Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 5, 1994--Donna

This entry follows the one just posted, and also appeared in "The Leap Years" (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999.)

July 5, 1994: A later memory of July 4.

The nurse said to my roommate, "Donna, try to slepp. Why don't you sleep?"

Donna replied, "Because I might die." She knew how close she was. She was tenacious of life. Though later that night, she repeatedly took off her respirator in our blackened room. I wondered if delirium or a desperate weariness overcame her. I lay in darkness, in my hospital bed, listening for the change--when her respirator was off, the rhythmic hissing would stop. Then I buzzed the nurse in alert. After several episodes, the nurse connected the respirator to Donna's face with strong tape so she could no longer remove it.

Why did I keep buzzing the nurses? Donna was suffering so much, death would have been a relief to her. I know why. I was afraid. I did not want Donna to die while I was in the room.


Blogger Laureena said...

I have put a link to this blog on my LiveJournal, your voice is caring, strong and beautiful - I want my friends to hear you as well.

Thank-you for allowing people like myself to connect with you in this way.

I bet you have heard the word 'courage' bandied about until you are ready to hang the next person who says you 'have it'...

I want your words read.

You count.

You matter.

You live in me now because I will never forget your words.


12:53 PM  

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