The Day Before Dotty Died

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I get into work. An elderly home; large, sterile, soaked in death. The hall is lined with wheel chairs filled with bones, meat and loose flesh.

A CNA sits nearby, a large Kenyan woman.

“I have to go to the bathroom!” someone calls.

The CNA flips the page on a magazine. “You’ve just been,” she says.

I pass her.

“Morning,” I say. She nods.

I get a few paces past.

“Your turn to take out the smokers.”

I stop. “Yeah, yeah, let me just clock in alright.”

She doesn’t respond.

At the end, Dotty sits, rolled up against the wall, locked. She has two sons, they come on Sundays and take her out to the garden.

“Morning Dotty,” I say.

“Hah!” she squeezes her hands together, turns and twists them.

“What’s wrong Dotty?”

She holds up an old finger, pulls me close. She is missing her two front teeth, the rest are black. I lean down, place my ear to the gap.

“They won’t let me die,” she whispers.

I crouch down, pull a bit back. I frown.

“Why do you want to die?”

“Hah!”

I take one of her old hands in two of mine.

“Dotty, they are helping.”

“Hah! No, I want to die. Why won’t they let me die. Those, niggers!”

“Dotty! Don’t say that.”

The CNA chuckles, openly. Dotty glares at the nurse behind the counter. A man named Paul, he smiles.

“Well, this nigger is going to help you anyways Dotty,” he informs her, smiling.

Dotty spits air at him. He continues doling medicine into little cups.

I let go of Dotty’s hand. She turns to me.

“Will you let me die?” she asks.

I shake my head. “No, Dotty.”

“Hah! You’re a nigger too then,” she snaps.

“I’m sorry, Dotty.”

But she’s closed her eyes. I walk off to find the smokers.

 

10 comments

    • Thanks. This is a story from a whole different time in my life that I’ve never been able to write about before. It’s only recently that I’ve started trying to remember some things from that time and those places.

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  1. […] The Day Before Dotty Died – This is actually a true story from when I used to work with Alzheimer and dementia patients. I’ve wanted to write about that time in my life for many years but it is very difficult to capture all of the very unique aspects to working in that field. Not to mention it carries a lot of weight to think about it too often. […]

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