12,419 Days

It is 12,419 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date

Or 34 years excluding the end date  (http://www.timeanddate.com/date/durationresult.html?m1=01&d1=16&y1=1980&m2=01&d2=16&y2=2014)

My mother died 34 years ago this morning a little after 8 am, or that’s how I remember it.  I had spent the night in her hospital room, sleeping for a while in a chair.  I recall that early in the morning, a doctor and nurse had come into the darkened room to check on my mother and I heard them whisper her blood pressure reading.  I think it was somewhere in the 40s, and whether they made the comment that that reading was exceptionally low, I knew it wasn’t good for her.

I guess they had induced a semi-comatose state by giving her Brompton’s Mixture.  *I just checked the spelling of this, having thought for about 34 years that it was Bromine’s Mixture.  I did know that it was a mixture of powerful pain suppressants.  So addictively powerful that it was only given to terminally ill patients (of which mom having Leukemia, was one) who would never be expected to “break the habit.”

I say semi-comatose because mom had laid in her hosptial bed, eyes rolled back in her head and breathing becoming longer between the cycles of inhale and exhale.  At one point that morning, I had gotten up and went to the bed and touched her hand.  Her eyes rolled back, showing her pupils to me, but looking through me, not at me.  No love or recognition remained.  My mother had already left me.  I’m sure, “not of her choosing.”  And, just as quickly as they had rolled one way, they rolled back showing only the whites of her eyes.

I walked over to the chair in the corner of the room and sat back down.  It might have been about 7:45 am when I touched my mom’s hand, and now perhaps about 8:10 am, I heard her breathe her last… and then, the “Death Gurgles”.  With her head being slightly elevated upon a pillow, I guess the air trapped inside lifeless lungs meanders its way back up and out for the last time, gurgling as if water flowing down a mountain stream.

I don’t know if I got up and walked over beside her bed, and sat down in a chair there, or whether I was already there, with my back to the one window in the room.  The room by the way was 401, which was across from a nurses’ station.  I guess you can tell the extremely ill patients by how close they are placed to hospital staff.

I waited for several minutes, or at least that is how it seemed.  It might have been less than a minute in reality, but I intentionally was waiting before notifying a doctor or nurse.  I loved my mother.  She was “the light in my life,” but weighing about 84 lbs., and having been is extreme pain, in her last days, and not able to do the things she had loved for much of her life, those being work as an office secretary (over 45 years Civil Service), and outdoor work (gardening, etc.), it was time to go.  The doctor (Dr. Adnan E. Taj-Eldin, MD) had already put a “no code” on my mother, which meant, do not attempt to resuscitate.  I was perfectly in agreement with that decision.  Why would you want a loved one to remain in pain just because you weren’t ready to let them “go” for some reason?

However long I waited, I stood up and went out of the room and to the Nurses’ Station where a lone nurse stood, perhaps filling out paperwork.  I said to the nurse, “Would you please take a look at my mother.”  In my request there was no hint that I already knew my mother was dead.  My voice made one request, but there was another part of me that, standing outside myself, gave a short laugh and then said to me, “You know she’s dead.”

The nurse went into the room by herself, the door automatically shutting behind itself, but shortly she came out with an expression in her eyes as if she held some dire secret that she must keep from me.  She escorted me around the corner, past the elevator doors, and into a small, common sitting room with windows all around.  This overlooked the front entrance to Onslow Memorial Hospital (Jacksonville, NC).  She went to call the doctor.

After a short while, I was told that my mother was dead.  I don’t recall the exact wording, but dead is dead.  “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Or be as offensive.  Or be as inoffensive, as long as it speaks the truth.

Mary Ann stopped by the hospital, this being her current routine after taking her children to school.