Khe Phung Thi vomits into a pink, plastic shopping bag.
A fit of coughing and wheezing shakes the 78-year-old’s frail frame. Lai, her daughter, closes the bag when the spell has passed. Dr. Eugene Etzkorn delicately peels the bright red, black and yellow plaid scarf from her head exposing her steel-wool hair. His fingers trace her leathery jaw line down to her neck and examine her glands. His hand brushes aside a bright orange coat and his stethoscope pauses in several places on her chest. Between a brow furrowed with concern and thin lips offering a comforting smile, Dr. Gene’s blue eyes remain focused. The prognosis looks grim.
Edema bloats her feet. Osteoporosis erodes her bones. Hypertension assaults her arterial walls. Atrial fibrillation denies her body oxygenated blood. Malfunctioning heart valves strain to keep pace with the spasmodic beat.
Congestive heart failure is killing Khe. [ read entire story ]