B&W

The Dying Man Who Gasped Ignored Gasps

The evening before my neighbor in bed 12C was to be transported back home for his remaining hospice days, his anxiety began to set in.

His pleas for help were attended less frequently over the course of the night, as the overworked and overstretched Filipino nurse attended to her other patients.

Eventually, we learned to ignore his wilting gasps and groans of pain so that our weak bodies could scavenge for sleep.

His dying noises gradually blended into the ambient hospital drone of bedside monitors, overhead pages, and the graveyard shift caffeined chatter of nurses in the fluorescent hallway.

It's funny how quickly we forget the dying around us when our own lives persecute our thoughts. Maybe that's why we dream wonderfully absurd dreams–to find temporary asylum from the reality of our impending mortality.