September 9, 2021KR OnlineNonfiction

The Ward Is the World

1
The chair deserves more time since I spend so much time here. Still damp from a quick wipe, it smells of antibacterial cleanser when I sit down. The arm rests are two cushioned shelves equipped with drink holders, snack tray, and space enough for a book, laptop, or a game of Solitaire—all surfaces padded to make your stay easy and comfy. Push the recliner lever far enough and the chair becomes a bed. The nurse brings you a heated blanket.

A television swings forward from behind if you want to watch TV with a set of headphones. I’ve never watched TV in a chemo chair. I sometimes watch other people watching their TVs. I see their screens swung out in front of their drowsy faces. Game shows, sports, soap operas, cartoons in the afternoons. A man next to me works on his laptop and also watches golf on his TV, hardly different from being in his office. Who needs to lose an afternoon of golf and work in a ward?