A woman enters the room and walks up to the desk.
The “geriatric” label weighs her down more than the human inside of her.
The woman behind the counter asks her why she is here, then tries to hide her surprise, when she confirms her date of birth.
Like many of their patients, she is here for an obstetric ultrasound appointment. And, like the other women behind her, she too is filled with gas, hormones and fear.
But unlike the others, she is creating a miracle out of her years. Her artwork is not a rash short story, scratched onto a crumpled piece of paper in a high school locker room.
Not a short, yet passionate poem, etched out in a brief heated affair.
Not a storybook, given to her at Christmas, after a loving family gathering.
Hers is not a pamphlet, picked up during an overseas adventure.
This woman uses her years, her wisdom, her supposed disadvantage, to purposefully craft a novel. One filled with detailed plans that she has formed and held onto, while she waited for her moment.
Now that the time is here, she is just as deserving, but much more talented than the others in the room.
She smiles to herself and holds her hands to her stomach, holding the pages together. It is too early to read the words, but the sonographer will try. This one will work. This time, baby will make it to press.
Working in an imaging department at a public hospital, I am constantly around newborns and pregnant women. Although we do our best to not judge, there are discussions about people in their late teens and early twenties “doing it right biologically” and comments of surprise when older women present to the department. I wrote this piece after an unusual run of older people, in their forties and one in her fifties. I want to remind myself and my colleagues that every patient is just as deserving of care and respect, irrespective of their date of birth. – Sarah Hickey
Sarah Hickey, BHSc (Paramedicine), is an Administration Officer in Medical Imaging (Ultrasound, X-Ray and CT) in the ACT