I sit in the emergency room with my son, who is having an unpleasant drug interaction. He is pacing, sweating, agitated, and uncomfortable. Because the small hospital in our town closed, the hospitals in nearby Santa Rosa are overloaded, and the emergency room is hopping with activity. Group after group are taken before my son because their condition is more serious. So it is, and should be, with triage.
One man with a shaved head is angry and in pain. He is covered in tattoos–including his skull–tattoos that suggest prejudice or a gang. He feels he is not being treated properly, and works to enlist my sympathy. I listen to his plight. The skin over his collarbone, he shows me, is stapled together, a rough eight inch incision. I wonder why they did not take the time to suture the wound. Finally, the security guy asks him to leave. He stomps out the double doors. The mind hopes he will not return with a gun.
Another elderly, toothless man rocks in a wheelchair. He mutters steadily, whining and calling for help, but he is difficult to understand. He tries to shift himself from his wheelchair to a regular waiting room chair; he is shaky and unsteady, and my son is convinced he will suffer a fatal fall. We report this to the front desk. The medical staff wants to ignore him, but of course they cannot. Eventually two burly security guards and a nurse move him to an inner room, and for a few minutes, the waiting room is quiet.
An infant, who cannot be older than a week, is taken to be examined quickly. Both of us are relieved.
I notice that I am here, now. Often “here” feels localized, but it dawns on me tonight that in the absence of the mind’s pattern of believing in time and space, here and now are infinite and eternal. I rest in that.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit: Panhala Poetry