(A vignette inspired by my friend, Dennis C Benson)
For two days in the hospital, Suzanne was lucid, verbal, and very aware.
During this time, she had a way of making me laugh.
She spent her whole life “reading” people.
She was better at it than anyone I ever met.
And she never stopped.
The ICU was set up so that each patient’s private room could be seen from the nurse’s station. So, from a propped up sitting position on her bed she could see the entire nurse’s station and directly into two other rooms across the hall and the entrances to three other rooms. Whenever I would come in to her room, she had to tell me what was going on in the lives of the nurses, staff, patients, and visitors.
She had stories for each person she saw.
“That blond is having big trouble at home.”
“The little brown-haired one had a big argument with the boss a while ago.”
“That guy is a visitor – I think it’s his mother – but, he is restless. He can’t sit still. He has to walk around every five minutes.”
Her comments were non-stop.
I would laugh as she talked.
“How do you know this? How can you possibly know?” She would say, “well, they’re talking about things. Just listen.”
I listen. I hear cacophony – discombobulated voices – noise. I cannot discern any individual voices.
I say, “I am listening. I hear nothing.”
She says, “You just don’t listen the way I do.”
I said, “THAT is so true. That is so true. No one listens the way you do.”
And I laughed . .