Three of them are eying me through their good eyes. With the green hair net, I would have done the same. They are younger than I anticipated. I sit down next to my mother. The room is large and the light bright enough. I become invisible for a while. "Code Blue. Code Blue." A nurse approaches the woman in the centre and starts adjusting the long pole behind her. "Cardiovascular units, prepare for support and diagnostic. Code Blue." The woman who was lethargic up to now, becomes animated. She says: "I was with my husband when we brought him to the cardiovascular unit." The nurse says: "Now, now, we don't want to think about that." The woman continues, bending her head closer and opening her unbandaged eye wide. It is the colour of a rain cloud. "I have never seen a man that colour. That blue." The nurse changes the subject: "We'll be bringing you in soon. Just relax." The man to her left beckons her close. "What do they do with the broken pieces?" he asks her. "That's a question for your doctor."
My mother's lower lips are shaking. I say: "Are you awake?" She says: "The doctor is more handsome today." She has a small pill dissolving under her tongue, and there is a vague smile around her eyes. In front, the last of the trio nods. He is a big man, his large tattooed biceps wasted on the chair's handles. The back of his head is as flat as a sheet of eight and a half by eleven. He says: "This will be my thirty first operation this year."
I notice for the first time the Georgian music emanating from far. I wonder if it calms, or if it reminds them of death. The room is more sacred than wherever the monks sang. The patients, drugged to various levels of consciousness, are now lost in their thoughts, signposts of humanity (for a change) amidst the blur of unknowable activity. Cables snake from the bodies to the wall. Monitors tick like incorrectly wound victorian clocks. I rub my eyes under their phosphorescence.