Miranda’s symptoms were becoming harder to ignore – and hide. The day she vomited blood in the kitchen in front of her children, husband, and her parents who were over for dinner was the day there was no more hiding. Her mother loomed over her as she punched the number to the family doctor into her phone and insisted on going with her the next day for her appointment.
After answering first the nurse’s, then the doctor’s, questions Miranda expected the doctor to order a few tests and then recommend treatments. Instead, Miranda was instructed to drive directly to the hospital for emergency exploratory surgery. By midnight, she was prepped and by 1 a.m., she was under the knife. While still sedated, Miranda was put through the MRI machine to gather more data on her condition.
The next morning, Miranda awoke to find not only her children, husband, and parents there, but her brothers, sisters, their children, and her husband’s parents. All were trying to look encouraging and trying to keep things light, but there was no hiding their eyes, full of care and worry. In some respects, Miranda felt blessed to have so many assembled who loved her. At the same time, what the doctor would say consumed her with fear.
At 9 a.m. exactly, Dr. Jones walked through the hospital room doorway holding a clipboard that he was staring intently at. Tearing his eyes away from the clipboard, he was surprised at the assembled crowd.
“OK folks, it is very clear you all love your lovely Miranda, but I need to take her from you for a few minutes. Miranda, will you please choose three people to remain with you as I go over what the exploratory revealed?”
Miranda looked at her husband first, then her mother, and then her sister, Gina. Everyone else met Miranda’s eyes and smiled and headed to the waiting room.
Dr. Jones said, “I don’t want to alarm you, but the surgery and MRI screen revealed something neither I nor any of the other doctors here have ever seen. Your lungs are shrinking and at the base of your left lung a gill is growing. We sent your MRI across the globe; a doctor at the Amazon Jungle Research Center said she has treated 5 patients with your condition in the last six months. All 5 patients were unwittingly exposed to extraterrestrial technology on an excursion in Colombia last November. I have to know, Miranda, did you go to Colombia last November?”
Miranda’s eyes grew large and her heart felt like it was too big for her chest. She looked at Gina, who was sitting on the side of the bed, holding her hand. Miranda had told her husband she was going to Vegas with Gina last November – but instead she flew to Colombia to meet up with her lover, Gerard – who also happened to be her husband’s best friend. Miranda’s eyes closed and silently filled with tears.
Sadje is the host of What Do You See?