POST 2. Lou’s Death

Something Wondrous Comes

 Lou went into the bathroom at two in the morning, his oxygen line following. The hum of the oxygen concentrator invaded the quiet of the night. 

 Then Lou began gasping. I ran in, immediately checking his oxygen line for kinks. Lou stood up and came to me. As I checked his nasal cannula, he gasped, “ I can’t breathe …more oxygen!”

Do I help him take the few steps to bed or get to the oxygen concentrator? I chose the machine in the other room. My eyes blurred as I knelt. Tears were already forming. The setting was eight. I had already turned it up at bedtime. Now I pushed it to its limit, ten. 
Then came the thud. 

Immediately, I went into “ fall” mode. It took only a few seconds to check for injuries and make him comfortable. The method always worked, oxygen slowly filling his lungs and reaching his limbs. But not this time. 

We did follow the routine and he did breathe easier, as we talked. By the time I pulled the blanket to his chin and leaned in to plant a kiss, the realization struck a a powerful blow…he was gone. “Oh, Lou, no! It’s too soon,” I murmured through tears, but he’d already run out of air.

 I ran for my cell and called 9-1-1. Then to the front door to open it and turn on the front light. I raced back to Lou and lay next to him, pleading. I stroked him, held his hand, kissed him.…anything to hold on to his life as if it were mine. 

While we waited for help to reach us, something wondrous happened. 

His face that had become lined and saddened by age and illness slowly began to change, really change, right in front of me! 

All the deeply etched lines slowly faded and the color returned to his face. He was young again. I have witnessed too many bedside deaths, but none like this. 

Lou was young. He was happy. I knelt, stunned. 

I needed my camera to capture this strange truth, as I I became aware in that moment that Lou’s death was peaceful. 

I held him, crying tears of wonder.

Lou age 20, Vietnam

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copyright by Elaine T Troisi, August 12, 3023
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