“Time 10:52pm.” Abby flipped the switch, turning off the continuous beep from the patient monitoring system.
“When will this end?” mumbled the nurse pulling up the sheet.
Wearily Abby turned to check on her next Covid patient, longing for the days when she’d be treating simple cases like broken bones again. She was jotting down instructions for yet another patient when her pager buzzed. It was Emergency.
Now what, she wondered, rushing to triage.
There was her irate son, sitting in a wheelchair, yelling at the orderly. He wanted to see his mom. He’d broken his leg.
I wrote this in response to Charli Mills’ December 10, 2020 Flash Fiction Challenge. In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about something a character never dreamed of would happen. The situation can be fortuitous, funny or disappointing. And as always, she suggests we go where the prompt leads us.
I confess, I never dreamed I’d be living through a rampant global pandemic in my lifetime, let alone this year. Yet here I am, doing just that. And life did go on. The dishes got done, the floor was swept, the windows washed and the trim around the house painted. The smell of morning coffee was as inviting this year as it has been in previous years. And the kindly spirit of Christmas found its way into my home and heart as it always does.
There have been positive changes as well. I’ve become closer with my cousins who live across the country from me. I’ve learned how to use three different virtual meeting apps. I’ve even dabbled with writing again.
I also recognize that it’s been a challenging and taxing year for all of us. The doctor living next door described the past ten months as exhausting. My short story is a tribute to my neighbour and the many women and men all over the globe who have continued to work long shifts to treat and comfort the ill, no matter how overwhelmed the hospitals have been with patients. I sometimes think we have forgotten that they are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers who have a life outside the hospital even during a pandemic. My gift to them this Christmas is to stay safe and stay well.
Footnote: At the start of the pandemic, Dr. Henry, the BC Chief Public Health Officer concluded each of her introductory statements at the press conferences with: Be Kind. Be Calm. Be Safe.