A Story by Lola M

Sometimes we can save our own lives by being brave. Sometimes not.


"My stomach's been hurting," I say.

For weeks, months, maybe years - but I don't tell the doctor this. She'd look at me with those soft eyes of hers, and her plump cheeks would go limp as the kindly smile fell off her face, and she'd declare me a lunatic. Idiot. Coward.

Which I am, I suppose.

I'd been a coward my whole life.

Afraid of talking, standing up to people, afraid of getting bad grades and going out, afraid of staying up too late, afraid of dogs, and cats, and pretty much anything else with claws or fangs or... teeth. Afraid of cars, loud noises, quiet noises, balloons, heights, needles, being buried alive.

You see where I'm going with this.

So of course I'd be afraid of checking to see what was wrong with my stomach.

It could be any number of things.

I could be dying.

And, if I wasn't, they'll still want to draw some blood.

And I'll have to request to be sedated, and they'd have to deny me because you can't have sedatives in your blood when they're testing it.

Oh, damn it. I'm screwed, aren't I.

And really, I'd much rather die, suddenly and unknowingly, then have it confirmed and timed out for me, wouldn't you?

Though I'm probably not dying. Still, though.

"Okay, lie back, please," the middle-aged woman commanded, and I obeyed, reclining on the stiff bed and lifting my shirt. "Do you tan easily?" she asked as she gently pressed around my stomach. I frowned as the pain worsened, but chose not to mention it.

"I guess. I haven't been sunbathing in years though, why?" I answered.

"There's a slight tint to your skin, I was wondering if it was natural," she replied. "Like bruising, bluish. Are you being abused?"

Whoa, way to cut right to the chase. Did she think I'd tell her, if someone was beating me, with a direct hit like that?

"No," I said indignantly. I may be a coward, but damned if anyone would hit me and live to see another day. The doctor looked at me with a worried frown.

"Then this is another symptom to consider. Where exactly is the pain?"

"Middle of my stomach, above my belly-button," the answer was on the tip of my tongue, having sat there for the past who-knows-how-many months. The pain was always there, throbbing and waiting, never letting me rest.

"There's a bit swelling, too," the doctor told me, and I snorted.

"Yeah, just as I'd started to lose weight, too!" I rolled my eyes.

"Oh? Do you exercise?" she questioned casually.

"Oh God no. And have people see me, no thank you," I shook my head.

"What, then, were you dieting?" she continued. Why the questions, man, I wanted to ask her. Feel me up, give me drugs and send me home, you know.

"Nope," I said instead. Ow, what the hell was she feeling down there? Hurt like a b***h.

"So you just lost weight, just like that," she stated. Oh. She was jealous.

"Yup," I replied smugly.

"That's a symptom," she commented.

"Hell, if it is, don't cure me," I said flippantly.

The doctor frowned and shook her head disapprovingly, then pressed me down onto the bed when I started to rise, telling me to sit still while she went to get some machine.

She came back not two minutes after, carting in a giant machine like the kind they use to check pregnant women's stomachs in movies.

"I'm not pregnant," I cried, starting to get up. This was stupid, I shouldn't have come. She wouldn't know what was wrong anyway, I should've known that. The good doctor pushed me down. "I haven't had sex in six months!" I said, and immediately blushed in thirty different shades of red.

"I don't think you're pregnant, girl, be still," she started up the ultrasound, smeared something cold on my belly, just like in the movies, and moved the stick thing around over it. She stared at the screen a while, moving the stick, until she finally zeroed in on what she wanted to see.

"Ah," she said coolly. For Christ's sake, tell me I'm not dying!

"You're not dying," she confirmed. I'd said that aloud? Whatever. She said I wasn't dying. Yay! More years to fear, eh?

"However it would've been much better if you'd come when the pain first appeared. How long have you let this go on?" she looked down at me patronizingly, then focused on the screen again.

"Couple months," I mumbled. What the hell did she care, anyway, her job was to fix me.

"You should've come earlier," she told me. I nodded. So what was wrong with me?

"You have quite a large abdominal aortic aneurysm," she stated. I stared. Holy s**t, that's serious. I watch Grey's Anatomy, too, you know, sometimes, when it's not too stressful. I know stuff.

"That's serious, isn't it?" I asked in a small voice. S**t, should've come sooner.

"I'm afraid it is, but you're not going to die of it," she assured me. "You should've come sooner, because it you could've inadvertently caused it to rapture, and that would've been a potentially dangerous situation, but no, you won't die now that we've got it. You'll simply have to make some adjustments. We'll just transfer you to the surgical ward, and I'll find you an excellent general surgeon. You'll be in good hands."

Pfft. How 'bout not? Surgery means a lot of big-a*s needles all up in my veins, no thank you, lady.

"Okay," I said meekly.

"Alright, then, you go right on up to the forth floor with your papers and by the time you get there I'll have someone waiting for you, okay?" the kindly woman asked, helping me clean up my belly and sit up. I nodded. "Take the elevator," she told me.

"I will," I said. I collected my stuff and shuffled out of there, across the hall and to where the elevators were. I pressed the button and turned away, examining the number two on the wall opposite the elevators. Forth floor, huh?

I heard the sound of the elevator doors opening behind me, turned, and stepped into the empty box. As the door slid closed, I looked at the floor buttons, reached out, and pressed...

Floor ground.

© 2013 Lola M

Author's Note

Lola M
Haven't put anything on here in a while. Been studying, wrapping up high school. Today was our literature final, and there was a topic that kind of prompted this. I'm very much the coward of the family (though the story's coward is an exaggeration). Comment if you like it, if you got it, if the story made you feel anything at all, or if you were bored with it.

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Added on June 1, 2013
Last Updated on June 1, 2013
Tags: bravery, cowardice, medicine, sickness, doctor, aneurysm, fear, life, death


Lola M
Lola M


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