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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Unsung Hero (12/07/06)

TITLE: Room 510
By Virginia Gorg
12/12/06


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“Mom, why can’t I go?” whined Dani. “It’s two months since the accident.”

“Your dad is depressed, in a lot of pain, and in a coma again.”

“Oh, Mom, you didn’t tell me that. I miss Dad.”

“Me, too,” replied Dani’s mom. “You cannot go visit until he’s out of the coma. After work, I’ll stop at the hospital. What are your plans today?”

“Staying here. Can I go to the library?”

“Sure, just be home by 4:00 pm. See you later.”

Dani watched her mom leave and thought to herself: I’m glad it’s summer. I am bored, but today, I’m going to visit Dad.

Dani boarded the bus for the ten-mile ride to Oceanview Hospital’s burn center. Confidently, Dani approached the receptionist. “I’m here to see Michael Epperson.”

The receptionist clicked on the keyboard. “What relation are you?” Mabel asked.

“His daughter,” Dani announced.

Mabel shook her head, “It says here that only his wife is allowed to visit. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.”

As Dani turned to leave, tears welled up in her eyes. A nurse suddenly called, “Mabel, can you help me?” The nurse had a man in a wheelchair and needed help moving a flowerpot. Mabel rushed off, leaving the computer screen blinking “M. Epperson, Room 510.” Dani smiled and headed toward the elevator, making sure that Mabel didn’t see.

Stepping off the elevator, Dani heard people moaning in pain. The smell of antiseptics was overwhelming. A nurse, Cindy, approached, “You cannot visit without proper attire. Who are you here to see?”

“Michael Epperson,” Dani whispered.

Cindy shook her head, “Only his wife is allowed to visit.”

Tears formed in Dani’s eyes. Cindy noticed the book Dani was holding. “I have a feeling you are here for a special reason. Come with me.”

Two minutes later, dressed in a sterile gown, Cindy led Dani down the hall. There were no walls, just open areas with wheeled dividers.

“Here we are. You have twenty minutes.” Cindy smiled as she walked off.

Dani leaned over. “Hi, dad. I love you and miss you. I want to read something to you.”

Dani picked up her Bible and began to read “John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.” As Dani continued to read, she felt peace come over her. Her voice became stronger as she read. Dani wanted to remind her father that God is in charge.

Cindy touched Dani’s arm, “I’m sorry, but it’s time to go.”

Dani kissed her father’s unbandaged cheek. “I’ll see you soon.”

Over the next weeks, Dani continued to visit her father and read from the Bible. She began to tend to his wounds and found herself assisting with other patients. She often sang as she worked.

- - - - - -

One night, Dani’s mother began to speak. “An odd thing happened today. Mr. Burt in the bed next to your father accepted Christ. The pastor was there and Mr. Burt kept saying that an angel would read and speak of Jesus – he kept saying this angel is an unsung hero. I wish your father would respond. He needs to hear those words again.”

Dani kept silent, afraid that her mother would be angry at the daily visits. The next day, Dani arrived and began to sing “Amazing Grace” as she walked down the hall to visit her dad.

“Hi, Dad, it’s me again. I sure do miss you. Today I’m going to read from Isaiah Chapter Nine.” As Dani read, she again felt peace come upon her. She realized she was being watched, and turned to see Cindy.

“Dani, you have a lovely reading voice. But more than that, the patients seem to quiet down when you talk and sing, especially Amazing Grace.”

“That’s my Dad’s favorite song. I just want him to wake up.”

- - - - - - - - -

The following Monday arrived with a thunderstorm and street flooding. Dani’s mom left for work, with a firm order: “Stay home today. No library. The streets are flooding.”

At her Dad’s bed in the hospital, Dani sang “I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but ..”

She couldn’t continue as she heard a raspy voice sing, “but now I see.”

“Dad?”

“Yes, honey, I’m awake. I’ve heard every word you said to me all these weeks.” Michael peered at Dani through tears. “Thank you for reminding me about my Savior.”


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Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood12/14/06
I loved this story! The characters come alive with both descriptions and dialogue, and the message is moving and powerful. I loved the unexpected twist of the daughter's singing radically impacting other patients in the hospital--as well as the exciting and satisfying ending. Great job!
Jan Ackerson 12/18/06
This is a very sweet and tender story--I've heard that patients in comas often do report hearing what is said in the room, so it's very touching.

I have a few quibbles: if the dad is in a coma, how do they know he's depressed and in pain? And I'm a little bit bothered by Dani's continual disobedience. It's not clear how old she is, but if her mother told her to stay home, she should have obeyed her, no matter what her age.

Great ending!