The more time I spend in hospitals the more I start encountering the ghosts of patients treated. I would guess most doctors, nurses, dietitians, etc would say they experience this phenomenon. The rooms stay the same, but daily and weekly different souls come to inhabit these rooms. It becomes their home, with me visiting THEIR space, sometimes 4 and 5 times a day. It is their ailment, attached to the body and person I visit each day that somehow lingers once they leave.
It is hard to believe that a hospital with 500 beds can have distinct rooms, but each room is like a separate house. I might spend a week visiting 89 year old Irma M in 4314: sitting by her bed, looking out her window at sunrise, standing at her door discussing her with the team as I gaze at her little 80 lb frail body. When she moves out and Will G; a 30 something with liver failure, yellow even in his eyes, and a belly so full of fluid it’s as if someone’s shoved an inner tube into his stomach, it becomes disturbing. Now when I come early in the morning to see Mr. G in 4314 I half expect Irma to poke her head around the curtain declaring some stranger is in her bed. Her spirit hovers in that room. If Mr G stays long enough, or I connect with him or with his disease, he too will leave a part of him in 4314.
You can see the strangeness- day after day, experience after experience I am collecting souls. As I walk down the hall passing 4302, 4305, 4310, I pass Betty, Vera, that guy with HIV, Ms.C, what’s her name that I put a dozen dobhoff’s down, etc, etc. It can become crowded in those rooms. I wonder if people do this in other professions? Do teachers have students that haunt their rooms from year to year? Do Business professionals have memories of clients that linger in their office? Well, with this new day, I’ll have to see who’s “moving in”, soon to permanently inherit a space in my brain.