This week, I operated on a woman who was bleeding, severely. I stood beside her on the way down to surgery, and I told her things were serious. There is a look that we (humans) get when facing down mortality. It is a grim knowing, an adrenaline-surged fear, and also a strange and foreign resolve or even peace. It is all there in a person who thinks they are going to die. She said little, smiled a little, asked me to do my best.
She awakened from surgery in the recovery room, and I was standing nearby and said: ”hello”. She said: ”Am I dead?” I was glad that she had not entered into a crazy loop in which the current world was the world shefound herself in, only having died. I was also glad that I was not the one waiting for her at the end of the that shaft of light, the tunnel, that people always talk about. I said: ”no, you are here”. Probably not the most helpful answer, but she got the message.
That look on the face of someone on the brink of the end is so amazing and brave. It is noble. It always makes me proud to be one of us (humans).
Portland, September 2010, Nikon D700