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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: The Answer Came in Just Seconds
By Kellie Henningsen


Sally was five months pregnant and lying on a hospital bed; her body arched in an unnatural position.

“You can turn this way now, Mrs. Chambers. That’s it…careful now,” instructed the cardiology technician.

Sally nervously repositioned herself as the young woman applied more gel to the ultrasound wand and began to rub it on her stomach once again.

While straining to decipher what was on the monitor, Sally listened to the drumming sound of her baby’s heartbeat. The throbbing whum, whum, whum should have been calming but nothing could offer Sally solace. Just months before, she had been in a similar spot, hearing similar noises, and looking at a similar monitor.

Blue and red lights jumped in sporadic patterns over the four chambers of the heart. The little flaps separating the ventricles from the pulmonary artery flapped back and forth in rhythm indicating what Sally hoped would be a healthy heart.

Suddenly the technician leaned in towards the monitor for a closer look while readjusting the position of the wand. “Could you turn a little more towards me?” she asked. “I need to find a better angle.”

What is she looking for? What did she see?

Sally once again lifted worried eyes to the screen. The colors danced around between the parts in no particular order. She knew enough to know too much blue was not a good thing but what about the red? Was there more red than there should be? The colors flashed across the screen illuminating the studious face of the technician.

After nearly thirty minutes of strained silence, the tech took a cloth and cleaned the wand.

“We’re done! You can use these towels to wipe off the gel. I’m going to give Dr. Donner the films and she will be in to see you shortly.” Her face revealed no indication of what she had seen.

How can she be so uncaring? She’s read the file. She knows we lost our daughter less than a year ago to a heart defect. Doesn’t she know what this unknown is doing to me?

Sally understood, however, that it was futile to attempt to get information from a technician. Her job was to do the preliminary work and leave the diagnosing to the cardiologist.

For twenty minutes, Sally sat in silence alone. Her husband was in the waiting room with their two year old son, but oh how she wished he could be with her. Holding her hand. Making her laugh over something silly just to take her mind off things.

The door suddenly swung open. Sally’s breath nearly stopped as she looked into the face of the woman who only eight months earlier told her of her daughter’s soon to be fatal heart condition.

How can I be in this position? Why am I here? God, why did you give us this pregnancy so soon? I’m not ready to go through it all again. Oh, God…please let everything be ok!

“Hi Sally. Good to see you again.” Dr. Donner put the file down and picked up the tube of gel. “I’m just going to take a few more views so if you could lie back, I’ll only be a minute.”

Sally bit her lower lip to keep the tears from coming. The technician must have seen something after all! The minutes dragged by. Sally couldn’t help but study the cardiologist’s face. This woman was named “Dr. Cool” for a reason as her stony expression never flickered.

“Ok, you’re all set!” she suddenly remarked. “We can’t rule out small holes but there is no structural deformity in your daughter’s heart.”

Sally couldn’t form words. She had just spent nearly an hour in pained silence and stress and had been given her answer in less than twenty seconds. It was difficult to absorb.

She thanked Dr. Donner and slowly rose from the bed. As she left the room, the technician smiled and wished her a nice day while busily putting the room in order for the next patient.

Sally slowly entered the waiting room with tears running down her face. Her husband stood to his feet, face stricken with worry.

Moments later, they left the hospital hand in hand; thankful to God for their wonderful news. As they emerged into the afternoon sunshine, Sally felt the blessings she had been given pour over her soul like a refreshing waterfall. She slowly lifted her eyes toward heaven and let the first smile in a long time creep across her face.

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This article has been read 558 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/08/09
Oh, I felt so tense along with her, and annoyed at the doctor for being so terse. You made me feel everything she felt--the sign of a good piece of writing.
Allen Stark10/11/09
Having a background as a medic helped me to really feel a part of the story.
Teresa Lee Rainey10/13/09
Very emotional story - kept me holding my breath and hoping for a good outcome.
Sarah Elisabeth 10/14/09
Very well done...I felt the tension and stress right along with her. Glad for the happy ending!
Shilo Goodson10/14/09
This was a great story with some really tense moments. I kept wanting someone to reassure her that everything was going to be alright. I'm sure that it would be hard to be in her position.
Aaron Morrow10/14/09
Great work. The pacing kept me engaged and you provided some excellent details for "texture" to a tense story line that could have been overdone. I really enjoyed this and I hope it does well.
Sherrie Coronas10/14/09
Whew...a happy ending! I was feeling the stress of not knowing what was going on...great job.