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Numb by Mackenzie Nations

artwork by AI


The uniforms came pouring in by the masses. I had done all I could, but I wouldn’t know if things would work out for another thirty minutes. The whirring of the sirens outside rang in my ears and sent me into a numb state. All the worry, fear, adrenaline, stress—it all just stopped. I could no longer keep my composure. At that moment, I just wanted my childhood back. No one should wake up and find their mother in a coma-like state. She had cold sweats across her entire body and was unmoving, limp to any touch I gave her.

This had happened before, but never to this degree. I went through the motions I had performed so many times in the past. Prick her finger, wait for the blood, check the numbers, add sugar, and repeat. The same thing every time, so why not now? Full of confusion, my mind raced for more answers, more solutions. Thoughts ricocheted in my clouded head until they eventually came pouring from my young mouth. “Why are you like this Mom? This makes no sense. You’re supposed to help me and take care of me. I’m the kid here. This isn’t fair. Why do things have to be this way? Why won’t you just wake up?”

Earlier, I had picked up Mom’s beat-up old cell phone to dial the number I hoped I would never have to call. Slowly, shakily, my slim fingers pushed the buttons. 9…1…1… The line began to ring and the welcome of a chipper voice came through on the other end. “911, what’s your emergency?”

I replied with as much courage as I could muster, beginning with my name and address, then said, “My mom needs help. She's a diabetic and her numbers have crashed. I need help, please!” I realized just how much air my lungs had held.

I do not know how long my breath held there, but relief came with its loss. Seconds later, the dispatcher informed me that help would arrive in fifteen minutes. I thanked her and hung up the phone.

My next call was to Lynn, a fellow nurse friend of my mother’s. She lived not more than two blocks away. I knew she would help me. She told me I did everything right and that she would handle the rest. Lynn called my grandmother and informed her of the situation. They both reached my house at about the same time. Lynn went to my mom’s bedroom to check her state and wait for the EMTs to arrive. My grandmother insisted I get changed for school and grab my book bag. I refused.

Why would she try to take me away at a time like this? I couldn’t leave. My mind finally entered overdrive. I could not handle it any longer. I shut down, both mentally and physically. I could not move, I froze. I flipped the switch on my emotions. I could not break down. I would not be weak. I convinced her to let me stay until I knew she would make it. That’s when they pulled up outside the house, sirens blaring. The neighbors all walked out onto their porches.

I welcomed the EMTs inside and they got to work fixing her. I tried my best to be patient, but no matter how much the boards weathered under my feet, the pacing did not ease my troubled mind. I tried entering her room, but each time the paramedics rejected my requests. I was given updates from Lynn, but I could only sit on my porch and wait. Overwhelmed by it all, I held onto my dog for dear life, gladly accepting her calming presence.

One of the EMTs finally came out of her room to inform me that the adrenaline shots and pure sugar they used to reverse her numbers resulted in success. She was awake and safe. That’s all I needed. That’s when I knew I could go to school and pick my day up from where it should have started.

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