On Massachusetts General Hospital Reaching Out to Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine

By Sarah Kilch Gaffney

December 12, 2022

On Massachusetts General Hospital Reaching Out to Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine

Even nearly a decade on, they couldn’t have known that your cognitive decline and general dislike of communications necessitated all emails come to me. They couldn’t have known about the radiation oncologist there who spent hours with us, but never spoke to you, or that the proton beam radiation she ordered, galactic and mysterious still, was meant to save your life, but instead prompted a cascade of complications you would never recover from.

Some weeks later, back at home with our toddler in your lap for bedtime, you realized you could no longer read aloud. The on-call doc told us to bypass our local hospital and head south to the city where we’d be sure to get a stat MRI that time of night, to save the lost time and ambulance ride, to save your glial cells alighting across the screen and your swelling brain, a glimmer of stars caught in the light and dark of the rumbling machine.

They couldn’t have known that, at the time, we were still hoping for another baby, just a little, that the mini IVF had failed and we couldn’t afford another, that we understood you were dying, but we held the idea heart-side anyway. They couldn’t have known that just after Christmas that year I crouched low over our coffee table to sign the DNR, and that after your heart stopped beating, I curled my body around yours before bringing our daughter in to say goodbye.

Sarah Kilch Gaffney is a writer, brain injury advocate, and homemade caramel aficionado living in Maine. You can find her work at www.sarahkilchgaffney.com.

Image by izzzy71 courtesy of Adobe Stock

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