It was claustrophobic in my FIL’s hospital room, so I took a walk down the corridor. As I walked past ICU, an old man beckoned to me from inside his room. I was reluctant to enter. I was unsure of hospital policy, and frankly, I didn’t want to get involved, but something — a bizarre curiosity, dragged me into the room, like a rope around my waist.
“Hello,” I said. “Can I help you? Do you want me to get you a nurse?”
“No, Father. I am ready to meet my Maker. To shake the hand of Jesus. To see my wife. I want you to give me my last rites.”
I was in a rush that morning, throwing a dirty black shirt over a dirty white t-shirt, and this elderly man, with his poor vision and medicated mind, was confusing me with a priest.
The beep of his heart monitor went erratic and a red light flashed. An alarm sounded with an emergency code. I could hear running in the corridor. This man was about to take his last breath. I was not a priest. I was not Catholic. But who was I to refuse this man his last moments?
“You are blessed,” I said, in the solemn tone of a hospital chaplain. “You have been a good man. Jesus and Mary love you!”
I was winging it. I tried to remember some movie scene involving a priest’s rites, one that I could steal from, but all I could think about was The Exorcist.
“Do you have an regrets about this life you lead on Earth? Would you like to speak them now.” I quickly asked, knowing that I only had a few seconds left with him.
“Yes,” he said, solemnly. “I regret not getting retweeted more on Twitter.”
And then he died.
The ICU unit was in chaos as I left his room. A male nurse ran in and tried to revive him, but I knew it was hopeless. He had already revealed all.
Truth quotient — 0%
I can understand how he felt. I have had my own regrets. I’ve been so busy in the hospital that I forgot to change my avatar on Twitter for those affected by the Haitian earthquake. I was finally going to do it yesterday, when I took a little break in the hospital cafeteria with my iphone, but I noticed that everyone had already changed their avatars to The New Orleans Saints for the Super Bowl, so I guess I missed out my chance! Life moves so fast online. I hate when I miss out on an avatar switch!
Truth quotient — 10%
It was Sophia’s step-father’s birthday yesterday. All the nurses in the unit – about 25 in total – came in with a cake and sang happy birthday. It was a beautiful moment.
I posted the photo on Twitter. I asked the nurses if any of them were on Twitter, and none of them were. Eh, I probably wouldn’t follow any of them anyway. Probably not very good writers.
Truth quotient — 95%