Sunday, 3 March 2019

Common Destiny

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Sitting in the waiting room at the oncology clinic with my mother always leaves me marveling at human nature.
Sick people suffering with dignity. Some in wheelchairs, walking sticks, leaning on others or trying hard to walk on their own.

Busy and not so busy helpers. Some sad looking, others distracted; yet others carrying on like everything is normal, or trying hard to pretend that wheeling a loved one at the oncology clinic is like walking down the aisle in a grocery store. Some are downright the young lady who sat right behind me. She had disappeared into her phone, while her old lady sitting on the bench next to me moaned and wept softly.
"Are you in pain, ma'am? Can I get you something?" I asked. I noticed she had called the nurse a little earlier to ask when it would be her turn to see the doctor...Those nurses.

Receptionist nurse. Busy hands. Dolled up, apologetic, warm manner.
Cashier nurse. Encased in a wood-paneled booth with a gaping opening like a mouth, out of which her hand shoots to take the money. "If you don't have enough money, you can't see the doctor!"  Unbelievably emotionless.
Vitals Nurse. Drill sergeant spitting out names of patients, forgetting it takes them a lot longer to lift themselves and all the energy they can muster to respond. I glared at her and held up my hand to stop her from calling out my mother's name for the 4th time. Really?

So I walk up to drill sergeant and ask her when the weeping lady will be seen to. "Her folder is the next one, we will call her soon." I go back and reassure the lady, wondering aloud why she is on her own.
"My daughter is behind you", she responds. I prod the young woman who lifts herself hurriedly and goes to tend to her mother. She hands her a bottle of water but doesn't soothe or touch her. The lady calms down and I turn around thinking....she wept harder when I spoke to her with compassion and showed I cared. Her daughter pretty much ignores her distress, and her tears dry up. Isn't that something?
My heart aches for sick people. hopeful one minute. hopeless the next.
But then we forget we share a common destiny.

Death's ladder is climbed by all.


  1. This post shares a deep reality. Your end phrase though comforting , "hopeful one minute. hopeless the next," shares our responsibility for the ailing people or family members we know. Thank you Rajikins.

  2. You described many different people. It must be challenging for everyone in a situation like this. For some the compassion becomes stronger, for some it is easier to withdraw and appear cold. Your heart is spacious.

  3. Wow, thank you for sharing! You described such a vulnerable, yet inevitable time for all of us. If only some of those nurses and loved ones could read this so they could view the world from your perspective.

  4. You are observant and insightful. I enjoyed reading your piece and envisioning each individual in the room.