Your voice, hoarse, barely audible or intelligible. I strain my ears to understand your words. Your pain is evident as I watch you clench your hand over your leg. Distracted by this pain, your gaunt face as your eyes rest upon my thoughts. Memory fails me as I try and recall the words you spoke.
Here I am at 10:00, on 27 May, sitting next to your hospital bed, lathering my hands with Vaseline Intensive Care lotion, the blue one, as you particularly requested. Gently lifting the blanket covering your ice-cold toes. “My voete is koud” – these words almost audible as you try to move your leg. Swollen, and frozen. I touch you ever so lightly, rubbing your feet – tracing the edge of each toe, making sure not to miss a spot.
Even this slight light touch causes you pain.
Covering your feet, wondering why even under a double folded hospital bed blanket and your thick gown, does it still remain so freezing cold to my touch? Is it because you are dying? How does this work . . . One would think that with death edging near, there should be a manual of some sort to guide you through the process, the expectations or rather symptoms, of a life nearing its end.
Your body is heavy, even though you are so very thin.
Depleted of all your energy, I do my best to move you into a seated position. Lifting you and pulling you up towards the head of the bed. Where is mom? This is the kind of thing that she is exceptionally good at – I mean she has forty years professional carer experience. But not today, she slipped and hurt her ankle and knee last night. There was very little I could do to stop her fall, apart from turn my body to slow the progress of the fall while balancing two cups of steaming hot coffee in each hand, as it slightly spilled over onto the back of her neck as she hit the slippery wooden floor.
Now here we are. Dad – just you and me. “Ek mis jou ma” – these soft words you speak with a longing in your eyes. It’s 10:30am, and you are convinced that today is Friday.
Together we managed to get you into a more comfortable position. You are in pain, so much pain.
The pain seems to hit all the nerve endings in your body, and I am reminded that this is only the beginning . . .
In pain, these words are spoken with clarity while I rub your back as you cling to the edge of the bed. There is very little that I can do.
Turning my head, the sister assures me that the morphine should start working soon. But not soon enough for you.
A few minutes later, slowly I watch your hand as it starts to, ever so slightly, relax its grip on your pyjama pants. The drugs are kicking in. The movement of your head, the softer look on your face – I watch as the pain slowly dissipate. You rest your head back on the pillow, exhaling relief, now that you breathe with ease as your body is released from the pain.
Morphine. Today, and every other day . . .
Maybe not . . .
05:30 – 28/05/2017
Your time of death . . .