Friday, June 16, 2006

the thing about hospitals is that they seem to attract strange people. and the thing about strange people is that they all like to talk. one time it was the homeless drug-addict. another time it was the former vic grad in love with kierkegaard. today it was the paranoid suicidal lady.

our conversation went something like this...
me: hello. how are you doing?
her: are you one of the actresses?
me: uh, sure. I guess so.
her: this is a horrible place. I can't believe it would happen in a hospital, of all places!
me: what's wrong?
her: what's right??
me: does everyone treat you alright?
her: yes, they're all very nice. but they're all in on it.
me: what?
her: I just don't understand why they won't let me die!
me: is that what you want?
her: yes. but they keep me alive. it must be for the money. I don't know why else they'd do it.
me: maybe they think that you can get better.
her: even my sister is in on it. they're listening right now, you know. through the call button here.
me: oh?
her: and you're one of them. "are you ok? are you comfortable?" those are your lines. I hope they're paying you well.
me: I don't get paid. I'm a volunteer.
her: you don't get paid?!? then what, you do it for fun?
me: I wouldn't call it fun. I like to help people.
her: you can help me. you can help me die!
me: um.
her: I could commit suicide, you know. and that would be it. I could slit my wrists with one of those serrated knives they give us with our meals. one little cut, here and here. there would be blood all over the place. it would be a messy way to go, though.
me: have you told the nurses how you feel? or your family?
her: no. I'm too smart for that. now hand me that knife.
me: you want to eat now?
her: hand me the knife.
me: maybe I should get the nurse.
me: I think I'll get the nurse.

so I ran and found the nurse, then waited outside the door with paranoid lady casting death glares on me for the ten minutes it took the nurse to get to the room. I was shaking all over. after I thought about it, I don't know why they don't let her die. she's tiny and shriveled and probably pushing 90. she has cancer and she's been in the hospital all spring. maybe she's paranoid. or maybe she's right.

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