The elevator door opened up to the 7th floor. I was about to take a step out when I looked up and saw my co-worker, a guy who sits one cube away from me, who was about to step in. I stepped out and he took a step back. So hey…followed by a brief moment of silence to acknowledge the situation.
“Hey I heard your dad was sick. I didn’t realize he was still sick though. Is he on this side of the floor?” I vaguely point left I don’t know why I did, I have no clue what’s over that way. “Or is he there?” Then I point toward the right — where all the patient rooms are…where there are orange biohazard signs taped to some of the entrances of the rooms, patient precaution signs, nurses in plastic gloves and masks, and patients muffled groans of discomfort. And I get to thinking of my own father’s room where a couple days ago a new sign in bold letters got taped to his wall: “Spoon feed only! Thicken all liquids. Asphixaton precaution.” And that issue happens to be just one of his minor problems.
My co-worker nods. Yup he’s over on the right side too. Right side. The cancer side. Well at least that’s what I think of it. It’s what my co-worker’s dad has, and mine too. It certainly doesn’t feel like anyone’s getting healed quickly on the right side of the 7th floor. I’ve been visiting my dad for the past 7 days – of his overall 20 day stay -and I’ve only seen one other patient in the halls. She’s a firecracker of an old lady who hates going back to her room. Last night as my sister walked by her chair, which hospital staff placed outside of her room so she could watch the floor traffic, she called to my sister: “lady. hey lady! They don’t bring us enough food around here.” She’s certainly a character and hearing my sister tell that story made me giggle. But today I was walking up to her room and noticed she was not on her perch. As I passed, I overheard her asking her nurse why she had to get a shot injected in her belly.