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It was a rare occasion when Sadie was called by the nursing home.

She visited so often that it was never usually necessary- the staff would simply give her updates on her mother's health when she arrived.

That said, a phone call like this one had happened once before- late 2013, when her mother had suffered a stroke on her left brain. That day had been one of the worst in Sadie's life to date- the sheer amount of fear and worry- panic attack after panic attack and then trying to keep it together when she visited her mom in the ICU.

Sadie was sure that her mother's recovery was due to God smiling down on Shan Moore, for all the good she had done in her life, all the people she had made so very happy.

Now, 2015, Shan Moore had gone into a fifteen minute seizure part way through the night, and was rushed to New York Presbyterian. And the nightmare was happening all over again.

Sadie had never gotten anywhere so hastily, driving in her slippers and rushing down the hospital halls still in her pyjamas.

The neuro ward was grey and quiet.

"Your mother is alive," the white haired neurologist-Dr Connor- told her, in another grey room with the blinds closed. "She's in an induced coma to stop the seizures. We've come to a diagnosis. How much do you wish to know?"

"I'm a doctor," was all Sadie could manage to say, hoping he would understand what she meant. She could take this.

"Not all doctors want to know all details," Conner's tone was kind and gentle. Sadie had always known him to be a good man, and a brilliant doctor in the years she had worked at the hospital.

But now, the kindness was not what she needed. She could feel in her bones that this was going to be the worst news she could ever hear. Sadie didn't need kindness in that moment- she needed clinical relief.

"Tell me," she asked, quiet.

"Doctor Moore, I'm sorry to tell you that mother has a tumour on her temporal lobe," Connor explained. And there it was. The worst news she could ever hear. Sadie couldn't fathom it. "It's what has been causing her memory problems all these years."

"What kind of tumour?"

"Glioblastoma," Dr Connor explained. "It is unfortunately poorly treatable."

Glioblastoma. Arguably the deadliest form of brain cancer. The kind of disease Sadie knew from other patients in the past, her healing hands could not fix.

"Let me see the scans," Sadie said, and when Connor opened his mouth to speak- undoubtedly to explain why he couldn't do so- she found herself snapping firmly. "Let me see the scans!"

He looked conflicted for a moment and Sadie knew why. Hospital policy didn't allow it. But he unlocked his tablet anyway. She stared down at the image of her mother's brain. The tumour was humongous.

"And the prognosis?"

"With surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment," a pause. She wanted to scream for him to say it already! "Sixteen months."

Sadie started to laugh. It was terrible, but she started to laugh and couldn't control herself. She could hear her voice breaking as she spoke.

"Glioblastoma take an average of three hundred and thirty days to grow to this size. You're telling me that nobody noticed this until now?" She said bitterly. "I put her in that home because I wasn't able to give her the care she needed. They could've looked after her but apparently she hasn't been taken to a single doctor's appointment!"

There was a bitter irony to the situation. How many times had Sadie been the one in the white coat, telling families that their children, their wives, their husbands, their parents- were going to die?

She could remember what they had been taught in med school- when Sadie had sat beside Adrianne in the lecture hall. When she had wished and prayed she would never have to give the talk she was receiving right at that moment. And she remembered when, three months into her internship, she had to tell a young woman that her mother was going to die.

"I'm going to give you a moment to think about how you wish to proceed," the neurologist said. "Let me know when you are ready for me to say more."


issa sticky one. This is really short and detached but structurally I wanted it to be distinct from my other chapters. Kinda experimental, kinda emotionally detached but I'm exploring the aspect of shock so let me know how it comes across. Does it come across as shock, or apathy?


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𝙍𝙀𝙈𝙀𝘿𝙔- s. rogersRead this story for FREE!