Mi corazón esta con mi gente, my heart is with my people

My heart is with my people as I await my procedure.

I await my procedure, Mi Gente. I await it this overcast Sunday morning, surrounded by the bells of the Churches, by my Angels, and the people whom I love. Yeah, I ended up in the hospital the other night. Which one….does not matter. I know people here, Mi Gente is here, and I make friends kinda easy, too.

I just got the word about a lady, who comes into the area, every Saturday, to sell her homemade tamalitos. I know where she will be next Saturday, she and her esposo. And I plan to be there, too.

I am going to get my tamalito de rajas, my fave. Maybe I’ll carry the travel coffee deal my sister gave us. Too cool for school. And I’ll bring my “whatta chair” and hang out in the area, under the beautiful trees, and see mis amigos e amigas.

Today, I met a lady, a wonderful, noble lady, with an amazing background. A tremendous past and future. She probably does not know she was talking to Lupe, the one with the big ears and eyes. And that she is indelibly etched in mi corazon, y mi alma.

This lady, she of the noble and brave eyes, straight eyes–right into my heart–she was cleaning my floor. “Negrita de mis pesares, ojos de papel volando…”* We spoke, a really good and heartfelt chat. She told me all about herself. She comes from the same place in Mexico, where my parents were born. Gomez Palacio, Durango. Los Laguneros, they call themselves. Oh, my Papi was so proud of La Laguna. But, I hear the water is gone from there, now. In my mind’s eye, and in the words and stories of Mi Papito, the waters are cool, and refreshing, and soothing to the heart and the soul.

As she worked on my room, early, early this morning–finishing the work that someone abandoned yesterday, she answered my nosy questions. ¿Donde? ¿Cuando? ¿Como? ¿Por que? ¿Y como sigue…? She told me so much about herself. But, even more than that, Mi Gente. She told me about ME. About where I am from, about my past. And my future.

And then there is my bruja day nurse. Yeah, the one that I had to ask, “Can you look up at me? I do not know the color of your eyes. You have been in here so many times. Look up from your paper.” Her eyes are brown. Like mine. But her eyes are not used to see. To look at the people for whom she cares. For whom she is supposed to care.

My introduction to her occurred earlier this morning. Her voice like a foghorn, only it was not steering her toward the light. This woman was already stuck on the rocks, her boat had already strayed from it’s true course.

“No! YOU are Gonzaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Right? Guadalupe…………………” I heard my vecina in the other room, “No, I am…….” The nurse thought, assumed incorrectly, that the woman was confused. The nurse was trying to tell the patient she was wrong. Not who she claimed to be. She was Lupe.

I called out from my room: “I am OVER HEEEErrrrrrrrrEEEEEEEEEEEE.” The war of the names continued. Finally, the nurse got it. But, meanwhile, the poor lady had to have a word wrassle with this woman first thing in the day. Before anything could happen. Before she could receive help. Before she could receive comfort.

That is wrong. No one should have to jump through hoops when they are hooked up to all sorts of crap, when they are not in their own bed. When they are scared, thinking of their familias, saying their prayers. That is wrong.

So, my girl came over here. And I finally told her, “Hey, look up at me. Lift your face. Look into my eyes. Stop talking at me.” She leapt into action, “Blah, blah, blah….”

“NO! Look at me. I need some meds. This is what I want.” I just wanted an over-the counter pain med, not some fancy “I’m gonna do rehab” meds. I could have had my husband bring it, if I wanted to get all 007 on her. (But I know I would never do that, And I know he would, correctly, tell me “No”. Because the hospital has to know what goes into each one of us. And, unfortunately, what comes out. They need to be in control of the situation here. And I get that.)

Yet, when this woman got all uppity and told me I was “NPO” and there was no way I was getting anything before the procedure, that is when the “bad Lupe” told her about the Protocols (a fancy name for the “rules”) of this place, and how we were allowed to be prepared for the tests, and we got to be comfortable when we needed to be, and how we were allowed to take our meds with two sips of water.

“Oh, Nooooooo. I must call your doctor. ” Hijole, I thought. And I told her to call anyone of them NOW. And that is when my doctor swung around the corner, coffee cup in hand. Lookin’ all suave and Sunday morning. His dimples sharp and the crease in his pants looking like they could cut an envelope.

“Oh, Doctor…”, the nurse began to tell him how I was acting all up in her aura and actually asking for help in here. He told her to get the meds. She walked away, saying, “You must write ‘THE ORDER'”… The doctor rolled his eyes, the eyes that I always thought to be steely, but today looked at me, sadly.

We talked about our concerns. I promised him that the doc that is going to do the test will call him right after. Even though I have been promised that I will feel like I had a “couple of really nice, cool drinks.” It better be more than my diet soda. That is all I am thinkin’ ’bout, right now. Oooof. Ahhhhh.

If I cannot have my Sunday morning menudo and tortillas and cafecito, gimme the cool one. My shoulders are tense. My back hurts from the bed. Yesterday my sisters and I took a walk on the wild side and went to the waiting area in the new side of this hotel, uh, I mean…hospital. Apparently the people here went nutsy-pants and thought I had finally made my “run for the border.” They did not send out security to look for me and my posse, all mis hermanitas, looking all hot and mascara-ed out to THERE. Lipstick smooth and not running off the sides of their lips. Hair all pretty. But the people we had passed were able to identify us, Las Muchachas. Oh, yeah. Lupe and her hermanas went that-a-away.

I was shocked when one of the doctors tracked us down. Like in that story where the girl and the boy left crumbs to re-trace their steps. So I had my “exam” with that cool doctor in the waiting area, with my hermanas waiting behind me. I was Gladys K.. And they were my “Peeps”. Ah, they were with me. The doc looked at them as if they were the fashion lineup. “Hey, Doc. I saw your eyes. And it is nice you are a good guy.” My exam was a chat.

So, I must tell you–I got my meds, I got that drink of water to take them. I showed La Bruja how to pour a glass of water. I showed her in front of my doctor after she had poured me a teaspoon. “This is how you do it.” Her eyes got really big and looked at my doctor. I took my meds in front of him. Two sips. And I told the nurse, “I AM coming back in a little bit. I will finish my water then. This is how you pour someone a cup of water. Okay? You got that?”

She left, and was careful to yell a nice goodbye to the doctor. My friends out there reported he never looked back. She came in a while ago and tried to play nice with me, touching my arm. She can tell I am dangerous.

Ay. Mi Gente. Gotta go. Mi querido just walked in and I must give him lots of besitos. And he will give them back. And then I will hop onto that darn gurney and go get my test. I studied hard for it.

Ay nos vemos, Mi Gente. I will be singing, “Ojos de papel volando, ay Negrita de mis pesares, ojos de papel volando…A todos diles que si, Pero no les digas cuando, asi me dijiste a mi, por eso vivo penando…”* Let the trumpets be LOUD. I need them Loud.

I hear the wheels coming….

This story is Guadalupe Gonzalez (c) 2013 was originally published by our friends at LatinoLA.com  *”El Son de la Negra”

Photo by NCI.