Monday, September 10, 2012
Time passing as I sit motionless.
Time passing as I sit motionless.
By Mark William Darus
The scenery changes but only so with the passing of technology and those that enter my room.
As I look down, bodies change on an almost daily basis. Sometimes the bed shifts, but only slightly so with the shifting of the one laying on it or as the nurses change their position.
I’ve smelled it all over the years.
The stench of infections surging through the afflicted, strong whiffs of fecal matter when bed-pan is not met in time as it blasts against sweaty skin and mates with cotton sheets. Sweet smells of fresh roses, carnations, and the myriad of flowers plucked from loved ones own gardens. I smell fresh oxygen, mild perfume aroma from care-takers and the stench of the feet of visitors.
Between those that visit my space, the gross fragrance of floor cleaner/sanitizer greets me, giving me the knowledge I won’t be alone for long as those wielding mop sing to music heard through tiny plugs in their ears.
Once, just once, I’d like to hear one of them sing well and hold a note most worthy.
Yeah, I’ve heard it all.
I’ve heard the whooshing of air and the pulsating sound as it is pressed into the human before me. Granted, most times it’s merely a steady, almost calming, ’hisssssss’ of white noise I do find tranquil. The amazing sound of ‘white noise’, though different than the bubbling sound of a fish tank in a dentists office yet having the same effect.
Over my decades here, I have become an expert witness to the advances of technology brought into my tiny world. Once given the ‘clacking’, sometimes rhythmic sound of printers charting EEG’s and EKG’s that over time gave way to the ‘beeping and booping’. These tones telling people where the one on the bed before was at without words unspoken yet telling them much in regard.
Back to the smells that reach me. Why do so many wear so much heavily laden perfume, aftershave or cologne when they travel into my land? For crying out loud, do they not think this doesn’t gag the one fighting for life with 02 getting blasted into them? What are they afraid of? A urine bad letting go and splashing to floor, an unexpected bowel movement? The rich smell of iron, not much different than that of a woman's period, as a central line goes astray when white sheets go crimson?
While we’re at it, besides me, there is one gross olfactory offense that never ever changes over time though I really wish it would. The food served here. Damn, if you want a gauge on how people are doing, just take a full inhale on what is given to those that can actually eat solid food. Just once I’d like to smell salt or garlic on a regular basis. Sure, they eat this because it’s all they can have unless a visitor smuggles them in a meatball sandwich or prime rib dinner. God how I love the smell of beef gravy at sunset. Smells like: happiness to the one laying before me, their smiles, wetness filling mouth with anticipation relishing the first bite. It also does me a world of good, let me tell you!
Sometimes I witness the visitors praying, speaking in voices both sweet and hopeful. I see some cry to soon blow their noses afterward as they let out a sigh.
Visitors giving idle small talk directed with significance to those unable to respond yet can hear things in their mind. Even those tranq’d in my room can still hear, their minds taking pieces of information. They hear the loved, cherished visitors speak words of love, hope and sheer whimsical nonsense.
I also take in the tones of utter hatred and anger as they speak such hideous things to the one below me. “Damn, would you just die already.” “He did fill out a will, didn’t he?” “Fuck this, I’ve got a Tupperware party to prepare for…” C’mon, look at things from my perspective, will ‘ya? Is it wrong of me to wish them a well earned fall down a flight of stairs, a sudden heart attack miles from a hospital or a really good case of crotch-rot?
I have seen so many die before me as I have seen so many come back to live further.
I am not god.
I am the one, as they come back and are completely bored, look up to as they gain consciousness.
I have never been far from them as they visit my small place on this planet.
I have seen it all.
Never more than a few feet from them.
Time passes by as I sit motionless.
I am a ceiling tile.
Mark William Darus 0909102012
Authors note: Profound thanks to Gretchen. Hours before writing this I had asked what I should write about tonight. She gave me suggestions after I shared with her how I felt blank about tonight's writing. Light bulb, albeit that of a 10 watt, dimly illuminates my tired mind. I look at her and say: Imagine what a hospital room clock sees? The procession of people, smells and sounds as science changes but wall clocks never do….
Gretchen, I could not have written this without you!
To Carol Golias, for bringing memories back to me. Can’t wait to make you baked beans again!