My fourth assignment was to create a piece of life writing. I found this very hard to write due to the emotions I experienced at the time. Instead of a linear piece I tried writing this in a non-linear fashion. I think it works quite well.
Emotional Torsion – Paul Blake – in .docx format for you to download
The ambulance sped down the A12, heading towards London, sirens wailing and blue lights flashing. I looked down to the tiny baby peacefully sleeping, unaware of the fuss he was causing; I gripped his small hand as waves of anxiety tried to drown me. He was only two days old and this was the first time he had ever left the hospital.
Logan Alexander Blake-Rush was born on Saturday 20th August 2011, via an emergency caesarian. The operation went faultlessly, our baby Logan was finally here, with wide, dark blue eyes, a scruff of blond hair on both sides of his head, and he was so quiet, whereas, other babies on the ward were screaming and crying all the time, Logan made happy, contented gurgling sounds as he laid with my wife, Helen. Our perfect birthing experience drastically changed a few hours later when Helen, in the middle of changing his nappy, said with a note of apprehension in her voice, ‘does his testicle look strange to you?’
‘I’m sure he’ll be ok, you know,’ the EMT with me in the ambulance said reassuringly, after noticing the hold I had on Logan’s hand, ‘we’re going to the best children’s hospital in London, they’ll take care of him just fine.’
I moved over to the bed and looked at Logan’s testicles. The left one was more swollen than the right, a walnut compared to a hazelnut, and a mottled shade of purple in stark contrast to the pink skin surrounding it.
‘That doesn’t look right,’ I said to Helen, ‘I’ll go get the nurse to have a look’.
The nurse came and checked him, and said that he’d have to see a paediatrician in the morning, but she didn’t think there was anything wrong as testicles are sometimes swollen when babies are born. We saw the paediatrician the following afternoon, he confirmed that it looked like a problem and Logan would need an ultrasound to see what was wrong. Being Sunday there was no ultrasound technician on duty but we’d see one in the morning. We took Logan back to our ward and laid him down in the crib; Helen tucked him in with a blanket, tears spilling down her face leaving dark circles on the orange blanket below her face, as I comforted her.
The doors of the ambulance opened loudly, which roused me from the churn of thoughts whirling inside my head: wondering what was going to happen, hoping Helen would get to the hospital soon. Praying to the universe for my little boy to survive and thrive after this.
‘We’re here,’ said the ambulance driver, ‘follow us.’
A couple of hospital porters came to us on Monday morning, one with a wheelchair for Helen, and the other to push Logan sleeping in his hospital crib. They wheeled them to the Radiology department as I struggled to keep up. We were taken into a small room. The ultrasound technician was in his late twenties and had a serious expression on his face, underlining his professional demeanour. He coated the scanning device in a viscous gel and placed it on Logan’s testicles. The technician then pressed numerous keys on the complicated ultrasound machine, covered with switches, dials, levers and knobs, looking like the control panel of the great glass elevator in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Helen and I looked on anxiously as he worked, our hands tightly gripped together. Eventually, he finished his tests and was ready to deliver his diagnosis.
Logan and I were taken to an examining room, and I sat dazed on a plastic chair as two nurses removed Logan’s clothes on the examining table. The doctor began to examine him. During the examination Logan, obviously fed up of the prodding and poking and taking advantage of the freedom from his nappy decided that that would be a good time to show everyone his firehose impression and soaked the doctor and a nurse. They cleaned themselves and Logan up. The doctor finished his examination and I dressed Logan loosely in his blanket and held him close to me, hugging him tightly. The door opened and Helen and Christabelle, our friend who was visiting Logan and us when the ambulance crew arrived, came in, Helen was out of breath from her exertions, and looked scared. I explained what had happened and that we were waiting for the doctor to return. Christabelle gave us a hug and reassured us that everything was going to be fine and that we were in the best possible place for Logan.
‘Logan has testicular torsion,’ the ultrasound technician explained, ‘this is where the tube that carries blood to the testicle is twisted and the blood supply is cut off.’
He showed us on the ultrasound image, the healthy testicle looked like a planet with swirling clouds as the blood flowed around it, however, the left testicle looked like a dead planet; there was no movement across the surface.
‘Can anything be done to save it?’ Helen asked, more in desperation than any hope.
‘If these are caught quickly, say within a few hours, there is a good chance of saving the testicle. However, for newborns, where the twist may have occurred in the womb, there is very little chance.’ The technician replied.
‘What happens next?’ I ask, feeling sick to my stomach, dreading the inevitable answer.
‘Logan will need to have surgery to remove the testicle, and it will need to be done immediately otherwise it could impact on the healthy testicle, leaving Logan unable to have kids when he is older,’ Helen and I looked at each other with fear etched on our faces, ‘I will make a few phone calls to get him seen as soon as possible. When you get back to the ward, pack up all your stuff and get ready to leave.’ He concluded with a sympathetic smile.
There was a knock on the door and in came a distinguished lady wearing a black evening gown, a fur stole and expensive looking jewellery, she looked like she had come from either: the theatre, a charity gala, or awards show.
‘Hello, Mr and Mrs Blake, I’m going to be your son’s surgeon this evening. It’s a relatively simple procedure,’ she said with compassion in her voice. ‘I will remove the testicle and create a pouch for the other testicle to sit in, which will prevent excessive movement and prevent it damaging itself.’ Helen and I were taken aback by her sudden and magnificent entrance.
‘I can tell you are worried and that it is a perfectly normal reaction for a parent,’ She reassured us, ‘there are risks to any operation, especially with children as young as Logan, however, this is an excellent hospital and my team are highly skilled. I just wanted to pop in and introduce myself; I’ll go and get changed, they’ll come in, in a minute, to prep Logan for surgery.’ With that, she swept out of the room. Helen and I were left shell-shocked; we each held one of Logan’s tiny hands.
‘Paul, what will we do if anything happens to him?’ Helen asked.
Out of nowhere, Christabelle blurted out, ‘that was one hell of a sexy lady.’
‘She was amazing,’ Helen laughed, ‘so reassuring, and considerate, while at the same time utterly professional and competent. I feel a lot better knowing she is doing the surgery’
The nurses came back into the room and took Logan to be prepped. One of them said, ‘you’ll see him before the surgery, wait there and we’ll come and get you.’
A pair of ambulance EMTs came onto the ward, the first one said, ‘We’re here to take your son to Great Ormond Street for his surgery. Who is coming with him? There is only room for one of you.’
Helen said, ‘You go, Paul, the back of a high-speed ambulance is probably not the best way for me to travel so soon after the surgery. I’ll get a cab. You just make sure you look after my baby.’
‘You won’t get a cab.’ Christabelle said firmly, ‘I’ll give you a lift. It’ll be more comfortable for you.’
‘Ok, now that’s sorted. We’re just waiting for permission to come through for us to use the blues and twos.’ The EMT said, meaning permission to use the blue lights and siren on the journey.
They took us to the surgical unit. We put on the masks and gowns they gave us and went in to see Logan, laying so still on the operating table, only the shallow movement of his chest indicating life. We kissed his forehead and gave him gentle hugs.
‘You come back to us, my love.’ Helen said, openly weeping with fear.
The surgeon came in and said ‘We are ready now. There’s a pub just down from the main entrance, why don’t you go have a drink to settle your nerves and we’ll call you when he is out of surgery.’
We said our goodbyes to Logan and with breaking hearts, met with Christabelle, and made our way to the pub. I don’t know how long we were there waiting, it felt like hours at the time, however, I can’t remember anything that happened, what was said or what was drank. After some time my phone rang, Helen told me to answer it because she couldn’t face it.
‘Mr Blake, good news! Logan has come through the surgery fine and is recovering well, come back when you are ready.’ The woman on the line said.
‘Thank you, we’ll be along soon’ I said coolly, as my brain rushed to process what I had been told. I hung up the phone.
‘Yes!’ I shouted in release, fist pumping the air, ‘Logan is fine!’ I said to Helen and Christabelle, ‘he got through without any problems and is recovering well.’
My mark for this assignment wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad, mind you – too much telling and not enough showing. A lot of that was due to the word count, I find I tend to write too much and then have to struggle to edit down the work, showing emotions uses a lot more words than telling. Let me know what you think in the comments.