Meaning of Life #30

“Every nurse has learned about the five rights…” –RN Journal

The right time of day. The right medication, dose of medication. The right patient. The right to create a face. To wear a mask of gauze. To keep dwell- ing on, to keep dwelling. To mix two drugs in a syringe, with confidence. To eat dinner from a Tom’s machine. To eat Bugles. To wear Bugles as fingernails, and to cry. To spill coins, gossip, alcohol swabs. To spill blood. To crack ribs during chest compression. The right to apologize. To mop up afterwards. To caress with latex glove. To turn a body, to lift. The right to access: a locker, a narcotics drawer, or the morgue (numbers on a keypad). To stand still. To breathe and consider. To doubt: the influence of angels, of statistics. To doubt new-born babies, IV alarms, blood-hammers in the ear. To doubt yourself. Or a grainy film—a diagnosis. The right to nuzzle, to stare over, to wink and understand winks. The right to clutch someone in a custodian closet. The right to regret. To not regret. To terrify. To heave. To stumble from a room, from yourself. The right to blink. To slosh. To not listen; to not be a good listener. The right to pink pills. To nicotine gum, to nicotine. The right to form a question: am I the only one seeing this? The right to sedate. To awake. To not have the ability to awake. I said to stumble. I said to.

Sean Lovelace is on a river right now. He has a book and a beer. Other times he teaches at Ball State University. His work has appeared in Crazy Horse and Willow Springs.