Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
Update 23: A Clash of Worlds
May 16, 2008Posted by on
I contemplate taking the humor route versus the serious tone in this update. I guess I’m thankful I’m even debating. My markers are reported normal for May, so we’ve made it another month without remission. Had we received bad news, I would most definitely take the serious route. Or would I? What I experienced at the hospital got me thinking.
After walking the two miles down the hospital corridor to the radiology department (I have yet to learn the best place to park for CT scans), I checked in and waited my turn. My name was finally called and as I was rounding the corner, he stole my attention. A man, clearly desolated by the powers of chemotherapy, sat motionless in a wheelchair. His head tilted to the side as if sleeping. The hospital gown he wore made me shudder. Just the remembrance of wearing one of those makes me feel less human. A clear IV tube, obviously feeding him something nutritious, traveled up his whole upper body and rested under his nose. Who knows what his diagnosis was, what “stage” he’d been tagged with. He was at the mercy of anyone that would care for him.
A nurse brushed by me just as another nurse stepped out of door right behind the man. “Oh Janie,” nurse 1 called out, “did you hear the girls are all going out to Chili’s tonight?”
Jubilantly the number 2 responded, “Oh yesss, can’t wait. Remember what happened last time with Terry there! Hilarious!”
All of this dialog flying right over the man’s head, cutting its way through his presence.
The clash of comedy and tragedy plagued me. Is it even possible for a doctor or nurse to deal day in and out with such fallenness without numbing themselves? I walked the rest of the hallway unsure of what to do with such a paradox. Then a cute, innocent looking redhead called my name, claiming to be my caring IV prep nurse. I trusted my judgment. Turned out she was stabbist, leaving a bruise in my left arm to prove it. And alas, more humor mixed with pain.