Okay, I'm having several issues with this piece. It's a narrative essay for my Comp class.
1.) It's only supposed to be 500 words but this is 800. I'm having trouble slimming it down without letting the important details go.
2.) My professor also wants us to maintain a constant point of view--do I do this?
3.) Are there any better words I should have used?
4.) I don't know if I followed the dialogue rules
I know it is a sad piece, but please feel free to pick it apart. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
**I know the paragraphs should be indented but I'm having trouble doing it on this site, so excuse it!
They say that hospitals have an unbearable smell to them, but the truth is, on June 30, 2009, the only thing I could smell as I was sitting in room 208 of the ICU department was nothing.
I smelled absolutely nothing.
What was masking the apparent hospital smell will never be known. Possibly, my other senses and feelings were prevailing at the time. Maybe it was the stinging of my eyes which released the salty warm tears to fall gently to the bottom of my cheeks, or the ache in my heart which seemed to antagonistically develop with each breath as I wept next to his bed. My mind was busy sorting and making sure it has each memory of him on file. I stood next to his bed, and allowed my mind to absorb every detail in his face. Lying there, he appeared so incapable with an incalculable number of tubes, yet ever so peaceful, like he had known God was coming to liberate him. I began to think back.
It was a Friday afternoon, and I had just finished my last college class of the day with nothing planned but a visit to Ottsville. I walked in the beautifully restored farmhouse which he was very proud of, and went into the living room to find him disgusted after watching a special on Michael Jackson's drug habits. He greeted me saying, "It's amazing that people will abuse their only life here on Earth. I don't know why anyone would want to take some of the tick out of their clock, and here I've been fighting for more time, for ten years."
I was snapped out of thought as the neurologist walked into the room wearing her plastic apron, mask, and gloves as her shield against the bacteria. I did not wear this ensemble. Developing an intestinal infection was the least of my worries. The neurologist's words made my knees weak and my heart heavy, and I began to drown her out with the slowing beep of his heart monitor as I was drawn in by the dropping heart rate. His heart stopped in the middle of the night.
He was brain dead.
I went outside to the hospital's garden and sat on the most secluded bench. Suddenly, I noticed that everything seemed so fake: from the two women gossiping in the garden's distant corner, to the whitened smile that the outside café waitress gave to each customer. I began to remember.
One day as my phone rang while I was babysitting, I rushed to answer it in fear that it might wake up the kids. I recalled experiencing the most meaningful phone conversation. He said, "You know life is so short, and we don't get to do this again. People seem to be so indulged with things like money and status while their time on the clock is passing. If only everyone knew how to appreciate the smaller things in life maybe..."
My thoughts came to a halt as I noticed the prettiest little bird fly down within two feet of me. It looked me straight in the eye as it jerked its head from side to side, and then took off into the clear blue sky. At that moment I instinctively rushed back inside to room 208 of ICU to find that my 52-year old father's heart stopped beating due to its strain from an infection, but he appeared to be saved and more peaceful than ever. His ten years of fighting renal cell cancer was a heroic act of strength, and he had been preparing me with some of the most important lessons of my life, as he knew there would be no "later" for him.
Maybe that unbearable hospital smell originates from the soiled linens or the sweat from the feverish patients or the vomit from the chemo patients' basins. Maybe the masking of the smell came from the pain I experienced while watching my father pass away. These people who have experienced this hospital smell may have been leaving the hospital, smelling death, but I stepped out of the hospital and into the outside world, without smelling anything. I left with the beautiful memories of my father and a set of lessons he gave me to live by, including how to live without dwelling on the little things in life, such as a hospital smell.