Hospital Food and Daily Crosswords

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The icy wind stung my face as I rushed across the busy street up the steep ramps and through the automatic doors. The waiting room smelled stale and it appeared as if ten hallways were branching from this one room. From then on, it was instinct and the proper usage of signs and arrows to find our way to the seventh floor of Hampton, where I would snake my way through the hallways crowded with hospital carts and feeble old people on their daily walks with their nurse. After what seemed to be an endless search, I found the one room I had been looking for.

My Grandma was already in the company of my Aunt when I arrived, but her “shift” had just ended. It was now my Mom and my turn to hang around for hours on end in the pale and awkwardly lit room that we would be calling home for the next two weeks. Some days were harder to handle than others, especially the day that my feeble, dying Grandma told my mom in detail what she wanted to be clothed in at her own funeral. I acted like I wasn’t listening and stared intently at the gray and black crossword puzzle that I found in the week old newspaper sitting on the heater by the window. I didn’t even understand some of the descriptions of the words that they were asking for. After the laborious hour and a half of finding ten words that I couldn’t get to fit in the spaces no matter how hard I tried, I went on a hunt for some food. You would be surprised at how much tastier hospital food is than the average stereotype. I managed to weasel my way around the floor until I knew it like the back of my hand, and I found the “Patients Only” room. It contained a lot tastier things than the family waiting room down the hall. When no one was watching, I quickly snuck out some ice cream and a tiny can of Sprite.
As I walked back down the dimly lit hall, awkward patches of light reflected on the floor from the open doors leading to rooms where the sunlight was bursting through the windows, and I realized that this was my life. As much as I loved my Grandma, I couldn’t change what was happening to her. I couldn’t change how much time she was given, because the passage of our time on this Earth is inevitable, and it takes the strongest of people to accept that.





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