by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|To not be hurting, that was the thing. Anticipation gets down to the small stuff when that is all you have left. What I had was the blank white walls of a hospital room with a never ending supply of jello.
It gets so time becomes a mindless form of humming music humming idle thoughts singing between the ears. Concentration becomes not moving to make the hurt worse. The body is a prison you can’t escape from.
They took my roommate out during one of my fitful nightmares. Cancer, they said. I wasn’t lonely. I had me and my pain to keep me company. You breathe in and out, lungs made intimate bellows with the help of the respirator.
Everyone talks in whispers when you are near death. Doctors, nurses and aides turn you into an object without ears while they discuss your fate. Jello is canceled. You are put on the needle for nourishment. The drip of liquid pain killer, your new best friend, lies. It doesn’t work.
Hope is a distant thing. It is a spot in the ceiling you look at. Space suited nursing staff take care of your personal needs. The double shifts turn them into robots running on exhausted routine. There are not enough ventilators to go around. A new roomie shares the one with you.
There is a TV out in the nursing station. Kept on loud to help staff wake up. News is all about the dead piled like cordwood. Mortuaries are doing brisk business. Everyone else is stuck home, jobless, wondering when they’ll be kicked out for not making monthly payments.
Hope is more tiny still. I have a roof overhead. It is a miracle I am still hanging on.
There is a new policy. Only those likely to survive will receive treatment. I lose my ventilator privileges. I’m shuttled on a gurney into a waiting area. Last rites are offered. I answer with tears in my eyes and a shake of the head. All I want is to be left alone, feel the pain of my bed sores keeping me alive.
There are not enough body sacks. Thick black plastic industrial garbage bags are used instead. They wheel the bodies to the exit door. No-one else is allowed outside. Space suited figures on the other side transfer each corpse into the back of a freezer container. It is more than half full.
I can see it. I’m going fast. I think I am next. When there is nothing left to anticipate but one’s last breath, you hang on as long as you can, trapped in an inescapable jail.