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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 08:56 AM

3. Kick

This is the day you start to turn. What we suck up from your lungs turns frothy pink and then the frank red of blood. We don’t know if your heart is finally failing or if the virus has destroyed so much tissue that this is necrosis, hemorrhaged in your lungs. There are tests, but no one willing to run them — you are too sick, and you have never cleared the virus. No one would ever want to be what you are now: a hazard, a threat, a frightening object on the edge of death. We try not to touch you. We construct our plans for saving you around staying as far away from you as possible.

I tell your husband about the blood. It’s true that nothing else has changed: your struggling lungs, with help, still take in air, your heart, with help, still brags along. “But she is stable,” he asks, barely a question. Why do I lie? “Yes,” I say, “for now.”

I strip in the doorway when I get home, stand in the shower too tired to think or cry. I sing “Happy Birthday” twice over every part of my body. At work I can’t eat, at night I can’t sleep. The dreams I have now have only three themes: gasping for breath; wiping things down; somehow, by accident, being touched by somebody. Did you ever wake in those last moments, or in your sedation did you ever dream? I still wake some days with a small beat like a held breath before the truth of this new world hits me. “Be safe,” say the families I call on the phone with updates.

The morning you die, I don’t want to be there — like most mornings now, when I rise against my whole will and crawl dejectedly into scrubs. I don’t want to be a plague doctor or a hero on TV. Now on the news, White men hold guns and signs that say “live free or die” to protest the lockdown. I imagine what they will look like dying on vents in ICUs staffed by doctors lacking sleep and proper training, soaked in moral fatigue. I imagine what their wives will sound like on the phone as they cry and say “Do everything.” I wonder if these wives will thank me or tell me to be safe.

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muriel_volestrangler Jul 2020 OP
Jarqui Jul 2020 #1
Frustratedlady Jul 2020 #2
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dalton99a Jul 2020 #3
Miguelito Loveless Jul 2020 #4
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