There were many arrivals at the hospital that day.

Her body was small and thin, it seemed fragile but it was rock hard, always angry. She tended not to speak, only short phrases, giving orders. When she didn’t get her way, she would get upset and rage. I noticed there was sadness and frustration in her ways.

Our first encounter was like this: Don’t you know how I want things done? she said. To which I answered:

-It’s normal. We don’t know each other and I’m here to help you if you’ll let me, but I don’t care for whims much because they are not part of my job.

Bad start for the both of us, although the second day and the following she lowered her guard with me until reaching that complicity without words, in which I discovered a beautiful smile but filled with sadness.

One morning I went up to her, and angry as usual, she said her friend hadn’t visited her in a couple days. That her hair had grown and you could start to see grey hair. That she was and looked horrible. I suggested that she called her, but her pride got in the way. She asked me to help her without words, and I found myself involved in the mess, undoing the little braids on her african hair with her help. When we finished untangling it, I said her hair looked like cotton candy, even though I was sure I wouldn’t like the flavor because it wasn’t pink.

That comment made her laugh and I joined her. The nurse came in mentioning something that he needed to do to her, and when he saw us (me applying dye on her head and her with a happy face), he got upset because it delayed his job; to which I said that we had just started, and in any case, it was two of us with delay. I looked at her, and I don’t know what face I made that made her laugh even more.

She came in and out of the hospital like it was her second home. She came alone, just like she felt. One afternoon she asked if I would have time to talk before my shift ended. She insisted that if I had to go, it didn’t matter, that we could talk another day. But I couldn’t miss the opportunity of knowing where all the anger came from, in case I could help her.

Carmen Rosa Rivero

Carmen Rosa Rivero

Carmen Rosa is a Reiki Master and a Nursing Assistant, with 11 years of experience in the Palliative Care Department of the Dr. Negrin University Hospital.

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