Months To Years Summer 2018 MTY_Summer2018_v7 - Page 54

Life’s Adversary By Johanna Kopp Everyone knows that death is an inevitable part of life that discussing how they will get their patients’ pain managed. we will all one day have to face. In our society, it is a topic The office is an old shower room; behind the computers that is so taboo that we have made a silent and almost and filing cabinets, there are shower heads, some beige unconscious pact with each other to never speak about it. tiling, and temperature control handles. Another deep Then, when we are faced with death, we are unprepared moan reverberates off the tiles from the hallway. and don’t know how to cope. If we spoke about death and embraced it as an integral part of life instead of as the ultimate antagonist, we wouldn’t be so traumatized by its inexorable arrival.  When I spend time in the hospice house, I realize I have arrived at the one place where a community of people speak freely, openly, and honestly about death without the stigma and drama that is rampant everywhere else. Cell phones are ringing along with the office phone. The doorbell chimes a loud bell sound periodically which echoes in the small room. It is busy and noisy, but not fast-paced like an emergency room. It feels peaceful, not intense. When I think of death, I think about what I have seen on TV. It is usually a gruesome scene accompanied by sad, dramatic music, and people running around frantically. Or it is a funeral scene in which everyone is I hear moans echoing through the hallway when I walk dressed in black and looking very somber. I am surprised into the hospice house – someone is in pain. As I pass by the smiles and laughter that greet me warmly in the an open door to my left, I see a patient in hospital robes office. There is a slender nurse in her 50s with bright, with pale skin and white hair resting peacefully. The blonde hair pulled loosely away from her face. She is hospice house is located in the wing of a nursing home, wearing purple scrubs and has been there all night. which partially explains the putrid smell and thick, stale air that enveloped me when I first entered the building. In the office, there are nurses sitting around a big table 54 A woman with teary, red eyes walks in to ask about her husband’s breathing.  She says he sounds like he is