Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just another Code 7

            It was just another possible Code 7 (dead) call. It was in a high-rise condominium for the retired that dot the downtown landscape. We found a woman in her eighties lying half in and out of her kitchen. She was cold and stiff. She had been dead for some time. We cancelled the Engine and ambulance and requested the police and the coroner. My partner went downstairs to show the cops to the condo. I was left alone with the body.

As I sat there I could she what her last minutes had been like. She had vomited on the counter in the kitchen. You could see where she tried to clean it up off the cabinets. Then she had vomited again, this time she did not try to clean it up. People frequently vomit during a cardiac. She had staggered out of the kitchen and fallen.

She had lain there for God knows how long with no way of summoning help. What were her thoughts during those last minutes? Did she think back on her life? Did she remember an old love? Or think of the regrets one has over what might have been? Or were her last minutes filled with the terror of dying alone and uncared for.

I was alone with body for some time. I squatted down and leaned against the wall. The security Guard who had let us into the condo had told us that she had lost her husband of some fifty years just two months prior. I had seen this happen a number of times. A wife or a husband would die and the other would soon follow. Many times with no history of significant illness. They died from the weight of their own lives, without someone to share the load. It just was not worth it anymore. The loneliness and isolation of old age were some of the deadliest of diseases.

I sat there for some time with her waiting for the cops to show up. I hoped that she knew that there was someone who mourned her and was saddened by the loneliness of her death.

When the cops showed up they were laughing and talking loudly. It did not seem right, they were defiling the scene. But I had done the same thing countless times and would do so in the future. They had their walls up. I had just happened to let mine down that night for what ever the reason. I said something about how she had died alone. They looked at me a little strangely as I left. I guess I could not blame them. 

1 comment:

Andrew said...

This seems to be a fear for a lot of people... perhaps not dying, but just dying alone. I guess one can only hope that when their time comes somebody will think about them...

First article I've read from your blog, and from the looks of things, I'll be reading many more.