Purgatory

Although it is definitely not one of our most favourite places in the world, life drives us in there from time to time. I am talking about hospitals, because a close friend of mine, who is actually one of my roommates, had to spend one night under the doctors’ supervision this weekend due to an unforeseen health problem; the reason seemed to be almost undetectable.

I was lucky enough to not visit this place too often in my life, but whenever I hear or read about hospitals in the public sector in my country, anything except words of pride would be said about the accommodation conditions. However, this weekend I was exposed to the Israeli hospitals, and after spending long hours in Schneider Children’s Medical Center and Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva I was pleasantly impressed by the offered facilities and the general atmosphere. This ensured me that suffering people were at least in an affectionate place, being offered the required attention and comfort.

The surroundings maybe appeared so appealing because I was not the patient, so I didn’t have the fear of the next injection at this moment. Nevertheless, I felt scared in place of my friend, while I was the one who had to wait and I just realized when we got back that this drained the energy out of me, leaving behind a shadow of all the sick people I saw. The most suggestive term I believe loyally describes the connection between this induced state of mind and the physical place is purgatory – the waiting hallway. Waiting may seem to be an inconvenience caused by administrative issues, but to me it represented the injustice sign of too many people deprived of the joy of health.

For a couple of hours I was trapped in a special section of the hospital, where life not only ends or continues, but also begins. Therefore, the contrast of my purgatory was even more emphasized because there it was, a meeting point: the parade of mothers with their newly born or not-yet-born and the slow steps of the women whose breaths of life were tortured by disease. This image remained so powerful in my mind. I saw the wizened one who knew she was never going to become a mother, peeping at the women walking out of the door to their happy fairy-tales, holding their fragile baby bumps that the doctors managed to save, while instead of living the same scenario, she was given bad news. I saw the eyes of the woman: one lighting a soft smile, the other giving up, letting the tear of eternal grief fall on her pale feeble cheek.

Hospitals can be delusive places and this weekend the emergency room became to me the proof of how unpredictable life can be. Living life to the fullest may not always be the cheesy line we hear so often, but a valuable piece of advice, when seriously considered. The chance of reconsidering it was given to me while sitting in the un-breathable vacuum of a waiting room, worrying for my friend’s life. I encourage you to think about it too.

Written by Raluca Ciubotariu

Edited by Hannah Cook

Copy edited by Eng Sou Ea

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