05 April, 2019

In the Emergency Room #AtoZChallenge

"Beep ... beep ... beep ..." The sound entered Susan's auditory canal and floated into her brain, searching for a neuron to decipher it. The search was fruitless, as Susan's brain was busy fighting to maintain basic function and had no spare synapses for sorting out sounds.

The beeps of heart monitor and other devices clashed in her brain with the clink of gurney wheels and instrument trays, all with a cloud of vocal fragments hovering around above the noises.

Eventually, after hours of noise-sounds collecting with no interpretation, the clutter of sounds faded and Susan's brain only collected the "beep ... beep ... beep ..." accompanied by the soft whirring of electricity. She was still unconscious, so nothing was done to interpret the sounds. After a while, soft voices came through.

"How long until she wakes up?" The hushed question sounded through a strangled sob.

The soft, steady voice of a surgeon answered. "Impossible to say." His voice lowered so that all that came into Susan's brain were fragments. "... very fragile state ... doing all we can ... wait and see ... " A long pause and sharp inhale as from between sobs, then the first voice returned.

"Can I stay with her?"

"Best you go home and rest." More muffled words from the two men. "... very fragile -" was suddenly cut off by the urgent voice of the crying man.

"She's not!" The voice lowered but maintained its urgency. "Stop saying that. My wife is anything but 'fragile.' She's strong, and determined, and..." The voice deteriorated into tears again and came back more gently. "She has never been fragile."

After a moment, the doctor's calm, steady voice came through clearly, as he spoke up louder, ensuring his meaning would be understood by the terrified spouse. "I understand, but right now that is the best word to describe her body. The fact that she keeps herself healthy and strong is a good thing. It will help, but this is a very ... tenuous ... time for her."

There was another, longer silence before a whispered "Okay. Fine. I'll go. You'll call me if anything changes?"

"Of course."

As the pair left Susan's room, the "beep ... beep ... beep ..." sounds collected once again in her brain.

Thank you for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! My theme is "Audience Participation" (read about it, here) and now it is your turn. Each day will be a new story based on suggestions from your comments. Suggest anything: a word, scenario, character, location... I will be keeping a list of suggestions, so if yours isn't used tomorrow, it may show up later. 

Today's post was inspired by the prompt "fragile", suggested by Jz (of A Reluctant Bitch), given in a comment on my C post (here). 

WITH APOLOGIES: During the first week of A to Z, I have a house guest. I am already taking time out each day to read/reply to comments and write a fresh post. Please forgive me for not visiting your blog until next week. I will visit the blogs of every commenter when my house is empty again.


  1. I got into this one and forgot that I was only reading a short scene that was created for this. When it ended, I was like, "But what happened?"

  2. Brett - in my first version, her eyes open after they leave the room, but then I switched perspective and focused on the sounds. Now I have no idea what happens next.

  3. If she's hearing, she still has to be in there somewhere, right?

  4. Liz - Good question! No sounds are registering, so I don't know if I would say she "hears". The fun part about writing this way is that I don't know what will happen and don't need to know!

  5. Red,

    Can you imagine the confusion or even terror someone might feel in such an unconscious state? Wow, you did a good job making me feel the patience experience!

    A2Z Little Mermaid art sketch 'Eric'

  6. Cathy - Thanks! I've always wondered how much sinks in when we can't understand what we're hearing.


I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.