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Michael wasn’t aware that he wasn’t the only member of his family to be confined by the plain white walls of Bayville Area Hospital.
He didn’t have a clue that his daring jump off of the rickety old swing set sitting in his backyard was the least of his family’s worries. His fractured arm came as a scare, but he never thought he’d seen his sister cry so hard, slouching in a moss-green chair with mascara rushing down her face. Her sobs were not quieted by Michael’s mother, as she was nowhere to be seen; As a result, Michael quietly told his sister to calm down, patted her back with his good hand, and kissed her cheek.
His mother rushed in moments later holding nothing but her cell-phone, pressed up to her ear tightly. Her face was scrunched, showing the few wrinkles she had. Her hair was in a messy bun instead of the usual tight ponytail--this surprised Michael the most--and her eyes were blotchy and swollen. She was rapidly firing information as she walked right passed Michael and straight to the doctor. Abruptly, she ended her phone conversation and began speaking to the doctor in hushed whispers. The doctor suddenly had a mortified look on his face. He nodded, looked at Michael, and speedily began wrapping the broken arm in a stretchy cloth fabric.
“We are going to X-Ray your arm, but not until later,” the doctor’s sultry face made contact with Michael’s, just to make sure he was paying attention. “I need you to make sure you don’t hurt this arm anymore than it already is.”
Michael hopped off of the bed, and the paper he had been sitting on made an upsetting crinkling noise that did not help his headache that had been developing over the last half-hour.
“Where are we going?’’ Michael questioned his mother as she grabbed his arm and led him out of the room and to the nearest elevator. He could feel the tension in the hospital, and he noted to never join the medical field.
“I’ll tell you in a minute, come on.” The elevator doors opened to reveal level 5, Intensive Care. Intensive Care? Shudders went down Michael’s spinne. Finally, he realized that something had happened.
He made no sound as they scurried to a destination unknown to Michael. When they passed the waiting room, an elderly man with gray hair placed his withered hand to his face, sobs escaping before he could stop them. Michael silently prayed for the man, and he said extra prayers for the horror ahead.
Finally, his mother stopped at a large room with no doors, only a curtain draping over a gap. “Michael, something has happened today and I need to be honest with you.” A tear dripped from her eye, and Michael noticed a trend. He wondered if there was any happiness in the hospital.
“As your father was driving to the hospital, an elderly lady had a stroke, and she crashed into him.” May, Michael’s sister, let out a muffled yell before sitting down in the nearest chair.
With skin as pale as paper, Michael fell into his mother’s arms, allowing her to caress his brown hair. Hair that he had inherited from his father. A father who he might never talk to again.
“Will he be okay?” Michael stared deeply into his mother’s eyes. Her face appeared hurt.
“I don’t know, Michael. We’ll just have to wait and see. You can go see him, though.” Even though it was selfish, Michael didn’t want to see his father; he wanted to go hide in the treehouse that his father and he had built together, bit by bit. He wanted to go back to this morning. He wanted to go back to when nobody’s day was doomed to sitting in a tense hospital, waiting to see if a father that promised to be there all of your life- would even be alive tomorrow.
Even so, he took his mother’s hand and entered the room. His father, newly stabilized, had eight tubes entering different locations of his mangled body, all pumping in medications to help someone that might not even live. Did the doctors see Michael’s father as a lost cause? Michael shuddered at the thought.
Lying on the bed helplessly was someone that had always seemed strong. Now, he stayed completely still, not even breathing without the assistance of a machine. His mother broke down gazing into her husband’s eyes, and Michael had no idea what to do. If it had been his mother in a life-threatening situation, Michael’s father would have told him what to do. It was as if a light had suddenly burned out in Michael’s life, leaving him unable to see: helpless.
“Ma’am, we need to take him into operation now,” a petite female doctor in a calm voice. She rested a hand on Mother’s shoulder.
“Will he be okay?” The words blurted from Michael’s mouth like water escaping a broken dam.
“I’ve seen people recover from even the worst of situations,” she had a soft smile on her face. “I can’t tell you that he will be back to normal, but I have a feeling that he will make it, if that’s what you mean.” Three more doctors pushed back the curtain, and they wheeled away Michael’s dad.