Essay from Michael Robinson

The Wall

Michael Robinson (right) and fellow contributor Joan Beebe

Sitting at the nurses station watching as time passes with no where to go. Sitting there watching as the nurses passes out medications to others then me. Pills after pills and blood pressure monitors inflating and deflating with a ding to tell them your pressure is high and then there’s more pills for that. Watching other patients crying and calling for their mothers as themselves are grandmothers and great grandmothers. Reaching in the air as if something is there for some. Quietly they sit hour after hour while trying to communicate to someone to touch someone to know that they are still a part of the world. Others, sit in their wheelchairs moving along the railing slowly they move down the hall. One foot in front of the other they too are watching as others with different physical limitations. Some have had strokes while others their bodies are just tired after a life of many years. In their 70s, 80s, and some as old as 100 years old. Looking not in the air they are moving towards something. Something that inspires them to keep going no matter what the outward conditions or the frailness of their bodies.

I also sit at the wall waiting and watching listening to the blood pressure monitor beep on my arm. swallowing pill after pill while thinking what makes me continue a sometimes difficult life. A life of suicidal thoughts that have long been forgot. A life with disappointments and turmoil and that too has been forgot. All that seems to be left is the wall at the nurses station. Still, there’s something unique about the wall. It as if nothing is taken for granted nothing is what it seems to be as patient after patient deal with their own reality of life. A life that has come to them sitting at the wall or walking with walkers or wheelchairs as the gasp the railings with one foot in foot of the other. Life has come to feel like it has a different meaning. Time seems to move moment by moment. Each moment is not taken for granted. Life is something to be continued as something to be understood not avoided. Avoided like I have done for 60 years sitting there looking into the air gasping at life.

Life now have meaning some kind of purpose sitting at the wall moving down the hall in the wheelchair or walker. God seems to be in the midst of it all. Seeing something that is not seen by the physical eye. The body isn’t the reality of life or the finality. There seems to be something that allows one to continue in this situation. Wearing briefs, being struck in a wheelchair for long hours of the day gasping at the air and calling for mother. Time seems to mean something to not be avoided. Death is near but somehow life seems to be more meaningful. There’s an understanding of life sitting at the wall. One does not complain about life unfairness only that they are in the wheel chair trying to stand and being told not too so for hour after hour with nothing to do but gasp at the air for something. Life has a different meaning sitting at the wall not being able to communicate the use to be no matter what it was good, bad, difficult, or tragic.  to life that one does not seem to understand in their younger years of complaining about the unfairness of life. No voice can be heard from many of the patients, while other patients cry and mumble in an a useless attempt to communicate.

God what has been my purpose? I have to ask sitting at the wall. Finally, I feel that I understand life and there’s a feeling of resolve about it all. A resolve for the minutes that turned into hours and hours in days and days into months and finally  into years. Before you know it you sitting at the wall at the nurses station crying calling for mother and wearing briefs and being feed by someone. Perhaps, it’s not age that have brought to this place. Maybe it was a mini stroke like the one I had. My ability to feed myself and clean myself returned; however, I have no promise that I too will have to sit and watch minutes turn into hours. Hoping and wishing for the clock to slow down unlike in my younger years when I wanted the day to end. Now sitting here I have all the time in the world and nothing to do but watch the nurses and other patients gasp at the air waiting for my turn to gasp at something that isn’t there.