A friend recently asked what my room here at Pikes Peak Hospice looked like, expecting--no doubt--my usual visual pictures painted by the many nuances of my voice and mood as a distraction (to us both) from this odd reality of my heading to an actual hospice...where I am being shipped to actually and really die. Well, this night, I wasn't quite up to that; thus, I thought I would just take a few pictures (It is, after all, the least I could do after the lovely bouquet he had delivered to me...along with his friendship, patience, and "love".)
First, allow me to post a picture of what I am told will be the last bed in which I will ever sleep. Such an odd concept...yet, one that does not alarm me as much as one might think. The prospect of death is neither frightening nor upsetting: simply strange. In this bed I am expected to take my last breath, which makes it, in my mind, worth a quick snapshot.
On a lighter note, above rests my Entertainment Center. Stunning it is, especially considering I have yet to flip on the television even once. (So much for tee-vee one simply must see!)
Here sits the ugly red chair (mentioned in past conversations with my dear friend)...slightly obscured from view by piles of food I will probably never eat...even though the ever-hopeful nursing staff keeps pushing it my way, optimistic that the sight and smell might somehow tempt my non-existent appetite into being.
Here we see the bedside table from the second hospice room, upon which rests the phone, that foul instrument that allows me to pester said Micah at all hours of the day and night, whether he appreciates the constant "chatting" or not. Also, tissues for my ever-increasing
"weepy" moments...and last (but not least) the flowers (sent by that same dark-haired angel masquerading as a long-suffering close friend) which brighten my days...and nights.
This is the living area. (Notice the tightly shut drapery, which cause the hospice staff no end of vexation. "Don't you want those open?" they ask at least six times a day (corresponding with each shift change, no doubt).
On those rare days when my head is not pounding from red-blood-cell-and/or oxygen-deprivation, they are thrown open to reveal this surprisingly soothing view.
Below is the view from my bed, complete with recently painted toe-nails. (Vanity, thy name is Chanctetinyea...or would that be boredom? I've never been good at sitting still...or waiting.
And, it must be admitted, I spend as a result far too many hours contemplating the twenty-year-old scar on my right knee!)
Still in all, things are going far better than one might expect, given the circumstances. Yes, I am looking rather green of late; however, the pain is minimal. Furthermore, my energy levels--though not spectacular--do not seem to be diminishing...even though my skin tone is obviously green. (Yes, I snatched off the oxygen tubing long enough to take this rather looooverly snapshot on the Blackberry--now fully charged thanks to the long-distance purchase of a new AC adapter from Radio Shack...provided by Micah.)
What an absolutely hideous shot! (I would respectfully ask that the state of the arms and abs be forgiven, ya'll. The musculature melts to flab at an alarming rate when one is confined to a hospital bed for hours on end!)
I guess I shall never write that great work of literary brilliance to withstand the harsh trials and demands of this wisp of illusion we call "time."
All in all, this whole matter of facing one's Final Days is not nearly as traumatic as one might expect. My children are safe, my best friend is but a phone call away, and Pikes Peak is not the worst place one might find herself interred to die.
Death does not, I find, scare me...
The prospect of leaving a life only partially lived, on the other hand, does. In those heavily silent hours of the morning--those unending strings of minutes, seconds, and heartbeats pregnant with both infinite promise and burgeoning loss--I wonder if somehow, on the other side of some great chasm between the dimensions of life and death, some part of me might be aware--cognizant--of the needs and sufferings of those I love (specifically my children...and, less so, my best friend) though physically unable to in any way intervene on their behalves. To me, this would be the very definition of Hades: to "see" them in danger, neglect, misery, or want...with no means to rush to aid them.
Perhaps, this is the one fear we all must face: the prospect of leaving behind "messes" to be cleaned up by those we hold dear.
In any event, for now, things are...okay. (Albeit it has taken me nearly three hours to complete this entry on my borrowed laptop.)
Time for yet another nap!
In the meantime, however, I would like to once again thank you for the flowers, Glaser my boy. They really made (and make) my stay--here as in Memorial--more bearable.
Good night, all.