I stood helplessly in the corner of the room; there was nothing else I could do. Everywhere around me was activity. Doctor’s, nurses, machines making their infernal racket and tubes, lots and lots of tubes. The woman in the bed was dying; I could almost see the life draining from her. They were pumping her full of blood, the bags draining slowly as the life fluid entered her veins. There were other bags filled with fluids attached to the woman at her arm, feeding her perhaps or perhaps just there for effect. There was no hope for the woman, how could there be?

I moved closer, staying out of the way of the medical personnel but I wanted to see the woman. Wanted to look at her face. She was so pale, deathly pale. There was not an ounce of color to be seen in her face. Her lips were bloodless, a sickly milk color and the dark circles under her eyes were so black against her white skin they looked like someone had painted them on. She had freckles and their dark color was a stark contrast to her so pale skin. She was breathing but it seemed to me to be very shallow, as though she were a shadow of her former self. Even her breath had no vitality.

The sterility of the pristine room of the Intensive Care Unit seemed a sad place for this woman’s life to end. She who had been so full of promise. I knew her well, knew her dreams, her fantasies, her dark secrets but most of all I knew her love of life. This would not be the way she would wish to go and yet there seemed to be nothing that could be done. The doctor’s spoke back and forth frantically. Her body was going into shut down, toxins were building up and her life blood was draining away. Their confusion was evident in the tones of their voices. The woman was not bleeding anywhere, at least, not obviously, yet the blood entered her veins and disappeared as though it had never been.

Buzzers were sounding, loud and insistent. The machines kept on with their constant barrage of noise. I felt a strange pulling sensation, as though I were being drawn to this dying woman. I did not want to go to her; she was an empty vessel, what good could I possibly do and yet I could not stop the desperate pull from the woman in the narrow bed.
“I think she’s coming round doctor,” a voice said from above me and I realized that I was the woman in the bed, I was the woman who had almost died. I opened my eyes slowly, everything was exactly as I had seen it from a distance but here now inside this body it felt so much more real. It felt more real than any moment of my life had ever felt.

I knew the truth then, I had almost died. I had experienced what they called a ‘near death experience’ and yet somehow I had lived. Suddenly all the noise of machines and doctor’s and nurses was grating on my consciousness as I struggled back to life. I would not die here on this narrow bed in this sterile room. I had far too many things left to do in my life. For now though I was tired, so very, very tired. I felt myself slipping away but into a normal sleep, not the unconscious existence I had endured.

** Thought I'd put my recent bad experiences in the hospital to some good use and write a little flash fiction piece
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Published on February 06, 2011 17:58 • 125 views • Tags: drama, flash-fiction, hospitals, tracey-alley
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message 1: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Oh Tracey you have managed to bring this woman to tears - that was such a powerful piece!!

message 2: by David (new)

David Flash is a good word for this piece of real-life narrative. One cannot read it without feeling the powerlessness of the medics and a sense of sadness that somebody so conscious of life, could be ebbing out of reach of that life. Gripping!

message 3: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Alley Thanks guys for the warm comments - I guess it's true what they say 'Write what you know'. I didn't enjoy the experience but hopefully it's taught me something about writing. I'd like to always be able to write as though the reader were living the moment with me.

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