Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FINISHED (04/09/20)
TITLE: To Live or Not To Live
By Chiazo Obiudu
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As he weighed his options, trying to figure out the best way to convey the message to the family, Dr. Okey couldn't help but think that there was something they were missing. Something hidden in plain sight.
When he entered his office, the pained look on his face bared it all. His patient's eldest son stood up. Her husband was still seated wedged between their two youngest daughters.
It was an all too familiar scene. The close-knit family had passed another night in the hospital, pacing, thinking, praying, occasionally crying as they worried, wondering what would become of their matriarch.
She'd had more than her fair share of emergency room visits. They were all tired of the constant trips to the hospital. The doctors were tired of treating symptoms that refused to go away, symptoms that had no obvious underlying cause.
And the woman was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. She was tired of taking drugs after drugs, then reacting to those drugs and needing more drugs to handle the effects of the old drugs.
"I don't know what else to do." Dr. Okey couldn't think of a better way to put it, but he had to say it as it was. And his tone did nothing to mask his frustrations.
"I'm sorry. All the tests show there's no medical explanation to what's causing her symptoms. Her blood work, the test results are what you'd expect in a normal sixty year old."
Her son cut in. "Sorry doc, when you say there's no medical explanation, does that imply there could be something else."
Dr. Okey had thought along those lines. He had even suggested referring her to a psychologist, but she had shot down the idea.
He hadn't brought up the topic again. And he wasn't sure now was a good time to bring it up. But what choice did he have? It might be worth a shot.
"Well, sometimes there could be psychological explanations to a situation like hers."
The man exchanged uncomfortable looks with his kids. "I don't think we, she would be comfortable with that." He said. "I believe it's best we took her home. Let her treatment continue there."
Dr. Okey took a deep breath. Something was quite off with this seemingly nice family but he couldn't place a finger on it.
"I will get the paperwork ready, if you'll give me a minute."
He watched as the family filed out of his office. His head was throbbing, his heart pounding. He feared. If he let her go now, he was sure that that would be the last time he would see her. Alive.
He recalled what his wife always said, "Once in a while, remove your doctor's garb, and put on more of Jesus. Where drugs fail, hugs might work."
He got up from his desk. He needed to talk to her. Heart to heart. "Lord help me."
He was soon in her room. Thankfully, none of her family was there. He pulled a chair close to her bed and took her thin hands in his, the closest he could get to a hug. She opened her eyes and he saw the barest hint of a smile. Good. He dove right in.
"I want you to be very honest with me." She looked somewhat wary.
"What do you really want?"
She wasn't quick to answer. When she finally did, her words seemed to shock even her.
"I don't want to go on."
She fought back the tears. "I want to go. Leave this… this torment for good. My mind is sick. My body is weak. I want to end it all."
"Why? You have a lot to live for; a loving family, great career, wealth enough to spare."
With his help, she sat up on the bed and continued weakly, "You see all I have. But you can't see all I have lost. I have hurt a lot, have been hurt a lot."
"So you have a lot to forget, to forgive?"
He saw a little light spark in her eyes. The sudden realization that holding on to past pains was slowly killing her, robbing her of the possibility of a future.
She sighed deeply, he squeezed her hands. There was still hope. This case wasn't finished yet.
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