After pausing for a few seconds, the palliative care nurse turned toward me.
“Our guest in Room 5 is active, and I haven’t been able to get in touch with his children.”
When the walls of his failed heart collapse, he suffers a damaging heart attack. He lacks any blood flow, so the EMTs declare him dead. Shocked, he fluctuates between slightly dead and more dead. The ambulance volunteers bring him to Northern Westchester’s cath lab.
Unafraid, he sees The Light. He meets Moses carrying tablets down Mt. Sinai, greeting newcomers going up. Relatives weigh his mitzvahs: pro bono work with clients, sick friends, nursing home visits. The judge calls his wife to the witness stand. She says, “He should live.” They await the verdict.
I am trying to move the language from forever to this moment, in the aiport departure lounge. To loosen up on declaring “You’re always” and “You’re never” and instead say “Right now you are …”
I might think I know what’s coming, but I have no idea exactly what it will look like and when it might happen. For now, the “what ifs” are not dormant, but also not dominant. Regardless, an illness becomes an uninvited third person in a two-person marriage.
We’re sorry! A necessary website software upgrade has caused our More Voices submission form to go kaput. We’re working on the problem and expect to have the submission form up and running in just a few days.
We apologize for this hiccup. If you’d like to make a submission to More Voices, here are your options:
First, you can wait a few days and try again.
Second, if you’d prefer not to wait, you can submit your piece now as a Word document attachment and email it to email@example.com. If you do this, please make sure to include these three items: (1) the theme that you’d like your piece to appear in (this month’s theme is Making Assumptions); (2) a proposed title, different than the theme, for your piece; and (3) your name and city, state (or city, country) as you’d like them to appear.
Again, we should have our submissions process ironed out without a few days. Thanks for your patience.
If you have any questions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the artist:
“I have been involved with Pulse as a web developer and technology advisor since Pulse’s inception in 2008, and I’ve greatly enjoyed working with the Pulse team. Although ignorant of the narrative medicine movement until working with Paul Gross, Diane Guernsey and others, I have come to understand the important role that narrative, art and image play in humanizing health care. Indeed, reading the stories and poems, seeing the images, and reading the haiku over the past seven years was important in helping me to provide care and comfort to my elderly father in the last few years of his life.”
About the artwork:
“Towards the end of a brilliant end-of-summer day, I ran across this solitary dragonfly seemingly sunning itself on a branch overhanging the water’s edge of Glenwood Lake in New Rochelle, NY, where I live. I was struck by its serene, contempletive …
Thank you for your submission to the More Voices section of Pulse. You should be receiving an email acknowledgment shortly.