*It’s 4:15am on July 26th 2019.
Margo tosses in bed and throws the covers off her naked body. She can’t sleep. Can’t get the feeling out of her that she’s never really done much in this world to make a difference. Can’t stop the pain screaming in her left wrist. Broken and swollen, in a splint, she knows it will be fixed in surgery in a few hours. Right now though, she wonders. Is there a way to fix this meaningless wheel of life she’s been spinning on.
3 miles away Lacey tosses her covers off too. She can’t sleep either. And she feels sick. She cries out to her mom who comes running in seconds later,
“What’s wrong honey?”
“I think I’m gonna throw up.”
Mom takes her into the bathroom and pulls back her soft blonde hair taking gentle care to watch her splinted, broken wrist, and not jar it against anything.
Lacey cries while she releases the contents of last nights dinner into the toilet.
Mom rubs her back gently.
“It’s gonna be okay sweetie.”
*It’s 5 am on July 26th 2019.
Margo gets up and starts her shower. She places a bag over the splinted wrist and wraps tape around it before stepping over the porcelain ledge and letting the coolish water fall over her body. She still feels listless and insignificant. A few tears fall with the water. She’s not due for surgery until 7am but it seems pointless to delay any longer so after the shower she packs her bag, insurance card, ID, and calls a Lyft to take her to the hospital.
Lacey’s mom draws a bath. They’re due for surgery shortly and still it’s important that her daughter feels loved and cared for and if they’re late, well, they’re late. The hospital can deal with it. She lifts her 9yr old daughter into the tub and gently washes her while she sings ‘You are my sunshine’ and Lacey seems calmer. She kisses her on the forehead and then…
“Mom, am I going to be okay? I’m scared about surgery today.”
“My love, yes. You will. They are going to fix your wrist up and you’ll be better very soon. It’s also okay to be scared.”
Lacey ducks under the water holding her splinted hand up above it and blows a few bubbles.
*It’s 6:15am on July 26th 2019.
Margo steps into the hospital lobby and walks towards registration. She’s very early. Her surgery isn’t due until 10am. No matter. Tossing restlessly alone in her room seemed a more tragic circumstance than sitting in a waiting room for a few extra hours.
As it turns out the attendant at the desk informs her there’s been a delay with another patient so they can get Margo in early since she’s here.
Lacey’s mom calls the hospital to let them know they’ll be late. Lacey has been anxious and it’s caused stomach problems for her. She’s been vomiting and needs to stabilize before coming in for surgery.
As it turns out the attendant on the phone informs her there’s been an early arrival of another patient so they can take Lacey for surgery later in the day.
*It’s 7:45am on July 26th 2019.
Dr. Brennan has been struggling since 4:15am.
She woke with a massive migraine which never happens.
At 5am she took 2 tylenol which she never takes.
At 6:15am she checked in for her first surgery of the day. It was meant to be a 9 year old girl, broken distal radius to implant a plate and 6 screws. Due to hiccups in scheduling she was currently reviewing what was meant to be her second surgery of the day. A 44 year old woman with a comminuted fracture requiring a plate and 9 screws.
Now she was still dealing with a splitting pain in her head while washing her hands and prepping for surgery.
Margo is alone in the hospital room. The anesthesiologist came in and explained the medication they would be using and asked if she had someone to pick her up after surgery. Yes. She said. Her sister would be coming to take her home. But, alone in the room she feels the enormity of life. What has she made of it? Where has she stayed small and not played for a purpose. And why does she feel she’s never given enough? In short time the nurses sweep in and pull up the sides of her hospital bed. The medication is inserted into the IV and she’s pushed down the hallway of the hospital, she’s out before she enters the operating room.
Lacey and her mom valet the car at the hospital. They take the elevator up to the third floor and move towards registration.
“Hi, well this worked out well. We’ve had someone else take your place in surgery and you’ll be able to take their later slot. We just need you to fill out these forms and bring them back to us and we’ll get you set up in a room shortly.”
*It’s 8:15am on July 26th 2019.
Dr. Brennan makes the incision into Margo’s left wrist and feels a sharp pain in her neck at the same time. She lurches quickly and her knife slips into the radial artery as she collapses on top of Margo. The surgery staff acts quickly. Within minutes they are working to resuscitate the surgeon, stop Margo’s bleeding, calling all emergency staff into the room.
Lacey and her mom are aware there’s something wrong. The hospital alarms are going off and people are running back and forth frantically. Lacey feels a small swell in her heart. And then a quiet voice. It’s not her voice, but a sweet one who says,
“You’re going to be perfect, love. Do something wonderful and brilliant with your life. Be purposeful and make every moment matter. This moment mattered for me, and I’m glad I could give it to you. It made my life mean everything.”
Margo’s spirit passed through Lacey’s body as she left.