Twenty Minutes

20 minutes

Prompt: Who inspires you to be courageous?


Twenty- minutes. That is all it takes for them to figure out what is going on in my head this time. I have to lay still- completely unmoving- so they can capture images of my brain. After that, they will send the results to the doctor so he can read and break the news to me.

It is the nurses’ eight attempt for the day to get me an IV line because my veins are too thin; they keep blowing them. I count the bruises. Some are smaller than the others, but still there nonetheless. I want to give up. I feel tears forming in my eyes, but then it hits me.

My mother had to endure hundreds of needles piercing through her skin; deep into her veins for fourteen years since her diagnosis. And here I am, crying because the nurses could not find the right vein to keep the medicines- things that would help in making me feel better- flowing through me.

What should I do? Should I stop and ask them to take me back to my room? Or should I wait until they finally hit the perfect vein and pray for it not to burst until I finish the MRI procedure? I decide to choose the latter. It makes my sister feel a little better.

I am not claustrophobic. But I am not a fan of small spaces, either.  I open my eyes, and I see that the wall of the machine is just a few inches above my face. It is getting harder to breathe. But they say they need twenty minutes. So, I count. I pray. I curse because my head is aching and the sound of the apparatus is pure torture. They stop once, insert some cold liquid and get me back inside the chamber.

She had undergone this procedure more times than I can count. So just like her, I should be able to finish it in one take, too. I have to be brave, so this could all be over. I count again. Then, I pray. I stop cursing and just concentrate on breathing.

“It’s done,” the staff announces. Twenty minutes have finally passed.

I have been brave. I think she is proud. And right now, that is all that matters.