I couldn't help but notice the antiseptic smell and the nearly blinding white lights of the hospital as I walked down the hallway to my unit. It was as if whoever built and designed this place thought the brighter the lights the more cleanly everything would look and feel. Maybe that would ring true from the patient’s perspective. But when you actually work as a caregiver you know there probably isn’t much of anything that would make this place sterile enough. Especially with the blood, urine, feces and sputum that either gets on the floors, the linens or your own clothes from time to time.
I have a love hate relationship with the patients and the hospital. I enjoy taking care of people. Especially the people who truly need it. Its fulfilling to help those who can’t help themselves. Sometimes I wish it could be as simple as that, but that isn’t always the case. It’s draining, mentally, physically, emotionally. Mostly filled with humans who are frustrated and angry that they have to be here in the first place. But also angry and frustrated that the faeries and the elves seem to think they are so high and mighty and too good to come and help the humans with their lowly illnesses. Faeries and elves and humans may all be at peace after the war a few thousand years ago but that doesn’t mean they all get along. Don’t get me wrong some of them do but the majority of faeries and elves still think they are better than humans. Faeries and elves don’t age and get sick the way humans do. Because of this hospitals are always filled with just humans. Despite the sad, angry frustrated patients though, every now and then you’ll come across someone who can really make your day brighter. Someone who is sick and will likely not recover but still will find it in themselves to smile and laugh. Make you smile and laugh too. Those are the people I love to care for. For the last few weeks that has been Hailey.
As I was headed to her room I absentmindedly looked at all the pictures on the wall. The pictures I had seen many times before of water color flowers and waterfalls and bullshit. Anything to the make this place seem serene when it was quite the opposite. I would go as far as to say it was chaotic almost all of the damn time. Of course the patients would never know that though. As I was coming to the door of Hailey’s room I plastered a smile on my face.
“Knock, knock,” I say aloud as I cross the threshold into her room. It always makes me feel a little ridiculous but I don’t want to be walking in on someone doing something I don’t necessarily want to see. “Hailey, honey I have your medications for you.” I say sweetly. She takes one look at me and immediately snaps back.
“Well gee don’t look so sad about it,” she said sarcastically. “I think if you smiled any harder you’ll give yourself cancer.”
I give her a laugh. She looks worse today than she did the last time I saw her. Her freckles standing out more because her skin has become so pale. Almost white actually. Her lips chapped from dehydration and her hair dirty from not having been washed. She looked weak today. At least she still had the energy to give me a little smile though.
Hailey is young, only in her late teens but she is tough as nails. She came down with an illness a few months ago and no one has been able to find a cure for her. Once I heard about her I thought it would be no problem I would sneak over here and snap my fingers and use a little bit of my mystery watery healing magic and poof she would be all better. But for whatever reason it didn’t work like that for her. I have been coming every few days to try and heal her but her illness is different from others. She will be better for a few days and then she will suddenly start declining again. Like I never did anything at all. But I still do what I can to make her comfortable. Sometimes life seems so unfair. She shouldn’t be stuck here in this hospital bed wondering if she will live or die or if anyone will ever find a way to heal her from this illness. She should be out living her life and making memories.
“Maybe I am trying to give myself cancer.” I say. “Maybe then I could finally put my feet up and relax in one of those state of the art beds. Maybe even sleep a little bit, could you imagine that?” she laughs with me this time, but its short lived and her smile quickly fades into a grimace. “Having more pain today?” I ask. She just gives me the stink eye that tells me what a ridiculous question that is to ask seeing as she is almost always in pain. So I don’t wait for her to answer. “Well here take the medications I brought for you, it’ll help ease the pains you’re having today.” I give her the pills and she throws them in her mouth in a quick swoop. I turn to pick up the water from the stand and just before I hand it to her I take a breath and add a drop of healing to it. The cup lights up a shimmering blue for a moment then dims down again. I turn and hand her the water. As soon as she takes a sip I can see her cheeks flush with color again, and when she looks up at me and smiles I swear her baby blue eyes seem a little brighter.
“What do you put in that stuff anyway?” she inquires.
“What? Nothing, it’s just water to help you take your medicine down easier.” I reply a bit anxious.
“Yeah and maybe someday all us humans, faeries and elves will live together in actual harmony instead of the faux bull shit we live in now.” She says sarcastically.
I give her a nervous laugh. She is perceptive. Maybe she has started to notice my little quirks when I give her, her water every day to take her medicines down. No, I’m just being paranoid. There has never been any other being like me or my sister with abilities similar to elves and faeries but looks like humans. There is no way she suspects anything. Just stay calm it was probably just a harmless comment she made to make conversation. I lose my train of thought when I suddenly see something out of the corner of my eye that makes me stop and take a second look out of the window. As I make a double take, I notice the delicately pointed ears of a faerie male floating through the halls.
“Are you alright?” She brings my attention back, I must have been staring.
“Hm? Yes of course, just thought I saw Cleo show up for work finally.” I lie.
“I didn’t see Cleo walk by. And I definitely would have noticed her hair and obnoxious, bubbly way she says hello to everyone every single day.” She says rolling her eyes.
I shift back and forth on my feet and bite the inside of my mouth still staring out into the hall to where the faerie just turned a corner. “Well I gotta go check on other patients anyway so don’t cause too much trouble while I’m gone.” I duck out of the room before she can stop me.