Trauma Bay

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  6:00 a.m. Doctors and nurses prepare themselves for his appearance, some pacing back and forth as others snatch tubes out of packages or pull breathing machines from dusty corners.  Their scrubs shielded with yellow surgery robes, cu...

 

6:00 a.m.

Doctors and nurses prepare themselves for his appearance, some pacing

back and forth as others snatch tubes out of packages or pull

breathing machines from dusty corners.  Their scrubs shielded with

yellow surgery robes, cuffs sterile white, all eyes protected by thin plastic

armor, hands trapped in latex gloves inhabited on veiled hips.

 

6:05 a.m.

Their customer finally arrives:  a nameless man with eyes nearly reeling

toward the back of his head, slipping in and out of the Light as

a young paramedic plugs the hole in his chest with a cloth soaked

in fresh blood. The doctor commands the medic to push

the John Doe towards the trauma bed A.S.A.P. 

—they only have little time to play God.

 

6:10 a.m.

Two RPD cops stand at the secretary’s desk, relaying general information

with yawns and shoulder cracks:

Black male.

Possibly early 30s.

Neighbors say he was shot on Lyell Ave at approximately 5:40 a.m.

Reason unknown.

Do you have his name?  The secretary asks.

The cop sporting the porn star mustache shook his head.  Nope.  Just what we gave you.

No surprise there, I think to myself.  It’s not like they’re talking about a beer buddy.

 

6:15 a.m.

The new M.D. is determined to prove himself, hoping the customer

rages against the shadow of death.

But John Doe’s condition grows increasingly unsteady as blood drains itself

from the bullet holes, gushing and staining the patient’s bare chest.

His mouth is pried open with thin plastic tubes, others embedded into his chest,

draining toxicity from wounds exposed.  But nothing changes.  John Doe is

disappearing into himself, the M.D. assumes.

The monitor confirms his growing suspicion: John Doe’s heart rate

is descending rapidly, despite his team’s diligence and medical expertise.

Their synchronization will fail this stranger, he senses, beads of sweat moistening

his forehead.  Only silence occupies the customer’s body in five…

four…

three…

two…

one…

What time is it now? the M.D asks.  Another checks his watch. 6:17.

…Time of death: 6:17. Thanks everyone.

And the whole team walks away as if from a business gathering, shaking

hands, cracking cheesy post-mortem jokes

As the nurse drags tubes from his nose and throat, the nameless man’s arm dangles off

the stretcher, his mouth open, his stilled gaze reflecting agony. 

 

6:20 a.m.

The Environmental Service Worker enters the trauma bay, her steady

pace slowed by the condition of the area where the patient remains.

Small red puddles inhabited by dark clots stain the white tiles, thin streaks smeared

on the machines.  The entire room reeks of wet dog and metal.  Of recent death.

Her grip tightens around the mop handle, nearly paralyzed by trepidation

and necrophobia.

The poor woman clinches her eyelids shut, praying desperately to forget

the scene before her.  She opened her eyes, focusing on dirty

mop water while rushing out of the trauma bay, anxiously yearning for home.

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