I’m back in the suburbs, a day trip to do boring adult things, but I ge ta few hours break from my kids, a few hours to just be Lori, instead of being “Muuuuum…”
I walk around a large, brightly lit supermarket, packed with stores and clothes and people all close together, colours and lights.
There’s a man walking near me, just ahead of me, and I know I know him from somewhere, and I feel like I know him well. It’s his moustache… where do I know this man from?
And then I stop, dead still. People stare at me and I don’t care don’t care because I can’t move, if I do I may scream and run and I’m not sure if I’ll go in the direction of the door or this arrogant man’s stupid head.
We’re in the ICU and there’s a nurse on duty, for Tony, a man with a thick moustache. And he has no compassion, he’s not like the rest of the nurses here, who let us cry and speak soft words of hope to one another and to Tony. We know the reality, we know that it will be only a matter of hours before he is declared brain dead, but still we speak in tones of gentle hope because there is little else we can do.
But this nurse, this horrible man… he suctions Tony’s throat, and goes to great lengths to point out that Tony should be gagging. We know that. He pokes Tony’s feet, with a long pin, for no other reason then to show us that there is no reaction to pain. We know that. We didn’t ask for him to do any of this- who made it his job, to burst the fragile soap bubbles of hope that float through the ICU?
He tells me that the drug screen came back positive for opiates. “Heroin?” I say, think no fucking way, run it again, that’s not possible, and he says “The doctors will discuss it with you.” And they do, and they dismiss the opiates immediately as the morphine they have given him and I feel so stupid for not realising that and this nurse, he is in the meeting, and he stands against the wall, when the rest of us are sitting, arms crossed, smug and seeming to smirk and I want to hit him.
I see him again, before I leave the brightly lit hive of shops. He passes me in the electronics aisle of a department store and I literally, physically, shudder.
It’s things like this, that fuck with the most. The ones I can’t prepare for.