Saturday, July 18, 2009

I smelled death today

Today I smelled death and it wasn't pretty. No perfume, no cologne nothing to freshen the air. Just the scent of a woman, who everyone forgot. Found unresponsive on the floor. Three days that no one remembered seeing her. Three days of piled up mail. The policemen couldn't even break down the door. She was afraid you see, of vandals and had locked up good and well. Except for the window. The lone window raised up for a breath of air. In the 103 degree heat. Humidity and rat's had done their job. Three days in the heat and 90 year old flesh begins to rot. The heart was still beating, but breathing wasn't her job. Seeing heaven was what she had thought. The EMS did a marvelous job, with epi and bicarb. They brought a dead heart to beat. But death was dogging her every breath. Who covered her with the newspaper we wonder. Was she visited by death's angle to plunder?

With the vent she came to me. She breathed by a machine. We bathed her battered body. Head with a lump and a black eye. why and where she fell, no one knows why. A heart attack??? Maybe, a stroke , a possibility. Maybe we will never know. She was never stable enough to go to CT. And what difference in her treatment anyhow. We pumped her with fluids. We pumped her with vasopressors and all sorts of dialators. We got heartbeats in the 150/s and blood pressure bearly high enough to read. She coded over and over. But her relatives. Who lived out of town. In their guilt induced coma's demanded the best. Keep her alive no matter what. Their manta their chorus...her life.Hours of CPR, Broken ribs, as rotten flesh wafted up , broken ribs and nothing else. We panted and planted our hands, We pumped and we pumped and we pumped. For a while we had epi induced arrhythmia...then asystole and nothing else. We tried until the try was gone. We gave up finally at 1. The family arrived from and 8 hr drive. Their precious aunt no longer alive.

So I came home and drank some brew. I'm finally sleepy but who knew. When I threw my arm up over my head. My eyes opened up as I smelled the dead. Irish Spring soap...a miracle cure, now if only I could forget and sleep...but my mind keeps circling back to her...covered with newspaper like a sheet, and rat feces....who found her first and thought her dead, and covered her with headlines all over her head? .............Today I smelled death.

Damn but I'm tired. I'm going to sleep (I hope) maybe tonight will be better.


Aleta said...

Oh ... my.... I'm so sorry.... I can't imagine... it makes me want to cry just reading this.

Debbie Y. said...

A tragedy for sure, but your writing of the experience is poignant and grief-evoking. Poor lady, but she probably wasn't even in that body. As you inferred, she was already surrounded by angels.

GingerJar said...

I'm sure she was surrounded by angels. We did everything humanly possible, but when the body is almost 90,and down that long, it's probably time to meet the Lord.

jeepgirl said...

So sad. Those poor folks who have been left to scratch by alone and then are "found down" and saved. Do you ever feel guilty? I know I do. I just want to clean them up, tuck them in and let them go. It is too bad some families can't see through the guilt to do just that.