Tuesday, January 08, 2008

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Today was Day Two of the Infamous Stacy-Go-To-Dialysis Everyday-Because-I'm-a-Masochist.

Or something resembling that.

In my previous shift, I would only witness patients who were on the same track, namely Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight was my first Tuesday.

For whatever reason they buried us all way in the back at the far end of the clinic. Like we're some ugly secret only the staff really knows about.

Chair #45 was selected and as I sat down there was a middle aged Hispanic gentleman perpendicular to me in Chair #48, the Final Chair.

From the moment I sat down he just kept staring. Since we're all in this together, I simply gave him a gentle smile and continued setting my items exactly where I always set them every treatment.

I'm kinda weird that way.

As the gauze was prepared and the needles unwrapped I glanced up again to find he was still staring at me.

Mind you, I've never met this gentleman but the look in his eye seemed familiar.

As the Lidocaine burned and the needles invaded, his gaze never left my chair.

My blood began to churn and suddenly a frightening realization filled my veins.

Death was in Chair #48.

This doesn't trouble me as much as you'd think. I've been battling Him for years and so far, I'm winning.

The thing that most kids figure out pretty quickly about bullies is, they're pretty much cowards. I took the gaze He was boring into my belly and I turned it back on Him with equal voracity.

Death was shocked by this. And from what I've been told, Death doesn't shock easily.

As His needles were removed and He shuffled past me I gave him a nod. He paused momentarily, glanced around to see if anyone was eavesdropping and whispered.

"Rosebud."

Say what you will about Death but at least He has a sense of humor. And an appreciation of film history.

I thought for a moment for the perfect reply.

"Slurb."

Death froze for a moment and then a smile came to his face. It was eerie and comforting all at the same time.

And now we have an understanding.

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