Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Random stuff I write for school #1

Am I Okay?

“Where am I?”

I didn’t even want to answer. In less than a minute, she’d forget she asked. What would it hurt if I simply waited her out? As some unseen force took control of my vocal cords, shoving out words, I hear myself say, “The hospital.”

“Oh, am I okay?”

There was the million dollar question. Every parent worries about days like this one. What started out as a simple stomach flu, or so we thought, resulted in our family doctor ordering us to the hospital for tests. Even the nurses and doctors in the ER thought it was silly—this kid obviously suffered from intestinal flu, nothing more or less, and should simply be watched for dehydration, but if the doc orders tests, tests they will run.

“Where am I?”

“The hospital.” I leaned back in the hard plastic chair. It squeaked in protest and I folded my hands over my face. First they’d run a white blood cell test. Obviously, if something was wrong, the white blood cell count would be through the roof. In the meantime, they’d put her on IV fluids and got some fenegren going to stop the nausea. She became drowsy and the white blood cell count results came back low, if anything.

“Am I okay?”

But they didn’t want to miss something so they ran a c-cell test. That test came back inconclusive. I remember worrying because I was late for work and losing money. The fluids and medicine obviously helped…why were they wasting more time? But they wanted to do an ultrasound—even though everything suggested she didn’t have anything major wrong—so she drank some nasty stuff before dozing back off. They ran their test and I paced the floor in my fast food uniform, the smell of old pizza and grease competing with the acrid bite of disinfectant.

“Where am I?”

“The hospital,” I answered again, almost out of habit by this point.

A man came in, his face permanently embedded on my memory. He looked like Colonel Sanders from the chicken place. He held a clipboard and seemed to be impatient and in a hurry. “Do you want Rainbow Babies or Cleveland Clinic?”

I blinked at him.

“Am I okay?” Her voice seemed to be getting stronger, but it was still the same two questions so I just reached out for her hand. I remembered staring at the king of chicken in complete confusion. “For what?”

“For the emergency surgery.”

“What? Do you have the right room?”

Colonel Sanders explained that my daughter had appendicitis, worse that it’d gone gangrene and her immune system had probably shut down days ago. Now her other systems were following suit in a massive collapse and she’d need surgery to survive.

“Where am I?”

“The hospital.” They’d rushed her away and I’d followed along. She kept sleeping, drowsy from both her illness and the meds, while my heart beat as hard as a cop at the door of a crack house. I gave up trying to guess what would come next, begging whatever gods might be listening not to take my baby girl away.

“Am I okay?”

“Yes,” I whispered, trying to find my voice past my fear. She’d be okay. She had to be.

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