This is our truth, tell us yours
The compressor for the air mattress coughs, like a small dog chasing rabbits in its dreams.
The nylon washbag that decorously conceals the syringe driver rustles, then gleams from within as an LED and an apologetic tone announce that the District Nurse must be due to administer today’s dosage.
The oxygen machine makes a noise reminiscent of another Sunday afternoon wartime movie about submarines, and still we talk, sitting out the silences and the breathless pauses when words queue up for the exit.
I have been here before, with an old man shipwrecked on a beach of white hospital linen, waiting as the waves of opiates in his veins drew him back to the sea, not silting his veins like Thomas’s parishioner, but making him weightless, floating away from the grasp of those who loved him as well as they could.
Today, as I wait for the inevitable pillow on the face smothering that is the trademark of the tumour in the lungs, I see the patient not shipwrecked on some alien shore, but trapped in an underground car park after it has closed, where machines ventilate without purpose, and the burglar alarm waits for criminals who will leave empty handed regretting the truth that even the most light fingered thieves cannot steal memories.