Sunday, October 25, 2009

pretty blue sky

St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona. Circa, 1970. It is 3:30 in the afternoon and I have finished my work shift. I go and walk down the stairwell at the back of the hospital and exit the rear door of the hospital into a large asphalt area which is a loading dock area. To my left is a large white tank that holds the liquid oxygen for the patients in the hospital. Initially, the gas flows through pipes surrounded by cooling fins or should I say “warming fins” because the purpose of the fins is to warm the oxygen before reaching the patient. The fins are perpetually coated with a thick layer of ice. The fins are hosed down daily with water to melt the ice from the fins. This day, I am in luck. The liquid oxygen supply truck is making a delivery and has what looks like a fire hose running from the tanker to the liquid oxygen tank as it pumps the liquid oxygen from the truck to the tank. I have watched this a number of times before and I know the treat that I am in store for. I stand around talking to the driver as a stalling tactic until he is finished pumping and disconnects the hose. When the pumping is completed, the hose is still full of liquid oxygen. Lots of it. Gallons and gallons of it. And when he disconnects the hose from the truck he lets the liquid oxygen pour out from the hose onto the asphalt of the parking lot. I loved watching the liquid oxygen flow from the end of the hose because it had a beautiful light blue color to it. The first time that I had watched this I had expected for the liquid oxygen to be clear. But it was this pretty shade of light blue. Interesting and fascinating. But wait, this is Phoenix, Arizona known as the Land of the Sun and it was summertime. We all know what a bright hot sun does to an asphalt parking lot. Hot, hot, hot. When the liquid oxygen hits that hot asphalt it turns into a fog. The fog would hug the ground and last because it was continually fed by fog from the remaining liquid oxygen on the ground. Even on the ground, the liquid oxygen was still blue. It was always fun to watch and for the driver I was just a gadfly during his deliveries. I always watched the show of pretty blue and spectacular white clouds of fog. And so I as I sat at the dining room table looking east out the window this morning as the dawn broke I saw how pretty the pale blue sky was just like the liquid oxygen. How nice it is that the planet earth has blue skies instead of the red skies of Mars. Blue is a prettier color. What a nice way to start the day, a pretty view of the sunrise and a pleasant memory of times past. Lew

1 comment:

seaside said...

Blue is cool and Red is hot. What interesting insight you have in the operation of a hospital. I along with millions of other persons only know the waiting room. I know the main waiting room has windows and a jigsaw puzzle and no one harding talks with anyone elso. However, I got to go to another waiting room in the back where there was no windows. People there work on jigsaw puzzles. The patients have changing rooms and then run over to the jigsaw puzzle to work it out. Patients get to know other patients. Employees get to know patients. Plus, Pink ladies know other pink ladies. The artificial air works good in hospitals, but I like the outside air better.