The vast lobby of Big City Memorial Hospital bustles in the early fall afternoon. The revolving glass doors let sunlight and visitors in, while keeping the fall chill outside. The atrium soars three stories above; the hospital designers seem to have placed a roof over the space between two buildings, and then decided, “Hey, this would be a good place for a lobby!”
A hundred people pass to and fro within my field of view; doctors in white coats, nurses and technicians in hospital scrubs, maintenance people in green uniforms, one or two uniformed security guards, dozens of patients and visitors in all types of dress. They swarm up and down the stairs and escalators; they wait patiently at the elevator bank. A huge insect colony in motion, each member with a purpose, part of the whole.
Fifty feet away, behind two walls, my patient clings to life in her own cell of the giant hive.
I stand to one side, safely at the edge of the stream of humanity, the only one with patches on his shoulders. As life flows past, a harpist whom I had overlooked begins to play ‘Amazing Grace.’
Life goes on, and so must I.