White petals flutter from the tree beyond my chair. It’s a breezy spring day, the kind that makes me a little overconfident in Iowa weather; I leave my jacket at home. Uncovered, bruises snake across my right forearm, browns and yellows and purples forming a winding web.
Here, the nurses transition effortlessly, alarmingly, between joking about veins and recapping an autopsy. It is an unsettling dichotomy, one that reminds me that getting better is a painful, messy process.Patients stare each time I walk among the rows of chairs; I pick a burnt red one this week, switching from last week’s pea-green wannabe recliner. The chair is sturdy, almost stately. My legs dangle. My tapping toes absentmindedly interrupt the snap-snap of rubber gloves. Fragility feels magnified in this chair, like there’s space I desperately want to fill.
I drape my sweater across my lap, shrouding the upholstery. I hate the burnt-red color.
First it is the drugs that hit me — then the stillness. I roll to the restroom, a reminder that I am bound to something. Bound to the IV. To the quiet. To the stillness. To the needle in my arm. I am bound to my body, and I have to be kind to it.