Home » A Wasted Life » The Keeper Of The Farm

The Keeper Of The Farm

I am the keeper of the farm.  I have been the keeper for almost ten years.  Every day I come to work and tend to my farm.  It is quiet and peaceful, save the distant, muffled beep of machinery.

My farm consists of five vegetables, all in different states of metamorphosis.  Some of my vegetables have been here for many years.  Some are recent arrivals.  All of them have stories.

In bed #1, is a man who has been assigned the name “John Doe.”  He was what the hospital referred to as a frequent flyer.  He was often found under bridges, in dumpsters or under random cars, seeking shelter from the blistering heat of summer or the bitter cold of winter.  He was found behind a convenience store one day, with a needle still sticking out of his arm.  Although he was successfully revived, he suffered permanent brain damage.  He is no longer homeless, for he now rests on the farm.  He will continue to rest here until he dies or funds for the indigent are no longer available.

In bed #2, lies a young woman who had a massive stroke during childbirth.  She has rested here for three years.  Her husband sometimes brings her little girl to visit.  He refuses to remove life-sustaining treatment, hoping that one day she will wake up and come home.  When I know that they are coming, I polish her fingernails and apply some make-up.  I often sit with her and tell made-up stories about her little girl.  I too, hope that one day she will wake up and go home.

In bed #3, lies a man who fell into a coma for an inexplicable reason.  His family lives in another country and cannot visit.  They will not give permission to have his breathing tube removed, so I listen to the perfect cadence of the ventilator, which forces his chest to rise and fall.  I play soft music for him while he sleeps.  In my mind, he is a Beethoven man and I think he particularly likes the Fifth Symphony.

In bed #4, lies a firefighter.  While trying to save a victim from a burning building, he fell through the floor.  He would otherwise be called a medical miracle as not one bone in his body was broken.  He just lost consciousness and never opened his eyes again.  He has been asleep for seven years.  He was married and had a son.  His wife was granted a divorce three years ago, remarried and is pregnant with her second child.  She nor her son have ever visited.  I sometimes burn a small piece of paper so that he can smell the smoke, hoping he might wake up.

Bed #5 holds a woman who has been here the longest.  She was the victim of a brutal assault when she was 24.  After ten years, her family has decided to withdraw treatment and disconnect all machinery but they have chosen not to be present, so I will be the one who watches as she takes her last breath.  I will be the one who holds her hand as she passes from this life to the next.  I will be the one who tells her that it is okay to leave.

I have never told anybody this but I was once a volunteer keeper of a farm.  All hospitals have them.  They are usually housed deep within the bowels of the building, far away from view.  These people, although remembered by some, are forgotten by most…save the keepers.

All of the people in this post were based on my brief experience with being “the keeper of the farm.”

19 thoughts on “The Keeper Of The Farm

  1. Wow, I have no words, except I have sadness reading about this. I have thought about this before but just assumed family were visiting and not moving on. Thanks Laurel for this post, makes me think about some things. Hope all is well with you today.

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    • Yes. Some people just don’t want to ever give up hope. I, personally, would find it difficult if not impossible to “pull the plug” but I would also be aware of what my loved one was going through. These people do not look like they do on television. They draw up into the fetal position and most often, look nothing like they used to.
      It is so sad.
      Hope all is will with you too, Terry. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow laurel. Add that to the list of unusual things you’ve dealt with in your life. I had no idea. I have heard that hearing is the last thing to go. Almost all people with near-death experiences came out of is saying they could hear everything.

    I wonder if your ghost will rate this post as “poor”. Then you’ll know for sure it’s someone who has no soul. And, really, I think you know a few…..lol.

    Beautiful post. Big hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting topic, I have wondered what goes on in the mind of a sleeper, if any are aware and suffering through a reality of trying to communicate. So sad some are forgotten. Excellent as usual story!

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  4. Chilling. Perfect for a crisp October day. Thank goodness there are keepers, but shame on those who don’t or can’t care about their sleeper any longer. And withhold the permission to withdraw life support. I don’t know about the sleepers – do they dream do you suppose? Would it be worse to wake up 10, 20 or 30 years down the line and be lost in reality? To ME it would. That’s why I have a DNR and a living will with guidelines clearly set out that I am not to have heroic measures that would prolong a life I apparently no longer want and drain the finances of whatever family might care. Thanks for writing.

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    • On rare occasions, some people actually do wake up. Other times, when life support is withdrawn, they continue to live on their own….for several years.
      I don’t know if they dream or not. I do believe that they can hear. I have heard that the brain can actually process words for up to five minutes after death…that’s why they tell you not to say anything right away (as far as something negative.)
      I would get a reaction sometimes…like opened eyes but those are just involuntary reactions…or so I’ve heard.

      Liked by 1 person

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