Abby: A Short Story

Abby: Author's Note

All characters in this story are fictional.  

Here is my stab at fiction. I plan on trying to develop this character. Let me know what you think and enjoy.

photo by: Russell Weller sxc.hu
photo by: Russell Weller sxc.hu

Abby

I happen to glance up and look at the monitor, "Sarah, Sarah--she's bradying down!" I jump up from my perch at the computer to peer at the monitor more closely. The feeling of foreboding hits my mind like a sharp knife. Sometimes it can be blinding. I try to shake it off. I need to concentrate on the events about to unfold.

"Oh Crap," moans Sarah. "Why is she doing this today?"

"Should I get the crash cart?"

"Yeah--I suppose so, we're likely to need it" Sarah turns to the secretary. "Josie, call Dr Jones please."

Josie stares at Sarah, unmoving

"Well go on-move!" Sarah growls.

Josie picks up the phone and rolls her eyes at me, as though we share an attitude.

I smirk--typical.

"You don't understand. This lady's family is crazy. They think we can perform miracles." Whined Sarah as she hits the blood pressure button on the monitor in the room with more force than necessary. "Ms Annie are you okay?"

No response but she hadn't responded for over a year so that is not a new problem.

Sarah and I share a habit of talking to patients even if they are in a coma and can't talk back. Sometimes I take a lot of ribbing over it, but I remember reading somewhere that people can still hear even though they are not able to respond, or are in a coma state. I guess the information stuck.

"She still has a blood pressure" Sarah remarks as she takes a reading.

"Should we give her some Atropine? Maybe it will bring her heart rate back up." I suggest as I crack open the code cart and grab the Atropine from the drawer.

"Wait a sec. I really need to talk to the doctor before we do anything drastic. It would be really awful if we have to start CPR on her. Her chart is marked do not intubate."

I nod in agreement.

Josie calls out, "Sarah, the Doc is on the phone." Josie rarely ever moves from her seat at the desk. Don't ask her to do anything more, unless you want bad attitude to go with it.

Sarah scurries out to the nurses station and puts her hands behind her back, crossing her fingers in a private signal.

I smile and Sarah spares me a smug glance.

I wait in the room garbed in a plastic gown and gloves staring at the monitor, willing the numbers to look better. The blips on the heart monitor get farther and farther apart. I glance at the poor lady. She gasps like a guppy out of water and then she stops breathing all together.




Photo by: Russell Weller sxc.hu
Photo by: Russell Weller sxc.hu

"She's not breathing. What's the verdict Sarah? Do we resuscitate or what?"

Sarah looks at me, her irritation visible, still on the phone. "Dr Jones says we need to go ahead and resuscitate. Call a code Josie."

I open the respiratory box, grab the ambu-bag, put the mask on the patient's face and begin assisted respiration.

The room quickly fills with people. We lift the patient and place a board behind her back. Sarah then starts pumping the lady's chest.

"Ugh, felt her ribs crack". Sarah turns her head to the side with a grimace of distaste, and continues to perform chest compressions.

This is barbaric, I think and must hurt. Dr Jones orders atropine through the IV and requests we stop compressions so she can check the monitor for adequate heart rhythm. Then she tells us to continue. I still assist the patient with respirations, as she is making no adequate effort on her own.


Photo by: Pam Roth sxc.hu
Photo by: Pam Roth sxc.hu

BANG, POP, CRASH! The glass door to the room shatters.

Sarah looks at me wild eyed. "I told you the family was crazy!"

Looming in the doorway stands the patient's lunatic son. He holds a crowbar.

What are we to do?

Two big orderlies jump on him and wrestle him to the ground. The man curses and spits. "You killed my mama, you'll be sorry!"

Two security officers arrive and handcuff the man, still writhing, cursing and spitting.

I am a bundle of nerves. My legs felt like jello and my ears are burning.

Life saving measures continue for the unlucky little lady. Dr Jones finally decides to call it quits after several rounds of medications and CPR prove ineffective. "Time of death1530."

Everyone stops and pauses for a moment.

It has always amazed me when all is said and done, that there's always a teeny tiny moment of reflection by all who are participating. It may not be discernible to others, but I've always noticed it. Today is no exception.

Photo by: Russell Weller sxc.hu
Photo by: Russell Weller sxc.hu

"Thank God not every day is like this." I say to Sarah as we pick up the mess from the storm of frantic activity.

"I can't say that I would still be doing this if it was. We have four more hours to put in" Sarah sighs and smoothes a hand over her hair.

We tidy up and make the patient as presentable as possible so family could see her before she is sent to the morgue and take out all of the tubes and lines and cover her up. She looks peaceful.

After the family has seen her, and said their good byes, the deceased is taken away. We leave the room as though nothing happened, ready for the next patient.

I wonder where we get the wherewithal to keep doing this every day.

"Hey Sarah, what do you say to some margaritas, extra salt after work? My Treat."

"Sure Abby, I could use a drink after a day like today."

"Yay, I hate to drink alone. Let's go to that place on High Street--okay Sarah? I'll get Jake to come get us if we go overboard."

"It's a date then." Sarah, smiles for the first time all afternoon.



Copyright © 2010 Tammy Lochmann

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Comments 74 comments

Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

This is more than a good stab at fiction-I am assuming by you being a nurse that this is a fictional character based on 'true stories' that you are telling. The pace was great and it sucked me right in...now I have another hub that I have to wait for part 2 ! UGH! I am so impatient! Hurry-write another hehehe. (Can't imagine having to deal with that everyday and not having major margarita sessions!)

Good job ROCK STAR!!!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 6 years ago from Central Texas

Absolutely great, Tammy -- this wasn't a stab it was a direct hit! I loved it and can only encourage you to "go ahead on" -- great characters and story line. Best, Sis


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Wow...Ghost, Thank you my Warrior Princess Friend that was really quick. I worked on this one for a while. I had several people read it before I published. Thank you so much for your supportive stance. Your stories are the same. I have to get caught up. I put a little plug in at the end for you.

Lotsa Love, Tammy


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Hey Sis...You have no idea how much that means to me coming from you! You are a terrific story teller. I am totally thrilled with your response, as you can probably tell. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

Sincerely, Tammy


resspenser profile image

resspenser 6 years ago from South Carolina

Good job, Tammy. I liked several things in the story:

I always like stories written in the first person.

Ribs do crack during CPR and this gives the story realism.

Families are often frazzled, crazy, violent.

The quiet after the storm.

Just curious but since "I" is Abby in this piece and you are a nurse do you worry that people will assume that you, Tammy, are Abby?


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

resspenser...To answer your question...Yes I did/do worry but, these things have never happened to me...I let my coworkers read it before hand they never even thought anything about it.

Thanks for taking the time to read and make a comment. I really appreciate you!

Sincerely, Tammy


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

This is a stab that is quite sharp, Tammy. You paint the picture of two caring nurses who deal with death and decisions daily. Well done!

One or two tiny edit points, but fairly minor. If you want, email the copy to me and I'll show you. (Show don't tell -- remember.)


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

lmmartin...Thank you so much! You've got mail. So appreciate it. And thank you for the encouragement.

Sincerely, Tammy


Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Amazing, can't wait to read more. You have done an awesome job with this one. I can't believe this is only your first time writing fiction.

You go girl, your story rocks!

Sage


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

This is certainly the perfect story for you to be writing, Tammy. Great job on writing this. I expect to see more from you ;)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

I thoroughly enjoyed this hub too, but I feel the woman's crazy family should have explained a bit further, or does that come in part 2?

As a nurse myself from many moons ago, we were taught to continue speaking to the comatose because as you say, the hearing is the last thing to go. And we never discussed their condition or prognosis in front of them in case they heard. Sometimes we spoke to the dead bodies too, but that was part accidental, and part in case another patient could overhear and we didn't want them to know what we were doing. Look forward to reading more.

Oh and in the UK we used to know (it would be written in the case notes) whether a patient was to be resuscitated or not, as the doctor would have spoken to the family about it and got their permission/agreement. If nothing was written, it was resus automatically.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

I admire how you nurses can handle the stress daily. I know I couldn't do it.

Great writing now hurry up and write more as with Dohn ongoing chapters I always wait till there are at least two or three done then I sit back and read them all at ones.

greeting from snow covered cold cold Ontario

Zsuzsy


Sara Tonyn profile image

Sara Tonyn 6 years ago from Ohio, the Buckeye State

Congrats on taking the first brave step toward a fiction writing career! If you need suggestions for an antagonist I'd be happy to tell you about my less-than-compassionate cousin who was a nurse. (My sister and I refer to her as Nurse Kevorkian; nuff said.) Best of luck to you!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Sage...Thanks for the encouragement. I will definitely be writing some more.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Dohn...I will definitely be doing more. ;) You helped inspire me to do this. Thank you my friend.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Izzy...Thank you I clarified the issue of the DNR in the first part of the story. We do the same here if they are not marked DNR or DNI they are automatically a code. Sometimes though if they are slipping away we can get a DNR status from the family at the last minute if the doc can convince. I work in a critical care unit and we work really closely with the doctors.

Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. Every bit of advice is gratefully received.

I need to try and develop Abby as I mainly introduced Sarah in this first chapter. I am really rusty and I need to brush up on grammar and stuff.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Zsusy...Thank you my friend. I will write another sometime next week.

Believe it or not we are bracing for snow today. They say as much as 6 inches. My kids are excited, but me not so much. Stay warm.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Thanks Sara...I need to work at this. I need to get with you about Nurse Kevorkian LOL...Thanks again!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Love this, Tammy-I felt as if I was in the room with the other nurses. Keep it up, gal!


resspenser profile image

resspenser 6 years ago from South Carolina

I see you made a few minor changes. Good job. Every time you read it you will see something that you want to change. I do that with my stuff! BTW, thanks for the link to one of my hubs.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

lorlie...Thank you so much. I really appreciate the encouragement. It especially means a lot coming from you.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

resspenser...My pleasure and thank you for noticing.


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

Tam...Good work here! It reads smoothly and it got me involved quickly! Yup! Definitely, you gotta keep more coming!

I just loved it! Ah! Don`t miss the second train is waiting for ya!

Two thumbs up!

warm regards and blessings, my friend,

Al


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Al...on my way there right now. Thanks for reading and making a comment.


Art 4 Life profile image

Art 4 Life 6 years ago from in the middle of nowhere....

wow...you have talent..I am impressed! Great story..full of drama!


GusTheRedneck 6 years ago

Tammy - The more you write, the more you can write. I guess another way to put that would be to say that the less you brady, the better you will tachy. Gus :-)))


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Art 4 Life...Nice to meet you and thank you very much. I have checked out your artwork it is beautiful. I'll be following you closely.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Gus!...I had some help with editing from a patient and very kind person. Where have you been? Anyhow...thank you my friend for noticing. I am determined to get better. I am always so glad to see you!


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

Keep it coming Tammy, I love the story, the characters and the thought of reading more in the near future! ;)


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Hi Tammy. This is looking good. Still a few typos, so you want to proofread and go over it word by word -- but you sure are on the right road. Excellent work. Can't wait for the second installment.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Jen...Thank you I will keep trying. Your enthusiasm is much appreciated.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Lynda...ack typos...I hate those. I was in a hurry this morning and running late for a lunch date (with my 8 year old) I think I fixed them. I get cross eyed after a while. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your guidance.


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

I think she's worth developing! Nicely done!

Kaie


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Kaie...thanks for the encouragement.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Powerful, Lockerman! I felt as if I was right there with you and Sarah!


Mikel G Roberts profile image

Mikel G Roberts 6 years ago from The Heartland

Nicely written Abby..err....Tammy(grinning)

I enjoyed it very much. I can't wait for more.

Mikel


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Way to go Tammy. You drew me right in:) Like your other fans, I wait for the sequell.Great job!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Habee...Thank you for reading. It still needs some polishing. Thank you for your encouragement...I am always happy to see you.

Lockerman


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Mikel...Thanks for dropping in...I guess I better get working on the next one eh. It's nice to see you in my neck of the woods. I haven't visited you in a while.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

DynamicS...Thank you so much for taking the time to read and make a comment. I have gotten behind in my reading and need to be visiting everyone else. Thanks again!


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

Yes,I am familiar with that 'reflection'-it shows we do have hearts.

I felt sorry for the poor old lady,in a coma for a year -and all that palaver around her dying-see she was real to me.

Dying to read more....keep going.....love it.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Ita...Thank you so much for your encouragement. I have to catch up on my reading though I may take my time with the next one. I am always thrilled to see you my friend. Your input is greatly appreciated.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

Liked the story, like the characters, liked the length. It was a great start! Keep it up!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

sheila b...Nice to meet you. Thank you for stopping in and taking the time to comment. I am amazed at all the encouragement I have recieved.


msannec profile image

msannec 6 years ago from Mississippi (The Delta)

I love it! This is great, I can't wait to read more. You did a really good job of introducing the story and characters, and they sound really interesting. Looking forward to part 2!!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

msannec...Thanks for the encouragement. Nice to see you.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

This is a great story.I read this story twice to find the meaning. And I think you had success. Congratulation for you. Nice hub, Tammy.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

prasetio30...Thank you very much for your assessment. I really appreciate that you took the time to read and make a comment. It is always nice to see you.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

hmmm, I cant wait for the second one Tammy, and this is great for a starter, I wonder this kinds if scenarios make nurses great, Maita


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Maita...Thank you! I have the next one in my journal. It just needs some more tweaking. It might not be done until next week but maybe I can get it done by Friday if I can find some extra time somewhere.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

Great job...can't wait for the next installment


Moulik Mistry profile image

Moulik Mistry 6 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

Stabbing story - so powerful...


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

pmccray...it's coming I am working on it.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Moulik Mistry...Nice to meet you and thank you for such a nice comment.


christalluna1124 profile image

christalluna1124 6 years ago from Dallas Texas

Tammy,

Great story. You have alot of experience to draw upon. I have found the articles of mine that do the best are those based on my life experiences.

So good to hear from you,

Chris


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Chris..Thanks for stopping in. I am glad to see you. Hope you are well and I hope that you guys are coping with your losses. I will catch up with you some more soon.


Tubbs Merouge profile image

Tubbs Merouge 6 years ago from Louisiana

I really liked your story!! Great start, off to part 2 now!!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Tubbs...Thanks neighbor.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

This is great Nurse "HOUSE"! Seriously- great hub and admirable profession!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Mickey Dee...Thanks don't know what else to say. Your poems are brilliant by the way.


ralwus 6 years ago

I say this is a pretty good first stab for you. It read so true to life. I have the utmost love and devotion to you your profession. Good job.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

ralwus...Thanks for the cud's...Great to see you.


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

I have read chapter one, now to two. This is really interesting and well done as far as I am concerned. It is familiar to me because many years ago, I worked in the hospital and clinic...I worked in delivery also. I was really just an aide but back then...nurses where short and in the country they trained you...anyway, I can relate to all that is written. Thank you for sharing...by the way...I am jack of all trades. I did go to LPN but quit because I needed to make money for the family...you know how it is in a small town...AND that is when I left and went to Atlanta and continued my mortgage career....LIFE...with capital letters!!!! I enjoyed


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

lctodd1947...Thank you for taking the time to read. I am glad this was something you could relate to. Hope you enjoy the rest of the story.


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

Glad I found this little gem, Tammy. Will read the further chapters...!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Cheeky...Thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope you enjoy the other chapters.


Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

Hey Tammy. I'm sorry to take so long to get to your hubs, but in a way I'm happy I did because now I get to read more than one at a time. And I am looking forward to part 2 and 3.

Off to read more.

Great job!

P.S., thanks for the link *wink


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

You hooked me so I say nice stab. I am a vert picky reader and it takes a lot to grab me at first line and you did that so you not only took a stab you impaled! hahaha. I really like this and it seems fresh too not to bogged down by the medical jargon that most of us do not know. We could still understand and know what you wer talking about.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

JannyC...Thank you for your kind words. I hope I can make a good story out of this...Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Tammy


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Duchess....How did I miss your comment there. Sorry I hope you enjoy the rest of my story. Thanks for dropping by it's always great to see you.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

This is a really good story, Tammy. I really enjoyed reading it. I have the greatest love and respect for the nursing profession, having been around some pretty awesome people in that profession. I always wonder why they seem to be at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to remuneration as they are really the front line of caring for those who need care, sometimes so desperately.

Thanks for this great story.

Love and peace

Tony


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

tonymac04...Thanks for taking the time to read and make such a gracious comment...It's always a pleasure for you to grace my pages with your words. (((hugs))) Tammy


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

This is may be a fiction but isn't this tiny moment to get back patients to life again, a common dilemma among nurses and doctors? You just sent a message that despite the odds, these professionals are there to give comfort to the dying. The story is well written.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Hii Lita C. Malicdem...How are you nice to see you and thank you for dropping by and taking the time to comment. All fiction is based on memories or experiences of the writer. You have to make it believable or no one will read it.

Thanks again for dropping by and reading.

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