The first week of Spring always meant “March 21st.” My youngest sister’s birthday. So naturally, she has been occupying my thoughts. Every year when I get a new calendar, I wonder if I should stop marking her birthday in it. I don’t know if there is an answer other than whenever the time comes when I don’t note it.
The other thing that brings her to mind is my recent start of clinical training. So far, twice a week, I am in a hospital 8 ½ hours a day. Not visiting. I’m learning how to take pictures of and understand people’s hearts, and vascular systems.
It seems every time I enter a patient’s room, I remember the hospitals of our childhood. I can’t help but check the patients’ toes for unnecessary filth. I know this is an acute care medical facility with very high cleanliness standards and protocols, and not the state run institutions where the staff were thieves, and the fungus ran the place. I guess my point is childhood memories appear at the strangest times.
As I passed by families gathered in ICU, and others who were sound asleep on the couches outside the unit’s doors, I felt a twinge. A twinge of a complicated relief. I wasn’t the one who had to cry.