As some of you may know my Father-in-law just passed away. We spent most of the last two weeks at the hospital with him. He was a good man and lived with us on and off for the last five years. I am going to miss him.
While at the hospital I noticed myself repeatedly slipping into my writer mode. Observing the world and its people. There are enough stories, conflict, and drama on a hospital ward to fill a dozen books. Stories about pain and loss, but also joy and redemption. Families coming together to remember the positive, fighting to overcome the negative. For the most part people acting good, trying their best, and showing a level of compassion that is truly remarkable.
A few takeaways from my experience.
1. Hospitals don’t smell like they used too. No longer are we greeted with the sharp tang of alcohol and/or formaldehyde.
2. The nursing profession is still predominantly female. Most of the male nurses I saw were in the technical, adrenalin filled world of the ER. The upstairs, quiet, subdued hospital ward was filled with caring women.
3. A long drawn out death can help the loved ones move on faster. It’s easier to rationalize that at last the suffering is over. At last he is at peace.
4. Hospital chairs are uncomfortable as hell. The only thing worse is not having enough.
5. Different cultures can easily come together in this strange world. A shared look in an elevator or a sour hopeless smile while passing in the hall. A realization that death has no prejudice. No judgment, it is an equal opportunity bastard regardless of your race, creed, or religion.
6. Cliché’s and pat sayings dribble from our mouths before we can catch them. That’s okay, they help get us through these tough times.
7. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Poking fun at each other and chuckling in the face of doom can make things easier on everyone. It is the oil that makes the different parts of our world work together.
8. The world moves on. No matter the size of your pain. No matter the severity of your loss. The world keeps turning. Those that remain continue to draw breaths, fight, laugh, and love. All we can do is try to make it a better world before we leave. Jim Dillard did that.
Jim, fair winds and following seas. The next round is on me.