Posts tagged “diagnosis

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 22

Posted on 15/04/2015

hallway

It was like a scene of a melodrama series; the heroine clad in a thin hospital gown that engulfed her frail body, lying down on the pallet of a MRI machine.

Except this wasn’t a melodrama and Samina was no heroine.

The cool air brushed her skin, goosebumps dotting her forearms. Samina felt the tremors run along her spine and slowly released a breath to calm herself.

“Stay as still as possible, Samina,” the doctor instructed over the intercom, his gravelly voice filling the silence of the examination room. “Close your eyes and try to relax.”

Even though she couldn’t move her head, Samina knew Dr. Felicia Halliday accompanied the aged neurologist and was oddly comforted by her presence.

As the engine hummed as the pallet eased into the cove of the MRI machine, she resisted the urge to curl in her fingers.

Later on, as she fixed the last button of her blouse, a knock interrupted the silence.

“Come in,” Samina said softly, lowering her hands to her lap just as the door opened.

Felicia Halliday stuck her head in and gave Samina a gentle smile. Then she stepped inside, this time without her coat. “How’re you feeling?”

Samina scanned her doctor’s inscrutable face. Fear gripped her throat and she worried the hem of her blouse. “Am I… okay?” she strangled out.

A line appeared on Dr. Halliday’s brow and her light-brown eyes assessed Samina’s face before replying. “We thought it’d be better if I relay the news, Samina…”

Samina held her breath, dreading the news.

“It is a tumor in the pituitary gland.” Felicia’s face softened as Samina inhaled sharply. She moved to Samina’s side and placed a hand on her sagging shoulder.

Though she’d researched the slim chance of a misdiagnosis, Samina felt the wind knocked out of her. She’d desperately prayed to be part of the 0.0001% who was misdiagnosed.

Eyes blurred with tears, recalling the words that sounded like a death sentence.

“We will have to operate,” Felicia’s words sounded like muffled echoes in her ears.

“When?” Samina felt the tears fall, heart gripped with anguish. It seemed foolish to hope that a surgery could change the cruel turn her life had taken, but she still hoped against the overwhelming despair.

Felicia gripped her shoulder. “As soon as possible.” The firm confidence in her tone pulled Samina’s gaze to her face. “You’ll beat this, Samina. With God’s help.”

Samina felt her throat tighten. God’s help?

At Samina’s silence, Felicia sighed. “We can schedule the surgery for next week. The sooner the better.”

Samina bobbed her head. If there was any likelihood of beating this, she had to take the chance.

“You’ll need to bring someone with you. A guardian.”

Her eyes widened in shock, her breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t imagine telling her parents or siblings about this, when she barely believed it herself. “B-but I’m thirty years old,” she strangled out.

Felicia’s expression softened in sympathy. “It’s part of surgical protocol, Samina. You’ll need someone to be with you after the surgery.”

Sheena fidgeted in her spot on the sofa, her gaze occasionally traveling to the clock propped on the end table as she wondered what could possibly be delaying the ever-prompt Samina. Her brow furrowed at the sound of thumping footsteps upstairs.

“Girls!” she bellowed in the empty parlor. “Less noise, please.”

As their footsteps halted, the doorbell sounded.

Sheena hurried to the door and pulled it open.  “Thought you’d cancel—” she paused at Samina’s drawn expression. “Honey, what’s the matter?”

Samina merely gave her a shaky smile. “Nothing…” she clutched the purse in her hands.

Though unconvinced, Sheena ushered Samina in.  “I hope I didn’t pull you away from anything important.”

Samina shook her head and turned to face Sheena. “It’s alright.” She followed Sheena to the couch, perching on its edge as if it was the first time she’d visited the house.

Sheena promptly reached for Samina’s hands. “I know I’ve said this before but I pray that God blesses you for sacrificing your time for us.”

Again, Samina only smiled that trembling smile and Sheena noticed a glimmer in her eyes.

“Honey, is—”

The girls’ loud stomping upstairs and Sheena huffed a breath. “Those two are so awake this morning. I should’ve known Zeke’s famous French toast would cause me more harm than good.”

Samina merely looked down at their joined hands.

Sheena raised a brow. “You sure you’re alright? You look exceptionally dull this morning.”

The only response was a jerky nod.

“This is no good.” Sheena scooted closer, coaxing Samina to look up. “What’s the matter? Your mom giving you a hard time again?”

Samina shook her head. “I-I’m…” she inhaled sharply and lowered her head.

“Oh dear.” Sheena heard the strangled sob and scooted even closer, wrapping one arm around Samina’s shoulders. Her chest tightened as Samina leaned into her, muffled sobs underneath her hand. Confused and worried of the cause for Samina’s distress, Sheena could only rub her back and whisper soft comforting words.

All too quickly, Samina’s sobs halted and she tried pulling away from Sheena’s embrace.

“Not so fast,” Sheena berated her softly and tightened her hold.  Her heart ached with guilt as Samina released a shuddering breath. “I’ve been a very selfish woman. In fact, I was irresponsible for pushing this on you.”

“Aunty…”

Sheena shushed her. “You already have a lot on your plate. I know how stressful job hunting can be. And don’t even dare try lying to me, young lady. You’re a terrible liar, ever since elementary school. Remember all those times I caught you lying to protect Zeke?”

Samina sighed.

“Honestly… You two were quite a pair.”

Samina’s body tensed against Sheena.

“Always getting into trouble because of one another,” Sheena continued with a wistful tone. She often wondered when Ezekiel would make her a happy mother and pick Samina. Though Ezekiel’s marriage to Winsome produced her darling Beulah and Adelaide, she still wished for Samina to be part of her family, finally…

“Aunty,” Samina began hesitantly. “Will you be going back soon?”

Sheena managed a smile. “Yes, soon. I plan to return within the week.” Her eyes scanned Samina’s wary expression. “Don’t worry about staying with the girls. With Zeke here, they’ll be fine.”

Samina’s brow furrowed. “I don’t mind being with them.”

Sheena squeezed Samina’s hand. “Of course you don’t, sweetheart. But let me take care of everything now.” She caught the glimmer of tears in Samina’s eyes. “Now tell me. What’s going on with you?”

Again Samina ducked her head. Except this time, she released a shuddering breath before speaking. “Life… it’s just a little too hard right now.”

Her jaded response sent shivers down Sheena’s spine. “Is… it the job?”

Samina shook her head, a wry smirk lifting the side of her mouth. “Besides that… it’s like everything’s going wrong. With Ada’s impossible attitude and…” she sucked in a breath, releasing it slowly.

Relief surged through Sheena’s body. She chuckled softly. “I see.”

With Samina peeking up at her with those watery eyes, Sheena squeezed her hand. “She just has a bad case of nuptial anxiety. Happens to any bride, and one day, dearest one, you’ll understand what she’s going through.”

Something akin to disappointment flickered in Samina’s eyes and Sheena pulled her closer. “It will be your turn soon enough. I’m sure of that.” She patted Samina’s back, feeling every bone against her palm.

“Aunty…” Samina protested in a weak voice.

“Shush.” Sheena kissed Samina’s temple. “I dream of the day when you’ll walk down the aisle dressed in white and meet the man of your dreams in front of the altar.” Sheena smiled while picturing the man she hoped would stand waiting for Samina. “What a wonderful day that will be.”

To this, Samina only sighed against Sheena’s shoulder.

Sheena patted her back and held her at arms’ length. “Now put that smile back on and let’s get some food in you. You’re too skinny for my liking.” She released Samina and moved to stand.

When Samina remained seated, Sheena chuckled and grabbed Samina’s hand, tugging on it to help her stand. “You’ll be right as rain once I feed you my special porridge. Come on now.”

She pulled Samina to her side and draped her arm over her shoulder. “No more crying, okay?” She smiled when Samina managed a nod and led her to the kitchen. “Now, tell me more about the wedding plans. Maybe I can help.”

<<Chapter 21 || Chapter 23>>

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 14

Posted on 25/03/2015

kent

Samina gaped at the doctor, unsure of what she heard. “W-what? Please, could you repeat that?”

Dr. Felicia Halliday regarded her with sympathy. “It’s just a first diagnosis. We’ll need to schedule an MRI immediately.”

She shook her head, her eyes welling up with tears. “No. It can’t be.”

“It’s too early to say, Samina.” Dr. Halliday’s brow wrinkled pensively. “An MRI results could verify my suspicions.”

Samina closed her eyes, fighting nausea and dizziness. “Verify what, that I have a pituitary disease?” She squeezed her fingers in her palms.

Dr. Halliday paused. She too hadn’t anticipated such a troubling diagnosis from a simple woman’s exam. But Samina complained of frequent lapses in memory, tingling in her limbs and an overwhelming sense of malaise. The symptoms were all too familiar, from a few patients who didn’t discover they had tumors until it was too late.

Samina shook her head in disbelief. First her job and now this, all before her 30th birthday.

“Don’t panic,” Dr. Halliday’s voice broke through Samina’s frantic thoughts. “I will recommend you to an endocrinologist here on staff.” She scribbled on a notepad and tore out the sheet of paper. “In fact, I’ll personally come with you when the appointments are made.”

Samina leaned back when the doctor extended the note. “Please, wait. I–” she summoned a breath and closed her eyes. Everything was moving too fast.

“I know this is tough to take in.” Dr. Halliday watched Samina slowly release her breath. “But we need to determine what this is before it becomes too serious and too late to treat.”

Her body quivered. Samina licked her dry lips and opened her eyes. “What if it is… a tumor, like you said?” Her stomach flipped over. “What if…”

Dr. Halliday sighed. “Let’s cross that bridge once we get there.” She extended the note. “First we visit the endocrinologist. Okay?”

Tongue-tied, Samina blindly reached for the offered note.

Minutes later, she stared listlessly at Dr. Halliday’s script on the paper, replaying her recommendation for the days following. Exercise, a good diet and meditation to eliminate all forms of stress.

She smiled bitterly. Even though she did Pilates twice a day and ate only veggies, there was nothing she could do to eliminate stress. Samina released a breath and pressed the button on the elevator panel.

The elevator slowed and a bell sounded as the doors slid open. Samina stiffened as her eyes fell on the man standing on the other side of the elevator.

Topher Chance.

His solemn gray-green eyes settled on her face and she quickly averted her gaze. As he entered the elevator, she pocketed the note and focused her eyes forward.

They rode the elevator in silence, although Samina could feel the weight of his eyes on her. She made no attempt to speak with him and neither did he.

Once the door slid open on the ground level, Topher shifted to allow Samina passage. In silence, Samina stepped around him and hurried across the lobby. Pausing at the sliding doors, she glanced over her shoulder to search for Topher.

He was nowhere to be found in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city hospital.

Samina’s eyes welled with tears as the realization of her condition hit her like a ton of bricks. She swiftly turned away and hurried out to the parking lot.

“Any updates yet?” Ezekiel asked over the phone that evening. He frowned when Sheena sighed over the phone. “Mom, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, it’s nothing…”

He raised a brow. “Mom.”

Sheena sniffed. “It’s not looking good for your dad’s aunt, Zeke. The doctors say there’s not much time left. Your dad’s a mess.”

“What’s the plan?”

“I don’t know.”

His brow furrowed. “You’re not going?”

“Zeke,” she said, fatigue dulling her voice. “You know we both can’t go.”

“You were close to Aunt Neve. You should go too.”

Sheena sniffed at tears. “I would like to be there but there’s no luck with a babysitter.”

Teeth clenched, Ezekiel turned to face his desk and scanned the messy, disorganized pile of scattered blueprints.  “What about Sam?”

“Samina?”

“Uh-hmm…” Ezekiel ignored the protest in his head that bringing up Samina was a bad idea.

His mother hesitated briefly before responding. “She’s not picking up her phone.”

Ezekiel’s lips pursed. Was Samina purposely avoiding him and his family? He shook his head, dispelling the thought. Samina was much too kind for that petty behavior. “Maybe she’s busy…” he mumbled, more for himself than for his mother.

“I’ll try again later. Anyway, I need to go.”

Ezekiel leaned back in his chair. “Hey Mom, if you can, please go with Dad. He’ll need you there. Even if I have to come—”

“Nonsense,” Sheena scoffed. “You just focus on your work.”

Ezekiel rolled his eyes.

“Thanks for calling, my dear.”

“Love you. Mom.” As a wave of despair washed over him, he rubbed the bridge of his nose.

In the shadows of her room, Samina sat on the floor by her bed with her duvet cover draped over her shoulder. She stared listlessly at the carpet, replaying Dr. Halliday’s diagnosis.

“It might just be a hormonal imbalance. Or a pituitary tumor.” 

Her body trembled and she slanted her gaze to the ceiling. “Is losing my life part of your plan too?” her voice quivered. She pulled the duvet covers tighter around her.

The phone she thought she’d misplaced vibrated under her bed. Samina breathed out a tremulous sigh and retrieved the phone. Her eyes widened at Ada’s name flashing on the screen and reluctantly clicked the green button to answer. “Hello…?”

“You, Samina Wells,” Ada answered in a stern voice. “Have a lot of explaining to do.”

“I’m sorry.” Samina’s lips trembled, aware that she’d forgotten something important. Again.

“Look, if you don’t want to do it, tell me.” Ada snorted. “It’s not like I’m forcing you to be my maid-of-honor. What gives with this irresponsibility?”

Samina clenched her jaw, forcing herself not to snap back at Ada. After all, she had no idea what a terrible day it was for her.

“Is it too much to ask my maid-of-honor to help with the invitations? Do I have to beg you and my fiancé to help me out?”

Samina sat frozen, the tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Are you even listening to me, Samina?” Ada seethed in frustration. “Everyone thinks this is a joke and now even my best friend has decided to take a break from being my best friend.”

Something snapped in her and Samina sat up. “Now wait a minute. Ada…”

“So now you can talk? Go ahead.” Ada jeered. “Do you know how many times have you skipped out on me this week alone?”

Samina summoned a staying breath, her temple throbbing fiercely. There was no reasoning with Ada when she was belligerent. “Let’s talk tomorrow. I’m too tired for your nonsense this evening.”

“Are you kidding—” the rest of Ada’s blustering cut off when Samina disconnected the call.

Clutching the phone, the tears fell unrestrained down her cheeks. Ada’s blistering words felt like a stinging slap on the face.  Ada’s accusation of her being irresponsible bruised her more than she thought possible after almost ten years of friendship.

Her phone rang again and provoked to righteous anger, Samina lifted the phone back to her ear. “For the last time, we’ll talk tomorrow. Leave me alone!”

The deafening static on the other end made her pause and she peered at the screen. Inhaling sharply, she pulled the phone back to her ear. “Aunt Sheena…”

“Um…” Sheena floundered.

Chagrined, Samina bit her bottom lip. “I’m sorry, I-I thought you were someone else.” She grimaced, replaying her snappy tone.

“It’s okay, ” Sheena said wearily. “I’m sorry for calling so late, dear.”

Samina frowned at the older woman’s stilted tone. “Is everything okay?”

“Oh, Sammie dear…” Sheena sighed. “I know we already discussed this and I really respect your decision, but I really, really need your help.”

An hour later, Samina paused at dropping a folded shirt into the duffel bag on her mattress.

Perching on the edge of the bed, she placed the shirt on her lap. “What am I doing?”

She’d already promised Karen that she would refuse the offer to babysit Ezekiel’s girls. She’d made up her mind to move on, leaving Ezekiel and his family to solve their own problems. So why had she offered to watch the girls while Aunty Sheena accompanied her husband to Abbeville?

With a groan, Samina fell back into the mattress and slung a hand over her face. “What am I going to do now?”

<<Chapter 13 || Chapter 15>>

  

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