I am leaving town for the weekend but before that...a long day at work
I am walking around to the different sections of the hospital to drop off the day’s news flashes. I come to a familiar door and tension sets in. The ICU.
My breath quickens as I flash my badge to buzz me in. I don’t like this place. This place smells of death and decay. There are family members in waiting rooms outside looking pale and people inside stuck in isolated rooms.
Many people in the ICU are elderly. Frail and weak, nearing the end of their life and I feel as if that essence rubs off on me whenever I walk through there.
I pass by a women and glance in her room. She looks about 100 years old. Tubes are sticking out of her and she is lying down with her mouth agape because of a breathing tube.
This place smells like death.
It seems this place is a passageway to the other side.
Do these people know they will die?
Even though many people in the ICU live, surviving heart attacks, strokes, etc…many must know that this might be their final destination before they head up to the Pearly gates. I venture to guess that this lady, who looks about 100 years old, knows somewhere inside her that age is catching up to her and she will probably die.
At that moment I hear a “Code Blue” on the intercom and a rush of people run into 100-year-olds room. Her heart stopped beating.
Is it the end?
I rush out of there before I could find out. I don’t like death. I don’t understand it, and my best bet is to stay far away from it.
My next stop is the Women’s Hospital. It is the place where, it seems, every woman in Orange County goes to give birth thanks to the best doctors, best birthing suites and great press. The skylights in there give a bright happy feeling to the place and it smells like baby lotion and flowers. Much better.
I pass by an open suite as I head to the nurses station. I glance inside to see a young mother holding a bundled up tiny baby.
She has this glow on her face. She coos at her baby and her proud husband stands over her snapping five thousand pictures. Family and friends are gathered in the room to celebrate. I see a “It’s a Girl” balloon attached to some flowers.
I smile at that image. New life is always a happy occasion.
It seems that image has just washed away the deathly images I have leftover from the ICU.
Even though this new baby will one day make the transition to old lady...even though I know it all comes full circle...I can't help but smile.
Yes, I think to myself, death is certain…but Life, new Life…is much happier to think about.