Hospice Care Suffers No Down Time

by | Oct 15, 2022 | Kuntz Day 2

Clouds rake across the sky, my pancreas. A Chinese doctor says my pulse is dry, white. An exact description of the only wine I buy and suck down every night. I stick out my tongue. He nods and writes down notes I don’t care to decipher. He loads up a bag with tonics the color of dead leaves.

Everyone is dying in my daily life. I sit with a woman when an emerald green liquid starts to foam up from the depths of her. Her daughter and I put a flashlight down her throat and see it is thick and moving like lava up, up, up. We are captivated while her husband paces and roars in the background “WE TREAT OUR PETS BETTER THAN THIS”. His wife has been actively dying for weeks. She hasn’t eaten. Her mouth plies open as I drip water and morphine into it. Every night is the last night. The daughter and I say goodbyes. Every morning she breathes and rasps, mammoth teeth exposed. The strength and girth of those incisors alone might keep her bound to this planet.
And, one day, as absurd as horror of routine, she dies. I lose a friend, another family, and a job.
* * * *

And the clouds? Those warriors compliment sleep here in the desert where the sun stalks over 300 days a year. I am tired. The phone still rings. A number flashes across my screen from the house where the woman just died. Obliged to pick up, the familiar voices plead.

Turns out the husband wanted to die. His neighbors heard a gunshot at three in the morning and called the cops. He missed his heart by inches.
The chaplain asks if I can return, take care of him and his wound. Yes. It’s an easy transition. I know the terrain. But now, he’s not yelling.
He says, “I had a chance, and fucked it up.”
I listen and work on cleaning and bandaging his wound. He wants to see my clouds.
“Maybe I should have called a vet,” he says.
“Vets are more expensive,” I say.

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