Flash Friday 16/09/2016: Pills and Thrills
Dr. Godfrey had only one goal; to save a life. Ever since he awoke from the car crash on a hospital bed with stitches across his body and with two less parents than he had that morning, he had vowed to repay the favour. The problem was, even though he was in the top ten percent of his graduating class, he still hadn’t got the chance to perform a life-saving surgery at his hospital.
Sure, everyone knew he was smart. That’s why they called on him for all the cases that nobody else could solve. Dr. Godfrey remembered them all, and always for the wrong reasons. The person who came in reporting chronic back itching, which Godfrey solved by removing the security tag left on the shirt. The case where someone claimed a strange, white sticky substance was leaking from their head, which Godfrey assigned to the showers to clean the bird poo out. The angry patient who claimed the inhaler he prescribed to them caused an allergic reaction that rendered them unable to breathe, to which Godfrey calmly informed them that you had to breathe through the other end.
Dr. Godfrey had an outstanding record, in the same way that someone skilled in painting would be highly revered by the blind.
This time, however, it was different. It was the first time a nurse had interrupted his lunch break with a word never yet used toward him — ’emergency’. This was his moment, he knew, as he followed the nurse to the operating room. He was going to save a life.
Dr. Godfrey approached the patient on the operating table as he put the last of the gear on. The patient was a teenage boy, slightly overweight, lying on the table with his eyes closed, out for the count. Three operation technicians fiddled with machines around the table, alongside the nurse, who was waiting anxiously.
“Alright then,” Dr. Godfrey said, stretching the gloves into his hands. “What are we dealing with?”
“We had this boy come into the hospital just now. Patient reported of a severe headache,” the nurse beside him said. “Said that it’s near blinding.”
“So, I take it he’s here because he’s been diagnosed with a brain tumour.”
“If I’m going to do such a complex operation on such short notice, I at least…wait, what do you mean by maybe?”
The nurse shrugged. “It might be a tumour. I mean, that’s one symptom of a headache. Might not be this one. He’s only, what, fifteen?”
“You mean you put the patient under and we don’t even know what’s wrong with him?”
“Eh?” the patient said, suddenly stirring out of his ‘sleep’. “You’re going to put me under? Why?”
Dr. Godfrey blinked. “The patient isn’t even out?”
“No, of course he’s not,” the nurse said. “You don’t knock people out just because they have a headache.”
“So why is he in an operating theatre?”
“What?!” the patient said, looking around in a panic. “I’m going to be operated on?!”
“No! I’m just asking why you’re here!”
“You said it yourself,” the nurse said. “After that one case the patient claimed they had gone deaf and you pulled their earplugs out. You g0t all angry and said that the next case you get ‘better be in the operating theatre where I belong’. So here he is!”
“That’s not what I…nevermind.” If Godfrey was going to be dragged out of his break for this, he might as well finish the job. “What might your name be, boy?”
“Alright, Patrick. Can you tell me why you have a headache? Did you bash your head? Perhaps you have migraines?”
“Ate too much ice-cream, sir.”
“Wonderful. And you were called here as an emergency because…?”
One of the operation technicians gestured sadly to an empty pot of painkillers.
“Right. Got you. Well, you’re lucky I have a packet of paracetamol in my pocket, or else we really would have had to go to red alert.”
“Oh,” Patrick said. “My mum says I should always tell people something before they give me paracetamol.”
“Was it ‘thank you’, by any chance?”
“No, don’t think that was it. It’ll come to me, I’m sure. You’ll see.”
“I’m relieved to hear it. Here you go. And someone get some water to help it down.”
Patrick gladly took the pills he was given and washed it down. Wiping the excess water on his sleeve, he suddenly brightened up. “Oh! I just remembered what I had to tell people!”
“Go on, then,” Dr. Godfrey said. “Break the tense cliffhanger for all of us.”
“It was, uh…how do I put it, uh…ah! Yes. ‘Fatally allergic’. Mum says that I’m ‘fatally allergic’ to paracetamol. Told you I’d remember!”
Patrick beamed a big smile, around the same time as the blood completely left Dr. Godfrey’s face.
Those who were walking past the operations room at that point jumped out of the way as the doors burst open. Dr. Godfrey pushed Patrick’s bed toward the toxicology department like a buyer armed with a trolley on Black Friday. He may end up saving a life yet.