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By Leonileda  L. Leong

Julie Marangga  was a nurse  at the general hospital. She had heard  many stories about the hospital she worked in- some were scary, most were sad, but she never paid them any mind. Had she at least heeded their warnings, she might have been better prepared  for what happened later.  Now she’s in a coma.

“Julie  it’s almost 10 O’clock. Leave that to the night shift,” the head nurse told  her that fateful  evening. “Why don’t you go home early? You’ll be celebrating you first paycheck with your mother tomorrow.”

“It’s okay, manang,  I’ll just finish this,” she responded. She seemed to love her  work.

“Don’t take the elevator at night,” Julie’s co-workers had advised her. “Besides,  the stairs are healthier for you.”

It was  past 10 o’clock that night when Julie,  together with another nurse from  a different station,  boarded the elevator on the floor.  She had clocked  out and was  on her way home.  The hospital halls were quiet; visitors hours had ended more than an hour ago, and the night shift had long settled in.  Before the elevator doors closed. a  doctor called out  to them. “Hold the elevator,” he said.

Julie  stopped the door from  closing.  The doctor nodded his thanks  and pressed the “G” button  upon entering. As the doors  closed,  Julie saw a child making his way to  the elevator. “Dok,  sandali, may bata pang sasakay (Doc, wait,  a child wants to get in),” Julie said.

The doctor hurriedly pressed  the “Door close’ button. “Huwag mong pansinin  ang batang iyan, patay na siya.  Nakita mo ba ang  wristband na suot niya? Iyan ang kulay na suot ng mga bangkay sa morgue ( Don’t mind that kid), he was already dead.  Did you see the  wristband he  was wearing? That’s the  color the bodies wear in the morgue),” said  the doctor.

Julie  suddenly  could not speak.  The nurse beside her calmly extended  her hand  and asked.  “Like this one?”Julie saw that the wristband  the nurse  was wearing  was exactly  the same as  that of the child’s. Julie fainted.

The next day she went into a coma.  It was said that the week before, another nurse had been rushed to the hospital, heavily bleeding after an accident.  The nurse didn’t make it. Hospitals have more than enough death stories, but that doesn’t help Mrs. Marangga, who doesn’t know whether she could  be grateful  that her daughter was alive  but in a coma.

The doctor accompanied her to Julie’s hospital room. He was  used to these things already but what was he going to tell Julie’s mother.

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