I woke up in hospital. It was the morning of Monday, the tenth of May 2010. The day after I was diagnosed. The curtains were still drawn, but the room was glowing from the sunshine that was seeping in through the edges. I could hear the sound of morning rumblings coming from the open door to the left of my bed. The rumblings of moving breakfast carts, chatting nurses and ringing phones. Looking to my right, there must have been at least four, maybe six other beds in here.
The past day had been a complete blur. I remembered puffing and panting when I woke up yesterday morning. I remembered going to hospital. I remembered being told I had diabetes, and my heart sinking of guilt and self regret. And I remember Mum and Dad saying goodnight when the day was finally over. Those momentary lapses aside, I had spend the better part of yesterday asleep.
There were a lot of voices and discussions going on in the background yesterday, none of which I really had the energy to pay attention to. There were a lot of doctors and nurses that buzzed around throughout the day, and I think Mum and Dad did a lot of the talking for me. But this morning, I was feeling much better. My exhaustion was gone. My saliva and appetite was back. And I finally had the energy to get up and speak for myself. And Pina was the first person in that hospital that I could actually talk to.
Pina was so friendly as she came over and introduced herself. She thought I looked familiar, and we eventually began talking about where we might know each other from. As it turned out, we were both from Italian families. We both went to the same high school. We even lived in the same suburb. I used to love staring at lightposts, powerpoles and street signs as a kid, and she lived on a street that I could forever remember passing in the car. One of my favourite parks as a child also happened to be right behind Pina’s street.
The morning wore on, and there was some debate between Pina and her colleague over who would go to morning tea first. “You go first.” “No, you go first.” “I really don’t mind waiting, you go first.” You get the gist. By lunchtime, I was ready to be moved out of the high care ward. Pina followed me as I was wheeled to my new room. She kindly updated the nurse in my new ward, before saying goodbye. I thanked her for all her help, and she told me I was welcome to come back if I needed anything else during my stay. And that was the last time I saw her.
Would Pina be like this in front of every patient? I’d like to think so. Was I getting special treatment? Perhaps. I think in my case, it was just a refreshing change for Pina to have a young patient in that ward who made such a quick recovery. And for me, it was nice to meet a health care professional with such enthusiasm and dedication for her job, that I still remember to this very day.