Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Light at the End of the Tunnel (01/23/14)
TITLE: A Different Light, A Different Tunnel
By Lillian Rhoades
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Everyone who knew Med agreed. He could be anything he wanted to be. From his boyhood days, his penchant for wanting to know what lay beneath the surface of anything and everything earned him the nickname, Probie. We all thought he would turn out to be a scientist, doctor, or even an explorer. Although he always kept us guessing, it was no surprise to us he turned out to be one of the three.
I'll let Med tell you what he finally became.
After all the years of education and training, the moment I had been waiting for finally arrived. My heart pumped a notch faster, and a gulp of water momentarily satisfied my dry mouth. I carefully checked emergency supplies to make sure nothing was missing, ran a test on my equipment, and then positioned myself at the beginning of the tunnel.
Fortunately for me, preliminary work required for my first adventure had been carefully carried out, and all visible debris had been removed. This allowed me every confidence that the surface of this elongated cave would not impede my progress.
That was not my main concern.
Uppermost on my anxiety scale was the risky journey I was about to take. One wrong move could damage the walls of the tunnel and cause irreparable harm! Perhaps a cave-in...
Throughout my training, there had been numerous warnings about how to avoid life-threatening moves. Keep your equipment directly in front of you, and stay away from the walls. I, and my college buddies, had heard the warning so much that whenever we met in the hallway, we jokingly reminded each other to, “stay away from the walls.”
Now, about to enter the cave, I knew it was no joke, but a matter of life or death. Not only might I damage the walls, but also the areas surrounding the tunnel.
Recurring memories of the warnings set off alarm bells in my head, and I took another squirt of water.
This is NO time to panic, I hastened to remind myself. You'll never start if you give in to fear.
I bowed my head.
“Father, this is my first exploration. Help me not to be afraid, because I know you're with me. ”
With the deftness my training afforded me, I stepped into the unknown. Slowly, carefully, I inched my way, all the while making sure my equipment remained in front of me. Occasionally, I paused to check out several indentations on the surface. Halfway through the tunnel, I stopped abruptly.
My eyes widened as I focused on an object that protruded from the surface. Its mushroom shape was not something one would find on the surface of this tunnel. With surgical precision, I removed the odd shaped specimen, placed it in a plastic bag, and tightly sealed it. If this is what I thought it was, then I would definitely have to return to this cavern again.
With the precious specimen carefully tucked away, I reached the end of the cavern, blew a deep sigh or relief, and turned off my search light.
Several days later, I sat at my desk, and smiled at my patient, Mrs. Winters, who sat across from me with fingers locked in a tight fist.
“No need to worry,” I assured her. “The results of the polyp I removed during your colonoscopy came back negative.”
I continued. "But I would like to keep an eye on that colon of yours, so I suggest we do a follow-up every three years. I'm glad you finally decided to have this done."
Mrs. Winters relaxed her fingers, and held out her hands towards me.
“I'm SO relieved, doctor. These past three days have felt like a life time. I can't thank you enough.”
Alone in my new office, I, the young Dr. Med, opened the bottom drawer of my desk, pulled out a box, and reached inside for a replica of the endoscope I had used to perform my first colonoscopy since graduating from medical school.
"You'll never know, Mrs Winters, I spoke to her absence, “ how relieved I am that with this little light, I made it through the tunnel without damaging the walls.
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