The Visitor

My husband spent the last two months of his life in a private room in  the Kelowna Hospital in Kelowna, British  Columbia. It was late 1965 and he was dying of cancer, I  spent all my days at his bedside,  leaving only once in a  while to  pick up our mail or get books from the library.

One afternoon when I returned after an absence of about  two hours he greeted me excitedly,  “Guess who came  to visit while you were gone! Lou Gunn!”

That’s odd, I thought. Lou lived in Edmonton and doesn’t  even  know my husband is ill. Lou had been his closest  friend  during the many years we had lived in Edmonton.

“How did he know you were in the hospital?” I asked. “I don’t know; he just did,” came the vague answer.  I looked closely to see if  my husband had been influenced by some  drug. His eyes  look perfectly normal  and clear.

“Lou had a very serious heart attack,” my husband continued. “On November 2 out  of the blue  he was  stricken with a coronary thrombosis.” November 2!  This was  November 28. If Lou had sustained a serious coronary only twenty-six days ago, he  could not possibly have travelled the distance to Kelowna.”Are you sure Lou was here? May be you went to sleep and dreamed while I was gone.” My husband, now indignant, replied, “I haven’t slept one  minute. Lou was here  and he talked to me. Why don’t you  ask the nurse? She’ll know.”

All visitors had to have the nurse’s permission to enter  my husband’s room. I went to the desk and  asked if he had  had any visitors. The answer was no.  Had he  been given any  medication? Nothing whatsoever for the past three days.

Back in his room I told him that he dreamed Lou’s  visit.  He became quite angry and insisted it was not a  dream. Four weeks  later I received  a letter from Lou’s wife telling me that his heart attack on November 2, 1965, had been fatal. He died within an hour of the  attack. But my husband insisted the  saw Lou twenty-six days later.

Anna Irvine

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

September 1967

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