Monday, September 15, 2008

Behind the Green Curtains

.

Two meters apart — an intimate distance of just six feet! Neither knows what the other looks like but you know their sex and can have a reasonable guess at their age.

Between bouts of not caring where I am as my focus is on whether I will survive the next few hours, I come to know the intimate details of this life so awkwardly close to me yet out of sight.
I experience his pain without feeling it, the anxiety of his loved one beside him without seeing her.

What image are they getting of me? Does it matter? While I wait, I pray. I pray that I might live to pray for this human behind the green curtain that I could almost reach out and touch, and his loved one...before I am again overtaken by my symptoms.

Next I pray for the elderly lady I can see, parked in the passage waiting for a free cubicle, with bandages hiding her injuries from a fall. Her loved one looks at me and we exchange a smile of understanding — whilst understanding little.

Those awful human sounds! Are they coming from behind one of the green curtains, maybe even mine?

My history, given again. Sorry, poor fellow-sufferer next door that you have to hear this and know my body intimately inside whilst you will never know it from the outside. It can't be helping you feel any better.


You hear more of my intimacies. I hear you being told you have a failing heart. You hear me vomiting as the vertigo takes over. I hear a compassionate, disembodied voice tell you your heart is beating far too fast and they are trying to slow it. You hear me being asked if I can bear the torture of the head-twisting, fast dropping technique of physio another time. I hear the fear in your loved one's voice as she asks when your heartbeat will slow down and is told it is taking longer than they would like...but there are good signs...

[This post is in appreciation of the wonderful, dedicated and caring staff in the Emergency Department of the Fremantle Hospital, Western Australia. It comes with a prayer for them as they do their work, and for those who lie beyond the green curtains.]


2 comments:

dogbait said...

You haven't been well from the sounds of it. Hope you are on the mend.

Noella said...

Thanks, dogbait. Unfortunately, I've had a series of problems over the last 4 weeks or so, but can expect a full recovery.