Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Bromley Contingent

People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.
- Emily Dickinson 
...after biopsies and a saline wash of her abdomen showed no signs of cancer, she was put on a maintenance chemotherapy treatment to prolong her remission, but she learned that her cancer had returned after a routine blood test showed her levels of the tumor marker CA-125 had increased. She was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for a CAT scan. Despite being fearful that she would never wake up, she was given a sedative but passed into a coma during the scan. She did not regain consciousness and died three days later from ovarian cancer at 6:20 am. About her death: She went in for the scan – but the people there could not keep her on the gurney. She was raving like a crazed woman – she knew they would give her morphine and was afraid she’d never regain consciousness. She kept getting off the cart as they were wheeling her out. Finally three people were holding her gently and saying, "Come on. We’re just going to go down and come back up." She kept saying, "Get me out, get me out!" She’d look at me and beg me, "Help me out of here. I’ve got to get out of here." And I’d tell her, "You’re okay. I know. I know." 

They sedated her, and when she came back, she remained unconscious for three days. I stayed at her side late into the night, sometimes sleeping over. Finally a doctor told me to go home and get some sleep. At 4 am on Saturday, I heard a pounding on my door. It was an old friend, a surgeon, who told me, "Come on. It's time to go." When I got there, a night nurse, whom I still want to thank, had washed her and taken out all the tubes. She put a pretty yellow barrette in her hair. She looked like an angel. So peaceful. She was still alive, and as she lay there, I kissed her. But then her breathing became irregular, and there were long gasps and little gasps. Two hours after I arrived, she was gone. While she was conscious, I never said goodbye.  bye.
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