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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Book Store/Library (06/03/10)

TITLE: One More
By Allison Egley


Doctor Darryl Niccum sat in the hospital's research library, meticulously searching the titles. He'd pick one, search the index, then put it back. He knew it had to be here. There just had to be something.

I've got to figure this out. I can't rest until I do. He peered at the clock, eyes heavy with sleep, his head weighted down. Just one more...

His colleague, Dr. Allan Kuzma, walked into the library. "Darryl, what are you doing in here at this hour?"

"I could ask you the same."

"I've got that consultation on Jill Breamer tomorrow. I heard there was some new research out on her condition, so I thought I'd read up. Had a busy day, and this was the first time I could make it down here. You?"

"Research. I think I've aged about ten years in the past couple of months."

Dr. Kuzma gave Dr. Niccum's shoulder a sympathetic squeeze.

Dr. Niccum watched as Dr. Kuzma found the research journal he was looking for and walked out.

"One more," he whispered. He scoured the titles again, praying that something would catch his eye. He scanned the index, read a few pages, and threw it down in disgust. "Isn't there anything out there that will help me?" Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

The next night. Dr. Niccum once again staked out his space in the library. He had discussed the case with his colleagues, but they had all come to the same conclusions he had initially. But he knew there was something more. And he had to find it.

"Lord, give me the wisdom. Please. She needs it, I need it... I feel like I'm at a dead end."

He poured over the books and journals, re-reading ones he had gone over tens of times before, just to make sure he hadn't missed anything. But he didn't find it.

Every night he looked. One more. That one more never seemed to be enough. It had become his mantra. One more. Every morning, he felt he knew even less than he did before. Many times he had felt like giving up. Just go with what you know. If you and none of the other doctors can come up with something different it probably is something you've already discussed, the rational side of his brain said. But then there was that nagging feeling. That what if... that kept him going. What if it was something rare? What if...

And so he continued what had become a ritual for him. Scour through the titles. Search the internet and the special medical databases. Hope.

One more. He read, and his pulse quickened. Could it be? He checked things off in his head. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I'm not sure, but I think so... Yes. I'll check. As he read further, his initial excitement turned into fear. The prognosis and statistics weren't good. Everything seemed to fit. He hoped he was wrong, but at the same time, the waiting would be over. The agony.

He knew it was late, but he had to confirm it with someone. He had to know this wasn't his sleep deprived mind working overtime. He picked up his phone.

"Dr. Kuzma? Dr. Niccum. Sorry, I know it's late. I think I may have found something, but I want to see if you agree." He shared the details of what he found.

"You know, I think I vaguely recall hearing something about that. Maybe in one of my genetics classes or something. It sounds like it could be right. But... I hope we're wrong."

Dr. Niccum sighed. "Yeah, me too. Thanks, though."

He took a deep breath and made one more call. He counted the rings, hoping his wife would pick up. One, two, three, four... "Hello? Honey? It's me. I think I know what's wrong with our daughter."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 06/11/10
Oh wow. I was impressed with this doctor's research, wanting to get to an answer for the patient and then you threw in a twist - it was his daughter! I like how you ended it.
mick dawson06/15/10
Good writing, I felt the doctor's anguish. Glad it finished on a hopeful note.