Empathy Galore


I visited my dad at the hospital today. He was alert and seemed to be in a good mood. He was reading in the physics book I had brought along while a soccer game was on TV in the background. Then he had some dark chocolate and I showed him what I’m working on at my job.
The man who occupies the bed next to him is about the same age as my dad. He’s weak and needs help to get up. Today he was using the toilet when I arrived, which was kind of special, because last time I was there he wasn’t allowed to. He had to do his business in bed while one of the nurses was holding some contraption to collect the fecal matter, cleaning him up afterwards.
Later the man sat in his special chair, reading the newspaper. Some elderly woman visited and talked to him. She was soft-spoken and seemed warm. When she left I could tell that the man, who before didn’t even seem to acknowledge the woman being there, was holding back tears, still turning the pages of his newspaper and pretending to read, as if he didn’t want to admit to himself how upset he was.
When you spend a lot of time at the hospital you get used to a lot of things that frighten or disturb you at first. But I don’t think I could ever get used to seeing people in pain or in fear without having to endure an unbearable amount of stress.
I guess I could never become a nurse.