Author: A.K. Mills
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Dark Wolf Publications
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Dale knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Cindy from the first moment he saw her. Forty years later, nothing has changed. She is his best friend, his soul. When she dies shortly after having an elective procedure at Kendal Slate Memorial Hospital, he is left heartbroken with a million unanswered questions. Dale may not have a fancy medical degree, but he is convinced medical malpractice killed his wife.
At thirty-eight years old with four children and a promising medical career, Emma Speck is living her dream. Being a doctor married to a surgeon, she finds comfort and normalcy in their hectic lifestyle. When her beloved life of chaos is brought to a screeching halt after she receives a phone call no one ever wants to get, Emma is forced to question everything she once believed in.
Surgical department chair at Kendal Slate Memorial Hospital, Richard Oakley makes no apologies for his successes or failures. When his department comes under fire for harming patients, his attitude is no different; medicine isn’t perfect. Despite his attempts to ignore the meritless accusations, they’re not going away. In fact, the accusations are mounting, bringing with them elements of his past he had hoped to keep suppressed.
Having children was always a part of Addison’s plan. However, after suffering a miscarriage that nearly killed her, Addison decides it’s time to stop trying to get pregnant. Instead, she opts for a surgical procedure that will end her hopes of conception. The surgery, unlike her fertility, is straight forward and safe. The hospital, Kendal Slate Memorial, is reputable. Why wouldn’t she trust her doctor?
Four individuals. One hospital ignoring the truth. In this case, what you don’t know can kill you.
“What time is your appointment?” Russell asked, stepping onto the elevator and glancing at his watch.
“Twelve-fifteen,” Emma answered, sliding between her husband and a somberlooking gentleman.
Russell looked at her, panicked. “It’s quarter after now. This is an important appointment. We can’t be late.”
“It’s fine.” Emma smiled. “She’s never on time anyway.”
“It’s not fine,” Russell replied. “I don’t like how this is presenting.”
Emma looked at the man to her right.
The wilted stem sticking out of the pink ceramic pot in his hands, coupled with his redrimmed eyes and hunched shoulders conveyed the severity of what he was dealing with. She wasn’t about to get into a public discussion with Russell about her vaginal bleeding and increased pain during intercourse.
“Make sure you tell her about the ice chips,” Russell continued. “I don’t like that either.”
“I’m serious Em,” he said, practically jumping from the elevator into the hallway when the doors opened on the second floor.
He turned, waiting for Emma, who took her time stepping off the elevator. She smiled, taunting her husband.
She’d put off seeing Nicole Stein for awhile. But after having Jocelyn, her menstrual bleeding had increased dramatically and the pain from what she was told was a benign uterine fibroid was not resolving. Originally, the fibroid presented as a textbook case.
Emma had heavy periods her entire life, but it wasn’t until she became pregnant with Hope that she noticed the mass in her uterus. Even so, her gynecologist wasn’t concerned. Neither were she and Russell. However, during her pregnancy with Jocelyn, the fibroid grew.
At twelve thirty-seven, Emma was called from the waiting room. She pulled back the sleeve from her wrist to expose her watch and showed Russell the time. He rolled his eyes as he stood up and followed Emma through the doors to the exam room.
“Sorry for the wait,” Dr. Nicole Stein began as she walked through the door. “Crazy day. So what brings you in today, Emma?”
“I have concerns about my fibroid,” Emma began. “The bleeding has continued and I feel more pressure. I’m pretty sure it’s grown.”
“She chews on ice chips all day,” Russell interjected. “She’s clearly anemic.”
“I see,” Nicole said.
“It needs to come out,” Russell said.
“Surgery is definitely an option,” Nicole said.
“It’s the only option,” Russell replied.
“Emma has waited to see if this was going to resolve. It hasn’t. I’m not comfortable with her level of discomfort.”
“I know the symptoms can be concerning, unnerving even. But fibroids do this.”
“They don’t grow like this,” Russell pointed out. “And the bleeding? That seems a bit irregular.”
“I’ve seen it before,” she said. “Emma, you’re young and healthy. This is clearly a benign condition. However, if you want to go the surgical route, I suggest a total laparoscopic hysterectomy. The recovery is quicker, less blood loss. You should be able to go home the same day.”
Emma laughed, thinking that a longer hospital stay might not be the worst thing in the world. One or two nights alone in a bed to sleep soundly without little hands in her face and feet in her sides. A traditional hysterectomy sounded better the more she thought about it.
“I’m not concerned about going home the same day,” Emma replied. “If an open procedure is best given the size of the fibroid, I’m okay with staying in the hospital overnight.”
“You’d have a bigger scar,” Nicole said.
“I’ve had four children,” Emma said. “A scar isn’t going to effect the appearance of my stomach.”
“It’s more invasive,” Nicole replied. “TLH is safer.”
Emma didn’t need Nicole to explain the risks and benefits of laparoscopic versus open procedures. She was a doctor who’d seen both procedures performed many times. And yes, while laparoscopic procedures were better in some situations, others required a more invasive approach.
“I told you, you didn’t have to come,” Emma said as she and Russell exited Nicole Stein’s office.
“I wanted to be there,” Russell replied.
“So what do you think?”
“I’m not as confident as Nicole is that it’s nothing to worry about,” he answered.
“The changes aren’t normal.”
“She ordered a biopsy, bloodwork,” Emma said. “I’ll have them done and we’ll go from there.”
Russell looked at his watch. “I’m late for my case.” He kissed Emma on the cheek and hurried off.
Emma, realizing the time, quickened her pace as well. She also had a case coming up and really needed it to finish on time, though the likelihood of that happening was rare. Unlike many other professions, medicine didn’t run on schedule. The human element often required more time and explanation than what was planned for.
As Emma made her way to the operating room, she was called in on a gunshot victim which meant her original case would be postponed.
“No, no, no,” Emma cried, pulling her phone from her pocket.
“I’m about to scrub in,” Russell said quickly.
“Is there any chance you’ll be out in time to meet Kaitlin’s teacher tonight?” Emma practically begged.
Russell laughed. “The OR is booked for eight hours, Em. There’s no way.”
Emma sighed. “I promised Kaitlin I’d make it.”
“You can meet her teacher another day. I’m sure he’ll understand.”
“Jacob’s teacher is the guy,” Emma replied. “Kaitlin’s teacher is Mrs. Kind who, according to Kaitlin, is anything but. Kaitlin made me promise I’d be there.”
“She’ll understand,” Russell said. “I have to go.”
“There’s no way she’s going to understand,” Emma said. “I have to find a way to make it to the school.” Russell had already hung up before she’d finished speaking.
Four hours. The surgery to remove the bullet took four freaking hours and the guy didn’t even make it. Sometimes it was obvious her attempts would prove futile, but this time she thought there was a chance she could stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, the bullet had pierced an artery and nothing anyone did could combat the excessive blood loss.
Emma had become immune to the sight and smell of blood, so much so she barely even noticed it anymore. The entire time the surgical team dug around in the patient’s leg, searching for the source of the bleeding, all she could think about was how disappointed Kaitlin would be and how she was going to make it up to her. Jacob, she knew, would be fine. He didn’t care nearly as much about school.
Being a firstborn herself, Emma empathized with Kaitlin’s oldest-child plight.
Kaitlin, eight going on forty, was well-versed in having doctor-parents. One of her first sentences was “Mommy on call.” Kaitlin sometimes went days without seeing Emma.
Oh, how Emma looked forward to the days of leisure when her schedule would become somewhat normalized. She and Russell could start climbing out of their mountain of debt, and life could really begin.
A native of Pennsylvania, A.K. Millsgave up a job in Information Systems to pursue her dream of becoming an author. The Parts I Remember was published in 2013. The sequel, The Parts That Followed was published in 2014. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs.
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