Sunday, 13 October 2013

Semi-permanent

Lying there, semi- permanent.
We've already agreed the
End of Life Care Plan.

Hours pass. You lie, unconscious.
Sunday morning, someone takes out
the drip. Who decided that? Not me.
Not you. Doctor says there's no
evidence a patient feels thirst.

Unconcious, you lie. We sit.
Waiting. For you to die.
(no-one dares ask, how long will this take?)

We pass the ipod round, look things up
on Google Earth, and pull up songs
on Youtube that we think you
might have liked.

How do you sit with the dying?
What's ok? What's not?
How loud can you really play
that bloody song before
someone says "shhhh - he'll hear you.."

Finally, finally, tonight it's agreed.
I'll stay. You all go rest. Bye,
Bye. Bye. Yes of course, anything changes, I'll call, bye, night.

No monitors now. No heart, no pulse, no nothing checked. Just you.
Lying in the bed. Not there,
still there, semi-permanent.

And then, your hand moves.
Your eyes flicker. Quietly
(so quietly) you say " thirsty".
Panic. I don't know what
you're allowed. You're dying
for god's sake.

The orderly brings water
you drink, drink more,
all night you wake and ask for
water and drink.

In the morning you have breakfast.
And I don't know if you're living
or dying. I feed you careful spoon
by spoon.  By the time the doctor
arrives, expecting you gone,
you're sitting up, managing whole
sentences.

Do you know where you've been?
You don't ask why we're all here,
across distances, by your bed.
You watch the helicopters fly in and out,
and point, and smile, and take
small pieces of chocolate in your mouth.

You slowly recover.
Everything's ok.
And six days later,
When no-one's in the room,
your eyes close again.
And this time -
       you're gone.
Semi-permanent.
That's what this life is.
      Semi-permanent.

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