Field Notes from Sequoia Hospital

Being in the hospital is strange because every day is the same – while so different from my real life – in pace and flavor. The lights in the hall, outside my room, are on – at the same level – all all day and all night. There are a variety of beeping sounds at all times; there are a variety of nurses, a surprisingly high number of whom are Filipino, walking quickly to and fro; and a variety of old people, with and without walkers, slowly shuffling along.

I am in the Cardiac Surveillance Unit because my hemoglobin count is low which is a potential heart problem. But then – with a cow valve – everything is a potential heart problem. Outside, it is bright and clear: in the low 60s during the day and in the low 40s at night; inside the weather is just the gentle A/C flow. Outside, Egypt is falling apart, or falling together, or – hopefully not – just convulsing to, once again, fall back into what passes for normalcy in the dictatorships we call our Arab friends.

Inside there seems to be no Superbowl. Inside, there seems to be no live TV although every room has one. Inside Becky – from Uganda – comes by to cheerfully wake me to check my blood. Outside the world goes its Darwinian way while – inside – I am in a bubble of privilege.

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