He Hears Us I Just Know He Does

November 19, 2013

This morning I spent time with my grandson whose life is bright and new   I cuddled and held him and stroked his soft, sweet smelling head. 
I rocked him and softly hummed a song with no words until he closed his eyes and fell into a peaceful sleep. 

This afternoon I visited with my brother Adam, who is no longer able to communicate.    
I wonder if my brother feels pain.  Luke, the nurse who was taking care of Adam assured us that he, Luke, would be able to tell if Adam was uncomfortable in any way.   I suppose I have to trust that Luke, who has had much experience with terminal, end of life patients would indeed be able to tell if Adam was in pain and would compassionately care for him by administering the proper medications as needed. 
I spoke with Adam’s hospice doctor today.  I asked if Adam would ever come out of his unresponsive state.  She shook her head and quietly said no.  
I was once told that a person’s hearing is the last sense to go and that when someone is in a coma their loved ones should talk to them because they could hear what is being said. 
I wondered out loud if that was truly the case.  The doctor said no, that Adam could not hear us.   
I believe, though, that the doctor who has had much experience with patients who are at the end of their life, was not listening or hearing what I was asking.  Perhaps what she meant to say was that Adam could not totally process what he was hearing. 
After the doctor left the room, I knelt down by the side of my brother’s bed.  When I said his name, he opened his eyes. I touched his shoulder and he scrunched his face in a grimace.  I think his skin hurts.  
I stroked his forehead and told him to close his eyes and rest. And he did. 

No I don’t believe that anyone, even the so called experts, truly knows what it feels like to be in the final hazy, hushed and silent hours of life. 

This morning I felt the wriggling warmth of new life in my arms.  
This afternoon, I felt the pain filled struggle of a fading life. 

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