Yesterday (Tuesday) I went in again to see poor Rita. She is drowning to death, the poor, poor woman. She physically struggles for air; she frowns, arches her back and tilts her head back as if stretching her lungs to get air in, then she coughs this wet, gurgly cough and her arms and legs try to flail. She has a temperature so she pushes off her covers.
She saw me and knows I am hers. She can barely speak, there is not enough breath, but she asked me to kiss her on the cheek. I am glad she asked and I am glad she was awake so we had an exchange. She can't understand anything said to her, but when our eyes meet nothing else exists.
I struggle to be with her when she is awake because when she moves, she coughs, so I seek medical intervention. I want her drugged into sleep so she escapes the suffering of suffocation. And I worry about her when I am not there. Who is making sure she is asleep? She cannot pull her chain for help.
I did not cry so much this time, but oh, the intensity of my thoughts and feelings. I come home exhausted. Every incoming phone call scares me. Tonight, after my visit with her, I have to teach a class for three hours.