Thursday, December 4, 2008

Van Meets Wall

Dear Kid,

I can't get you out of my head. All those "before" pictures papering the walls of your room in the nursing home --- you were a brown-eyed guitar player, a handsome bad boy. You were the guy I'd would have had a crush on if I were in high school with you. But I'm not in high school, and neither are you, any more. I'm a nursing student, and you're my unspeaking patient, your limbs knotted by spasms, your clouded eyes staring off to the right.

Why did you do it? Was it an accident? Were you trying to kill yourself? You wouldn't have anticipated this life --- pain that makes you howl and sweat every time someone moves you, a three minute struggle to move your hand to make the sign for "yes."

I hope hope hope that there's some mercy in your condition. Maybe you don't know what you've lost. Maybe you can still perceive your mom's dazzling love as she props your head up for the thousandth time.


AlisonH said...

If this helps any: I was once a patient who was too ill to respond. I can tell you that if he's got some consciousness, then he is learning and definitely feeling how much he is loved: the presence of every person in his room becomes huge in that condition.

Pain is something you get used to. Love is the essence of life. Thank you for caring about your patient.

Kim said...


A vivid picture in very few words - a sad story, great writing.

Snuze said...

I hope you never lose your compassion for your patients. That is what will make you continue to be a wonderful nurse.