I write this sitting on a worn red leather chair (that’s rather uncomfortable), next to a sleeping Tahlita. She is not well and has been admitted to hospital for some IV fluids. She’ll be fine though, I’m sure.
It is now 22:00, and apart from a beam of light slithering from under the bathroom door, the ward is in darkness. As I contemplate a long night of not getting much rest, and being disturbed by Tahlita’s hourly temperature checks, I take a few minutes to zoom out and observe.
There are several beds in this cubicle…the mom across from us has curled up next to her toddler in an attempt to find comfort. She is evidently asleep. The volume and character of the snoring coming from that corner is something that I’ve never experienced before. She sounds like a werewolf – a loud one. Next to her is a little boy being entertained by a musical book. It only has one jingle… “Old MacDonald…” However, he keeps hitting the music button, and the repetition of the first few words is becoming painful. “Old MacDonald had a…Old Mac Donald had…Old Mac…” This has been going on for about fifteen minutes already. As I pray that the battery would finally die, I’m concerned that the persistent words of this rhyme will be burnt in my mind for me to experience all night. The baby across from him is having his dressing changed. I’m sure that the entire hospital can hear is protest – poor boy, he’s obviously scared. The last little man in the bed next to us is tired and frustrated by not being able to fall asleep. The noise levels are beyond unpleasant, and consequently, he is adding to this melancholic orchestra. Sounds from other cubicles compete with the din from ours…medical machines beeping, nursing bells are ringing and babies are wailing.
And here next to me, is my little girl, her peaceful face framed by golden curls, soundly asleep. She is comforted and caressed by silence. As I sip my milky tea, I have a refreshed appreciation for deaf gain.