These things happened today.

My mother slept with a morphine grin on her face after having her hip replaced yesterday.

I sat in the window-seat reading a stream of consciousness first-person description of the 1945 Dresden firebombing.

Miss Charmichael, the Alzheimer’s patient across the hall who doesn’t know that she had surgery or why she’s in the hospital, continued to cry, “Oh, it’s oh. Oh, it’s oh. Oh, it’s oh.” in that voice that’s somewhere between the sound of a child, an elderly person, or perhaps a cat.

Farther down the hall, Mr. Price was having his first physical therapy session and screaming with every move.

This was probably the time for me to take a little walk to the lobby for some coffee.

When I got back, people were running down the hall. Code Blue in room 515. I stood and tried to be invisible as doctors, nurses, and technicians sprinted by. A woman in street clothes stood blank-faced and crying in the hall.When I finally got by, and back into my mother’s room, the last one on the hall, she was still sleeping peacefully.

I came home tonight to spend a night in my own bed. As I was leaving the hospital, dark had just fallen on a hot and humid day. The lavender beds were freshly mulched with pine and their scent was rising. I sat on the sidewalk and put my face into them to breathe my first real air in 36 hours.