Sunday, June 14, 2009

the lady in the next bed over

Whoever Mom's roommate is, she's the picture of abject misery-- sunken cheeks, wispy white hair, and a shrunken, brittle form, looking for all the world as if she were approaching her final days. Not a single visitor came to see her the entire time I was at the hospital. I have no idea whether the poor woman can even talk, though I know she can moan and cough. My brother David overheard that the woman had been living in a nursing home and had fallen, which is what had brought her to Fairfax Hospital. Like Mom, this woman is MRSA-positive. We know this because only MRSA-positive patients can be berthed next to Mom who, upon entering her current room, assured that the room would be subject to an isolation protocol.

While I hate to give my church's pastors more work, I'm hoping they might take a few minutes to sit with this woman. In the time I saw her, she was either lying in bed with her eyes closed or was staring sadly off into space. Time and again people have commented on how much of a support group my mother has, but today, we saw no one come to be with this lonely creature-- no one other than the nurses who periodically cared for her.

Might this woman reject attempts at contact or interaction? Would she respond positively to a warm hand? I don't know; I haven't tried it myself, though I might try tomorrow if no one shows up to see her. What a horrible way to spend the gloaming of one's life-- alone in a hospital, bereft even of the most basic human warmth born of well-cultivated relationships.

I hope I'm wrong: I hope that she has visitors, lots of visitors, tomorrow.


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