The Surgeon will see you now.
Arm and a Leg.
Based on a true story, 1983.
Liam was your average 28 year old. He worked, ate, slept and gamed, as well as spending time with his family. He lived in Limerick city with his wife Mary and his children Megan and Armen.
One rainy day he was playing a bit of Contra with the teenage Armen when he yelled out in pain. Clutching his wrist, it felt agonizingly painful and lumpy. Mary came in and examined it.
“It looks like you’ve snapped something dear,” she tutted worriedly. “You’ll need surgery.”
“Oh no,” started Liam. “I don’t do surgeons. Remember the whole knee reconstruction fiasco?”
“You were able to walk again eventually honey. Besides, I was thinking of a different guy. Amy told me of someone who helped her through her whole back problems.”
“Amy, huh? Is she the one.. no, yeah – is she the one who lost the child recently?”
“Poor dear, yes that’s her.”
“Alright, we’lll see her doc. What’s his name?”
“Dr. Laspen Varas. He’s Finnish or something.”
“Could you make an an appointment?”
* * * * *
Dr. Varas was a tall, kind looking man who made very bad jokes. His English was poor, and Liam had trouble deciphering him sometimes. Liam was being wheeled into the operating theatre, his family walking alongside him. Dr. Varas was going over some final details. He was also to be the anesthesiologist for the procedure.
“It just wrist surgery”, he explained to an apprehensive Liam. “Not like heart surgery.” He threw his head back and laughed. Liam smiled nervously. He turned to his kids.
“See you in a bit, Armen. You too Megan. Daddy loves you.” Armen said that he and his sister would be waiting outside, and he’d Look after her while Mum went to work. Megan at six years old was too busy with her thumb in her mouth to respond. There were tears in her eyes and she clung on to her mother’s leg. Mary kissed Liam gently, then said she’d check in on them all when she got off work at five.
They halted and waved as Liam was pushed into the operating room. He tried to wave back, but the pain in his wrist was worse than ever. He gasped as he was rolled through the door; the slight judder being enough to send waves of pain shooting up his arm. Dr. Varas hooked him up to the I.V, and began the slow process of knocking him out.
Dr. Varas kept up a stream of jokes and comments, likely trying to relax Liam who’s heart rate was extremely high. As the drugs began to kick in, shapes in the room became distorted, and Varas’ voice dropped in pitch. The room began to spin and Liam could no longer understand most of what the surgeon said. He picked up the odd sentence, but they made no sense through the haze of tiredness and the strong accent.
“I’m going to take some, and spill your water.”
Time slowed down and colors danced across his eyes. The last thing the surgeon said was yet another stupid joke.
“This surgery will cost you arm and an leg.”
Liam snorted softly. His final thought before drifting into unconsciousness was ‘If losing an arm would stop this pain in my wrist, then I could deal with it.’ Then his eyes rolled into the back of his head and his heart rate slowed.
* * * * *
He woke sluggishly. Some time had passed, that he could tell. His head hurt, yet more worryingly his wrist still did too. Badly. Why was he awake if he wasn’t fixed. Then his ears started working properly.
He could hear sobbing.
He slowly opened his eyes. The theater was dark, and empty except for the figure lying next to him, her face pressed into the bed.
It was Mary. He felt a surge of panic. His body felt numb.
“Mary!” he croaked. “What’s he done to me??” She raised her head. Her mascara was running down her face and her shoulders shook horribly.
“Nothing dear,” he whispered steadily. Then her voice rose as she cried out :
“He’s taken Armen and Meg!”