A Bleak Visit

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Age is a curious thing. "Wiser with age," is a short-lived victory for those who don't recall the information that makes one wise.

It smelled like sick. It reeked of rubber gloves, medication, and sanitary soap. My nose twitched and I wanted nothing more than to hold my breath until I could no longer inhale the awful scent. Of course, if I were to do that, then I would wind up in the hospital. I would lie in a bed right next to my great-grandpa and I'd be forced to bear this despicable place far longer than necessary. I resorted to breathing through my mouth, only tasting the rancid place.

As far as accommodations go, this hospital was one of the better environments that I'd seen my great-grandpa live in. Yet still, as I approached his door, I didn't allow myself much optimism. It seems that every time I visit him he gets worse. There's unmistakable disdain in my voice when I ask my mom how long we must visit. She responds simply by saying that it "depends if he's awake". These visits are utterly pointless to me, given that my great-grandpa Bernie doesn't remember me anyhow. As horrible as that may sound, I can't help but be slightly aggravated.

I do understand, however, that despite the fact that he hasn't the slightest notion of my identity, he still appreciates the company. So, I try not to complain as I enter the room.

The rogue stench of disease taints the air heavier than ever as I enter the room. Perhaps that's my imagination. I bar my mind to further pessimism, but to no avail. The figure beneath the covers is enough to send my thoughts drowning beneath another current of cynicism. A heap of bones, my great-grandfather, lay motionless, burrowed beneath stiff hospital covers. His eerily pale skin clung tightly to the bones giving him an altogether appearance of a shriveled skeleton. He seemed to sink into the bed as if disappearing within the mattress would ease his pain.

To be honest, I was thankful he was asleep.
I'm a bad person, I know.
But this was too much. This was just downright depressing. That thing, that horrifying stack of sticks, was once a healthy human being. That thing, that creature, was once my great-grandfather. That thing, that sad, crippled form wrapped beneath the sheets was all that was left of him.

At 89 years, my great-grandfather sleeps in the hospital bed. His mind and his memories are distant from us, from the present. He still lives, he's even supposed to recover.

What is the satisfaction of recovery if you can't remember it?





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imrighthereyouknow said...
Feb. 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

awww this is sad :( 

you're not a bad person for thinking like that.

 
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