Waiting To Eupnea

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story

The people are everywhere. I couldn’t understand a word of this lingo everyone seemed to speak. The giant whiteboard on the wall says my name is Alex. Alex Green. 18 years old. Says my days are 15 and counting. Across the room, I notice this machine forcing air into my body, maybe into my lungs. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
“ What are her PH levels today?”, said a tall, handsome guy with a scruffy beard that looked rough to the touch, who I’m assuming is my doctor.
“ Not looking good, it is about the same as yesterday”, a short, stocky blonde said, I think she is my nurse. I can’t help but wonder if I’m in a hospital... it’s very bland and also the off-white walls give me an uncomfortable feeling. It smells, I think of what it smells like but it kind of makes me sick to my stomach. Why am I here? That question keeps popping into my head.

I watch myself lay on this table with a soft, but kind of hard cushion. The machine next to the table still forcing air into my body. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. I bet my body is exhausted from all of this air being forced in. The tube down my throat makes me gag just looking at it. Why can’t I move? Why am I stuck in this room?
Every day when the round thing on the wall gets to the straight line, this woman comes and sits next to the table I am laying on. She says everyone misses me back home. Who is this lady? Where is home? Should I know her? She gets on this screen and stares at it until she finds something funny, then she says it out loud because it makes her feel better about this situation we are in. She calls me baby, sweety, babe, and sometimes she calls me honey while little droplets of a liquid run out of her eyes. She usually leaves when the round thing points to the straight line with a small circle.
The guy, with the scruffy beard, comes back into my room and tells my lady very sincerely, “ She needs to be taken up to surgery because we have noticed a small brain bleed.”
My lady starts to have those little droplets of liquid run down her face again as she says, “ Please help my baby, it has been two weeks since the accident and she doesn’t seem to be getting better.” What is this accident and what is a surgery? I continue to listen to my lady and the guy because I’m not exactly sure what is going on.
“ Miss, we are trying our very best to help your daughter. I promise you we are trying everything to help her wake up from this coma”, the scruffy beard guy told my lady, “ you can wait in the waiting room. She needs to get to surgery now!”
Ow, why am I experiencing this pain in my head? The tall pole with the box on top starts beeping really loud and a ton of people in blue matching suits start rushing in and the guy takes my lady outside.
“ What is happening?”, my lady screams.
The guy explains, “ Rose, I need you to calm down, your daughter is going to be just fine. Her brain bleed is progressing fast and we need to repair it.”
Rose, my lady, is taken to a room down the hall by a lady with a blue suit matching the others while the guy is wheeling me on my table into the wall with a hole in it. While we are headed up I get very sleepy. The box on the pole begins to beep again. The guy jumps onto the table and starts pushing on my chest. This is very painful; I feel every push. Why can’t I just wake up?
Finally, the box on the pole stops beeping. The guy is wheeling me again out of the wall with the whole and into another room. He stops the table right in the middle of the room. The lights are very bright. He is attaching strings and sticky squares to my body, pale and sick looking. He leans over and whispers next to my head,” Your mom is a nervous wreck and she needs you to make it through this surgery. She needs you to wake up. She is all you have and I don’t think she will make it without you here. Even if you don’t think you can make, I believe you can.” He slowly walks away as the guy with a blue suit gives me something in my arm.

During the surgery, my guy is working inside my head, I can’t really see what he is doing because I am stuck in one spot but I’m glad I can’t feel it anymore. I start to see this bright light but its not like a light that blinds you, it’s an accepting light. It feels like home. I hear the guy telling me to be brave in the background, it’s faint but I still hear him.
I see this man. He is coming from the light. He is a strong, tall man. He comes to me and says, “ Baby girl, you need to fight for your life. There are so many people that will miss you. Your momma needs you. Your friends need you. I need you to stay alive.”
“ Who are you?” I ask.
The man from the light tells me,” I am your father, we were in a car accident about three weeks ago. Do you not remember?”
I try really hard to remember but I can’t. “ I sorry but I don’t know you. The light seems to take my pain and my confusion away, why can’t I just go into the light?”
The man from the light stares at me and finally says, “ I know it's painful here but it's even more painful in the light.” Liquid runs from his eyes. “ I had the same choice as you and I choose the light. It was the wrong choice.”
“Why was it the wrong choice?” I ask.
“ I don’t get to see my family. I don't get to hug you or mom and I don't get to talk to you guys ever again.”
“ You had the same choice as me? Why did you choose the light?”
“ You have to choose whether you want to live a life with pain with your family or live a life with no pain and not be able to see your family. I chose the light and I regret it every day. The choice is yours to make.”
I wonder if this man is really my father. He could just be a dream or my imagination from that stuff the guy in the blue suit put into my arm. Finally, I ask, “ If you are really my father, won’t I miss you if I choose to stay here?”
He quickly replies, “Don’t you ever worry, I will always be with you and your momma. Even though you can’t see me, just know I am always with you in spirit”
He starts to wither away but I don't think much of it. I feel this sudden shock inside of me, I turn to the table I am on and I see them sowing my head back up. The guy begins to wheel me back to the hole in the wall. While we are in the hole, he whispers softly in my ear, “ You did amazing Alex, your momma is gonna be so relieved!” He seemed so happy for me but I was filled with so much pain.

Once we get to the room, I am alone for quite some time before Rose, my mother, comes back. During this time alone I sit and all I can think about is my father's words,
“You have to choose whether you want to live a life with pain with your family or live a life with no pain and not be able to see your family. I chose the light and I regret it every day. The choice is yours to make”
and they give me an uncomfortable feeling inside my stomach. My head still hurts from the surgery and it makes it hard to concentrate on what choice I want to make-what I need to make.

Later when my mother comes to my room, you can tell she had the liquids come from her eyes. It pained me to see her like this. You could see it in her puffy eyes, her lips outlined red with strain, and in her slumped, almost given up body. All I wanted to do at this very moment was to embrace her and let her know I’m here. I wanted to tell her, “ I’m here and I’m not leaving.”
Now the liquid is running from eyes. Why can’t she hear me? I scream at the top of my lungs, “ Momma!” The scream hurts my head. I close my eyes because I know I’m getting nowhere.
“ Baby are you awake?” Rose asks.
I open my eyes and see my mom staring back at me. I feeling of relief shoots down my body.
“ Mom?”