Monday, February 25, 2019


When my alarm went off this morning, I didn't want to get out of bed. Not because I'm a person who struggles with mornings--I don't. And not because I still felt super sleepy--I didn't. Mostly, it just felt super comfortable. And safe. And just. . . peaceful.

Yeah. That.

I hit the snooze button, stilled myself, and just listened. I could hear the tinkle of Willow's collar and his feet padding the floor while exiting Zack's room. Then I heard the plop of his body settling to the floor outside of my door. A few dry coughs came from the direction of Isaiah's room. And Harry's rhythmic breaths added to my ambient morning music. It all felt so good.

It did.

And this? I'm learning that this is not a tiny mercy. It's a big one. Just having a bed that you can lay down on that you either look forward to getting into or that you feel reluctant to leave? Man. This week reminded me what a huge deal that is.

Like on this day:

Me: "You're looking so much better, sir. You're off of oxygen and walking to the bathroom and back by yourself. And your fevers have gone away. I think we can let you go today."
Him: "I don't feel all the way better, Miss Manning. I prefer for you to just go on and hold me until I'm back to a hundred percent."
Me: "I'd sure love to do that. But it's a lot better for you to just finish recuperating at home away from all the beeping sounds and people waking you up." *trying to laugh*
Him: "That don't bother me. I'd just rather stay a few more days."
Me: "So, we do have to go ahead and discharge you today now that your body is strong enough to finish getting better at home. But how about we send a home health nurse there to see about you?"
Him: *looking visibly distressed*
Me: "You okay?"
Him: *tearful* "No. I just really, really want to keep getting better here."


Me: "Remind me of where you live again?"
Him: "With my daughter. And her family for now."
Me: "Okay. I say when you get back there, you just slide on under the covers and keep on resting when you get home. We'll get you the prescriptions and get you all set, okay?"


Me: *trying to look positive* "Okay?"
Him: *now tearful and frustrated* "First of all, I stay on a COUCH not in a room. And it's just . .just . . .just CHAOS all 'round there! Kids in and out, teenagers. People walking all around and smoking and cussing and talking all loud. TV on all hours of the day and folk letting me know I'm in they way. Like, 'Naw, we don't want it so comfortable that you don't get up outta here.' And I don't blame 'em."
Me: *silence*
Him: "I know you can't hold me past what you s'posed to. But I wish SO bad I had some place that just feel good, you know? Where I can just get in my bed and like it there. And get all the way better. But I ain't got that."
Me: *tiny whisper* "Man."

After that I asked him to tell me what he meant by "CHAOS" and he did. And nothing about it sounded pleasant or like a good set up for a brother that's trying to convalesce after dealing with some real serious health stuff. It sucked.

And this? This situation of unstable housing and "staying with somebody for a while" because of lost jobs or disability or strongholds? Man. This is way more common than I wish it was. Way, way more. That patient gave it a good name: "Homeless-ish."

Wish I could say there was a plan B for me to offer my homeless-ish friend that day. There wasn't. At least, not a fast or immediate one. And because I was keenly aware of the large numbers of sick patients down in the ER waiting for beds on the hospital ward, the chaotic couch would have to do.


So this morning before the snooze went off again, I prayed for him to find some pocket of solace in the next few days. Prayed that someone in that house would choose to speak in their inside voice or skip the loud TV or insist that everyone tiptoe and close the doors softly. That somebody would lightly place a comforter over his body and bring out a pillow and ask if he's okay. I prayed that until I could see it. I did.

After that, I gave gratitude for tiny coughs, jingling dog collars, low pitched hums of sleeping husbands, goose down comforters, alarms with snooze buttons and just. . . peace. Because somebody somewhere would give anything for it, man. This I know for sure.

Praying friends? And my non-praying friends, too. . . . remember my homeless patients, okay? And my homeless-ish ones, too. Thanks.

That's all.


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