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“Jamie, I know it’s a lot to take in,” the lanky, black-haired man said while he tried to get her attention. The “Doctor,” as she called him, stood beside her bed in the austere hospital room.
Jamie stared out the window and mustered her strength. Then she looked squarely at Doctor and declared, “I don’t want this procedure and I don’t want to live like this.” Her frail hand pounded the bed as her gaze shifted back to the window.
“Please, Jamie,” said the Doctor.
Please, Jamie. Please, Jamie. The words kept repeating in her head.
Jamie had a flashback to thirty years ago when she was with her best friend, Shirley.
Shirley told Jamie not let it get to her, that she was perfect the way she was. Jamie of course didn’t listen and continued to swallow her pain. Shirley then tried again and said please, Jamie. Don’t cry. Please, Jamie. They are a bunch of brats. Don’t listen to them. Be the smart girl I know, not the sad dog they are making you into. Jamie didn’t believe her. She felt everyone hated her as if she were a monster. Shirley didn’t know what to do or say to Jamie, so she tried to crack a joke to soften the mood and tension. It worked and Jamie stopped crying. The two girls then decided to go to their favorite hangout place, the arcade, where they finally were both happy.
The memory of thirty years ago jolted Jamie back to reality.
Jamie looked towards the Doctor and, thinking of Shirley, said, “Um..., um...., I don’t know what to do, Doctor. I don’t know if my body can take this any longer.”
“I understand your hesitation and fears. This is your decision and I’m here to offer support. My professional advice is to go forward with tomorrow’s operation and give your body a fighting chance, but ultimately, it’s your decision.”
Jamie nodded still focusing on the window. It was raining, classic English weather. Despite grey clouds, there were kids playing near the train tracks. They looked happy wading through puddles, yet, life was so gloomy for her. Usually Jamie liked to walk in the rain. It was one of the only things that reminded her of Shirley, but not today. She pressed her face to the window as if she could get closer to the world outside, but it didn’t work. Upset, she plopped her body on the hard bed and cried herself to sleep. She didn’t know why she was crying, but ever since Shirley died a decade ago, Jamie felt alone.
Jamie had a fitful sleep and vivid dreams. She dreamed she was at the train tracks. As she walked along the tracks, the sky suddenly changed as if there was a spirit in the sky watching her. The stars danced and brightly spelled out a name, her name. It was odd, yet seemed so real. She continued walking along the tracks believing she would end up in a better place than where she was. She didn’t notice an oncoming train until she saw blinding lights and her body froze. Her muscles were tense. She didn’t know what to do. Moving seemed impossible for her. Suddenly, and with a lurch, Jamie awoke from the frightening dream.
It was now morning and the sun pierced the hospital room. She noticed the Doctor and a nurse standing nearby. Before they had a chance to say anything to her, Jamie announced, “I am ready. I want to live. Let’s do this.” With that declaration, the medical staff quickly departed and prepared for surgery. Jamie lay back on her bed at peace with her decision to proceed with the surgery. Hospital staff scurried around her, preparing documents for her to review, checking and rechecking her pulse and blood pressure, and explaining her next steps. Before she knew it she was being placed on a stretcher by the nurses.
As Jamie was wheeled out of the bleak room, she glanced out the window and saw the still trees of early morning. She noted the very clean hallway as though someone had just mopped it. The screechy sounds of her stretcher came to a stop. Then, she was brought into the O.R. which was full of lights and buzzing monitors. She could feel her heart racing. Repeating lub, dub, lub, dub.
Jamie touched her skin knowing it needed time to heal. Time was Jamie’s biggest enemy. Time was what she always lost and knew would ultimately run out. Here in this important room she felt as if time wasn’t wasted, but treasured. As the surgery started and she became sedated, she felt removed from her pale and weakened body. Almost like her soul had been detached. Stripped from the skin she had lived in for forty-two years.
She thought about how much she had changed since she arrived at the hospital. She had been a grouchy pest when she entered, and now she was different. She felt she blended in with a more cheerful world around her. For once since her best friend Shirley died, she felt like her life mattered. She knew she could make a difference in this room, in this town, in this country, and in this world. Jamie could now say her name without despair. Her soul had transformed and now her body would, too. She knew that the window by her hospital bed would be filled with lush greenery, butterflies perched on flower buds, and sunshine--signs of spring. Like spring, she looked forward to another chance at her own rebirth.