My First Resident – Creative Writing Essay
Listening to the clock ticking on the wall, I started to feel the burgeoning uneasiness. Over the quiet but melodious play of the strings in the cafeteria, cackling giggles of janitors, prattling chats of
nurses, and chuckling laughs of doctors overlapped scenes with sweating doctors and overloaded nurses from Grey’s Anatomy. About ten minutes later, I was walking down a long and dark hallway with other volunteers and was stunned by a sudden contrast. The fastidious-looking volunteer manager parroted, “This side of the hospital is where all four of you will be volunteering,” over clattering noise of her hills. As glancing around the tranquil complex, I saw the dusty sign by the main door: Welcome to the Eagle Ridge Manor.
When I skimmed through the list of offered volunteer positions, my heart palpitated wildly. I envisioned assisting nurses with their paperwork and doctors at special occasions; however, the offered task from the hospital disappointed me deeply. Feeding. The hackneyed term did not appeal to me. But I learned that my perception was very different.
At five forty-five sharp, residents’ dinner trays were delivered to the dining room. I looked at the white board to check the appropriate resident whom volunteers were allowed to feed. My first resident was Marguerite. She was sitting erectly in her wheel chair at the very first corner of the dining table. “Marguerite,” I called her quietly as putting her tray down on the table, but she seemed not to hear me. I carefully tabbed her arm and introduced myself. She did not respond me. Suffering from Alzheimer for ten years, Marguerite had already lost the track of time, place and people. Smiling awkwardly at her, I opened up her tray. Tomato soup, roasted chicken with carrots, a raspberry yogurt, and a cup of tea were nicely sealed in scaled containers. Looking down at her tray confusingly, I started with a spoonful of her chicken meal, but she did not swallow it. Paranoid by impending mistakes, I tried to recall instructions from training sessions, but I ended up looking at a nurse with a confused look on my face.
She told me to wait. However, waiting for Marguerite was not the right answer, I thought. Puzzled by an unexpected dilemma, I began to massage her back to alleviate her tension, but she began to pour tomato soup on her dried chicken. She spilled the soup on the table and on her pants, but, suddenly, a burst of compassion emerged inside me. I could not stop her. My long journey resumed, and she seemed to forget that she was eating her dinner at every second spoon. I gently patted her arm or called her tenderly to remind her. Suddenly, I realized that I might have been one of strangers to her after all. I started talking about my day at school and promised her to take her out to the garden as soon as it stopped raining, and I was struck in awe. She smiled at me. Container after container, we started to empty her tray more quickly.
Every Monday, I still visit her. Although my manager rotated volunteers to other complexes, I reminisce the very day when I had grabbed a fragile but warm hand. She taught me how I can make others smile. She taught me how I can be a trustworthy friend in a long journey. And she taught me how to love myself.