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2008-12-19 - 12:14 a.m.

we're all trying just as hard as we can

my grandmother escaped from the hospital and wandered into town. she stole a visitor's coat and shoes, cut off her medical bracelet, walked past the empty nurse's station and vanished into a stairwell.

now my grandmother has to be monitored around the clock.

there is a woman sleeping in a chair at the foot of my grandmother's bed. she just finished a seven-hour shift at her other job, and now she will be here for eight hours. there is no way she can stay awake.

hospitals must recoup the money they spend on uninsured patients who receive emergency care and then cannot pay their bills. they are paying this woman seven dollars an hour, no benefits. we are paying them nearly an order of magnitude more for her service.

if her children get sick, she will bring them to the emergency room.

this is one detail among thousands. outside the window, it is snowing.

* * *

listening to: the automatic door sliding open and closed.
reading: nothing. i have such a headache.
working on: making fringed napkins. this is so meditative, just ripping threads.

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