Both Debbie and I were born here. After that, it was all downhill for both of our extended families: I spent a good chunk of my childhood here, my late father's litany of illnesses played out here over 12 deteriorating years, and now this, another chapter to add to a book that already contains too many.
Our kids are old pros at this by now. They know what questions to ask, how to behave, even how to say just the right thing to brighten up an otherwise gloomy hospital room. Like most kids, they've learned, conceptually, that life often is not fair. But here, over the course of years of coming here - Dahlia's first trip here was 10 days after she was born, just before my father's first bout of heart surgery - they've been able to see first-hand what unfairness looks and feels like. They get it, and this is one lesson I wish could have waited just a little longer to be learned.
I've long struggled with how best to record this journey, this place that's now colored three generations of our extended family. On this day, all I had was my iPad to capture the uniquely depressing tone of this darkly lit rabbit warren masquerading as an ER. In the end, it was all I needed.
I'll have more reflections from the hospital in a future entry. For now, suffice to say it's a place I hope we won't see anytime soon, but fear my hoping so won't be enough to keep us away. Life seems to have its own script, after all, and we're not always in full control of the pen.
Your turn: Do you have a hospital memory? Why do you suppose these places hold as much influence over us as they do?