That horrible day had to come eventually


The dreadful day was almost over. Her parents stand there, their clothing hanging on their slumping bodies, as their mournful tears mix with the somber rain that stings and pierces their ashen faces.


Steve and Rose began noticing subtle changes in their daughter Claire. Claire would tire more easily than usual, her breathing seemed labored and her bright cheerful face seemed to have lost some of its glow. As the days progressed, her symptoms became more manifest. Claire could not walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for air. She complained of pain in her extremities and pounding in her chest. Her face, her beautiful face, now had a bluish hue that only intensified her sunken eyes.


Steve and Rose held each other’s hand as they waited to speak with the doctor. As the doctor entered the consultation room, Steve and Rose noticed the deep furrows of his forehead, and the way he purposely avoided eye contact, and knew the news was worse than they had expected. Slowly and methodically the doctor explained to them that Claire was suffering from a rare incurable heart disease. Steve felt Rose’s hand turn limp and ice cold as they began to understand. Holding back tears and with a choked voice, Steve asked the doctor if there was anything that could be done. The doctor looked up from his notes and told them that the only thing that could save Claire’s life would be a heart transplant. Gazing back at his notes he added that finding a heart in time would be nothing short of a miracle. "How much time does she have left?" Rose barely whispered, the doctor rose, opened his office door, and with a bowed head whispered back, "Maybe two weeks."


The sirens blared and the flashing lights pierced the night, as the nine‑one‑one ambulance raced Claire to the hospital. When Steve and Rose were finally allowed to enter, they could hardly recognize Claire’s body beneath all the tubes and wires that were running into and out of her limp and listless body. The only sign that Claire was still clinging to life was the intermittent beep emanating from one of the machines whose tentacles had invaded Claire’s body. As the beeps became more sporadic, Steve and Rose buried their head in Claire’s sheet and offered one more prayer to G‑d to please save their daughter. Just then two nurses burst into Claire’s room and with practiced ease disconnected Claire from the myriads of tubing. They quickly grabbed the bed and began wheeling Claire out of the room. "She’s not dead yet," shrieked Rose as she grabbed the bed with a fist as tight as iron. "Nor is she going to die," a smiling nurse responded, "a matching heart has been found for your daughter. Now please let go, we need to get her to the O.R. stat."


After ten hours of difficult and tiresome surgery the doctors emerged in their sweat soaked scrubs. They approached Steve and Rose with faces glowing with excitement as they announced that the surgery had been successful. As Steve and Rose were exchanging hugs with the surgeons and surgical staff, the chief surgeon’ s pager began beeping. The doctor pushed the button on the pager and read the message. "Code Red, Code Red," he yelled, "Code Red in room 202." As the doctors ran to treat the emergency, Steve and Rose remembered that room 202 is their daughter’s room.


The timeless day has ended. Those who had come to console have gone. Steve and Rose are left to their own thoughts. The piercing rain and tears persists. Perhaps tomorrow will be a sunny day.