Scenes From A Hospital Room

I wrote this poem to my daughter as I watched over her in the hospital.

| 2 min read
Elise Free

Nebulized air

clouds of albuterol
hypertonic saline

cumulonimbus medicine
floating into lungs 
exhaled into the atmosphere of
four turquoise walls

Reminds me

Los Angeles smog over the Valley
405 freeway
hiking up Baldwin Hills and looking down
to a hospital room
in Iowa

the hours move slow here
seconds are minutes
minutes, hours
a snail's pace competing
against the rush 
of beeps and hums and buzzes

people being called, room 
to room to room
to room

wash hands
mask on, gloves on, gown on
wash hands 

sleep interrupted

pulse ox, heart rate, temperature

breathe in and out
in and out
deep one in and now normal breath

vitals are vital
sleep optional

food ordered like fancy hotels
pick up the phone and VOILA!
room service
lunch under helmet plates
primary school trays and cardboard milk box
a straw please 

gelatin for dessert 
green or red or orange
you decide

the only thing
you decide
pick a color any color!

fluorescent lights

the hue of jails 
the DMV

we look different in this light

as if sleep were optional
as if time stood still

waiting for papers
to be released
a petition of health

we wait
to be free

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Parents & Guardians | Hospitalization

Elise is a contributor on What the Flicka?, Scary Mommy, The Mighty and Mamalode, and has had essays featured in Los Angeles Parent Magazine, Literary Mama Magazine, and on KPFK's radio program, Motherhood Unplugged. She currently lives in Iowa with her teenage daughter, Adelaide, who's thriving and living life to its fullest and funniest, despite having cystic fibrosis.

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