Weird Trick Eliminates Hope

RURAL, OR - We drove 44 miles to the self-surgery clinic. The sky was still dark and mall parking was nearly empty, but for a bright-red ambulance helicopter. She swiped her debit card to unlock the door and stepped inside a tiny windowless room. It was refrigerator cold. 

I sat in the stainless-steel chair labeled Mandatory Guest. An attached touch-screen started the Post-Operative Care Quiz, "Which of the following is NOT a sign of infection?". While the quiz turned me away, she undressed.

She followed the robotic voice prompts to change into the blue paper gown and place all personal effects into the large plastic bag provided. She velcroed the arm cuff. She hung the nose tube from her ears like sunglasses. She clipped a blue lead to her left index finger. The robotic voice was satisfied. 

As she pulled a vinyl curtain past the narrow bed, the voice told her to relax and count backwards from ten. The display on the Mandatory Guest chair read 49 minutes remaining.

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