I've walked past this room few times this morning on various errands while visiting someone here at the hospital. Past these two elderly men, roommates wearing matching hospital gowns, sharing a bathroom, a nurse, and a privacy curtain.
One man sits on a chair at the foot of the bed, long legs crossed, hands clasped around his knees. Bedroom slippers. His back is ramrod straight and a shock of grey hair stands at attention on his head. He is elegantly attentive. He spoke, during my first pass, about a Memorial Day service he (saw on television? attended?) found beautiful and patriotic. Flags lined the walks as far as you could see.
His roommate, sitting up on the bed with legs dangling off the edge, is wearing hospital-issue booties with nonstick soles. He is bald and a little stooped, with both hands planted firmly at his sides, using the mattress for support. As I pour a coffee at the hostess cart outside their room, he is describing how he is able to do his laundry somewhere upstairs (apartment? bathroom sink?) thus avoiding the steep stairs. He keeps things picked up and fends for himself.
This wing is a step down from critical care, monitoring patients as they recover from serious somethings or prepare for major surgery. I am enchanted by these two, who are for the moment disregarding this and chatting with civility about everyday things, creating for themselves a few dignified minutes of normalcy and comfort.