War of Heart and Mind
The hospital was clean. Too clean. Corrosion, death and misery were masked only by the smell of sanitizer and disinfectants. What happened behind the doors of the operating theatres was a mother uttering her last words; a beloved sister who no longer smiled; or a father. A father. Katrina Harper thought of her own dad lying behind one of those doors. In the past thirteen months, she had been there too many times. She walked past the same, overly-happy receptionist and the sweet-smelling flower shop. Why did people feel the need to buy flowers when someone was ill? Katrina acknowledged the irony of her thoughts as she walked into her father’s hospital room, filled with blooming tulip buds. They were all from her of course. There was just the two of them against the world so when Markus Harper was in a horrific accident that forced him into a coma, she knew that if he did not survive, she would be lost. It was the same incident that put him on life-support. Katrina did not want to remember the call from the hospital to inform her that her father had been in a car accident. He was in the Intensive Care Unit and he might not make it she had been told. It was the worst night of her life.
Shifting her gaze from the tulips, Katrina stared at her father. A labyrinth of wrinkles covered his pale face and his intelligent eyes were hidden behind closed lids. She was not used to seeing her father like this, so weak and… vulnerable; like a simple breeze might carry him away from her. The promise of safety and security was no longer there. It was replaced with a sense of dread. A feeling of emptiness and loneliness overwhelmed her.
“Miss Harper.” Katrina turned to see one of the doctors who had been looking after her father. The look of sadness and regret on his face made Katrina suspect what was coming but she did not want to hear it.
“As you know, your father has a diffuse axonal injury which has stretched and sheared the axons in his brain.” The doctor continued, “However, I regret to inform you that this means there is a 93% chance that he may never recover from his current state. It is recommended that we turn his life support off but that decision must come from you.”
Katrina froze, her mind processing what they were asking her to do. Blood rushed to her head as the...