(a true story)
NO FOOD OR DRINK AFTER MIDNIGHT was written on her charts. She was hungry, and she couldn’t sleep. The clock on the wall taunted her with its ticking. The street lamp in the parking lot shined through the pink and white striped drapes, showing that it was only three o’clock. Suddenly, the fluorescent light above her bed glared in eyes.
“Sorry, Dear, I have to get your vitals before the end of my shift. Hmmm… Your blood pressure is a bit high. Are you nervous about the surgery? It will be over in a few hours. Try to go back to sleep.”
It was dark and quiet again, with the street lamp illuminating the ticking clock. "Back to sleep?" she thought. "How can anyone sleep when they’re poking you every few hours?"
She must have dozed, because the next thing she knew, the curtain next to her clacked along its track, separating her from the other bed. Voices whispered, bed rails clanked, and starched sheets ruffled. Finally it was quiet again.
“Hello? Is someone there? I’m Dorcas.”
A feeble voice answered. “I’m Sally.”
“What are you in for? I’m having thyroid surgery in a couple hours.”
“I’m having surgery today, too.” Her voice sounded tight and strained. “My kidneys are failing. They have to remove one and hope the other one will be enough. I expect I’ll be in here for awhile.”
“My birthday is Saturday, but I doubt I’ll be going home by then.”
“Saturday? That’s my birthday too!”
“Really? How old are you, Sally?”
“I will be sixty-seven. How about you?”
“I’ll be fifty-three.”
A new friendship budded as the ladies chatted back and forth through the thin striped curtain. Meal carts and cleaning carts bustled back and forth in the hallway outside their door. Buzzers and footsteps were ignored by them as they shared stories and experiences.
A nurse in pale-green scrubs swished into the room holding a tray of syringes, gauze, and alcohol wipes. She checked the charts at the foot of their beds.
“Dorcas? I need to give you something to relax you before we take you to the OR.”
Her pale face winced at the prick of the needle which placed the IV port into her arm. She felt the sting of anesthesia flow into her vein.
“Just relax, now. It will be all over before you know it.” The nurse checked the drip bag and opened the drapes. The sun peeked through the fluttering leaves of the maple tree.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes to get you, Sally,” she added as she scurried back out into the hallway.
The medicine was making her mind fuzzy…sleepy.
“Dorcas?” came the small voice from behind the curtain. “Dorcas, are you scared? I am… I’m afraid I’ll die.”
“No, Sally, I’m not afraid.” Her mind was drifting. "No…I can’t go to sleep. I have to tell Sally about Jesus. I can’t think! Lord, help me…"
(four hours later)
“What did you say, Dear? Would you like some water? That will make your throat feel better. Here’s the button if you need me for anything.”
(two hours later)
“Dorcas?” a hoarse whisper floated through the room.
“Dorcas, I did it.”
“I believed, just like you said.”
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