Apr 7, 2013

These weeks

This hospital room has become our house.
They gave us a bed, a chair and two cupboards for your things.
A curtain separates us from the patient next door
and her relatives,
who crowd her space and encroach ours
speaking about daily things with loud voices.

I have to be angry at someone
so I’m angry at them.
They exaggerate about the symptoms,
wail and cry over a little fever,
pray loudly to their god
while passing around fried potatoes and
pastries from the bakery,
pace up and down in our room
With megatons of fat on their asses
a family of obese, loud, obnoxious elephants
from the village.
They talk about the crisis, their kids, gossip,
and expect me to feel sorry for them and their daughter
recovering from a surgery.

I’m angry at them, I’m furious, because they don’t understand,
they don’t respect
the severity of our situation,
the seriousness of impending death:
Their daughter WILL get better.
She WILL go home.

For us, even this hope is strained
and unpalpable.

This hospital room is a battle ground.
I have to negotiate the boundaries of our territory
with strangers,
negotiate the attention of the nurses without
pissing them off,
negotiate your confusion with your need to know what’s going on,
negotiate my feelings of anger, sadness and trauma
with the need to be ready and prepared for action.

I look at you carefully trying to discern and evaluate the situation –
I try to shun away from the big picture – DEATH – and bring
to the front of my mind the current problems and symptoms –
Furrowed brow is pain, groans is discomfort, growling stomach is impending vomit or crap,
movement of the lips is attempt at communication,
opening eyes is disturbance from noise.

Do I need to call the nurse? Do you need another painkiller injection? Is your drip almost finished? Is it time for an anti-emetic? Should I try getting you to drink a sip of water?

Sometimes I feel I am the only person who knows what you really need,
and that’s what no one can give you, but what they all know is awaiting you.
Yet no one wants to really listen. I know you can’t smile at the nurses when they ask “How are you doing, today”, with their cheery voices, because, like me, you find it a bit absurd and insulting
to ask the dying what it feels like to be dead.

I don’t even ask you about the pain or thirst or anything anymore. We don’t even talk to each other, we’ve said what we had to say and we know what we have to do. I just say:
“I’m here, and I love you. If you need me just say my name”.

My brain has been split in half, I feel lost between every inch of my body
screaming that I want you to get better,
and my logic saying you can only find peace in passing on.


This hospital room is a waiting game
in which we have no power to play to win.
we meekly play to lose,
to lose our wits, our comfort, our safety,
our sleep, our beliefs, our peace, our strength,
our dreams,
and you.

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