the pali gardens sulks in a basement corner, embarrassed by its menu and the false promise of its name / this is the second time this week i've been forced to eat here and the food sucks even by the most dismal hospital standards / i've got my book my coffee my anemic egg salad sandwich stuffed into a plastic wedge and find an empty table near the patio, craving sunshine / should appreciate the effort of the orchid entombed with my meal / but the single petal reminds me vending cuisine is undeserving, looking more like a drag queen's false nail than anything organic and i'm tired of shoulds so I don't.
facing away no smile no eye contact i can hear hear hear everything and i despise waiting and waiting on the other side where i have no control and teeter between clinical detachment and paranoia / trying to ignore the stench of collective anxiety the words become sentences, sentences pages and i read and i read but i don't.
code blue is called ER bed 19 and my spine stiffens and i have to think, think ER, not nuclear med, it's okay because i don't know anyone in the ER / but someone does, i know, because now i'm on the other side and someone is being pushed out of a room, confused, curtains drawn around bed 19 crash cart wheeled in xray art lines intubation closing in on bed 19 as someone waits alone.
and i remember the baby my first no code white mom black dad ashen baby fading on white sheets, doctor saying more oxygen won't make a difference, thinking fuck you i'm cranking up the O2 and fuck this pulse oximeter no one should watch saturations drop on a dying baby and it does make a difference if it makes mom and dad believe believe believe they are making him comfortable.
and one week ago i watched grace is gone with john cusack and when it was done i quietly stole into the bedroom closing the door behind me and into the bathroom closing that door too, to insulate my boys
and sat on the toilet, doubled over, head on my knees and i was silent so silent until a whispering wail escaped my lips and then i couldn't stop.
i think i have ptsd.