We get a third party call for a woman with abdominal pain coughing up blood. The neighbor meets us at the door and tells us the older woman is feeling woozy, and has been coughing up bright red blood. She also mentions that she hasn’t been acting quite right. Yesterday she was out raking the other neighbor’s yard instead of her own.
As we walk through the old farmhouse, which is immaculately kept with beautiful hardwood floors and antique furniture. I begin to remember being in this house before. And once I see the old woman in her upstairs bedroom, it all comes back to me. Several years ago we were called to this same house because no one would answer the phone and the woman who lived here hadn’t been seen for awhile. We pounded on the door. No answer. We finally broke in and walked quickly through the rooms of the house looking for someone on the ground with a broken hip, someone stroked out, or maybe someone cold rigored and stiff. The cop and I walked right through the bedroom and into the large bathroom, then turned around and came back through the bedroom and there she was sitting in a big velvet backed arm chair by her bed, completely naked, looking like she had just gotten out of a sauna, watching us without saying a word, off in her own world, a cup of hot tea in her hands. She was in her eighties, but all I can say is she was a Scandanavian beauty with a chest that Raquel Welch would have been proud of. Tonight she is sitting in the same chair, except she has a bathrobe on and her skin is jaundiced, and she looks frail and much older. The clean carpet is scattered with tissues tinged with blood. She still has her tea and we let her finish drinking it before we carry her down in the stair chair.