FOURTH WEEK. Patterns emerge. Rhythms develop. We get into the swing of it.
Wally and I discuss a pattern we’ve observed, that despite maintaining our usual sleeping/waking hours while away on Sundays and Mondays, on Tuesdays an exhaustion hits both of us and hangs there. It takes until Thursday for us to begin feeling like our normal selves. He blames the pre-meds he’s given, especially the Benadryl. But what’s my excuse? I’m guessing it’s the extra input – more sights and sounds than I have time to process. My mind is operating 24/7 in the background, sifting and sorting.
- A YOUNG COUPLE boards the elevator with us. We push “5.” They push “4.” They must be in their 20s. She wears a hospital bracelet. He carries a backpack, which suggests they’ll be settling in for the day. I wonder what happens on 4.
- I HEAR A BABY cooing and gurgling in the waiting area when I pass through midday. The sound catches my ear. I don’t recall there being a baby or even a child on this floor all the time we’ve been coming here, but I never realized it until now.
- FOUR PEOPLE sitting together in the waiting area in the afternoon entertain themselves with a game involving dice. Whether it’s regular dice or something else, I’m not close enough to tell. The gentleman throwing them as I pass by is the only one leaning forward toward the table that anchors the sitting area. The other three – a man and two women – lean back in their seats in a relaxed manner, watching the outcome. The dice are tossed. Then there’s a bit of soft mumbling about scores and luck, followed by gentle laughter. By then, I have passed. Perhaps it’s someone else’s turn next. Perhaps the man is just entertaining himself and the the others are simply watching, I don’t know. I don’t know if these people have come together, if one is the patient and the other three have come along for company, or what the situation is, but there’s just something about this group. I imagine them to be Norwegian for some reason, but why? I imagine they’ve come together and that they’ve come together before and that this is a game these four have played many times, possibly since childhood, and that they’ve passed many evenings at home in just such a manner and that someone brought the dice along in his pocket, just in case. Maybe he’s the one who can always be counted on to bring a game. All this imagining! Maybe I’m watching too much “Anne with an ‘E’.” Whatever the case, their gentle laughter gives me a certain kind of feeling and I wish to be part of the circle. In my fantasy life, I am Norwegian. Sometimes.
My dog is so happy to be back home on Tuesdays that he sticks extra close, even standing under a shrub as I trim it, the cuttings falling on his head.
Image: Playground near The James Cancer Center @OSU