Friday, September 20, 2013

Death and after

It has been my lot over the years to visit the homes of those who die. Many of them being my patients.There is always an atmosphere of sombre sadness at the place with relatives and friends busy consoling the bereaved family. There is also quite a bit of whimpering and often loud crying. Some times I detect contrived sorrow and avoidable histrionics.

There however was one instance still green in my memory though it occurred more than 30 years ago. Then in my area f practice there were a fair number of Anglo Indians,most of them retired, living and some were my patients.One such family were Smiths.Mr Smith [ I have forgotten his first name] was past75years and suffered from episodes of angina and in those days we practiced what from today's standards primitive cardiology The drug for angina was nitroglycerine tablet placed under the tongue. Mr  Smith had a stock of these and needed to use it only rarely. He was full of life and told me once that a shot of whisky worked better than the pills I gave him. They were a nice couple and when ever I visited  them I was sure of a cup of tea and home made biscuits.

When the call came to see Mr Smtih one day, it was close to my closing time in the clinic and when I went to see him, he was  already feeling better and was sitting with his evening shot f whisky listening to music. Having gone there I took his blood pressure and found his heart ticking well. Reassured them that all is well and promising them a visit next morning, I returned home.
 Next noon when I went to their home, I found a small group of people outside. And when I went in I found Mr Smith's body laid well prepared for the final journey. Speechless and distressed I went inside to see his wife Mary. If she was shocked and sad, she didnot show it, instead when I told her how sorry I was she said,' doc ,he had it coming, and he went well with out nay pain' and got her self busy making a cup of tea for me!

I visited her a week later, except for he cousin there were none in the house. I said what a fine man her husband was and how I was going to miss him and his wit. Her pent up emotions cut loose and she broke down with huge sobs, holding on to me for support.

When, I finally took leave of her, her cousin came up to the gate and told me, 'now she will feel better'.

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Matt Dunkle said...

We are deeply moved by your September Blog posting. Thank you for your thoughts. I am currently taking care of my Mother. It is difficult watching her waist away. I miss the memories we shared. She has dementia. Thank you again for your thoughtful insight.
Matt & CJ