“I don’t think it took this long when I got here” I thought. The distance from the beige room to the beige hallway that leads to the nurse’s station had gotten interminably long since I woke up.
I’m sure in in retrospect, that the distance was no greater; but hopped up on morphine to help with the pain in my side made it seem so far away. Each step required a ridiculous effort.
My reward for the effort I expended was a look. No, better make it a LOOK from the nurse on duty. She had probably been beautiful once, someone who cared about her charges and really wanted to help make people better.
Now, even through the morphine, it’s clear that too many long nights, with too much paperwork, too many whiny patients and overbearing doctors had ruined what was probably once a kind person with a loving, passionate nature.
She arched her eyes at me, “Yes Mr. Greene?”
“I’m sorry ma’am, could I have some water?”
“You had water a half hour ago, why didn’t you use the call button?”
“I did ma’am. It’s just that, no one answered.”
“We’re busy” she said, in the face of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. “You’ll get water when we have time.” She picked up her emery board and resumed filing her already perfect nails.
“You’re right, I will.” I muttered and headed toward the exit. Each step was harder than the last and lead closer and closer to that sweet cool taste of refreshing…
Hands gripped me and helped me into a wheel chair. James, an orderly, handed me a cool glass of water and whispered an apology.
As I rode back, I wished that I could have made the escape dramatically, but realized my slow motion hobble wouldn’t rate as heroic anywhere but inside my own head.
James helped me into bed, my temporary protector from the withering stares of petty tyrants and the warm blackness of sleep rose up to embrace me.