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  • Writer's pictureMellissa Briley

Hospital, Health, and What is Real?

Date: November 3, 2017

Subject: Inching closer to diagnosis in a historic hospital

Pain Level: 7

I don’t want to talk about me today. Because nothing of nothing is nothing if nothing is possibly real. But this is getting real now, I saw it in my doctor’s eyes when I showed him which test my neurologist ordered next. “This is your journey, Mellissa. This is your path. All focus must be on this. Nothing else matters.”

Hospital today. Though beautiful in its old-school European way, the vibes of the building creeped me out with its theater-tall ceilings and marbled floors. This building is old, one of the original Red Cross buildings from World War 2. And if I believed in such things, I’d say it was haunted. Old nurses dressed in calve-length tweed skirts and matching suit jackets, an echo of the 40s. They all seemed like aging floating angels, who must be full of tales. I am very curious about them and their stories.

Saw a young woman, unconscious. Mediterranean olive skin as gray as ash. I mentally sent my usual prayer up to the universe for her, as I do when I see a car broken down on the side of the road, a stray animal, or a person with sad eyes. Dear Universe, please help so and so with no harm to anyone. I love you, thank you.

One Microbiologist for hundreds of patients. A very nonjudgmental woman with short hair. I liked her immediately. As she drew my blood, she nodded in approve of the blue infinity tattoo on my wrist, my constant reminder of when I was last in the States, a reminder to come home.

She took too much blood and threw the extra out. Ada later told me, this upset her. “Hey, that’s my best friend’s blood!” I feel like this is something I am going to remember for the rest of my life.

The microbiologist asked me if I was OK to stand up. I knew I wasn’t but felt bad for the other people waiting in line. As Ada and I left the hospital, pain hit me, and felt like I was tumbling into a wall. Ada helped me put my jacket on. I glanced up and looked into the eyes of approving strangers; yes, Ada and I will hold each other up till the end.

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