An experiment in tone and scenario-establishing. A few more of these will be coming. The credit for the premise goes to my bro.
I don’t know much about the patients. My contact with them isn’t all that intimate. There’s Mr. Gillespie in 321; I know he got crushed under a pick-up truck. And the old lady in 340 has lung cancer. Jackie, the pretty girl in 329, has AIDS. But most of them, I have no idea what they’re suffering from. I just change their bed sheets, clean their bathrooms, give them fresh towels. Once I get some more seniority, I’ll be asked to do other stuff — stuff like grooming, changing dressings, feeding. Then I’m sure I’ll get to know more names.
Until then, I only know the ones whose death is so inevitable I can smell it. I mean that quite literally. Ever heard those stories of cats in old folks homes who consistently choose to lie next to patients who then die two days later? Whatever those cats have, I have too.
In fact, I want to do exactly what they do — go in and lie next to the poor souls, curl up against their frail bodies, and purr. I want to lull them into dreams of better times, transport them to a cherished memory — a seaside vacation, a backyard barbecue, or a cozy winter evening by a fireplace.
I also want to bite them in the neck. I guess the cats don’t do that.