An Inside Storm

January 10, 2011
By aworth BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
aworth BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Today is my first day volunteering at Resurrection Hospital. As I walk up to the front desk, I’m not nervous. I figure I’ll be filing papers or bringing food and water to patients, since I’m only a high school freshman and really have no business taking care of people with illnesses.

“Hi, I’m here to do some volunteer work,” I tell the lady at the front desk.

“Come right this way,” she directs, delighted to see someone my age eager to help out. “You’ll have lots of fun with Mr. Cole today; he’s very talkative. Let me know if you need anything!”

“Okay,” I say, not expecting to work with sick people. I walk into the bland white hospital room, where there was a gray-haired wrinkled man asleep in the hospital bed. I quietly take a seat in the old paisley-print chair next to the bed and watched the mute TV in the corner of the room. This is even easier than filing papers.

I alternate between watching the silent poker tournament on TV and counting the endless number of chords attached to this man. I wonder what’s wrong with him, and begin to snoop through the room. Tucked in a compartment on the side of his bed was his file, and I decided to open it since he was sleeping. “Name: Brian Cole. Age: 78.”

“Who are you?” I dropped the folder on the ground I was so startled.

“Um, my name is Sara. I’m a volunteer,” I explain.

“Volunteer for what?”

“For the hospital. I’m just helping out.” Mr. Cole’s eyes became absent.

“I do not need help!” He shouts. “I am not sick and I do not need to be in this hospital!” He rips several chords out of his wrists and attempts to get out of his bed.

“Please sit down, Mr. Cole.”

“No, I do not need your pity. I am not sick and I’m in no need of your help,” he says as he continues to escape from his bed. I try to stay calm to keep from causing a commotion.

“No, Mr. Cole, I just wanted to keep you company,” I explain, even though I would rather not be here. The emotion on his face changed from a storm of rage to simple tranquility as he sat back into his bed.

“Well thank you, dear, that’s very kind of you. What did you say your name was again?”

“Sara,” I say.

“So, Sara, do you know how to play poker?” he asks.

“No, I don’t, but I can watch with you,” I say, trying to keep him calm.

“You see, the man in the blue has an ace and a king,” he explains, and goes on and on about the rules of poker, none of which I care about, but it was nice to see him talk to passionately about something he loves. He’s still rambling on about poker when a nurse comes in to deliver his lunch.

“Wow, I’ve never seen anyone get him to look so happy!” she whispers to me as she gives him a bowl of chicken noodle soup. I feels good to know that I am making someone’s day a little bit better just by sitting here and talking to them. The nurse walks out of the room, and suddenly, Mr. Cole starts fussing again. Out of nowhere, the storm returns.

“I don’t want chicken noodle soup!” he complains. “Sara, get me something else.” I feel like I’m dealing with a child.

“Mr. Cole, it’s good chicken soup, you should try it.”

“No!” he exclaims, and pours it all on the floor. The nurse comes back into the room after hearing Mr. Cole’s shouting, and reassures me that everything is okay. She cleans up the mess and orders him a turkey sandwich instead. Once he gets it, he is satisfied, and says nothing until he is finished.

The way he acts is like a thunder storm. One moment everything is fine and sunny, but the next, it is a brutal downpour. There is no way to stop it; you just have to wait it out until it decides to subside.

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