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Last Round (standard:non fiction, 732 words)
Author: BENTLINKAdded: Apr 22 2008Views/Reads: 2298/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The last round may be the hardest for every one of us!


I splashed some ice water from the bed side pitcher onto his face.  Are
you ok Jake?  You don't want me to throw in the towel.  You don't want 
all those miles of road work and hours and hours in the gym to count 
for nothing do you? 

Jakes eyes opened and brought me into focus for the first time in weeks.
 His low sorrowful moaning stopped and in a weak but clearly 
understandable voice he asked, “Is this really the last round?” 

I hated myself for giving the answer he needed to hear, “Yes this is the
last round and you are ahead on points but you got to answer the bell 
and stay off the canvas for a full three minutes.  You got to suck it 
up and be strong Jake.” 

“OK, Ok if this is the last round I can do that” in a voice both clearer
and stronger... 

It was the first time in more than a month Jake had made any kind of
sense out of anything.  What had started out being diagnosed as an 
ordinary cold had turned the ninety year old ex-prize fighter's world 
upside down. 

As is common with older people Jake's world for years had been a small
circle of family and friend or two his own age.  Jakes old man small 
world of familiar things like hot meals, and normal sounds was gone. 

His new replacement world smelled and sounded funny the bright lights
were always on it was white and featureless.  His world had with out 
his willing it had become a brightly illuminated place populated by 
coldly professional faced people carrying shiny sharp instruments a 
personal purgatory of incessant painful poking and prodding. 

A tiny bit of cornflake with a coating of milk was all it took to change
Jake's world from a friendly safe and comfortable place into a living 
hell on earth.  The errant morsel of food had taken up residence in 
Jake's left lung and become aspiration pneumonia almost overnight. 

An epic thirty day battle ensued ending only when Jake's natural
defenses reinforced by targeted antibiotics overpowered the resistant 
pneumonia.  The protracted battle left Jake's body and mind in shambles 

Soon after he was hospitalized, he stopped eating and so a feeding tube
was inserted though his abdomen wall into his stomach.  His kidneys 
slowed then shut down for a time so a tube was installed into his 
bladder and soon that too became infected and required treatment with 
additional antibiotics. 

Jake lay in bed so long his muscles broke down and he became too weak to
turn over in bed.  He developed painful bedsores on his elbows, and hip 
bones as well as at the base of his spine. 

His body was insulted time after time by the hospital staff as needed
blood samples were taken and liquid medications were injected leaving 
blue swollen areas on the backs of his hands and tops of his feet as 
well as along the entire length of his arms and legs. 

He had become disoriented during a major bout of fever and his mind
became convinced that any time he was being touched he was feeling 
pain.  A cool cloth to his fevered forehead was perceived to be 
scalding hot a soft pat of encouragement on his hand or shoulder was 
enough to set off his moaning for he felt steel nails puncturing his 
tormented flesh.  Jake had lost all sense of time and place he was 
adrift on a river of fire. 

I knew Jake and his family and I had heard the stories of how he endured
awful punishment in the ring while battling toe to toe for the right to 
hear his name called as the winner in more than a dozen prize fights.  
I was sure Jake still held that fighting spirit somewhere deep in his 
mind.  I had seen this remarkable resilience in other athletes.  I was 
sure this ninety year old man had what it takes to summon up a reserve 
of hidden strength and reclaim his mental stability. 

Yes Jake this is the last round. 

Stay strong Jake and you are for sure going to win this fight too.  Keep
your focus and let these people give you what you need and you will be 
able to walk away a winner. 

No sweat Jake this is the last round. 


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