HOSPICE III

6/27/2018

James Madden walked through the first glass doors of the lonely hospice. Pride denied him from hitting the hydraulic assist button at the entrance. His ravaged body struggled to overcome the door closers set to resist pressure differentials between the building and the fickle Wisconsin weather. Getting past the first barrier, he paused in the air lock to look back. Behind him was his entire life, full of memories and special moments, but through the next set lay his immediate future, DEATH. After some time, Jim turned and saw the receptionist at the front desk patiently waiting for him to proceed through that final gateway. She has witnessed this procession from life to death many times and has allowed each patient their own time frame to proceed. A few have turned around. Once the decision is made prior to entry, the robotic response is to just get it over with. Nobody gets out of here alive. Mr. Madden shuffles his bent legs forward and pushes with all his might to drive that door off its hinges. It opens slowly. “Good morning Mr. Madden, we’ve been expecting you”, was the friendly greeting from Amy at the front desk, “can we show you to your room now or would you like to go to the activity room?” Jim grimaced slightly but courage prevailed, and his monotone reply consisted of, “just the room please”. Amy led the way at Jim’s pace, but was a half a step behind him at his side and was agile and strong enough to catch him if he faltered. Jim completed his journey. Entering the room, Jim surveyed the 100 square foot room as Amy departed saying, I’ll let you settle in and I’ll check back later.” He noticed the Sotchguarded death bed under the covers and puzzled over the celebration banners on the walls. But then he remembered why he chose this hospice; he liked its blunt honesty, THE BUG BUFFET HOSPICE. Jim would be the guest of honor when death came, and all the bacteria left in his body would feast ceremoniously on his crusty corpse. 

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