to her. She barely had enough air to spare for herself than to engage herself with a casual conversation with a bored stranger like me.
Three stories. I have more actually. But I am too overwhelmed by all these realizations and yet, for a moment there, I thought I would really break down.
I was bleeding, crying and barely-breathing. But I must be lucky I was not on a hospital bed.
I guess I would last another day.