Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Proper Vocalization

Even at the age of fifty, he was still her little boy.  And she tried to embrace him in a protectionist cocoon.  She could create calm and warmth in the almost cozy hospital room, but she couldn't undo the turmoil inside his body.  Her son was dying.  Indeed, of the millions of breaths that had left his mouth over half a century, his remaining expirations would be few.  The cancer had spread.  The counts dropped.  The fever mounted and the skin grew sallow.

The strength of her voice misleading for an octogenarian, her arthritic knees buckled as she ambled towards me.  Her questions were focused and deliberate.  The emotion spent on her her contorted posture, her words came out in a dead monotone.

How long does he have?
What will you give for pain?
Is there anything for anxiety?

Her questions, like afterthoughts, came slowly and painfully after prolonged pauses.  The irony of watching her adult child die was not lost on one who was old enough to inhabit the next bed over.  Many times I reached for the door, and yet was pulled back by another halting statement.

Eventually, I left the room to chart at the nursing station.  Moments later, I noticed her limping towards me. She waited patiently as I finished scribbling in the chart.  She started to speak, but then grew silent.  I could feel her needs leap like a lion from her chest in the absence of proper vocalization.  She was struggling.

You know...

I cradled her with my eyes.

I'll take care of him.

Her heart splintered and the aged blood pooled on the floor at her feet.

Yes. Yes.

She smiled feebly.

And then went back to sit with her dying son.

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