Doomed

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“I will stand here, then slowly scoot in and get us tickets. No one will notice.”

“Are you kidding me?!” I tried to keep my voice low. Fortunately, it wasn’t difficult to do, muffled as it was already.

Doug shrugged, scattering orange and yellow.

It was a bad idea. This whole thing. I never should’ve let Doug talk me into it.

“It will be so much fun!” he’d said. And … anything did sound better than being cooped up in a hospital bed, my face swollen and bruised and covered with bandages after reconstructive surgery, while everyone else went partying.

Doug’s initial idea was to bandage the rest of me like a mummy, but I wasn’t going for it. I had enough of bandages. So Doug ‘borrowed’ his brother’s bike leathers and brought along some plastic ‘armor’, a roll of fake cobwebs, and a helmet that he somehow managed to fit over my post-surgically-wrapped visage. It was a bit too snug in places and as soon as he’d pulled it on I knew I’d regret it when we tried to remove the thing from my poor head. My noggin was five tons of throb.

We’d gotten through the nurse’s station undetected, and were now trying to crash the doctors’ party at the end of a hallway off the lobby. There seemed to be tickets involved. Or invitations. Or IDs of some sort. Now what?

Music crashed against my ears. I was tired. I wanted to be back in bed. I should have gone as a mummy. Preferably in a sarcophagus. At least then I could lie down. It wasn’t even three full days since my surgery. What was I thinking?… Clearly I was not.

“This is stupid!” I hissed.

“You’ll see,” Doug, undeterred, maneuvered his wrapped wheelchair into a corner, shedding more leaves, “People don’t notice trees.”

Oh, I could see already. And more than I wanted to.

“They would notice this one,” I grumbled.

Already Doug’s stick arms and bony torso showed. Someone should have hold him that being a potted tree in fall was doomed to leave him sitting in the nude.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Challenge

 

The Boy Who Was Very Brave

 

left human injected with hose on white textile

Photo: rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

“Be brave,” he said, and closed his eyes to ward off at least the pain of seeing his skin pierced by sharpness.

“Just a scratch,” the nurse stated in rote-like monotone, forgetting that for this boy nothing at this point was ‘just a scratch,’ especially not with veins well worn from prodding, let alone in a child who must struggle to understand why any of this was necessary.

“Be brave,” he said again, and his voice shook, and a tear slid under his lids and traveled down the small cheek to settle on his ear like a tiny sorrow-diamond.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse pressed her lips together when the third poke failed and another scarred blood vessel rolled under her needle. She’ll have to try another site. How on earth did someone not put a port in this child yet?

“Be brave,” the boy clenched his eyes to slits but more tears fled. “Be brave.”

The nurse looked up, distressed by his determined resignation. She paused and placed her gloved hand on his cheek. “You are,” she said. “Very.”

Eyes still shut, he shuddered and she wasn’t sure if he understood. She pulled a chair to his gurney and smoothed his hair. Someone from the Children’s Home had brought him to the hospital with another flareup, but the orphanage was too short-staffed to have anyone stay with him, especially when the boy wasn’t fussy and reportedly “used to” the hospital.

As if there could be such a thing as a child being “used to” being alone in a hospital.

“You are brave,” she repeated. Her eyes stung and perhaps the emotion in her voice more than her words filtered through his bracing because his eyes opened to meet hers.

“You don’t deserve any of this,” she said. “No one does. What you do deserve is to get better, and for people to really see and understand how brave you are. You are so so brave.”

Another tear rolled toward his ear. She hoped this one wasn’t from fear but from recognizing a connection.

“I’ll be as gentle as I can,” she promised. “I know this must be awful, but I need to get a line in for your medicine. Can you be brave for me just a bit longer?”

He held her eyes before he nodded.

“Good boy. So let’s just get this over with?”

He nodded again and this time did not close his eyes but hung them on her face. He did not look away or make a sound as she flicked and poked and needled.

“Good lad,” she praised, relieved, as she finally placed the clear bandage over the IV.

He took in a long breath.

“Can I get you anything?” she lingered, wanting to do something for this boy, so small and pale and alone.

He nodded.

“Some juice or crackers, maybe? It’ll do you good to get some of these in you,” she chattered. “I bet we have some toys I can borrow from the playroom for you.”

He held her gaze.

“Can I go home with you?” he asked. “I promise to be brave for you. I’ll be brave every day.”

 

 

(*Based on a true story.)

For Six Word Saturday

 

 

Whew!

shrinershospitalforchildren

 

For the child who finally got a clean bill of health, long enough into remission at last, after three bouts of cancer, four surgeries, five courses of chemo, two collapsed lungs, a resistant infection, and more invasive treatments and hospital days than one can count (though I’m sure her parents had counted. Every. Single. One.)

Whew.

We’re so relieved.

You rock, little one!

 

 

For The Daily Post