Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)
TITLE: Sorrow No More
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It was the end of fall, Indian Summer, actually. I soaked up the warm sunshine wishing I could store it for the coming months. Just the thought of winter made me shiver. My stomach tightened from the anticipation of what the cold days ahead would bring--an anniversary I didn't want to celebrate, didn't want to remember.
It was the first of December, a year ago, one week after Thanksgiving. “No!” I thought. “Don't think about it.” My fingers interlaced, my knuckles grew white. I rocked back and forth from the sheer agony of forcing away the memory.
I shut my eyes tight trying to make my mind forget, but the sound of laughter pried them open. A diversion. I welcomed the distraction of a mother walking across the park with her three children.
They headed for the playground not far from me. I noticed the children looked very close in age. She looked very worn out.
I watched this stranger sit down on a bench. She held a baby girl wanting to join her siblings, whose laughter and squeals filled the park. No amount of coaxing satisfied the squirming toddler, and the mother gave in. She set the little girl on her wobbly feet and told the oldest child to keep watch.
My heart ached. Memories wormed their way through my fallen defenses. I wiped away tears, angry that the diversion had betrayed me. At the same time, conviction pierced my heart. I felt the bitterness that had caused me to walk away from my profession, wrestle with the prodding of the gentle voice within. My head sank to my knees and I got lost in the tug of war with my emotions.
“I can never be a doctor again.”
“You can't walk away from those who need your help.”
“I'm not good enough.”
“You only lost one child; it wasn't your fault.”
“Come back, too many children need your help.”
“I can't. I can't. I can't!”
Anguish wracked my soul. Self pity won out, and I simply gave in to the sorrow, which nagged me day and night. My sobs drowned out the shrieks in the back ground, until I realized they had became screams.
My head jerked up to see the mother lifting her baby from the edge of the pond. In that moment, I tossed aside the weight of sorrow hanging too long around my heart, and ran to the mother's side. “I'm a doctor. I can help.”
Professional instinct kicked in as I took the child from her hysterical mother. “Call 911,” I said trying to calm her down. She hugged her two older children and ran for her diaper bag.
How long could it have been? I struggled to calculate. The baby wasn't breathing. I stripped her wet clothes off, and pumped her little chest, blew my warm breath into her cold mouth. Over and over I worked, until a rush of water came out. I looked at the mother through fresh tears. “Pray.”
“I don't know how,” she said in choked sobs. She still held the phone in her hands. I could hear the dispatcher trying to get more information.
“It's okay...I'll pray.” I pulled my sweater up and held the baby next to my warm skin, asking God to spare her life. Seconds later I felt a shudder. Then came a whimper. Her mother dropped the phone, and rushed to my side. She wrapped her arms around her baby and me, and we laughed and cried together.
With the sound of sirens, came the realization of what had just happened. I wasn't able to save my own little girl, but I was able to help this baby live. A renewed hope surged through me. I had the comfort of knowing my daughter was in heaven. Now I had the privilege of telling this young mother about the true Healer of body and soul.
I looked up, recognizing one of the paramedics heading our way. He nodded. “Welcome back, Doc.”
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