THE VIGIL |
April 25, 2007
Name: RN Clara Hart
Posting date: 4/25/07
Stationed in: a military hospital
I must have passed him a dozen times in the hallway. A handsome but tired-looking man, dark hair, although more gray than black, casually dressed. Never too far from the ICU doors or the ICU waiting room. Always standing by the windows, notebook lying on the windowsill, writing notes or talking on his cell phone. As I strode past I'd hear snippets of his conversations:
"He's doing okay."
"He's had some setbacks today."
"Hello beautiful, I needed to hear your voice and get a bit of encouragement."
"Either my daughter or I try to send out a daily email telling everyone how he is."
"We're not sure what will happen now."
He must have a family member in the ICU, probably injured in OIF, I deduced. This man who kept vigil at the windows was always there. If I came to work at 0630 I saw him, when I went to lunch at 1400, he stood guard at his makeshift post, and when I left for the day at 1930, he remained behind keeping watch.
Yesterday as I walked past yet again, I heard him start another of his phone conversations. "Oh...I'm sorry...you haven't heard...Today is day 18 at the hospital. My Marine son is in the ICU after being injured in Iraq. It hasn't been easy...It's been touch and go. Hell, it's still touch and go. He's had some setbacks, but we're hopeful."
Today as I turned the corner, heading to the locker room, the man at the window was gone. So used to seeing him, I glanced around the hallway, in the ICU doors, and the small alcove of the ICU waiting room, all to no avail. He was not there. As I changed my clothes and gathered my things I sent a prayer heaven bound for the man at the window and his Marine son.
Leaving the locker room I turned the corner to head to the parking garage. As I did, I saw him come out of the ICU, notebook in hand, and head over to the windows, dialing his cell phone, his vigil continuing.