Monday, February 13, 2006

At the hospital

Whitewashed walls, the smell of chlorine and medicine, men and women wearing green masks. It's depressing to be in a hospital. But for the past week or so, I've been to the hospital three times, as dad's bowel problem doesn't seem to get any better. And that does not look good, especially in the general (poor) state of health that he is in.

There was an old man sitting in a wheelchair, pushed by a skinny little lady, who is probably a migrant worker from the Philippines. She had to constantly tilt the man's head upright, as he dozed off, and might easily injure his neck. A little boy lay on a hospital bed and was being wheeled into the X-rays department. He had tubes and different colour-coded fluid bags stuck on his face, to the extent that only his eyes were visible. And a retired pensioner sat in his temporary bland, blue ward dress, and waited for his turn to be examined. His shoes were off and put aside by his side, exposing dry, skinny legs which had the markings of old wounds and scars. He looked tired, and perhaps bored. I sat next to him.

But there was also a mother carrying a sleeping baby, and a little girl who probably just managed to stand up recently holding her arms out to embrace her baby brother/sister. And there were the doctors and nurses in white and pink, radiating smiles and warmth, as if they were sent down to ease pain and suffering on this earth.

A crippled lady wobbled like a broken invalid in front of me as I left the hospital. Her hips seemed to ache with every step. Dark sunglasses seemed to hide the tears around her eyes. Where was she going? Would she get there safely on her own? I passed a young man, with uncombed hair and blackened cheeks, who wore soiled clothes and palyed with an empty McDonalds coffee cup. He sat on a bench, joyfully engaged in a dialogue with himself in the setting sunlight.

However long the journey, life goes on.

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