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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Day's End (01/01/14)

TITLE: Don't Miss Out!
By Danielle King
~10th Place


Here we are again - Accident and Emergency. I should buy shares. The parking fees alone would make me a wealthy woman.

My son sports a passion for breaking bones and demolishing teeth. When he was a kid I developed neuroses around it. Medical staff gave me dubious looks when I told them, ‘yes, he has done that wrist before, three times I think. Oh wait, that was the other arm. This was only the fingers - twice.’

Now, he’s two and a half times my weight and six feet tall. I don’t get grilled any more, but I’m still on the A&E run. Do men ever grow up?

Phew; it’s too warm in here. I’ve discarded my jumper already. If I strip off the shirt I’ll be arrested, so I’ll have to perspire because ladies don’t sweat.

Tim wears a cotton Tee-Shirt. No coat mind, just a Tee. It’s January!

Thankfully, it’s not too busy today but I’m really fed up with this farcical new seating arrangement. They’ve fitted tight rows of blue plastic seats, fixed at the base to a metal bar. The bendy back-rest is a free spirit. It’s not attached to anything. The lady directly in front of me is amply proportioned in the nether regions, and the surplus is spread far and wide. Each time she shuffles I anticipate an early death.

We’ve seen the triage nurse already. She asked Tim why he’d left the abscess so long before seeking medical help. To spare embarrassment to both, I explained that Tim was ‘special needs’ and didn’t rate an inflamed, pus-oozing volcano on his elbow as meriting ‘a fuss.’

That was three hours ago. Now we’re waiting to see the doctor and I’m gagging for a large, frothy cappuccino, liberally sprinkled with chocolate. There’s cooled water and plastic cups, but I’m fixating on a hefty shot of caffeine.

The Coke machine rattles my brain as it gobbles up coins and spits out the fizzy stuff. Potato crisps and Mars bars are selling like hot cakes, and if one more person crinkles a wrapper or crunches crisps in my ear, I swear I’ll go for the jugular.

Four hours. I need a change of scenery. ‘Just off to the ladies room,’ I tell Tim. I wanted to stretch my legs so ambled by the ‘ambulance only’ entrance, risking collision with a fast moving theatre trolley. The occupant, a man maybe Tim’s age, didn’t look good. A bag of IV fluids swung precariously from a drip stand to a line in his arm, while a paramedic ran alongside securing an oxygen mask. A middle aged woman gasped for breath trying to keep up. She looked ashen.

I didn’t realise Tim had followed me until he asked what was happening. ‘I heard a nurse say assault,’ he told me. ‘Unprovoked.’ I reassured Tim that the young man was in the best possible place, and the doctors would sort him out.

Two more hours passed before Tim saw the doctor. The staffing levels were ridiculously stretched. We’d moved seats twice. Once to avoid the pending crush injury, and again because someone puked on the floor and I don’t care for regurgitated curry.

Anyway, Tim was eventually patched up; routine observations and swabs taken, antibiotics dispensed and a caution to return immediately if it worsened.

Now my twitchy, deprived thought processor could focus only on rich, roast coffee beans. ‘What an ordeal Tim,’ I whinged. ‘It’s been a long, long day and the sooner it ends the better.’

As we braced ourselves for the biting cold outside, I noticed two police vehicles parked up. In the wind I heard a wailing; distressed cries, verging on hysteria. A woman sobbing; inconsolable. A light flicked on in the relative’s room. Through the window, clearly visible were three women; a nurse, a police officer and a third person. ‘Isn’t that the lady who followed the young man to theatre?’ I asked Tim.

‘Yes mum,’ he said flatly. ‘His day soon ended, didn’t it?’ My blood ran cold!

Unlike me, she doesn’t get to drive her son home tonight. I discarded the pathetic trivia of my day as Paul’s words resonated with me. ‘In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’*

Human life is tenuous. Every breath we take is a gift from God. Of course His greatest gift is life in Jesus.

Have you met Him yet?

*Scripture reference. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

Accept Jesus as Your Savior Right Now and be Certain of Eternal Life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 01/09/14
A thoughtful well presented devotion. Excellent.
Linda Goergen01/09/14
Great story! No matter how bad we think things are going for us, we have only to look around to see someone worse off. Some of our worst moments make us truly appreciate our better times! Well done!
Jan Ackerson 01/10/14
I’d love to have your input into the free writing lessons available on the FaithWriters forums. This week’s lesson is on writing devotionals, and next week will cover writing on topic for the weekly challenge. Look for it at http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67, or if you’re on Facebook, you can “like” Faithwriters Writing Lessons.
C D Swanson 01/11/14
Oh my! This gave me chills...an excellent message for all. Appreciate all things and in all things give thanks.

Well done.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/11/14
You did a grand job with this piece. The setting was so real, I could almost smell the vomit on the floor. You also gave a chilling picture of life with a "special needs" child. You managed to balance the roller coaster of a mom's love, fears, and frustrations. The only red ink is when the son talks near the end. I had to reread the sentence because I thought it was the son's voice not the mom's. If you had started a new paragraph I think it would have helped. That's a tiny thing though and over all you did a splendid job of bringing the characters to life and my heart ached for them all. The British phrases made it even better and more authentic in my eyes. I know some authors try to change the UK words or spellings, but I'm so glad you stayed true to yourself; it added character to the story.
Ellen Carr 01/11/14
This is a well-written story and pictures well a typical Emergency Department (unfortunately!). The sobering ending is very thought provoking. One small error I noted was "the relative’s room", which confused me as to what it meant. I assume you meant "the relatives' room" - a room where relatives wait. Well done with this.
Virginia Lee Bliss 01/12/14
I was engaged in this story from beginning to end.
Judith Gayle Smith01/12/14
Quite a story! Thank you for taking us with you . . .
Beth LaBuff 01/12/14
This flows with a lot of energy. Your sad ending caught me by surprise (which was good). Then I completely understood the mother's feeling. Nice work!
lynn gipson 01/12/14
This is an exceptionally fine story. One with an exceptionally fine and strong message to all. At the end of the day, we have so much to be thankful for. Very well done!

As I will be moving up to Masters next week. (I was told I was supposed to) I see I have my work cut out for me. So many fine writers here. Blessings....
Graham Insley01/12/14
An exceptional devotional. I loved the sudden change in emphasis at the end. A mum telling her story suddenly becomes an offering of praise and an open invitation to all.

Blessings, Graham.
Margaret Kearley 01/13/14
This is an amazing piece - I've just re-read it and its even better, the second time round! I feel I have been on an emotion roller coaster! I love your humour in the early paragraphs - you had me smiling, sympathising, empathising, remembering - and grinning! I believe I've come across those blue plastic chairs!! After quickly bypassing the regurgitated curry (as you also did!), I was drawn up sharp when I realised where you were heading - 'she doesn't get to drive her son home tonight'. Wow - memories of a similar time started to pour in. Then your wonderful timely challenge at the end. Thank you Dee- this was just great.
Bea Edwards 01/15/14
Wow-what I assumed would be a continuation of the comical thread soon turned profound. Nicely done!
C D Swanson 01/16/14

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/16/14
I wondered if this was yours. I loved it. Happy Dance!
Theresa Santy 01/16/14
Great depiction of the emergency room. Congratulations on your placing!
Margaret Kearley 01/17/14
Am so thrilled this placed Dee, thanks again for such a great read and many congratulations.
Charla Diehl 01/17/14
Your story is very thought-provoking and certainly packs a punch at the end. Yes, in all things we need to be grateful. Congrats on placing 10th in the EC list with this most deserving entry.