Entry Fifty: Save Me, Black Jesus

[A story in many parts: Part Two of Thirteen]

Who’s here? I hate when I can sense someone’s in the room but can’t see them until they creep into my way-too-narrow field of vision. It still scares me and I can’t seem to get used to it. Oh, it’s the nurse. It’s the black nurse with the big butt. I think her name is Danella. She’s always singing and I hate that. What is it about black women and singing? It’s like a constant, low-level buzz, loud enough to get my attention but too soft to pick out the tune. Not that I’d know what the song was; I doubt Danella and I listen to the same radio stations. When she’s not singing she hardly ever says anything to me outside of “good morning.” Some of the nurses give me a play by play of what they’re doing—“Now, Mr. C, I’m going to check your I.V. right now” or “I’m going to lift you up so I can change your sheet”--but she just smiles and gets it done. I like that. Maybe she’s just trying to finish up as quick as she can because she can tell I’m not real fond of black people. Nothing personal, really, just something that flows through the sap of my family tree and has for a long time. Not any different than freckles or bowed legs, it’s just who we are. The problem is, lying here has made me a bit more vulnerable than I’d like so I don’t get a lot of say in who comes in and takes care of me. There was a time I wouldn’t have let a black person touch me but Danella’s proven to be all right, at least for a black woman. I got no complaints. In fact, most of the nurses—black, white or whatever—seem to do a good job, at least by me, which is all I can vouch for. To be honest, I’m not too sure what the hell she or any of the other nurses do when they come in for their rounds. If they’re poking me or sticking me with needles I can’t tell. I quit feeling that stuff a long time ago which is really odd. Sometimes I see a washcloth and I assume they’re cleaning me up. I’ve heard them refer to it as a “bed bath” or “sponge bath” but I’m sad to report I can’t feel that either which moves way beyond odd to sad. What I’d give to feel a tingle down there again.

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

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