[Written October 13, 2010]
Just outside room 129 in the intensive care unit of the Overland Park Regional Medical Center, a small group of grim-looking doctors and nurses gathered to speak in hushed voices about the dying patient within.
“Four milligrams in the last four hours. It’s useless to give him more.”
“He doesn’t want more, anyway. He kicked us out this morning–yelled at us to get out of the room. He doesn’t want our help anymore. He knows it’s too late.”
Stifling a yawn, one of the nurses spoke up. “Does his family know? I haven’t seen any visitors in his room lately.”
“He doesn’t have any family.”
“None we know of, anyway.” There was a quick shuffling and a loud flap as each doctor examined the patient’s charts on their own clipboards.
A brief silence, and then: “I think we’re looking at the end here.”
“No, not yet.” A young nurse fiddled with the drawstring on her turquoise scrubs. Everyone looked at her, but she matched their eyes with a thoughtful look. “I don’t think it’s time yet. I don’t know what it is–I can’t explain it, I just don’t think he’s ready.”
One of the senior doctors started to speak. “Corinne, you’re not Hospice. There’s nothing you can do–”
“No, I know that. I know I can’t do anything. I just want to talk to him.”