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.
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.
"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.
"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.
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.
"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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