Exactly as predicted, perhaps a day early, Isita has entered a trial of misery which will probably last another ten days. She is hardly speaking, indicates her wants with weak gestures, curls on her bed. The most recent word she spoke to me was yesterday when we asked her what number her pain was. ‘Ten’ she whispered. Earlier today, while puking up, she asked Marta if she was going to die.
Marta told this to Giuseppe when he came in on the ward round. Sensibly, he said she needed more morphine. The pain team – specialists trained in the matter – have set up a pain pump, which is a highly controlled syringe drive for administering morphine.
Alongside reassuring her fears and tending to her most basic needs, our main job is to spot the first sign of discomfort and to ask for the dial to be turned up a notch. We are steadily, but rapidly turning that dial. There is further to go.
At least, when she has enough pain relief she is calm. Dreadful as this all is, it is all expected, and necessary, and will pass. Let it not take a day longer than it has to.