Sunday, July 11, 2010

Waiting for Maryanne

Stu and Maryanne have been married for fifty six years. Two months ago, Maryanne had a stroke. She goes in and out of consciousness. When awake, she cannot talk, cannot respond to voice except once in a while she can blink for yes, perhaps, it's hard to tell. She currently breathes on her own but is fed through a g-tube. She exists in a vegetative state, but Stu would not consent to hospice. He said he wants to wait. I asked him what he’s waiting for. He said, “When I was in the war, she waited all those years for me to come home. Now it's my turn to wait for her."  So he waited, all day and everyday in the hospital, except for when he needed to go home to shower, eat, and take a quick rest.  While waiting he would eat little snacks he brought from home, ask the nurse for a glass of ice to drink with his diet pepsi, and read his detective novel with a giant magnifying glass. Then one day, when she finally opened her eyes, Maryanne smiled, then cried. She still couldn’t talk and couldn’t move, but she could cry. And when she cried, Stu smiled. "She’s still here," he said.