Sunday, 11 November 2012
Being with the dying
I took the call during the interval of Vaughan Williams' Pilgrim's Progress. Reassured by medical staff that I could stay for the second half and watch the hero die, I did so, before heading off to be with my friend whilst he did the same.
When I got to the hospital the opiates were indeed doing their job. He was very sleepy. We dimmed the lights, I held his hand and, stuck for other conversation, treated him to a rather poor critique of a very poor production as he drifted off to sleep.
I returned to the hospital today prepared for the last 'vigil', however long that might take.
I found him, sitting up in bed, asking not for morphine, but a Macdonalds chocolate milk shake, and wanting to know why he hadn't had any visitors all day.
Now I have a clear diary for the week. Result.
To be with the dying is a roller coaster. It has its highs and lows. It is a privilege like no other, and makes me feel very alive.