Lines, tubes, wires, chains.
Dignity stripped, cavities drained.
The metronome of your pulse above
the beeping orchestra, dissonant buzz.
Each gesture tracked, beat recorded,
breathing measured, life distorted.
Do you still feel free?
The body, its function a masterpiece to muse,
altered by poison, fluid infused.
Vesicles, vessels, organs affixed,
shrouded in blood, lymph intermixed.
Adhered in oneness by tendon and skin,
scarcely quickened by a pump grown dim.
Do you still feel strong?
Risen before the dawning sun,
a swarm of stoic white has come
to declare the status of your issues–
Liver, kidney, heart, lung, tissue.
To examine and prod, inspect then move
a person, a soul, or a number to improve?
I hope you still feel human.
We did it. We took it out.
Slowly, the oxygen saturation dropped.
Gradually, the alarms sounded.
Insisting. Imploring us to do something.
We turned them off.
Made him comfortable.
But we knew we couldn’t hide the truth.
We were letting him suffocate.
~ ~ ~
A lucid man.
A failing lung. A decision made.
A breathing tube placed—just temporarily—
until the lungs healed.
Until they got stronger. Until he got stronger.
But I saw the regret the moment it was inserted.
Nevertheless. We agreed to give it a chance.
But days passed. Then weeks.
Being alert, he communicated with us well.
Through his writing, I got to know him well.
His adventures. His best memory. His regrets in life.
He was a good man.
But a man who never desired to live like this.
While the family disputed on what course of action to take next,
he remained calm and unwavering.
“Please let me go.” was what he would say.
Then finally the moment came.
The time to say goodbye.
~ ~ ~
That day, I let myself weep during rounds.
In front of a crowd of stoic faces.
To weep over a friend.
To weep over a human being.
Over his courage.
An impossible decision.
The loss of a life.
Because I didn’t want to do it. But I did.
I let go.
• • •
“To Let Go” – the poem