Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pre-dawn At The Hospital

My view is north and east but the pre-dawn hours turns what is otherwise a mish- mash of institutional, slab sided architecture into a range of rose colors, pale, dusty and very subtle. It's fun to watch them change as the sun rises and the angle of the light hitting all the intersecting forms change the color. It doesn't last long and gets a little later every day, but it's a little thing that makes the roofscape out my window interesting.

Pre-dawn is also interesting because the floor, for almost the only time of it's day is quiet. The shift changes at 7 and everyone has finished their nights work, AM vital signs taken and the last "bags" hung. They're busy charting their nights work for the day shift. The variety and stage of illness, just in my little corner of this world, is staggering, the demands for each patients' unique medication and timing needs so critical for their health, make it a very difficult task. They have my undying respect and gratitude for what they do every day.

This morning I lay here in that twilight kind of sleep, a time I believe ones mind is the most free, uncluttered and actually expressing the unsaid or unacknowledged. For me it's little short movies that play in typically unreal circumstances and I'm acting out a piece of my life as it is today, but in some other place. So, this morning I was on a quiet golf hole, probably a par 3, not really playing but kind of wanting to practice. I had on my hospital gear; pajama pants, silk t-shirt, topped by a toasty black fleece robe. My 3- lumen Hickman port still in place. I'm looking for errant and un-recovered balls, for some reason I have a wedge in my hand- I just want to practice a little and I'm calmly going around looking under bushes and high grass for a lost ball or two. Click. The scene shifts to the cafe down stairs and the coffee and toast I'm going to order when they open at 6:30. I play out my order in a precise detail that, of course, wont happen when I'm actually down there. Click. The scene shifts again to MJ's back roof deck and a dinner party with lots of people- all of you out there actually - we just are laughing and drinking wine and talking at the end of a day, that when it started looked like this one, only dawn's soft rose is now the blaze of sunset, the passing of a full sun into the calm of night.

I believe it's been a beautiful fall, the days out my window look perfect and strangers comment to each other in the elevators about the beautiful weather. I haven't been outside for 25-days, I believe it's the longest I've ever been inside in my life. It makes your world strangely small. In my world of hospital patient, I'm a live wire- walking briskly down halls and using the treadmill in the recreation room, nodding to nurses, doctors and interns who now know me after all this time. My world has actually shrunk to where this is big. I believe the "outside" will feel overwhelming when I get there. My trips to the cafe downstairs are brief little incursions into a space that I'm less familiar and quite frankly stand out in a strange way. There's nothing like standing in line with a guy wearing the cloths he slept in, a baseball cap and is basically the color of wall board- it's a real eye opener- in my little hospital world I'm a brisk walker and engaged patient, a few hundred feet away, in the real world- I'm, well who knows what they think, but I'm out of my element, a stranger who places orders much better in his pre-dawn musings than in the clatter and confusion of the real world.

So, the sun is up now, this seemed like a good idea an hour or two ago- in re-reading it I'm not sure of the point. But, like those little pre-dawn films that run in my head, perhaps everything doesn't need a point, maybe pointless isn't always bad. They're mostly just random thoughts floating in when the mind is open and kind of lazy. I feel good and they make me feel calm. It's a beautiful day, enjoy it.

Arnie

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The church retreat was this week end and a good time was had by all. The topic stayed with Tripp's theme for the year: Simplicity. Your writing, today, spoke nicely to that. Thanks.
Vicki

Kim said...

Good Monday Arnie,
Thank you for this post. It reminded me of the endless conversations I used to have with one of my painting teachers. He said his job wasn’t to teach me to paint, but to show me how to really see and interpret, in my own way, what is all around me every day. Thanks for bringing back this memory and for again, reminding me to stop and really see this day in that special way only a true artist can.

Love,
Kim

Rachel Stanaszek said...

Goodmorning Arnie!!

Im sitting in my 11th floor cubicle @ the AMA catching up on your progress.. Sending you loads of hugs & kisses via internet.

I am so thankful for the many positive "Arnie updates" I've been getting from my dad..

Know that I am praying for you and thinking about you every single day.

Anticipating your next post--
Love,
Rachel

Sharon Heil said...

Arnie,
I forgot my password and had to set up another account. Thank you for this post. It was beautiful and inspiring. Steve and I took a walk last night – yes it was a beautiful day – and went by your former dwelling on Morse. The old pine is holding up well.
big hug,
Sharon