I woke up to the familiar sounds of an IV and vitals machine, but the walls were different. It was my fourth time in the hospital. The infection came out of nowhere-once again.
I could tell I was on the ground floor because of the trees outside my window. I didn’t know it at the time, but those trees would be burned into my memory so clearly. On days when it snows here in Colorado, I often have flashbacks of the snow falling on those trees.
They told me the hospital was full on the regular floors. I was the sickest outside of ICU, so they had moved me to the cancer ward.
The room was bigger than I was used to with tasteful wallpaper and paint. It had a serene feel. Serene for a hospital cancer ward, anyway.
The nurses were different there. They were less scurried and more present. Present enough for one of them to hold my hand when I fell apart and cried. It felt like the illness was a constant roadblock that kept me from moving forward with my life.
I was wrong. The illness would be THE thing that would give me an actual life.
The first night fell and I was alone. It was 11:20 pm when I heard it for the first time. It started as a muffled cry, then suddenly a shout. Then a wave of uncontrollable sobbing. It was from a woman down the ward.