They knew me as the night shift for my family; the nocturnal daughter who stayed up at night in order to force her mother to get a few hours of sleep.
This was the tenth floor, the top floor, the no-man's-land. The cancer ward. Oncology, for those who knew the term. Well-hidden above such popular destinations such as the maternity and intensive-care floors, it was not a floor one journeyed to randomly.Even during the daytime, it was quiet. On most of the floors of the hospital, rooms marked "Oxygen In Use" were the exception. Here, they were the rule.
Those people journeying up to the tenth floor were more likely to talk to each other, more likely to be carrying suitcases. One, a careworn blond woman toting an overnight bag, gave me a compassionate look and asked, "Who are you here for?"
"My father. You?"
"My mother. Will he go home?" she asked quietly.
"No. Will your mother?"
"I don't think so." She looked down.