Welcome To St. Elsewhere
I say to the doctor that Fred's way too young to die, besides doctor, you wouldn't want me with a broken heart, would you? The doctor orders that medication immediately and I'm silently looking at Fred. I tell him now, see Fred? tomorrow it's going to be easy going to the mall from here, don't you think so? he replies that yes this is convenient! and all of a sudden Fred goes stiff and now the nurse in me tries to do something about it, but I know that I can't so I rush to call the doctor, I say, "get back in here Doctor! come quick! Fred's all stiff and arrested!!" I'm feeling my heart beating even down in my feet! They tell me that this cubicle is way too small for me to stay there, I say, "no way!!! I'm staying!!!! I won't leave him at a time like this!!! you cannot make me leave, I've a right to be there!!! finally, I listen to the doctor and I'm taken to the waiting room by one of the nurses, she says just to show me the way, but I know better, it is to make sure I phone my son so that I'm not alone. I phone John and tell him to phone Fred's kids, phone Mary, she's is the one that leaves the closest to where we live. He does it and then returns quickly to the hospital to see us. I tell him that this time it does look bad for Fred's chances of survival. We are silent and anxious. Finally they let us back in. We are told that Fred's going to be taken to the CICU, the cardiac intensive care unit! We accompany him there and he's fine, he looks sick but stable. I stay overnight in the waiting room, don't want to leave his side now. Next day I look outside and it looks as if the sky doesn't match my mood, it's sunny and very warm out there, what a shame that we couldn't
make the weather match my mood! I go
home for a while, just to take a shower
and change. I come back and the nurse
says to me if I can assess him, they
want to know if Fred is always like this.
I go in and I realize that something is
dreadfully wrong with Fred, I realize
that he has been blinded and he's all
disoriented. I go and ask the nurse
about a cat scan, I say, "have you people done one yet? no, she says, what in the hell are you waiting for?" My fury and helplesness at Fred's
predicament knows no end at this point.
I am certain he has had a stroke, and it
doesn't take a fool to realize that, you
don't have to assess him for that. Lunch
is brought in and I'm feeding Fred and we
are talking and he arrests the second
time and looses consciousness now, I
loose it for the first time and I start
crying. The nurse opens a room and tells
me to go in, this is room, she says, is now reserved for Fred's family, oh good! I
think to myself, I need to compose
myself. They've now brought him back
from the cat scan. I'm being told to go
home for a while and come back at about
6 pm., the doctor will be in then. I go
and anxiously await 6 pm. I just sit
there and do nothing, just sit and worry
like there is no tomorrow. I go back now
and the doctor is at the foot of Fred's
bed, he's asking me, "SilverMoon, what would Fred want if he arrests, would he want revived?" I look uncomprehending, I say,"no, you don't understand, he's not going to die, so why ask me that? he's gonna make it, you hear me!!!!?" "no SilverMoon " the doctor says, "he's not going to make it, just tell us please" after a while I reply in a somber way, "Fred does not want to be revived, he told me so just the other day when we were talking about dying, and he had said that if he was extremely ill to let him go" I now tell the doctor and the doctor says that he's going to write that down in Fred's chart. I go back to
the waiting room and wait there for
something, for what I don't know, I
think I'm looking for an answer for our
plight, but there is no answer that
comes to me at this time. I'll just go
to sleep here and by morning it'll be
Next day I again go home to shower and when I'm having this cup of tea, the phone rings and it's the doctor, who's saying on the other end of the line, "just stay home for now, it should be anytime now, I mean, we expect him to go by the week end, latest saturday" "what!?!?!? stay here!!!? no way, I won't, I'm coming over right now!" I say. I hang up and I shoot out the door like as if a monster is chasing me. I get there and go directly to Fred's side. I start telling him, I say, "Fred, I know for a fact that you can hear me. If you have to go, I mean if it is your time, Fred, do it, go to the light Fred, do you remember when we used to talk? and I'd tell you what a wonderful thing it is that the soul does not die? well if it is your time, I'll be fine Fred, you go to the light, not that I want you to leave me or anything of the kind but if you have to go, do it Fred, John and I will be fine."
The days pass and soon enough the D-day gets here. It's wednesday night and I look at Fred's feet, and it's all black, kidney failure!!! I know that and his catheter bag is empty, he's going to die any time now!! I go call John and tell him if he wants to say goodbye to get over here, now is the time! He gets here quickly and when he comes out of Fred's room, his eyes are red and swollen. I stay at the hospital all night long. As morning arrives I go for a cigarette break. This lady that is over there, that one, the one with the hat, comes to sit by me and is assessing me, looking, staring, and I'm thinking, well, how rude! staring at me as if I was an attraction from one of those freak shows. Finally she sits by me and asks, "why the face child?" "oh lady" I say," my heart is upstairs, I feel like a shell, all empty inside, Fred's going any time now and there is not a darn thing I can do to stop this" I leave and take the elevator to the 6th floor. I look and I see Fred with all those tubes and I say to Fred, "Fred, it wasn't my fault, I did agree that these tubes could be removed and besides you did tell me always NOT to let them do this to you, but I had no control over it, even though I was registered by you as your next of kin, I still couldn't prevent them from sticking you full of tubes, so don't be angry at me please Fred, I never did this to you, but I did tell that Doctor Heule to take them off and I had quite the fight with him too but I won that same fight, Fred, this, I say grabbing the I.V. hose, is coming off soon, Fred!" Now I'm looking around his room, and I sense the angel of death, he's right there, waiting, waiting, and I say out loud, "a thief in the night, that's what you are, so prompt and ready to take what is mine!!" Just a second goes by and I see that you are laboring for breath, which is a normal reaction to the dying process, but he's so peaceful that I'm actually happy, I feel very peacefull. I start to say, "Fred, you go to the light, see this angel? you go with him, I'll be just fine, go with him, Fred, go to the light, remember? it's all full of love, Fred. Oh, don't worry, we will be just fine, yes, we will Fred, go with the angel Fred, go for the light Fred, it's all full of warmth and it knows you, Fred, as if it gave birth to you."
A few minutes later Fred is dead at the age of 67 years old, on september the 3rd, 1998. I'm very calm, numb in fact! John is here. He's actually giving the body a kiss on the head, I say to myself, what a strange thing to do! We start for home and John is actually holding my hand and I guess that I don't understand this one because I always thought kids are embarrassed to hold their mom's hand at the age of 19 years old, but I guess he's hurting too and we act as cushions for our raw emotions right now just by holding onto each other. As we are walking I'm thinking that I bet that Fred is gonna be home, this is not for real, he's gonna say "hi honey, come say hi to me" and I'll run and give him a big hug like I used to do. But no, as we open the door, not a sound, not even the cats come to greet us, it's as if they know papa is gone. Papa is how the cats knew Fred, that was how he used to refer himself to them. I almost want to call for him, no use doing that now, he's dead!!! he's gone, all his bright light has disappeared from this world and I wasn't given a choice!! just like that huh? one minute here and the next no more, oh no, help me Goddess, I need you now.
The funeral arrangements are done and I'm going to deliver the eulogy, what do I do now? I'm so very empty inside, nothing to do! I go to our bedroom and I open that closet and look at all your clothes there, hanging neatly and in a very orderly fashion. I grab for that grey T-shirt, and I fall to my knees, I hear myself give out a sob, from the soul, and hug that T-shirt as if that was you! who is going to call me honey now? no one!! that is who!!! I'm alone in the world, oh, please give him back to me! Fred, come back, I"m so alone and I feel so small! please Fred, come back even if it is for five minutes but come back, I implore the Source to let you come back for five more minutes so I can give you a hug, one last hug please....hey, whoever is in charge, send him back for just five more minutes, after all, you will have him for eternity now, so, what is five more minutes to you, whoever you are!? I see your clothes in this close, no, I won't get rid of them, you may still need them if you come back, Fred. Where are you SilverMoon? are you there? are you okay? I don't answer, I'm trying to control my emotions but I'm loosing the battle with myself and now tears stream freely as if the dam of my heart has been opened by an invisible hand. She comes in and sees me sitting on the floor inside the closet. She picks me up and sits me on the bed and I ask for her not to tell the others I'm crying, I hate when people see me vulnerable, crying is a private act, I never cry in public, was brought up like that, to rise to the occasion, to be brave. Now I'm asking for a kleenex please, could you get one? oh Martha, better get me a roll of toilet paper, I don't think I"m going to stop any time soon now. Just as I say this to her, I think to myself, "since when did I become paralyzed by grief? coward!!! do go get it for yourself!!! go on, do it now!!!! you are not a baby, go on I say, do it!!!
Continued on the next page...