This is a (slightly unexpected) continuation of Day 42.
I wake in the hospital bed, bright fluorescent lights glaring down at me. I blink and look around the room. My dad is asleep next to me, his head resting precariously on a palm. I trace back the events that led to here, a slow process in my current drugged state.
After five minutes a nurse wanders in. She has a stern face with soft eyes as she softly tells me what happened.
“They found you against the door. You suffered a lot of damage, but we’re doing all we can to stop the cancer.”
I nod, and we sit in silence for a moment while she takes my blood pressure.
“You saved a lot of lives,” she whispers, eyes never leaving the gauge. “I want to tell you that we can fix you, but I don’t think we can.”
I laugh a little, coughing at the end of it, hoping my teeth aren’t bloody as I smile.
“I never expected to make it this long,” I tell her, closing my eyes and leaning back against the flimsy hospital bed.
We soak in the silence, enjoying the miracle of life before I ask the inevitable question, the question neither of us want to know the answer to.
She sighs, her eyes sagging, the stress of the work showing.
“The doctor estimated two months.”
I blow out the breath I’d been holding. That’s longer than expected.
“Can you speed it up?” I ask.
The shock on her face tells me all I need to know, that they’ve been doing the opposite, that everyone loves a hero, but fuck the hero that wants to die in peace.
“I don’t think that’s what we…”
She trails off, at a loss for words. I wince, shifting as my squishy organs sag inside, melted by the dose of radiation I got.
“I’m in a lot of pain,” I tell her. “And… I don’t want my dad to suffer more than he needs to.”
She stares at me for a moment, still, those soft eyes melting and hardening at the same time.
“The easiest thing for your dad would be not having any of this happen,” she tells me. “But it did. The least you can do is give him two more months of being with his daughter.”
I didn’t know I was crying until she finished the sentence, the tears a hot mess on my face. I try to sob quietly, not wanting to wake my dad, not wanting him to see all my weakness. The nurse holds my hand for a minute, her eyes drooping with the weight of the world, with the weight of this damn reality.
“I’m sorry,” she tells me, squeezing my hand. “You deserve better than this.”
I smile, soft and sad. “If it wasn’t me, it would be someone else or all of us. In the long run, it’s not a bad trade.”
She squeezes my hand once more before leaving. I lay in the quiet, Demerol drip renewed, the pain fading into the background.
Not a bad way to die. I’m sorry, Dad.