Honoring the details

IT WAS the writer Nicholson Baker's conviction that we should honor the details of our lives rather than get carried away by projections and abstractions.

Let me share a few details, then:

Morning, at 8 am.

A 25-year-old male, probably just months younger than me, immobile on the metal stretcher, in septic shock. No pulse nor heartbeat appreciable.

Then, a shearing cry: "CODE!"

Everyone rushing to the stretcher bed on the corner, beside the window. Passersby watching the commotion from a distance. Nurses preparing the medications. The cardiac monitor beeping like an alarm clock.

His sister weeping on the side, begging, "Iligtas niyo po siya. Papunta pa lang dito sila Inay."

Me, doing the chest compressions, catching my breath, wishing I were a bit stronger physically.

Twenty minutes later, the inevitable pronouncement. A life had ended.

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