Guest Column: There must be some mistake – closing thoughts

by Mary Bryant*

What follows are a few closing thoughts of our guest columnist, Mary Bryant. Mary remains an inspiration and a gift for her family, the lives she has touched and for us at NP Journal.

I lay on the bed watching the doctor’s lips move. He utters words like chemo and radiation…like oncologist and palliative care…liver and bile ducts and cirrhosis…and malignant. Phrases like…you are not a good candidate for surgery.

More words and signs on another doctor’s office door…like infusion area…words like hematologist…and a shelf full of hand knitted hats you can take…holding hands and prayers…all slip by into the recesses of my brain which remains alive and grasping for a different reality while the fragrances of life diminish…thoughts of flowers…I won’t be able to see them later…why not share them now?

Words like Hospice care and…

Support system…way stations to the final breath…others who care, stand and sit nearby…one’s impending death has a singular meaning.

Please no morphine! Isn’t medical marijuana legal here?

Words that I never needed before. Now they drift in the air before me. Just out of my reach.

New appliances have invaded my space as my mind visits the roads I have traveled in life.

Shower stool and grab bars and cane and walker and wheel chair and ramps.

There must be some mistake. What other Ms. Bryant can be in the waiting room? Apparently none.

Words like treatment options, none of which sound good or hopeful. Invasive and noninvasive. Advance directive and living will. The pain increases. My heart pounds. Breathe.

Tears from my daughter and son and sisters…and my own, burning my cheeks as they flow down my face.

I’m not angry….it’s just my brain feels alive and wanting…but, hope slips quietly out of the room…eyes gaze in my direction…they share stories as my thoughts return to the highways I have journeyed…and focus on the positive voices, smiles and laughter I have encountered…along the way.

Words enter my space again…it’s okay. Let go. My body drifts.

Wait! My mind feels so alive.

There must be some mistake.

  • A romantic traveler