I’ve been spending time in the cancer center at Yonsei University to keep someone company. I’ve walked by it every weekday while an exchange student at Yonsei but this week was my first time going inside.
Time seems to kind of stop when you live inside the hospital. I came out after over 24 hours and felt like I had skipped a day or two in my life and I don’t feel it was just due to insufficient sleep.
We exchange snacks sometimes with the patient’s family on the other side of the partition. I could hear the small, girlish voice of the patient and tried to picture what she looked like. I saw her and was surprised at how young she looked—just a teenager. Then I was later surprised again to learn that she was more than twice the age of a teen with 3 kids herself.
The doctor came in and told them that test results showed that her condition had worsened. Her mom told her it’s okay. We share these extremely private moments but I was reserved about even glancing in her direction when she did walk by because I felt like I was intruding on her privacy.
I went for a walk around the hospital facilities and passed the children’s hospital wing where I saw many stroller and IV drip pole combinations. Then I saw someone who recently found out she may have a serious disease walk in to the main hospital building—I hesitated to say hello. I had only met her and chatted briefly once before and I didn’t know what to say.
I took a photo of a vending machine filled with handbooks on various illnesses to send to Amy and ask her if she has those at her hospital too.
Walking out of the common/TV room in the ward, I instinctively ducked as a lady pointed the remote control in my direction to change the channel. I felt ridiculous. Here I was trying to avoid whatever residual radiation there may or may not be from the television remote while people all around me were suffering from cancer.
Life is pretty ridiculous.