Love... When All Else Fails

by DBryant

"Once upon a time..." I began to read the story 'The little Engine That Could' to my son, Darrius. He is having a hard time with the phrase 'I can't'. He can't do this and he can't do that he proclaims when there is something to do that he feels has the slightest bit of difficulty. No matter what I tell him, he still finds himself as the under achiever. Darrius is my 6-year-old son, who's in first grade. And to let him tell it, there is something really wrong with him. Now, Darrius is short (what 6-year-old isn't?), kind of skinny, and really bow-legged. He has this cute little wobble because of it, but like I said, something is wrong with him because the others don't walk the same way.

"Mommy, the kids at school say I walk funny. What's wrong with my legs?

"He always asks.

"Honey, nothing is wrong with your legs. You are fine.

"I always reply. See, his father is the bow-legged one and he also tells him not to worry about it. Unfortunately he gives him the wrong reasons for liking his legs.

"Boy, that's why your mama love me so much. When you get older the girls will go crazy, watch you'll see." Darrin would tell him.

"But Daddy, I don't want no girl kissin' on me the way mommy kisses on you. YUCK!!!"

"You better!!! Don't be bringing home no dude! I'll kick your..."

"I know you're not about to curse my child?" I said one day I was listening in on them. Which I knew I was wrong but who knew what that man would have said to my baby that day, and if I'm not there to stay on top of things, poor Darrius would be talking like some kid straight from the hood. Now don't misunderstand, we don't live in some big sudidy housing area that takes most of your life to pay off, but we do pretty well for ourselves. Darrin is an Engineer contracted through the government, and I work as an Office Manager for a Real Estate Brokerage House.

"..And the little engine said ' I think I can, I think I can' all the way up the hill."

"Mommy, I'm getting tired. Can I go to bed now." Darrius asked yawning and stretching.

"Sure, but before you go to sleep can you tell me what the story means to you?" I asked him.

"It means that the train could do it, even though he didn't think it."

"That's right. So when you feel like you can't do something you have to try with all your might and heart. Okay?"


"Good night." I said and gave him a kiss, " Do I love you?" I asked before he left.

"Yes" he answered.

"Do you love you?" I asked again going through our regular routine,

"Yes, I love me, Ma. Night." He ran to his room " Hey! You say your prayers before you fall off to sleep, you hear me?" I said and looked up at the clock.

"8: 17pm. I wish that Darrin had called before he left the gym. I want some ice cream, some Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey. Maybe he will get me some when he gets back." I said out loud to myself. I gathered up all of the toys and things that my little man has managed to leave behind. I cleaned up the kitchen from where we had dinner and sat the food in the refrigerator. I was getting to the living room when he came in.

"Hey babe." he said and kissed me on the back of my neck.

"Darrin? Could you run to the store and get me some ice cream? Please?" I begged, because now I really want some. If he says no then I'm going to have to go get it myself.

"All right can you wait a minute, I want to see who's winning the game?" He said pulling me down with him on the couch, and turned on the TV.

It almost felt like cramps the cravings. I wanted it bad. I don't remember wanting anything like this since ... I was pregnant. I jumped up to check the calendar. It's not time yet, it can't be. I thought on the way to the bedroom. As I breeze through all the past days on the calendar and on past my due date, I began to panic. I was 3 days late.

"Honey what kind of ice cream do you want?" Darrin hollered from the front room.

"Huh? Oh, Chunky Monkey. Come here before you go." I said back to him still kind of bothered by the dates.

"Sharon come on so I can get back and watch the game." He said from the doorway, "what's wrong?" Still looking at the calendar, I decided against mentioning it to him. "Never mind, I wanted to get your opinion on something." I lied obviously, I didn't want the both of us all worked up for nothing. I'll give it a couple more days.

"Be back in a minute." Then he left.

The next day and then the next couple in fact were crazy. By the time I got home it was barely enough time to see that Darrius finished his homework, was bathed, and in the bed. I went to the bathroom every chance I got to see if there was any sign. To no avail and it was day 6.

"My cycle has never been this late!" I exclaimed out loud. I can't be pregnant right now. Darrin and I had not discussed another child. To be truthful we didn't discuss Darrius either, but that was different. We wanted to enjoy life now while it's just us three. It's a lot easier to find a baby sitter for one than it is to find one for two. Darrin has been so busy with some new project that we haven't had much time for each other, much less another child. I'll just have to make a doctor appointment. At least find something out before I start to worry for real.

"Hello, Dr. Ashford's Answering service," Linda says in her usual voice, which could stand a boost.

"Hi, Linda. It's Sharon, does Dr. Ashford have any available appointments?" asking with urgency. I know that she can get really booked and not be able to take new appointments for over a couple of weeks or more.

"Yes Sharon, she just had a cancellation for tomorrow morning, do you want me to put you down?" Linda asked while she fumbled through what I figured was some chart that someone sat on her desk.

"Yes, What time?" I am anxious to get this resolved. I hope that it isn't anything serious, and of course I hope I'm not pregnant.

After I hung up with her. I made arrangements for the morning appointments to be rescheduled for the afternoon. I called Darrin to find out when he was coming home so that he can take my truck for a tune-up.

"Hey honey, when ya' leaving?" I asked.

"Not too long from now. What's up?" He asked shuffling papers and clicking his computer.

"Are you still taking the truck to the shop this evening?"

"Oh yeah, glad you reminded me. I'll do it when I get home from the gym."

"The gym? Won't they be closed?"

"Yeah I can drop it off. You can take me to work in the morning and I'll get the truck at lunch time."

"I have an appointment in the morning, I can't take you to work!" I said a little louder than I meant too.

"That early? Who is looking for a home that time of morning?" He asked. I could have left it at that but then he could call and I would be out of the office and Tina my secretary would surely tell him that I went to the doctor and I am not even going to get started in having people lying for me.

"No, it's not with the firm, it's a doctor appointment." I said sighing.

"What's wrong? You all right?

"No I'm fine. Just an exam." I said before Tina buzzed through telling me my last appointment just cancelled. "Well, it looks as if I am done for the day. I guess I will beat you home again."

"Yeah, I guess so." He says, "Babe, I still have a few minutes though, talk dirty to me right fast before you hang up." He said and I knew he was serious.

"Darrin!! I'll see you when you get home and there, I will do more than talk." I said lying to myself because with my cycle on my mind like it is, I ain't doin', givin', or havin' nothing!

"Yeah now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!" He said smiling into the phone.

"I'll see you when I get there." He said and hung up. I do love that man.

"Good morning, Sharon?" The receptionist asked.

"Yes. I have an 8:45." I said tapping the desk lightly. I am a little nervous about the possibilities. I had a real time with Darrin last night. He did come home ready for an 'all nighter' as we usually put it. We did all of the normal foreplay but suddenly I came down with some serious pains in my side. I told him about my 'exam' the next day and he doesn't usually ask questions and he didn't this time.

"I see your name here. Do you have your medical card?" She asked. I took out the card and she copied the information. I waited for about ten minutes before she called me in to check my vitals and weight. I gained 6 lbs.

"Ms. Coleman, the Doctor will be here in a few minutes, she was held up at a meeting. So give her about 5 minutes. Take your clothes off and put these on, the opening to the front and have a seat." She said then walked out and closed the door behind her.

"6 lbs.!" I said out loud as I took my clothes off. I sat down, wondering what I could have done that was not along my regular eating habits.

"Hey? Knock knock." Dr. Ashford said as she walked in. " How you doing Sharon?" She asked when she took my chart off the door and closed the door.

"A little worried. I haven't had my cycle yet and it's a week late." I said rubbing my hands.

"That isn't so out of the question, but we will take a look and see if there is anything to be concerned about. Okay?" She said patting my shoulder, " Lay back for me please." She said smiling a comforting smile.

"Ouch!" I said when she checked the left side of my stomach.

"What does the pain feel like? Is it sharp or is it an ache?" She looked concerned.

"A sharp pain when you press down an ache now." I said a little sore. She felt around some more and I ouched some more and then she asked me to pee in a cup to run some tests.

"I am going to send you down for an Ultrasound to see what's going on, you can get dressed and I will tell you where to go." She again smiled and walked out with my chart. I almost fell to my knees when I jumped down from the table. The pain shot from the bottom of my stomach through my back. I got dressed and told the doctor what just happened.

"Has that happened before?" She asked writing it down on the form that she was about to hand me. " Take this down the hall with you. Have you had any thing to drink? Water?"

"Not really, I drank some juice this morning." I said trying to remember what I had.

"Well stop at the water fountain and drink as much as you can. There are some cups, drink about 6 to 8 cups and let them take care of the rest. I want you to come see me before you leave. Bring me your results and we will go from there." I nodded and walked through the double doors and headed for x-ray.

"Good Morning, Sharon Coleman?"

"Yes. Dr. Ashford sent me down for an Ultrasound."

"Right. Have you been drinking any water?"

"Yes, I feel like I am going to explode." I said when I felt my stomach. "Hopefully you won't have to drink any more. Follow me, and I'll get you set up." She said and walked ahead of me to one of the rooms.

"Lay here and undo your pants and pull up your top so that I can get a full view of your stomach." She said as she hooked up and the machine and started to press buttons.

"This is going to be a little cold." She said when she put the cold clear gel on my warm skin. She moved around this little mouse like thing and clicked the monitor, zoomed in on areas and clicked, added more gel and clicked some more. It took about ten minutes and she wiped the gel off and handed me a paper towel to wipe off the excess.

"I am waiting for the pictures to print out and you can take them back to Dr. Ashford, Okay?" She said smiling. Again I nodded and fixed my clothes. I waited for about 20 minutes before she came back with a big envelope and my chart.

"Okay Ms. Coleman you're all set."

"Thanks." I said and walked out into the hall. I wanted to open the envelope and look at what she took so many pictures of, but afraid I wouldn't understand it anyway I waited until I got back with Dr. Ashford.

"Come in, Sharon and let's have a look." She took the stuff from me and started going through it. She looked then read, and looked and read again.

"Well," She sighed " This here shows that you have a tubular pregnancy."

"A what!? Isn't that dangerous?" I proclaimed. She went on to explain that it is very dangerous but some cases they are caught early and there is little damage to the mom. I started to cry and she tried to comfort me. I went home instead of back to work and I moped at home for that afternoon. She made an appointment for me to be admitted in the hospital Thursday morning and I would need to have an overnight bag and someone to take me home the next day.

"Honey? Hey, Sharon!" I heard Darrin's voice ring from downstairs. It woke me from a heavy sleep. I felt drowsy, almost drugged.

"Yeah, up here." I said as loud as I could. It's taking all of me just to sit up straight. I hear him taking the steps two at a time, " Baby? Are you okay? I called your office and they said that you were sick and out for the rest of the day. I called Dr. Ashford and she said that you were upset when you left. She wouldn't tell me why. What's up?" He said sitting down beside me on the bed.

"Darrin, I...." I began then started crying all over again.

"Calm down baby, just tell me what she said. It's okay." He said as he rubbed my back and stroked my head.

"I am pregnant." I tried again, " In my tubes and I have to be admitted in the hospital day after tomorrow and they will do a small operation and I can go home the next day, if everything goes okay." I said wiping my nose and eyes with the tissue Darrin gave me. He hugged me and rocked me like his baby.

"You are going to be fine. We will be fine." He said a little more confident than I felt. I laid there in his arms and tried to feel the same.

"Hi, Sharon. Come in, I'll let you and your husband get you all signed in and I will explain to you two what happens from here." Dr. Ashford said when we arrived at the hospital. She was at the OB/GYN desk filling out some forms. She reached out and rubbed my arm and gave a sincere smile.

"Baby, I am going to the bathroom. I'll be right back." Darrin said and let the hand that he has been holding since we left home go. I smiled and nodded.

"Well, how are you doing? You left the office pretty upset the other day and I was worried myself. Are you okay really?"

"I will be when you tell me what is about to happen and what I can expect from all this." I said quietly. I wondered that for the last couple of days. My girlfriends had horror stories and some had none at all. A couple knew someone who had been through it, some had no idea. I got mixed answers, which left me more confused than before.

"Well, Sharon there are some risks involved and hopefully they will be minimal. I will be doing the procedure myself and I'll see to it that you will get the best treatment possible.

"Hopefully?" I asked getting scared.

"Hopefully what?" Darrin asked when he got back from the restroom.

"I was explaining to Sharon that this procedure will be problem free."

"Hopefully?" He asked.


"Which means that something could go wrong?"

"There are always risks involved when it comes to surgery. Your body is susceptible to germs which can cause infections, human error, and other unexpected complications, which I don't see happening with your situation." She directed at me, " because we caught it early." She said reassuringly.

"Well, let's get this show on the road. What do I need to do?"

"If you are finished your paper work, you can be taken to your room and I will handle it from there. All you have to do is relax." Dr. Ashford said patting my knee and standing to her feet. After I got settled into my room, I was more nervous than ever. Nurses kept coming in to take my blood pressure and temperature. I was sick of them all. I just want this to be over so I can go home.

"Who is keeping Darrius tonight?" Darrin asked and broke the silence that had filled the room outside of the nurses coming in and out.

"I asked Mom, to watch him after school, but aren't you going to be there sometime after?"

"You don't think I am going to leave you here, do you?"

"Darrin, I'll be fine. You should go home and make sure that Darrius does his homework. You know that he will tell Momma that he doesn't have any and she will take his word for it."

"Darrius will be fine and don't you worry. I want you to concentrate on getting well. I have already called for you to take next week off so that you can recover."

"Darrin! I am not having open-heart surgery; I will be out tomorrow. So it can't be that serious. You call them right back and tell them that I will be in on Monday." I said sitting up on the bed. I am going back to work. I'll be dag-on if I am going to sit at home and do nothing for a week. I will go crazy!

"It is not open for discussion, I don't want you running around from house to house walking up and down stairs until you are completely healed. That's that." He said laying me back down.

"Alright Mrs. Coleman, we are ready to take you up to prep you for surgery." This one nurse said when she came in with two others that gathered my things and put them into a locker. For some reason it felt final. I didn't think I was going to see my purse with the pictures of my family, my shoes that Darrin bought me for my birthday, my son's beautiful face. 'Dear God: Please see me through this like you've seen me through it all. I don't doubt that You're with me and I know you will take care of Darrin and my son if anything Were to happen to me. In the name of the Father and...'

"Babe you ready?" Darrin interrupted me, " We are waiting for you." He said standing in the doorway.

"Yeah" I sighed. I got off the bed and followed the nurses by foot because I refused the wheelchair.

Darrin was instructed to wait in the designated area until I arrived in the recovery room. Once we were in the OR, they busied themselves with what ever they do for these procedures and stuck a needle in my arm with an IV attached to it.

"I am putting an anesthesia in with it." The nurse told me, " You should feel the effects in about 3 to 5 minutes. The procedure will not take longer than a couple of hours. So relax, and when you wake it will be over with."

"Yeah, when I wake." I said. Over the process of the medicine taking it's toll on me, I could only hear what they were saying, not really understanding them through the operation. Sometime later, I heard a lot of commotion. "Quick! Get me some gauze's for the bleeding. Come on!" I think that was the doctor.

"Doctor pressure's dropping, 100 over 50...100 over 40 She's about to go into shock!"

"Call Hematology! Get me some blood here now!" They were shouting. What's with all the hoopla? Is it over? Well, that didn't take long at all.

"Close it up close it up!"

"I can't stop the blood! She's hemorrhaging!" The nurse said to someone. Hemorrhaging? That's not good! I want to open my eyes to see what's going on, but my eyelids feel so heavy. I can't get them open. I guess it's the medicine, but haven't I been under for a long time? Some thing is not right.

"Doctor her pressure is still dropping! We're losing her!" Dr. Ashford yelled. Losing me! What do they mean I am right here. 'Hello!!' I wanted to say and get them the heck off me. I want my husband and my son with me, to tell me that it is going to be all right. To tell them that these doctors are crazy and don't know what they're talking about.

"Come on let's get her stabilized!"

"Pressure holding at 100 over 38."

"Come On!" She is still frantic and I want to get up and run away. I don't know what's going on but somebody is going to catch it when this medicine wears off.

"Well, all we can do is wait. Take her to ICU."

"Yes, Dr. Ashford."

"I'll go talk with Mr. Coleman. This could be touch and go." Well, it's kind of quiet, but I feel somebody rubbing my hand. I feel so sluggish and heavy. I can't seem to pull myself together to even wake up. I'll just lie here a little while longer. Go back to sleep and build some strength.

"What's going on Doc? She hasn't even flinched." It sounds like Darrin.

"Well, she is not getting worse, that's a good sign." She said optimistically. Of course not, it's all over with now. I've made it through the surgery, feeling a little groggy from the medicine but otherwise fine.

"What the hell kind of answer is that? She laying up here in a coma and all you can say is 'she's not getting worse'?" He yelled. Why all the noise? I am trying to get some rest. They can go with all that, I am not in the mood.

"Mr. Coleman, please calm down. I understand that you are worried and probably tired. We are doing the best we can do under the circumstances. The next move is hers. We can't wake her from her comatose state."

"The next move is hers? She has been under for over a week now. Isn't it going to be worse the longer she stays in a coma?" He asked worried.

"That is my wife. My life. What do I do with out her? What am I to tell our son? When he asks where his mommy is? What am I supposed to do? Huh?" He is yelling and voice is quivering. A coma? What are they talking about?

"Mr. Coleman, please. If you just go home and get some rest, you have been here every day and night. Go spend some time with your son let him and your family know that we are doing all that we can and not to worry I will call if there is any change. Really, Mr. Coleman, you need to get some rest. You can't be here for her if you aren't at full strength.

"Look I am not leaving, I have talked to my son and family the whole time, you let me worry about them you do what you can to get my wife with me." He said quietly. I heard a door close and Darrin talking... or is he praying?

'Dear Lord,

I know that I am not always doing what I am suppose to do but Father you know where my heart is. I am asking you Lord to please lay your hands on her. Give her the strength to fight. Let her know that we are here for her and that we love her. Father I pray that she comes through this by your graces.

In Jesus name I pray.... Amen.'

What is he talking, I mean praying for? Why don't he realize that I am just trying to take a rest and get myself together to get home and back to myself again? I mean if I was in a coma, would I be this aware of my surroundings? Would I know who is who and what was going on?

"Baby come to. I love you so much. I don't know what I'll do if I lost you." Darrin whispered into my ear. I could feel him rubbing against my face his breath warm against my skin and sniffling as well.

"Darrius asks about you, when are you coming home, why can't he call you, why are you always sleep when he comes up. I can't tell him anything because I don't want to scare him. I am trying to wait for you to wake up and give him a hug on your own. To give me a glimpse of that beautiful smile I do love." Love. The word seemed to echo in my head as if it were the first time I had heard it. As if to say I didn't know it if he didn't said it.

"" I pushed out. It felt like somebody glued my mouth shut. My tongue tasted pasty and all I wanted after saying those couple of words was a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some mouthwash.

"Sharon?" He asked. Who else? I thought to say out loud but couldn't. I tried looking around but couldn't focus. All I could see were lights and bright white walls.

"Dr. Ashford! Dr. Ashford! She's awake, come here!" Darrin started yelling. It was then that I realized I had an excruciating headache.

"Please Darrin..." I struggled to talk again.

"Well, Sharon you gave us quite a scare. Let's see what's going here." She said and turned on the little light and lifted my eyelid, which did nothing for my headache.

"Everything seems okay so far I am going to send the nurse in to take your pressure and monitor you for the next day or so, and if all is well you will be out of here in no time." She said smiling at me genuinely. She walked out and Darrin stepped up and kissed me on my forehead.

"I didn't doubt for a second that you would come back." I looked into his red stained eyes from crying, and realized then that I do love my husband.

"Where is Darrius?" I said and smiled.

Love... When All Else Fails by DBryant

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