© Bonnie McKeegan 2017
A short story of compassion and kindness set in a busy emergency room. (500 words) Written June2017 for a #wattys2017 & #wonderthemovie Kindness Contest on wattpad.com.
This story is one in a series of short stories the author hopes will inspire hope and strength within those who are enduring pain.
Dedicated to migraineurs across the globe.
*cover photo from Pixabay designed on canva.com*
I had gone to the emergency room for help with my migraine. It was a particularly vicious attack on my body, mind and spirit that my regular medicine couldn’t get ahead of. After three days of Imitrex and Zofran, in my dark room with my dark thoughts I couldn’t take it anymore. It was a holiday weekend and Jason was irritated with me for interrupting “his” big plans. As usual his compassion vessel wasn’t exactly overflowing. There was no way he was going with me.
The triage nurse let me know, in so many words, that it was a typical busy holiday night with summertime calamities wreaking tragedy in the lives of families. He didn’t elaborate but the message was clear. My “headache” was pretty far down on the list of priorities. He wasn’t mean about it, just matter-of-fact. I settled into a chair in the waiting room, closed my eyes, and tried to imagine everyone ahead of me suddenly cured of their ailments and happily drifting home to enjoy the fireworks from their balconies. Interestingly, I didn’t imagine that for myself.
Two hours later I was escorted back to the patient treatment area. You know, the area with curtains between the beds, monitors, cables, oxygen masks and a bazillion other pieces of cold scary unfamiliar equipment at each bed.
She gave me a warm blanket and helped me onto the bed. Let’s be realistic here, it’s not really a bed, it’s actually a gurney, if you think about it. A cold hard steel structure supporting a mattress with white sheets, wheeled, with sidebars to keep you from spilling onto the floor, plugged into the wall. These “beds” are not meant for comfort. They are meant for practical use like for raising the patient up so medical personnel can perform all sorts of exams and treatments without bending over, for tilting the head up which I guess can be comforting but is often used for someone who cannot breathe well lying flat, and for wheeling the patient off to x-ray and other departments in the hospital.
So, there I was curled up in the fetal position under the blanket, eyes closed, unsuccessfully trying to tune out the noise, wondering what I had done to deserve such suffering. “Should I pray for early menopause since my migraine trigger is my cycle?” I was ready to trade my fertility for a life of “no more migraines” when the nurse returned with something in a syringe. She confirmed I had No Known Drug Allergies then proceeded to push the medicine into my I.V. When she was done she knelt down, took my hand and said, “I’ll stay with you until you feel better.” Those were the kindest words I had ever heard from a stranger. I knew my pain and suffering mattered to her. She was there, like an angel watching over me, doing whatever was in her power to ease my suffering. And that gurney? Well, it felt like a real bed.