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"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)

9.28.2012

Malpractice

The orderly pushes me down the hall on the gurney, jogging as fast as protocol will allow.  Twin doors swing open ahead of us like the gates of heaven to let us pass unhindered.  He swerves to miss a nurse that absentmindedly crosses his path.

"Move."

She presses up against the wall as we brush past her.

The orderly stops in front of a door where another nurse, this one dressed in surgical gear, is waiting.  She takes over and wheels me into the room.

I don't remember much about the accident, but judging from the amount of blood covering me, it must have been bad.  A dull ache in my arm hints that it is probably broken.  I can't move, so I think that I might have broken my neck or back or both as well.

A masked surgeon waits at the head of the stainless steel table, scalpel in hand, and I look up into his eyes when I am transferred onto the slab.  He looks like he knows what he's doing.  I think I'm in good hands.

A nurse pulls away what's left of my blouse, leaving my stomach and chest exposed.  She swabs away the blood with wet cotton, and I catch the acrid smell of alcohol.  I wait for the anesthesiologist to put the mask over my mouth and nose, anxious that the unendurable pain might finally end.

The surgeon reaches forward and his scalpel pierces my skin as he deftly draws a line from the top of my sternum to my pelvis.  I try to scream, but my mouth remains closed, immovable, and the only echo is inside my head.  Tears seep out of my eyes.  Can't he see the tears in my eyes?

He's digging through my organs, pulling up my kidneys and they look so small in his hands.  He lays one aside and with a snip severs the other.  He turns to an orderly standing next to him, and I now see that the orderly is holding a cooler.  The surgeon gently places my kidney in the corner, then returns to the forgotten one.  A quick, burning snip and it, too, joins its partner.

The orderly races off as the doctor returns his attention to me.  One by one, he harvests my liver, my lungs, and something I don't even recognize.  Now he's wielding a saw, cutting through my sternum, bone dust wafting in the air.  He slowly spreads the two halves and secures them with a retractor.  I feel like I am being torn apart.

"Lara.  Come with me."

I don't know how, because my neck won't move, but I look over my shoulder to see Papa there.  I remember him giving me piggy back rides and sneaking me soda pop before dinner.  But that was a long, long time ago.

"But I'm not dead yet." I look back to the surgeon who now has my beating heart in his hands.

"I know," he says.  "But you will be."

***

Today's prompt: Write about your greatest fear.

7 comments:

Nikki said...

I am breathless. Literally.

Shelli said...

Thank you, Nikki! :) Are you going to play along? *fingers crossed*

Karen Adair said...

Unnnnnnnnnnng, flashback to Neal Shusterman's Unwind. I think I need to go read some comedy now. Well done!!!!

Shelli said...

Oh, I loved that book! I know the topic wasn't exactly unique, but it was kind of fun. :)

Helen said...

I could feel myself being torn apart, like the MC of this story. This is great, Shelli! My chest is probably going to ache from the retractors all night.

Sulci Collective said...

thank god for the British National Health Service is all I can say. This was visceral stuff, well done

marc nash

Shelli said...

Thank you, Marc, and welcome to my blog! You know, there are new organ harvesting guidelines that say that a patient here only has to be brain dead, not actually dead before harvesting. Scary!