General Fiction posted September 5, 2016


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Ryan's sacrifice.

Brotherly love.

by Maria Jose Garcia

Heroic Contest Winner 

Chase lay on his hospital bed, staring at the ceiling. He was only thirty-four, but he felt as if he was ninety. He was soooo tired... The doctors had told him he had PSC and that he'd need a liver transplant.

'Is there anything I could have done to prevent this?' Chase asked.

'No, I don't think so,' Dr Franklin answered. 'We'll put you on the transplant list, but your best hope is a living donor. You should talk to your family and see if anyone is ready to volunteer. If they do, we'll run the necessary tests.'

That evening, his brother Ryan came to visit. Ryan was ten years older than him and they'd always been very close. Even now that they were both married and had children, they had chosen to live in the same Boston neighborhood.

'So how are you, little brother? Have they fixed you yet? Ryan joked in an attempt to break the tension. He had noticed his brother looked very pale and it worried him.

'Well, it seems I'll need a transplant.'

For a while, nobody spoke. The air in the room was thick with unspoken words.

'I'll do it,' Ryan said after a while.

'You will? But it's a risky procedure.'

'Let me at least talk to the doctor,' Ryan said.

That night, at home, Ryan told his wife Patricia that he wanted to donate part of his liver to his brother. She wasn't too happy with the idea. She loved Chase, but she loved her husband more.

'What about the risks? I don't want anything to happen to you? The kids need you, I need you.'

Ryan and Patricia had a twelve-year-old girl called Susie and five-year-old twins. The children were the centre of their world.

That night, after putting the kids to sleep, they sat together on the porch and talked about Chase's plight and what they should do.

'I might not even be a match,' Ryan said. 'But if I am and I don't help my brother, I won't be able to live with myself.'

Patricia didn't answer. She knew her husband had already made up his mind.

Two days later, Ryan underwent all the necessary tests. The doctors told him they would know if he was a match in a week or maybe even less.

In the meantime, Chase kept on deteriorating fast. Just going to the toilet was a feat for him.

Lisa, his wife, was desperate. Sometimes, it was Chase who comforted her.

'I'll get better, you'll see. And the first thing I'll do will be to take you to Paris.'

Lisa smiled sadly and said 'Why not Madrid instead? You know I've always wanted to practise my Spanish.'

'Madrid it is. Just give me a couple of months to overcome this thing.'

Ryan got a call at home telling him he was a perfect match ten days after he had the tests. The operations were scheduled for Wednesday, just two days later.

The brothers were in different rooms, but sent each other messages through their wives.

At nine thirty, they were wheeled into the OR. Patricia and Lisa sat together in the waiting room. Sometimes they talked, but most of the time, they just clenched their teeth and prayed.

'How long do you think there is left?'

'Not much, I guess.'

The children had stayed at home with their paternal grandparents, who were also impatiently waiting to hear news of their two sons.

At one, Dr Ingram, the surgeon, came to talk to Patricia and Lisa. When he removed his mask, they saw he was smiling.

'The operations have been a success. You'll be able to see your husbands in an hour or so.'

From then on, Patricia and Lisa were all smiles. The tension they had been feeling evaporated as if by magic and they were finally able to relax.

At three, Ryan was brought to his room. He was groggy and only half awake, but nobody gave it any importance as they thought it was due to the anesthetic.

Chase was wheeled back up a bit later. He smiled when he saw Lisa.

'I hadn't felt this well for years,' he said. 'I'm already less tired. My big brother has saved my life.'

In the evening, the women left. They wanted to see the children and give the grandparents a hand.

Chase was sleeping when he heard a commotion. It was a code blue and it came from his brother's room. Even though he was intubated, he got up and walked towards it.

What he saw, would haunt him forever, Ryan was being resuscitated. One of the nurses saw him and told him he had to leave. Chase didn't pay any attention, he just stayed outside and continued watching, mesmerized.

A while later, he was told Ryan was in a coma. They didn't exactly know why. Complications to do with the operation. The next morning, he died.

The funeral took place two days later. Chase wasn't strong enough to attend, but he promised himself he would keep on living for his brother, he would make him proud.

Two weeks later, he was allowed home. Seeing his baby and his three year-old-daughter, Laura, made him very happy.

'You look very handsome, Daddy. You're not yellow anymore,' Laura said.

At night, however, he couldn't sleep. He thought of Patricia and got shivers down his spine. She would never see her husband again. How she must hate him!

When he got better, he booked a trip to Spain for Lisa and himself. They had the greatest time there and created some beautiful memories together. But on the last day, Chase started feeling tired.

'Are you okay, sweetheart?' Lisa asked.

'Yes, don't worry. It's been a long day, that's all.'

Back in the States, Chase continued feeling tired. At the hospital, Dr Franklin had some bad news.

'I'm afraid your liver isn't functioning properly. We might have to consider a second transplant from a cadaver.'

Chase felt as if he had failed his brother. Ryan had given his life for him, had behaved like a hero ... all for what?

That very day, Patricia came to visit with the kids. On hearing the news, she told Chase his brother would have wanted him to live.

'I bet he would have approved of this second transplant.'

Chase thought she was right, his brother had always wanted him to be happy. Maybe he would try harder, he would try to live without the guilt.

'At the end of the day, at least one of us is still around... That has to be better than nothing.'


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© Copyright 2017. Maria Jose Garcia All rights reserved.
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