Michael woke in a hospital bed, to the sound of hushed voices close by; he opened his eyes to see his sister, Maggie looking down at him. “Hey Michael, how ya feelin?” She stands next to him and holds onto his hand. Michael chokes out a sob, “she’s gone Maggie, my beautiful angel, just…” He couldn’t finish his sentence; Maggie sat down on the edge of the bed, and wrapped her arms around her brother. “Shh, it’s ok.” She rocks him gently back and forth, as his body wracked with sobs. He buried his face in her shoulder.
“Elizabeth.” He choked out between sobs, “I couldn’t save her!” He starts to hyperventilate, and Maggie shook him, “Michael, stop! You need to calm down.” He coughed a little and started to breath his crying slowed after a few moments. Maggie rubs his back, “You have to be strong, she wouldn’t want you to beat yourself up like this.” He shakes his head and pulls back from her. “I tried so hard, and I failed.” Maggie wiped the tears away from his eyes and leaned over to the bedside table next to him. “Here, blow your nose.” He took the tissue from her, “thank you Maggie.” As he blows his nose the doctor walked in, “Mr. Moore, when you’re ready I would like to have a word with you.”
Maggie patted Michael on the shoulder, “you’ll be fine kiddo.” He nodded, and blinked away tears that were threatening to overcome him again. Maggie, untangled herself from Michael, walked towards the door, “if you need anything, I’ll be right here in the hall ok.” He nodded, and gave her a weak smile. The doctor stood out of the way as she left. Clearing his throat, the doctor stood at the end of the bed.
“Your wife’s headaches were not headaches at all, but a brain tumor, located in her occipital lobe. Its a common mistake in people with brain tumors. As to why it wasn’t found until now is most unfortunate.” Michael’s face switches to anger, and the doctor clears his throat continuing. “There is only enough space in the skull to really accommodate the brain and a normal amount of fluid, anything excess, whether it is fluid or tissue, increases the pressure.”
Michael stares at the doctor. “So you’re telling me, she died, of a brain tumor?” he shakes his head in disbelief. “All those doctors and they said it was just a migraine.” The doctor frowns, “I’m sorry, headaches are not normally the initial symptom a person experiences if they have a brain tumor.” He looks at Michael apologetically. “Other symptoms, like seizures, changes in vision or hearing, weakness of the arms and legs, or cognitive decline are often the first symptoms.
He shuffles his papers in front of him while he is talking. Michael stares at him in a blind rage. “If you knew this,” he says through clenched teeth, “Then why wasn’t this taken care of sooner, my wife is dead!” The doctor shakes his head and pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. “Brain tumors are very complex, and each person may experience different types of headaches that may or may not reflect these common traits.” He looks up at Michael, “They probably assumed that it was a headache and nothing more because she didn’t show any symptoms.
Michael yelled now, “DIDN’T SHOW ANY SYMPTOMS! YOU TELL ME! HOW MY WIFE! HAVING HEADACHES THAT WAKE HER UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT CRYING, IS NOT A SYMPTOM!” The doctor jumps from his sudden outburst, and takes a step back. “I think you need to calm down, it was a tragedy I assure you, but there is nothing that can be done about it now.”
“CALM DOWN! MY WIFE IS DEAD! BECAUSE YOU PEOPLE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO YOUR JOB CORRECTLY!” Michaels face turned red; he ripped the blankets off himself and ran up to the doctor slamming him into a wall. “DON’T YOU TELL ME! WHAT A TRAGEDY THIS IS! YOU HAVE NO IDEA!” The doctor made little squawking noises and screamed for the nurse. “NURSE! SEDATE HIM!” Michael let go of the doctor, and shoved himself though the door before the nurse could stop him.
Maggie stood as he ran out the door, “Michael, what’s wrong!” He didn’t even look at her, just ran. He could hear the doctor still screaming behind him, nurses and orderlies jumped in front of him, blocking his escape. One of them held his hands in surrender, “Look, we aren’t going to hurt you, please, let us take you back to your room.” Michael shook his head, “NO! You don’t understand! None of you do! My wife is gone!”
“Michael, please, calm down.” He turned around at his sisters voice. Maggie looked at him with pleading eyes. at that exact moment, a nurse tackled him, he felt a pin prick in his neck, he tried to fight it, but the nurse was stronger. The sedatives had begun their work almost before the needle had come out. Michael cursed, as his head hit the floor, and the world went black.