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Bedside Manner


1.2
The sun was beaming through the huge window and lay ing stripes across the white sheets
on Grace's bed. She noticed a few swirls of dust in the air as she slowly breathed in and out.
Charity tilted the blinds in the window and the stripes disappeared from the bed. “Well
sweetie, what do you want for breakfast today?” Grace quickly turned to her with the most
serious look she could muster up and replied, “Can I see a menu?”. Charity smiled as she
turned her attention to the beeping machines, and the tubes and the medic ine bottles.
Grace noticed she didn't laugh her usual belly laugh when she asked for the menu as she
had done so many times before. “Well, let's see now-” said Grace, “will it be the oatmeal, or
the oatmeal, or what about the oatmeal? You know what ma'am, I think I will just have the
oatmeal, well done, with a twist of milk and dash of sugar. And you can put it on my tab.”
Charity finally quit fighting the feeling and grinned so big her teeth showed.
“Grace, I can't feel sad at all when I am around you. I swear, will you please stop carrying
on and let me wallow in depression once in awhile. Now behave your self while I am in the
kitchen and I will tell the chef exactly what you want.” Grace slumped back in the bed and
picked up the medic ine and the glass of water that was waiting by her bedside table. “You
know life is short”, she said, “I think I will have dessert first.” Then she picked up the
rainbow assortment of pills one at a time and swallowed them like she was eating peanuts
at the ball park. “and tell the chef, I will have that oatmeal to go!”
Charity walked slowly toward the cabinet and opened the door. Sometimes she felt like
Grace in that every day was melting into the next one. At least Grace knew what day it was.
It was Sunday. But in their world time was turning into their enemy. They didn't even look at
the clock any more. There were no appointments, no parties, no special events in their lives.
They went to bed when they wanted to and they got up when they wanted to. She
wondered about how some people planned and prayed and wished for this time in their life
for years. She herself had wanted that very same thing. Now she was standing in front of
the cabinet looking for the oatmeal. “How can Grace be so cheerful?”, she sighed to herself,
as she prepared the “special of the day” for her patient.
Grace took advantage of being alone for a few minutes. She shut her eyes again and picked
up her conversation with God that she was having before she got interrupted. “God, like I
was saying before, I am so thankful for everything. I am really thankful that I knew what
day it was. I am thankful that you decorated my room with sunshine. I thank you for the life
that I have lived and for all the good things you….” “Breakfast is served, ma'am”, said
Charity as she sashayed into the room carrying the serv ing tray with the hot steaming
oatmeal and some juice. Grace opened her eyes and tried not to show the disappointment of
being interrupted again. Oh, well, she knew that God knows her thoughts, so she better be
thinking good ones. She tried to sit up and get situated so she could eat her “breakfast of
champions”, but sudden darkness overcame her and she slumped back into the bed.
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