Thursday, May 28, 2009
Well, waiting for another full moon. The next blue moon is in December. It is said a blue moon month is a time of obtaining goals we have set for ourselves. I wonder if in December I will write how proud Iam of reaching mine, or how I am not surprised that I missed the target yet again. My current reading pleasure is Alice Hoffman's, The Third Angel. There is a chapter where Allie's fiance dies in the hospital of cancer. Reading it took me back to when I was 16, or 17, and working in a nursing home. I had to work to help pay the bills at home. I was stuck in the mud of memories of a patient I took care of named Jim. He was much younger than the average patient there - he was not there because he was elderly - but because he had cancer. He was the sweetest man. All we could do was try to make him comfortable. His wife would visit on weekends in the begining, then she stopped coming all together. I heard they divorced. I wondered if it was because he did not want her to see him sick. I know now, sick or not, nothing could keep me from trying to help my husband. The day's passed quickly for me, as a teenager, but I'm sure dragged with agony for Jim. His final days were hazed with a very strong medication known as a "Brompkins Cocktail". Another girl who worked there named CC liked taking care of Jim, he was her "favorite patient". We all had our favorites. When the illness took it's final grasp on Jim, it was CC and I at his bedside. I helped her, turning him, changing the sheets, etc. She asked the nurse on duty if he could have his "cocktail". I remember the nurse called us in the hall and said, "you know he's pretty bad, the med now might just do him in". Brave CC said, "I know - but he's hurting". So, he got his medicine, and we finished bathing him, and changing his bed. His breathing grew labored - they taught us it was called "Chain - Stokes" breathing. I felt fear and panic rolling up inside me. CC wasn't that much older than me, how did she stay so 'together' ? Finally, CC looked at Jim and said "I love you", almost in a wisper, and with tears in her eyes. Jim barely mouthed the words, "I love.." back, then he fumbled, and grasped for breath - and just smiled. Brave CC. There was no family there with Jim. No siblings, wife, or X-wife, no kids, no friends, nobody. My head was screaming, "Jim should not die alone". He wasn't really alone, Brave CC, and confused and paniced Susan in the room with him. He was not really alone, but, thats not the way he should have died. He was a good person, and I couldn't imagine there wasn't someone in the world who would have wanted to be there to wish him well on his journey. I was numb for several days after Jim died. Too much death in nursing homes. Too much death for a 17 year old, who was wishing she could have stayed in high school and gone to the prom.