Multi-tasking today. Was released from hospital after a two-night stay. Went to see doctor Thursday morning in a semi-emergency condition. After seen by doctor, he told me to go straight to the hospital and check in, now. I said, "Can I go home to get a book?" He'd suggested I might stay over the weekend. His answer was, "No." I walked to the hospital, about the distance from my door to the mailbox, leaving the car in front of doctor's office. Once in, they wouldn't let me out. Later, I pleaded that I be allowed to move the car to a longer-term space in the hospital parking lot. It was taken as if I were going to escape and not come back. I was allowed, reluctantly. Displeased with the prospect of staying over the weekend, because staff is reduced to just a few and the hospital feels desolate on weekends, I rankled at the thought of four or more days stranded without a book, nothing but television in the room; only women's magazines and men's hunting magazines in the waiting rooms. I already know there is nothing on tv I want to see. Last time in hospital, several years ago, I had to stay over the weekend. At one point in the day, Saturday, I rang the nurse's station, said I needed some assistance, waited a long time, rang again, same answer, will be right there. Nobody showed up. I walked to nurse's station, Two part-time CNAs on weekend duty were standing there talking like between classes in school, in a doorway so nobody could go in our out. They looked at me like I was an intruder; they were busy. I said, "Does anybody work here?" Did that ever charge the air with animosity. By then, I was in a mood not to care what impression I made. I stated my need and walked back to the room. They were not friendly after that. They weren't friendly before, either.
I saw right away a very different attitude among hospital staff in this visit to the hospital than I'd ever seen before. The supervisor of the nurses and CNAs dropped in the room yesterday and asked my assessment of their performance. I waxed ebullient. I said I loved the nurses. All were friendly and responsive to the point they'd ask if they could get me coffee or something else during the day. By the time I left this morning, I felt like all the nurses who'd tended to my needs in my time of incarceration were my friends. Like when I see any of them in the grocery store, they'll act like they've seen me before, will even stop and talk. One of the CNA's this time was a facebook friend. One of the nurses, Tina, who lived across the state line in Virginia, told me she and her husband had the house painted four years ago. The paint on it before was put there by Enoch Rutherford, Grayson County old-time banjo picker who died twenty or more years ago a legend. I told her that last year I'd given my friends Justin and Crystal a Willard Gayheart pencil drawing of Enoch Rutherford. Justin is a house painter. He'll love hearing that Enoch painted houses. Tina's grandmother and Enoch lived almost in sight of each other. She said on weekend nights the air was alive with fiddle and banjo music. The x-ray tech I've known over 30 years. We've seen each other's hair turn white. The ultra-sound operator is my neighbor. He'd also lived in San Diego, where I was born. I saw Richard Nichols, bluegrass bass player, and his boy Trevor, old-time fiddler, who do the hospital maintenance. I hadn't seen Trevor in several years. His hair is gray now. It took a second to recognize him. I wanted to shake his hand as I rolled by, the passenger in a wheelchair, and recognized him for certain a split second too late. I was checked into the hospital by a beautiful black woman whose face I studied all the time she entered information into the computer. American Indian features, skin tone leaning toward bronze. I attempted not to be conspicuous gaping at her particular beauty. I was thinking I'd like to paint her portrait. I know it feels creepy to have somebody staring at you. I couldn't help it. She paid it no mind. I was an old white guy. They're creepy anyway.
The Friday night shift had a nurse, a CNA and another CNA, all three named Ashley. First one I met, the nurse, said, "When you need something, just call for Ashley." I recognized her when she stepped into the room as someone I've seen multiple times, have spoken with, unable to recall where. She said she'd worked in a restaurant before she became a nurse. With that for a clue, I puzzled over the restaurants in town, and couldn't find her in any of them, but knew she was there, she was so familiar. Later, I asked and it was the one I had not been to in ten years. That was when she worked there. I only recalled going there a few times. Now that it's in my mind and I'm seeing the interior, her taking the order, recollection is surfacing, I've been there several times. We have two shopping centers with parking lots. I tend to go to the grocery store in the other one from the restaurant's. I felt right away in her responsive personality that she's held nurse an ideal for herself and worked a long time saving the money. She seemed to me that she was at home in herself. She was where she wanted to be, doing what she wanted to do. Every nurse and CNA I became acquainted with during their shift gave the sense that they are doing what they want to do. The woman whose title I forget, she's head knocker of the nurses, stopped by and we talked. She had the same sense about her the others had, that this is where she wants be today, doing what she wants to do. Present in herself. A white woman's face of striking beauty that I couldn't divert my attention from gaping at. I was painting her face in my mind's eye while we talked. I was multi-tasking, studying her face and focusing on our conversation, right-brain, left-brain, both going at once, yin-yang in motion, balance. I was seeing the feminine, and every one with what I can only think of as goddess energy. I know that sounds corny, but it's the closest I can get. It was healing goddess energy. It was my first hospital experience where I felt healing energy in the entire staff, individually.
I felt like every one of them I could paint a portrait of as an aspect of goddess, but could never reproduce the presence. It was powerful. I did, indeed, feel for the the first time in a hospital, healing energy in the presence of everyone I encountered. I couldn't help but think frequently, there's something going on here that's important. And the doctor, himself, he generates healing energy. I don't mean to get 1980s California New Age on you, but these are the words closest to what I'm reaching for, the only words I can use to avoid pages and pages of explanation. The sense I felt was this may be the future. First glimmers of the light of dawn in humanity's dark night of the soul. My experience took me from waiting rooms to all over the place. I felt at home and safe everywhere in there. Every experience in my time there was as comfortable as being at home. I'm not even intending this to be a review. It's just that this is my experience. And thanks to a new discovery of science a new pill for thinning blood that dissolves (or something) blood clots. Mighta went pop in my skull or shut down the heart. I went in unaware of the great white swimming under my boat waiting for me to jump in for a swim. This is the second time science has extended my stay in this body. Went through the hole in the big white donut three or four times. That was trippy. I wondered about people whose lives the donut extended by several years, if they gave credit to the scientific method. So much that is wonderful has happened in my life since my previous stay of execution by science, I can only feel grateful, as well as to the healing energy of my doctor and his nurses. Agnes Joines dropped by this morning before I was let go. She had brought Ernest for examination. She told me their boy who lives out West knows the woman who discovered this new blood thinner. That knocked me over like a bowling pin. In my mind's eye I saw the drawing of Enoch Rutherford. More than many interesting coincidences happened throughout the stay. Channel-surfing the tv this morning around 4am, unable to sleep, weary of reading, I found a Led Zeppelin concert. Saw the last hour of it. Raw chance. My experience from walking in the doctor's office to walking out of the hospital was so comfortable and so healing I feel it was divinely directed. Science and the Spirit flowing together, another good balance.
photos by tj worthington