Day 4

The little old lady a couple of beds over had to have surgery because she broke her hip when she fell. Today, she has to get an enema because she hasn’t pooed in the past few days, since I’ve been here to be exact. My bed is right next to the bathroom, which is convenient for me, but it’s also not soundproof. Therefore, I’m sitting here with giant headphones on listening to songs with the volume up.

When I first got here on Sunday, my neighbor in the bed right next to mine is here because of an intestinal/stomach infection. She left yesterday, but she and her family liked to talk. A lot. And late into the night. So now, I know what she does for a living (make-up counter girl at a shopping center), how old she is (27), how long she’s been with her boyfriend (6 or 7 years, they met in college), where they live (Zhongli), and much more. The only thing that separates our beds is a thin piece of cloth. Now there’s a new neighbor, a husband and a wife, and they’re very quiet.

One of the day nurses used to live in Arkansas/Oklahoma, so when she asked about my background, she knew where Vanderbilt was! I was so excited. And she speaks English pretty well, so when I’m groggy early in the morning and don’t have the mental capacity to think in Chinese, she works with me. She has been mothering me these few days, telling me to get off the computer and get more rest and also to clean up my bedside table. It’s been a few days, and already I’ve made my corner just as messy as my room.

The caretaker for the little old lady came up to me today and asked me to keep the bathroom lights on. Although the sign above the light switch says to save electricity and turn off the lights. She said that since the hospital is already an unclean place, there is a lot of 陰影 (direct translation: shadow / fig. a traumatic experience that haunts someone). Keeping the bathroom light on would make everyone feel better. Asian people and their superstitions. If I weren’t freaked out already, I definitely am now.

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