Thursday, December 09, 2004

Cafeteria Food

Lately, because I've been too busy to pack lunches but been spending hours in the AHSL, I've been eating at the hospital cafeteria almost daily. For those of you not at the U, the College of Public Health is located in the Arizona Health Sciences Center, which is connected to the University Medical Hospital (along with the Med School, Nursing School and Pharmacy School). Incidentally, I thought I had escaped eating Aramark food after graduating from WM, but guess who the food service is at UMC?? That's right.

It's strange being an academic attached to a hospital. I've never spent so much time in a hospital before. Some of my classes are right next to patient wards--Sociobehavioral is right next to the obstetrics ward and I'm forever seeing pregnant women lumbering down the halls.

Anyways, as odd as it is having classes so up close and real to actual hospital patients, the proximity has been wonderful for people watching. And no place is better than the hospital cafeteria.

Today, as I ate my salad, I watched the people go by. The doctors with their white coats swirling around them, preoccupied expressions, rushing to gulp their food as quickly as possible. The med students, their white coats stuffed with books and notes, wearing dazed looks, dashing through the coffee line, not stopping to eat. The nurses and other scrubs-wearing staff taking their time with food, laughing together and enjoying being off their feet. The patients, wearing hospital gowns pinned behind them, dragging mobile IVs along with them. Expectant fathers, down for a cup of coffee, as their women on the eighth floor are preparing for the world's most powerful experience of birth. Family members who have relatives upstairs dying, but who push on with life because there is nothing left to do.

It's an amazing mix of energy and sadness that pulsates through this hospital. And every day, as I breeze through the hallways on my way to class, the library or the cafeteria, I am thankful for my health.

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