Afloat

afloatThe new rooms were bigger and much brighter than the old ones. Overhead neon lights illuminated every feature. There were corner sinks for hand washing and preparing medications. The private bathrooms easily accommodated wheelchairs and IV poles. Each room had a flat screen TV mounted high on the wall so the nurses and technicians wouldn’t hit their heads while working on the patient, a common hazard in the older cramped rooms. There were long window seats for guests, upholstered in a modern blue-green abstract print, a nice upgrade from the red vinyl chairs that were jammed into the corners of the old rooms. The new rooms were private, one patient to a room, not like before, where patients had to share with a stranger. The beds were positioned an equal and generous distance from the three adjoining walls, making it easy to access by all, the patient, the nurses, the doctors, and visitors. The floors were blue vinyl, polished to a blinding shine. The high-tech beds were equipped with a constant motion mattresses to prevent bedsores.

Lacking visitors or a roommate, most of the time, a patient probably felt like he was lying on a life boat in the middle of the ocean in the midday sun. Tethered to the main ship by a length of tubing attached to his arm or perhaps his nose, he would float dreamily, rising and sinking with the swell, until someone reeled him back in for his next treatment.

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