I’ve watched for 10 years as she lived with cancer. Watched as her mother, father, brother died while she went through chemotherapy. Watched the bone marrow extractions. Watched the drainage tube being installed in her abdomen to syphon off the fluid. Watched the drainage tube being installed in her back to syphon the fluid off of her lungs.

One time, while driving home from the cancer center, she told me that her doctor said there was nothing left to do. That it was time to give up. And all I could do was sit there and watch.

But now she’s lost it. Raving gibberish into the phone.

Her sister, an oncology nurse in Florida. I call her for advice. She says maybe it’s a medical reaction. Probably not. She tells me to have my mom lay down. Wait it out for a couple hours. She calms down even more, but the symptoms haven’t faded.

She finds a few more words. We agree, she has had a stroke.

I beg her to go to the hospital. I threaten to call 911. They’ll make her go. She wails. I beg. She wails. I punch a hole in the kitchen wall and scream.

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