This weeks DP writing challenge was “Dialogue”,
Begin a post with a scene that includes dialogue.
“Mrs Doyle, Mr Sheehan is here to see you”.
A lady, probably in her sixties, with a face accustomed to smiling, stepped forward.
“Tanks nurse, I’m on me way”, she said in her strong Dublin accent.
“Mary” she roared, to the lady in bed six in Intensive Care,
“I’m off to see the docktor, behave yerself while I’m gone!”.
Mary lay unresponsive, no hint of having understood her sisters joke.
A ventilator breathing on her behalf. A heart monitor showing normal rhythm.
“Hi there, I’m Nurse McGrath” I say to Mrs Doyle, “Doctor Sheehan is outside the unit waiting for you.
He would just like to have a few words with you about your sister”.
“Aw tank ye nurse, ye’re very good” she says as we make our way out to the corridor.
Doctor Sheehan may have been a good surgeon, but he was not a doctor noted for his bedside manner.
In a busy corridor he begins to speak with Mrs Doyle about her seriously ill sisters condition.
“Mrs Doyle, my name is Mr Sheehan, and I am looking after your sister”. he began.
“Y’are docktor, tanks a million, great to meet ye” she says,
and thrusts her hand in his direction.
He reluctantly shakes it.
“Well, he says, your sister is indeed a very sick lady”.
“Jaysus” interrupts Mrs Doyle.
Ignoring her Mr Sheehan continues, “She has an obstruction in her bowel and..,”
“Her bowel docktor, oh dats dreadful. Lord protect us and save us, dats very bad,” she says.
“Yes, continues Mr Sheehan, “in her bowel, but scans have also indicated that she has a mass in her abdomen”.
“Dear Jaysus docktor, she has a whah where? says Mrs Doyle, putting her hand up to her mouth in shock.
“A mass in her abdomen, a growth in her abdomen” says Mr Sheehan, not really getting the fact that Mrs Doyles knowledge of biology is obviously limited.
He continues,“Her liver is also affected, and..”
“Holy Mother of God in Heaven… her liver!”, interupts Mrs Doyle once more as she blesses herself.
Then she hesitates and says “Is that really bad docktor?”.
“I’m afraid so” Mr Sheehan says, “We are doing our best, but in light of her age and condition, I would have to warn you she is critical”.
“Mercivil hour. Tank you so much docktor. Ye’re a great man. Jaysus where would she be without ye? Tanks for evryting”.
“I will speak with you again tomorrow” says Mr Sheehan in a dismissive tone. He then turns on his heel and leaves.
“He’s a great man. A powerful man”, says Mrs Doyle as we watch him walk away. His head held high and his white coat tails flying behind him.
I turn to look at Mrs Doyle. “Are you okay? I ask.“Did you understand what he was saying?”. Is there anything you would like me to explain to you?”.
“Ah no nurse yer very kind, I got it all loud and clear from the bossman there. Mary wont be out dancin any day soon”, she says, with a cigarette fueled chuckle, which evolves into a full blown coughing fit.
I smile. “Okay, but you know you can ask me anything, anytime if you wish to” I say, as we walk back into Intensive Care.
I leave Mrs Doyle sitting once more by her unresponsive sisters bed.
Holding her hand she roars at her, “I’m back Mary. I’ll tell you somtin for notin, that Mr Sheehan is handsome. The next time he’s in ye should open your eyes for a gawk at him”.
As I walk away I wonder to myself, how much she understood of what was said to her.
A while later it is my break. As I make my way along the corridor I see Mrs Doyle ahead of me. She has just bumped into someone visiting on another ward. As I pass I cannot help but overhear her.
“Oh God Katrine, our Mary is very sick”.
“Ah no Margaret, I don’t believe ye. Dats awful news”.
“Ye, she’s in the tensive care unit”.
“Go way Margaret, dats terrable”.
“And wait til I tell ye Katrine, she’s on a drip”.
“A drip! Oh God almighty, dats very serious so. You must be beside yourself. Whats wrong with her?” asks the visitor.
“It’s terrible news. Desprite altogether” says Mrs Doyle.
“Jaysus, thats awful Margaret. Wot is it?”.
“Well I just met with Mr Sheehan and he explained it all to me. He tells me she is very sick. She has gangrene of the gut!”.
Sadly I walked out of earshot so I did not hear any more. I must admit I couldn’t help but giggle. Despite Mary being on a ventilator and many other monitors, it was the sight of a drip which had put the fear of God into Margaret.
As for her diagnosis, I knew she did not fully understand what was wrong with her sister, but I delighted in the simplicity of her own diagnosis.
Sadly Mary did not recover, but she and her sister Margaret have lived on many years in my memory.
photo credit: liz_com1981 via photopin cc
photo credit: Alex E. Proimos via photopin cc
13 thoughts on “Lost In Translation.”
I bet Margaret gets a good feeling every time you think of her and her sister Mary.
Maybe she does. I often relive this story in my head as it was just amazing to hear her telling her friend her take on what she heard.
I think I like Margaret. 🙂
That was absolutely fabdabbydoobilous, I loved it! The cigarette-fueled chuckle reminded me of my Grandma, and I could just see the boss man swishing down the corridor! Freshly Pressed material: WordPress, wake up please and see this blog!!
Thank you. I’m afraid it is Margaret who should get the credit. It was her genius! Glad you liked it as I didn’t know whether to write phonetically as Margaret and Dubliners in general speak or to just tell the story. 🙂
Despite the serious condition of Mary, you had me chuckling.
Yes it seemed wrong to laugh but I couldn’t help myself.
a very bittersweet story )
Thanks. I enjoyed writing it and reliving it. Real life, you can’t beat it, as you well know.
Ah! The stories overheard by nurses! You could probably write a whole book! Loved the post:)