Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Visit to the Hospital: Part Two


All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe And To Love You

It's 10:30 at night. Something is wrong. Even after they give her medicine from a mask that comes pouring out into her face, Florence can't stop coughing. It hurts it hurts and afterwards she is too wiped out to even breathe. She begs me to make it better make it better. I keep wetting paper towels and try to convince her to keep the mask with all the medicine pouring out into her face. She keeps taking the mask off it hurts it hurts she can't breathe it's wiping her out make it better make it better I keep wetting paper towels and try to convince her to keep the mask with all the medicine pouring out into her face she keeps taking off the mask off it hurts it hurts make it better....


Finally at 11:30 at night it's better...

Maria!
Say it loud and there's music playing,
Say it soft and it's almost like praying.


Maria is all of teeny tiny. She lives near Florence - Delancey and Essex or maybe that's where she shops, the Essex Street market - it's hard to tell, my rudimentary Spanish picks up about half of what she says even after the nurse assistant waves it off saying oh she blabs a lot so don't worry if you don't catch it all.

But one night I come in and she starts talking too fast even after I beg in Spanish "Dispacio, porfavor, dispacio" this isn't blabbing it feels important and I don't understand and the other roommate - the 95 year old who is sharp as a tack and used to live on Suffolk and Houston but now is in Brooklyn near Coney Island because her son has a house - she translates what I miss, not because she understands Spanish but because she saw what happened.

Florence hadn't been eating for days. Nothing tasted good, everything made her cough, she didn't feel like it. The nurses or the assistant nurses tried to coax a few things down once I got her to gum a piece of chicken or a piece of carrot before she spit it out and when the ensure made her cough I just couldn't insist. Mostly the food trays just stayed untouched.

This night had been busy I am not sure why maybe more beds filled or dinner arriving all at once and the healthy people in charge of the unhealthy people suddenly having their hands full and there just wasn't enough hands or enough time so no one really forced Florence to take that second bite or another sip.

Maria got up out of bed, went over to Florence and then fed her.




[Gretl:]
I flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly

The sun has gone to bed and so must I

[Children:]
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

[Guests:]
Goodbye!


The picture I take after getting messages that Florence is being sent home once she is assessed for palliative care.