Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A smile is a beautiful thing

It’s Sunday. I know this because it is the day there is a big newspaper. There is a daily calendar on the wall across from the bed. I had assumed it was for the patient but now I understand it is for me. Agnes was too weak to breathe, so she is back on the ventilator again since last night. She seemed OK and sleeping comfortably when I left for the day, then the phone rang and the ventilator was required again. It will be some days before this changes. I am not sure why I sit here all day, as most of the time she doesn’t know me, but there you go. I don’t know why I didn’t think to pack my little radio – I could use some company. Just before lunch she started thrashing around, meaning the morphine was wearing off and it was time for more. If you ask her if she is in pain, she slowly nods. That’s all. I told her I was going for the nurse, and while we waited for him to come, I pat and rub on some place that is not stuck, bruised or be-tubed, and tell her to hold on for a few minutes. Today, she opened her eyes and nodded. I told her what had been happening, that she was going to make a complete recovery, explained about the respirator and she nodded. It was the first time I had explained anything that I think she comprehended. Especially, I hope, the part about complete recovery. So while the morphine was kicking in, I told her who had visited, who had sent prayers. I told her I had her meal ticket and was going out to get lunch and would be back when she woke up. I told her I was going to eat her lunch because she was not going to get it. And around the breathing tube, past the tape over her mouth, she smiled. Beautiful.

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