poured out before bed
“Thanks for chatting with me, Mr. Jones. I’ll be back with my bosses later this morning for another chat if you’re up to it. What questions do you have for me?”
Mr. Jones looks up at me with cataract greyed pupils, his chronically tearing eyes suddenly filled with a dusky mist.
“Do you need anything?” I ask, drawing nearer to him as he continues to look at and through and in me.
“Can you hold my hand, Mullberry? Can you stay close to me just for a while?” His voice is effete, windless, struggling to carry his words between labored breaths. The cyanotic, DNR/DNI bracelet ringed hand he holds out to me trembles with effort.
Our team rounds in but 15 minutes. I have yet another ill patient on which to pre-round, a list of pending am labs to follow up on, a handful of consults and outside hospital records departments to call before we begin taking new admissions. But before me lies a man who is actively dying, a soul without any kin or friend to ease his transition. What he needs I can surely offer – his time is far more precious than mine.