0610 hrs -- Irma forgot to call the hospice when her husband died, but she did think to call just about everyone else in town that drives around with flashing lights and sirens. That's okay, it happens. It always gets itself sorted out when I get to the home.
After all the emergency personnel had left the house, one visitor remained... a volunteer, that had been called in by the paramedics to help with the distraught widow. Susan, the young, sweet-faced, nursing student was one of our city's volunteers that sit with victims and families after a traumatic event. It's a wonderful program with nothing less than saints who sign up to take the training and then go forth into horrible, gut-wrenching situations.
Although Mrs. H. was no longer overtly distraught, Susan decided to stay for the duration. Something for which I was exceedingly grateful, because it didn't take but a moment for me to realize that something was a bit "off" about Mrs. H. The poor woman wouldn't, or more likely couldn't, stop talking.The chattering was ceaseless and exhausting. Thankfully, Susan's presence added an extra pair of sympathetic eyes and ears to keep focused on the grieving widow.
Irma's conversation was largely centered on friends, neighbors and her husband. Her rambling was often hard to follow and frankly, tested one's patience. However, when she began to describe events leading up to finding her dead husband, my ears pricked up considerably:
"I was sleeping in the other bedroom and I swear, I heard Gordon say 'Goodbye!', real loud. I mean, it actually woke me up! I ran into his room and found him dead."
Well, that got my attention... Mr. H. had been deeply comatose for several days!
Irma then quickly switched her subject to the various character flaws and idiosyncrasies of her husband. As the three of us sat at the kitchen table, Mrs. H. went through the lengthy list of Gordon's faults, including anecdotal evidence to back up her conclusions. Suddenly, the patio blinds to my right, gave a "snap", swung wildly and then settled.
Susan and I looked at each other in amazement and immediately returned our attention to the closed, patio door and blinds. The blinds took one more big swing and then became quiet. Irma, with her back to the door, just kept on chattering... until she noticed that neither Susan nor I were paying attention to her:
"Well, what on earth would make that happen?", she asked.
"I don't think Gordon likes you talking about him, Irma", I answer. Susan nodded her head in agreement. Without so much as a tiny acknowledgment of the freakiness of what just happened, Mrs. H. began talking about the family friend with the low IQ.
I'd never before experienced "the unexplained" while attending the death of a patient. I must say... it was very cool.