I’m in Juliet’s room at the hospice with her mum, and her dad nearby outside. Juliet is now deeply asleep, almost unconscious and the doctors have told us she is dying, which comes as no surprise.
Last night I took both my mobile and the house phone to bed with me and was woken just after 7am by one of the nurses giving me a status report on Juliet. She had been sleeping deeply, just as she was yesterday evening, but her breathing was now more irregular. Went in to see her just before nine and the nurses were just finishing giving her a wash. She opened her eyes several times, giving me a beautific smile each time, “Like the sun awakening” said the nurse. She would then lapse back into deep sleep. No words other than a breathed “yes” perhaps. Her eyes are very bright and shining, the pupils contracted for some reason. As with her stay in the JR hospital back in February, she often rubs her nose and sometimes is quite restless, moving her arms about, even high above the bed. She sometimes responds to a squeezed hand but not very often. She didn’t appear to feel the steroids injection they gave her mid-morning.
When Margaret & Richard arrived, it took a while for her to wake up and smile at them, but she did eventually. She’s had a few sips of water from a beaker. Margaret and I sat with the two doctors, I asked the older one about whether a drip was needed and it is not apparently, thirst stops at the mouth and the few sips & drops of water will be OK. Obviously they can’t say how long Juliet will be like this but they did say that given her youth and relative fitness, she could actually linger for some time, like days or weeks. I can’t help reflecting on how much faster everything has happened in the last four weeks or so.
I’m writing this on my work laptop so I don’t have many photos to hand. I think this one is of J at the Taronga zoo in Sydney, it’s from August 2005: