See-Saw Between Life And Death

I hear the door to my room open and the slight squeak of rubber soles on the linoleum as one of the nurses crosses the floor.  The sound of the curtains being open corresponds to the flood of sun light in my room.  My eyes dilate from the sudden whiteness and then adjust themselves.  “How are we this morning?”  Oh god, it’s the chatty one.  I know she means well but chipperness is an anathema to me right now.  I prefer ‘mom’ in the mornings.  The one with the kind face that knows all her children’s foibles and laughs them off.  She who corrects without a cross word.  Just like “Leave It To Beaver’s” mom.  “How did we sleep last night, dear?”  With my eyes closed, you know, about the only part of me that I can move.  What about you, you old cow?  I’m not even sure I could flare my nostrils in anger or sexual provocation, a lot of good that would do me right now.  Good god, I can’t even take my anger out on her, let alone anyone else.  So come on, already, prop my bed up, I want to at least look at the wall.  Good, good, that’s the way.  Now if you’ll be so kind to face me towards the window maybe I’ll see a bird fly past my window today.

There’s another set of squeaky shoes on the floor.  “Nancy, we always face him towards the window.  The doctors think it helps in his recovery.”  Mom, mom, you’re here.  Thank god for small favors.  Thank you, I can see out the window now.  Wish I could have some bacon and eggs for breakfast.  Just once I’d love to smell the aroma of real food.  I know, mom, I should be grateful that I get a bag of stuff pumped into my arm every day.  Is the story lady coming today?  Any chance of hearing some good music today?  Huh, mom, huh?  No, that’ll be too much to hope for, too much.

Ah, more footsteps behind me.  Must be the doctors.  Yes it is.  I hate this mauling I get from them.  that’s right, poke me with your pins, can’t feel a thing.  “You see Dr Carmichael we get no response that we can measure.  There’s still time, he came out of the coma five days ago..  Yes, yes Dr James, there may be hope but I have grave doubts.  The stroke was massive and unfortunately the blood clots from the aneurysm only made matters worse.  I think he would be better off in a hospice.  From the looks of it I doubt he’ll know the difference.”  “Perhaps your right, doctor.”  I heard the two of them walk out together.  Both mom and the chatty one, Nancy, left with them.  At least I can see out the window.  I tried as hard as I could to stay awake but in the afternoon I fell asleep and when I woke next the sun was about to disappear from the horizon.  Thinking is all I can do and it really hard work.

So I’ve come out of a coma.  Wonder how long I was under?  How long did it last?  I wish I had some feeling somewhere.  I’d settle for athlete’s feet.  The evening shift will be coming in to check on me and move me back facing the wall.  Often they treat me as some dead animal you’re not suppose to touch.  I used to hear them as I was drifting in and out of my coma.  Funny, until that doctor said I was in a coma I just thought I was asleep and waking in starts and fits.  I’d catch bits of conversation and wonder what it all meant.  Here come that obese nurse.  She lowers my bed and turns off the light without say a word.  Good thing she doesn’t think I’m a sack of potatoes, she just might eat me.  God, it’s dark and I’m wide awake.  I don’t know how much more i can take of this place.

The sound of footsteps and the flash of light in the room.  I think it’s the angel, you know, the beautiful blonde.  I remember seeing her very often, I think even when I was in a coma.  Yes, it’s her.  “Hello Jack, are you comfortable tonight?  Let me fluff your pillow.  That’s right, everything is going to be all right.  I’ll be bye later.  sweet dreams Jack.”  I wish I knew her name.  she’s the only one who talks to me.

The sound of many shoes, what’s going on?  The light to the room is on.  Now I see two men hovering over me.  What’s going on?  the ceiling is changing, I must be moving.  Sometimes I can see faces off to the side, we just passed another one.  No, No, someone just put a cloth over my head.  I can’t see, don’t you understand?  I can’t see.  It’s all I have.  I know I am going somewhere but I just don’t know where.  I can hear voices but nothing makes sense.  Now the cloth is lifted off my head.  I can see again.  I hear footsteps on the floor but I’ve no idea where I am.  The color of the ceiling is different, and lower too.  Is this that hospice the doctors were talking about?

Seems like hours since I’ve heard or seen anyone.  Just lying here flat on my back, so bored.  How can I survive this ordeal?  Ah, footsteps, sounds like several people.  “Just reading over the notes here.  He’s had a very bad stroke with severe complications.  Look here, his eyes move but that’s all.  He may be a vegetable for all we know.”  Silence, how ominous.  I see the opinion that there’s no hope of recovery.  Looks like we’ve got a dead weight hear.  Poor guy might be better off dead.”  Better off dead?  What are you saying?  Better off dead?  So what, you going to kill me off tonight, is that it?  Why am I starting to feel fear?


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