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October 2019 Writers Challenge

  • 18 Oct 2019 7:30 AM
    Reply # 8063765 on 7913222

    The Dying Room

    (Horror tale in honor of Halloween)

    Something jiggled my IV line. Darkness shrouded the room when I opened my eyes expecting to see a nurse in the dim light leaking around the closed door, but there was no one there. Maybe I had moved in my sleep and pinched the line. Then I felt another pull on the line and a strident sound summoned a nurse.

    She flipped on the overhead light and noticed the drops of blood slowly seeping from around the catheter. When she realized it wasn’t an emergency, she reached toward the panel on the wall to turn off the alarm.

    “Did you try to turn over?” she asked in an accusatory tone.

    I shook my head. “No, I’ve been lying on my back the whole time.”

    She examined the damage. “We need to reinsert a new catheter. Just lie quietly while I call the IV nurse.”

    She hesitated at the door before turning off the overhead lights. “It’s going to be awhile until I can get someone down here because it’s so late, so try to go back to sleep. I’ll leave the door open so I can hear if you call me.”

    Sleep had only come in fits since my cardiac surgery. They had just awakened me at midnight for my three-times-a-day med (8am, 4pm and 12am) and would wake me again at two o’clock for my four-times-a-day med (8am, 2pm, 8pm and 2am). Besides, the graveyard shift got stuck with the more onerous tasks like changing beds or giving sponge baths, so they often woke me in the wee hours of the morning.

    I thought I could hear faint clicking noises from the corners of the room, like the sound of tiny creatures skittering across the floor. Slowly my eyesight adjusted to the low light but I didn’t see anything unusual. The painkillers had given me strange vivid dreams, but now I was wide awake and could faintly hear the nurses talking down the hall.

    As I listened more closely, I could just barely hear muffled voices from the far side of the room, but I couldn’t quite make out the words. But people always recognize their own name, and I could hear a whisper calling me.

    Suddenly light flooded the room announcing the arrival of the IV nurse. The young man examined the IV carefully and decided to move it to the other wrist. He and the charge nurse discussed their plans for the weekend while he worked, ignoring me like a potted plant. After he finished the task, they watched the saline drip for a minute to assure themselves that it was working properly before turning off the lights, closing the door, and leaving me to nap again.

    Quiet filled the darkened room again but I could still hear faint voices. I wondered how many people had breathed their last in this very room.

    Then I felt a tug on the electrical leads stuck to my chest. The leads connected to the cardiac monitor which softly beeped with every heartbeat while sending readings to a screen at the nurse’s station. I stayed as still as I could, hoping the leads would stay in place because another alarm would sound if one came loose.

    Blood started pounding in my ears and the beeps came faster. Both on-duty nurses came running down the hall and one flipped on the light. The charge nurse immediately got on the phone to contact the on-duty physician while the floor nurse hurried away to get a blood pressure machine.

    The cuff inflated squeezing my arm before slowly deflating as the numbers spun down on the meter. The nurses wore concerned looks on their faces while waiting for the staff physician. The beeps gradually slowed down to a more normal rate, and they took my blood pressure again just before the doctor arrived.

    “What have we got?” the doctor asked.

    “His heart suddenly started racing and his blood pressure skyrocketed.”

    “Did he go into fibrillation?”

    The charge nurse shook her head. “His pulse was very rapid but regular, and now it has returned to normal and his blood pressure is down.”

    The doctor thought for a minute before giving rapid-fire instructions. “Give him three milligrams of Coreg, continue his other medications, and monitor him closely. Call me immediately if there’s any change.”

    The floor nurse stayed with me while my charge nurse went to prepare the injection. After administering the shot, the floor nurse went back to the nurse’s station to check on other patients while the charge nurse watched me for a few minutes as if she expected me to suddenly convulse and flop around on the bed.

    She paused in the doorway to ask, “Do you want the lights out so you can sleep?”

    “No, leave them on,” I said. “You’ll just wake me at two anyway to give me a pill.”

    The bright lights seemed to vanquish whatever had been lurking around the room and tampering with things. After about a half hour, she returned with my two o’clock med, suggested I sleep, and turned out the overhead lights.

    Dim light filtered in around the closed door and once again I heard faint voices, but this time the tone sounded like an argument. I thought some of them were defending me from the others.

    I tried to sleep until suddenly feeling a chill that raised goosebumps on my arms. A faint shadow appeared on the wall as if someone stood over my bed, but I couldn't see anyone. As the shadow slowly faded away, I felt a profound sense of calm come over me. My eyes closed seemingly of their own volition, and I slipped into a deep, restful sleep.


    Last modified: 23 Oct 2019 5:22 PM | Michael Worthington
  • 01 Oct 2019 5:37 PM
    Message # 7913222
    Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)


    Fall is a festive time for family and friends to share in traditions. It can also be a time of terror if you're lost in a corn maze in an unfamiliar town while on a road trip. Whether its a pumpkin spice latte kind of story or a Halloween spin off... let the creativity flow. This is a fun season that could start off warm and fuzzy and end up cold and covered in cob webs real fast!

    Share your story or poem in one-thousand or less words by uploading it here as a reply. All genres and levels of writing welcome!


    Last modified: 01 Oct 2019 5:41 PM | Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)
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