convalesce

story #10 in my “23 stories for a fried chicken sandwich” project.

when i walk the halls of the convalescent hospital, i can’t help but wonder which kind of resident i will be.

will i be the woman with the oversized, cage-like walker who can’t stop walking. she does about fifty loops a day. or more. she can’t stop. what does she think will happen if she stops? i can only guess. it’s quite possible she thinks she’s getting somewhere too, one big loop at a time. she sometimes stops and goes into other people’s room. maybe she thinks she has finally arrived. it’s probably very hard to get going again when she finds out she hasn’t.

or maybe i will be the tiny barefooted woman curled on her side in an afternoon nap on top of the blankets.  does she feel at home there? will i? even now, i can’t take a nap without a blanket over me. how tired do you have to be to feel at home there?

the woman a few rooms down is tucked in a tight cocoon, her big eyes looking out into the hall. is that who i will be?  too tired to fight, arms tucked inside the safety swaddle of an end that takes forever to come?

4 comments

  1. Emily Perry · March 17, 2010

    just lovely, as usual. i see you as the blissed out one- basking in the light!

    i can’t wait to get together again! let’s plan it!

  2. Melissa · March 17, 2010

    ok, dude.

    the end takes forever to come (what!)
    how tired do you have to be to feel at home there (what what!)
    what does she think will happen if she stops/probably very hard to get going again – girl.

    depression smehshion. this is good.

  3. seamusoconner · March 17, 2010

    My mind is full of the images of what you wrote. Reminds me of my grandmother when she was in St Anne’s nursing home for years. I was a boy and I can remember vividly the smell of the place. I too remember people walking the halls with a look in the eye, but rarely a smile of the face. I don’t remember a smile of the face of anyone. I compare that to the old people I see in Italy living on their own,walking a ton of steps every day and smiling like little boys and girls. Sush a sweet thing to see. Buona fortuna con suo nonno.

  4. georgia · March 18, 2010

    this is powerful.
    not many people would stop and think about this.
    not many people even know what it is like to be in one of these homes and observe what goes on.

    i was raised by parents who visited the local nursing home every sunday. they “dragged” all five of their kids along and had us sing to the elderly, so many of whom were abandoned there to uncaring nurses by their families. even at a very young age, i thought things like these. but i would never have been able to write about it so eloquently as you have. this is so good.

    now here i am approaching 40, and i think a lot about what it will be like to be an elderly version of me. it’s not an easy pill to swallow. but i’d rather think of it now and be prepared, than let it sneak up on me like middle age did.

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