Posted in Fiction, Illness/life-threatening illness, Victoria C. Slotto, Writing


The same question that had hounded her for years continued to pummel Irene: At the end of my life, what will I have to show for it?

The answer, she decided, wasn’t in this place—a box-like room full of white sheets, a white blanket, a white commode and the sickly smell of urine, feces and vomit.

She dragged her legs to the edge of the bed, grabbed the rubber handles of her walker encrusted with the grime of three weeks in the nursing home, and made her way to the apple red crash cart parked down the hall where she copped a vial of potassium chloride, a 22 gauge needle, a syringe and tourniquet from the drawer that should have been locked.

After signing herself out against medical advice, she took a taxi home—her happy yellow home with the flower boxes on the window sill that had just come into bloom—the place where she had chosen to die.

Purty, her calico cat greeted her at the door, purring and winding herself about the ankles of the old lady who suddenly realized that the medicine stashed inside her purse wasn’t what she really wanted, not when she had something that needed her..

In my nursing experience, people need someone or something to get better for–or at least the process of rehabilitation goes much better when there is a loved one waiting at home. Even, perhaps especially, if that “someone” depends upon them.

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is hosted by Victoria from January through October and will post from now on at 12:01 a.m. P.S.T., not at 7 p.m. P.S.T.


RN, former hospice nurse, kidney transplant survivor, spiritual seeker, novelist, poet—Victoria C. Slotto is the author of two novels: "Winter is Past" and "The Sin of His Father", a collection of poetry: "Jacaranda Rain," and a Kindle Single: "Beating the Odds--Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia, " all of which are available in e-book and print formats. Use the link on my blog or visit my website at to purchase. Thank you!

6 thoughts on “Needed

  1. Victoria: As a grief counselor, I find these welcome words ring true for me. Thank you!. Your first lines remind me of Mary Oliver’s words in her poem “When Death Comes”

    ” When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
    if I have made of my life something, particular, and real,
    I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened.
    or full of argument.

    I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”


  2. John, I so agree with your assessment that facilities would do well to allow pets (and some assisted living’s here do allow it). Back around 1983 I was nursing director in a long term care facility and received the okay from the State to have a live-in therapy dog as long as there were good policies and procedures to cover it. Just one little memory of that–and elderly woman with dementia who had never spoken a word as long as she had been there began talking to the dog. It was a joy.


  3. It seems to be an intractable problem that nursing and care homes cannot or will not allow cats or dogs to live with residents. My wife, for many, many years was a Coordinator, but is now an Assessor for an organisation called PAT Dogs; standing for Pets As Therapy. Its purpose is to provide for dog owners to have the temperament of their dogs assessed and certified, with the aim of giving greater confidence to elderly care establishments so as to encourage them to permit regular visits by these animals. The benefits to residents is startlingly visible and, for some, a highlight of their lives. However valuable this process is, I still sometimes feel that it doesn’t go far enough. For many elderly people, the process of caring for a live-in pet can become a life force that not only motivates, but also invigorates an elderly person’s life.

    You area so right, Victoria, about the need for elderly people to have someone or something (if I can be forgiven for referring to pets as ‘things’) to care for. Doesn’t it say something good about humanity that extraordinary life force can come from caring.


Kindly phrased comments welcome here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.