Sunday, July 27, 2014


 I walk by these people every morning on my way in to work.
These people, who are sick and hospitalized and step outside each morning to escape their rooms and get some fresh air.
These people, who have nothing listed on their daily agendas other than to get well and be released from the confines of the hospital.
These people.
I've been walking past them every weekday morning for nearly seven years, though I'd never given them a second thought until now.
Now I am among them, sitting on a bench next to my mom. This is her 3rd hospital stay in as many months, and she's grown to resent the social isolation brought on by her condition.
The hospital staff are encouraging her to move around more, although there's no way she has the strength to navigate the facility on her own. So here I am, wearing the required protective gown and gloves, wheeling her around the campus hospital and allowing her to briefly enjoy the heat of summer.

We sit here in silence, side-by-side, watching the chaos that is the university campus. There are people everywhere. Patients, family members, doctors, students, and staff. Cab drivers and bus drivers. Vehicles pulling up to the front of the hospital, while others are taking off.

The exhaust from these vessels only adds to the mugginess of summer, and the smell in the air takes me back to a happier place: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

I realize we've done this before, half a dozen times, in Florida. For a brief moment I'm overwhelmed with a feeling of nostalgia and deja vu, as if my mom and I have just landed in Florida. We're sweaty, sticky, and exhausted, sitting here curbside with our luggage, waiting for our ride to the cruise ship port.

Only this time we have no luggage, we're not in Florida, and there are no cruise ships waiting for us. None of these vehicles are picking us up. There is no where else we have to be today. Or tomorrow.

All we have is the isolation of the hospital.

So here we are, sitting among these people, idly staring out at the passersby, secretly envious of their health and their freedom from this place.