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I shielded my eyes as I walked into the hospital, the stark white of the floors and walls sharply contrast with the inky blackness of the early morning sky outside the large windows. The strong smell of antiseptic washed over me and the bright fluorescent lights made the walls and floor shine so bright that it hurt my eyes. I couldn't help but squint and wait for the black spots to clear from my vision as my eyes adjusted to the brightly lit area. I walked up to the man at the reception desk, and he looked up at me tiredly. I could see the deep prominent bags under his eyes and the miserable look on his face. I cleared my throat to get his attention.

"Excuse me" I started "I'm here to see..."

The receptionist cut me off sharply. "Visiting hours don't start until 10:00 am."

"Oh! No, you don't understand..." I started again

The receptionist cut me off again "Sir, as I told you before visiting hours don't start until 10; 00 am no exceptions.

"But..." I tried again

"NO EXCEPTIONS!" He all but yelled "Come back in a few hours

I floundered weakly, for a few seconds, but then gathered my confidence. I took a deep breath and tried again. I slammed my hands down against the desk and leaned forward.

"I need to go up there now and see my husband before he dies. He was brought in for an emergency and he could die at any moment and I need to see him. I don't want his last moments to be spent alone, in a cold dark hospital room." I said in a slow cold voice. The receptionist didn't look swayed at all in fact he looked even more annoyed. I started to panic and I hoped that it didn't show on my face I stood up slowly and took another deep staying breath.

The receptionist stared back at me and said: "If another outburst like that happens again I will call security and get you thrown out of the hospital do you understand?" I nodded slowly.

"Alright," he continued " I'm sorry sir but as I said before hours do not start until 10 am no exceptions. Come back later I cannot allow you to leave this room, you can either wait here for six hours of leave and come back. Then and only then will I allow you up to see your friend.

I didn't like the way that he said that. As those words washed over me I felt a chill go down my spine. "He's my husband" I insisted "We've been married for five years, I'm the only family that he has!"