A Doctor’s Story


He didn’t die suddenly.

You could say it was a progression towards intimate judgment.

Doctors would describe the breakdown of his body and its organs. In the end, that’s the story that would be repeated as family history — at least for as long as anyone might care to recall.

Yet, others in worse condition, with less probability of recovering, have done just that and went on to a longer life.

So, what’s the real cause?

In Brandon’s case, even moments prior to the accident, if he were asked if he was ready to die, he would have replied with certainty: “no.” But within a few days at the hospital, he was wordlessly considering the question, turning it over and over and reviewing it from all sides. Although he was under sedation and barely able to speak, he knew if he recovered, he’d never be the same.

On the cusp of life or death, he ruminated about good days past.

He also contemplated practical concerns, such as the extent of his insurance and the burden he would become to his family if he survived.

Furthermore, he deliberated about whether he was in the right condition to make such a decision but determined the time to resolve this was now or risk a new phase of continual regret.

In spite of the multi-day internal debate, the final decision was unremarkable. But as ephemeral as it may have been, it was indeed sincere, whispered aloud and unheard one morning into his oxygen mask. “I’m tired.”

After that, it wasn’t long before the doctor’s story became reality. And even though the official words would be factual, and there was an exact instant when his heart monitor flatlined, such was not a true answer to the question, “When did he die?”

by George Alger


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