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  • Writer's pictureRosie Forster

Resuscitation, and the Importance of Goats

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Resuscitation, and the Importance of Goats

Priscilla was dead for about fifteen minutes, they said. By they, I mean the doctors. Specifically the doctor who brought her back. I don’t remember his name. It had a lot of consonants in it. Like a C and a Z and an S and a L all next to each other. His wife was a doctor too. His kids are both traveling in Europe.

I’m sorry if my thoughts aren’t making too much sense at the moment. Parents aren’t supposed to outlive their children, although I suppose Prissy did come back.

Joseph had just bought his first muscle car – a Camaro or a Cadillac or something beginning with a C. He and Priscilla loved their cars – I’ve never really cared for them. Joe took Prissy out for drives in the new car, because Prissy couldn’t drive yet, and they always came home with wind-swept hair. Prissy made me brush her hair out myself a few times because it was so matted.

It must have happened the fourth or fifth time they took the car out. When they got home Prissy collapsed on the sofa and said that she “felt weird”. After a minute or two of lying there with her eyes closed, she sat up and projectile vomited all over the living room. She couldn’t even do anything after that, she just lay down again, and was breathing in huge gasps. I woke her up and Joe helped me shuffle her to hospital. “My heart hurts, Mom,” she said.

“It’s ok, sweetheart,” I said.

Priscilla died about three minutes before the surgeon saw her. That was when we met Dr. Czschl-. Brain aneurysm, he said. He brought her back, I can’t tell you how. The entire ordeal couldn’t have lasted longer than twenty minutes total, but it was an infinity of fog and disinfectant and grey walls and orange plastic chairs. At one point I remember the doctor telling us that he was going to try and revive her, and I threw up in the bin in the corner. Joe was either rubbing my back or holding our dead daughter’s hand.

When her heart started beating again, I must have screamed. The other families in the ward probably hated me in that moment. There was a young woman who sat with her rosary beads against her lips, unmoving, praying for hours. There was an entire family with curly red hair surrounding an elderly woman on her deathbed. The grandchildren were asleep on the floor, leaning against each other like dominoes when we passed them.

Priscilla was awake and alive, but that was as much as she could possibly be. The doctors told me to make sure I was sitting down before they told me.

“Her brain was starved of oxygen for the minutes she was technically dead,” said Dr. Czschl-. “Even if she survives, there won’t be any of her left.”

If you poked Prissy, she’d twitch, but if you called her name, she would keep staring at the ceiling. Sometimes tears would leak out of her eyes. Not from any sort of sadness, but just because her eyes were keeping themselves lubricated. After three weeks, she hadn’t improved. She understood none of what I said to her, she didn’t respond when Joe stroked her hand.

I couldn’t recognize her, and she couldn’t recognize me. She wasn’t alive, not really. She was never coming back, and so we let her go. She used to want to be a politician, you know. I bet she had thoughts on euthanasia. She died peacefully, her eyes still leaking as she stared at nothing.

It felt like putting down a dog. I’ve never had a dog, but I used to live on a farm you know, before I met Joe. I had to help a goat give birth once. I pulled it out of its mother, and it was covered in a sac of gloop and blood and god knows what else, but my hands were coated in whatever it was. The sac was supposed to break when the kid came out, but it didn’t, so I had to break it myself. The baby goat coughed and shook its tiny baby goat head. The mother lay on the ground, and I was so busy cooing over the baby that I forgot to show it to its mama. I put it by the mama after a while and left, and when I checked on them the next day, the baby was dead. It was lying exactly where I had left it. The mama hadn’t recognized it as hers, and so she hadn’t gone near it.

It’ll be Joe’s and my first Christmas alone in fourteen years.

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