I heard the sound before I noticed the smell..a feeble whimpering.. like an animal in pain..
I glanced up from the patient I was examining and looked around the ward….oh there she was.. in a corner bed.. emaciated body just skin wrapped around bones...bent double in pain.. . ..A bandage covered one half of her skull like face . I knew that.under the bandage the cheek was eroded..tongue and teeth were visible from outside..and the smell was that of putrified flesh..Infact there had been maggots in her cheeks when she had been brought here..
I had seen her the previous day.. she had been sitting on the bed .. head thrown back and pouring tea down her throat.. her cheeks eroded.. and the stench aroud her..
The cancer in her cheek was spreading.. fast.. and almost encroching into her eyes.
I remembered her as she had come to collect the report from me.. tiny dark woman.. a widow.. she had been eager .. .. to take treatment.. to live.. she had a daughter to marry off.. but the cancer had been too aggressive..
I went to her…” sara".. I called softly and took her bony hands in mine..
She opened her eyes.. her gaze was dull probably morphine.. then something in her expression changed.. recognition?..smile.?. I squeezed her hands.. she sqeezed back.. then the clasp loosened.. she was drowsy again..
I stood besides her.. a woman in pain..waiting for the mercy of death.. her only hope now was a fast and peaceful death.
I felt disturbed.. what did she know about euthanasia...?...mercy killing.... about dying with dignity.. not like this.. whimpering away like an animal.. Why couldn’t we docs help hersara died few days later but she influenced my views about mercy killing a lot…