Wednesday, June 09, 2004

if i'm still married when i'm 70+...i hope i'm like this.

today at work, the first room I walked in to clean was different and sad. there was an old man leaning over the bed where his wife (probably in her 70's---both are actually) lay looking miserable. while oxygen was blowing out of an oxygen mask she was wearing, the old man greeted me and asked the mundane everyday question, "how are you doing today?" to which I stupidly replied, "Pretty good, how bout' yourself?" ----"Bad," he replied. I was kind of taken back. I didn't know what to say so I apologized and told him I'd get anything he needed (if I could) and just to let me know. he was gracious and smiled as he stood up over his wife and leaned down next to her face, brushing her cheek with his wrinkly fingers, talking softly as if he were holding a newborn. "it's okay honey...i'm here--i love you." When he said this to her with me standing there, I felt awkward and sad and yet...oddly hopeful. hopeful that love like this still exists out there. the idea that these two people who've been married for over 50 years probably were in the last days they would have together got me thinking and i wondered if they thought of this moment coming when they were young and free and hip and obviously "in love" to the rest of the world. As much as I complain about the weirdness of my hospital experiences, it's days like today that I'm thankful to be a Neuro-ortho/S.A. You can't really embellish or exaggerate the exhilarating emotion that comes over you when you see this kind of thing happen right in front of you. I can't describe it...but I see them often in the summer at borgess, and they (these moments) always seem to be staring back at me, waiting for me to see something there. obviously in a hospital, people are at emotional low points and in these points, i think you see their true self come out. today, I saw a beautiful man and his beautiful wife painfully experiencing the anticipation of death. where do i go from here?

1 comment:

nateshorb said...

that's one of the best things about working at the nursing home, too...seeing wives and husbands come in day after day to sit with their spouse or push their wheelchair for a walk outside, no longer able to talk to each other, etc etc etc. it's pretty depressing, but it's pretty beautiful, too.