Old Doris was on her deathbed and had no idea why her husband Carl wasn't allowed to see her in the ward. One day, she slowly woke up to a distorting noise near her bedside. She opened her eyes and heard Carl's voice on the radio.
"I'm sorry, sir, but you're not allowed inside the ward," the nurse told Carl, who was forced to step outside his sick wife's emergency unit. He peeped through the round see-through glass on the door, citing every prayer he knew in a rush.
"Oh God, please don't take her away from me," he cried. He pleaded with the doctors to allow him to meet his wife but never succeeded. Days later, Carl was exhausted and realized he had to do something to help his wife recover. He found an old novel on the bed and had a plan in mind.
Carl was anxious & upset when he wasn't allowed inside Doris's ward. | Source: Pexels
Carl met Doris in the same college they attended 40 years ago. The couple fell in love, married, and raised a family. But things took a different turn after Doris fell ill and never had her children around to look after her.
"Please try to understand. Maybe it'll save her life," Carl begged the woman.
An old Carl sat beside their empty bed with tears flooding his eyes, gushing down through the wrinkles on his face that expressed his painful past. The more he thought about Doris, the more he wished he could travel through time and change the last three days of his life.
"How I wish…how I wish it didn't happen," he painfully spoke, looking at Doris's picture and recalling the incident that haunted him.
Lonely & hurt, Carl recalled meeting Doris around 40 years ago. | Source: Pexels
Doris and Carl had three children and seven grandchildren. Though their children visited them once a year, their busy lifestyle kept them away most of the year. They were never around to care for their parents, and they assumed that they were doing fine.
But lately, Doris's health had worsened, and she couldn't walk longer than five steps at a time. Assuming she was a burden, Doris tried convincing Carl several times to put her in a nursing home.
"I am sure there are many professionals to offer the best care, darling," she told him. But Carl never took her suggestion seriously and brushed it off.
At times, he mocked Doris for even coming up with such an idea. "Before putting you there, I need to get screened and hired for the job to be your nurse!" he joked.
Doris's health worsened with time but Carl's encouragement helped her gain some confidence. | Source: Pexels
Although Carl had a great sense of humor, he wasn't happy on the inside because of his children and their ignorance towards Doris.
"Oh, dad, I told you, right? The weather here has been horrible, and I don't think we can travel safely with kids," Carl's son Thomas told him over a call.
Carl was hurt as his two other children had vague reasons for not wanting to drop by and visit their mother. After a point, he gave up calling them and hoped Doris would see better days soon.
"Darling, maybe they are caught up, and the weather must be bad… didn't we see in the news the other day?" Doris told Carl though she kept her sorrows within her. But with each passing day, the old mother's health deteriorated.
Though Doris lightened Carl's heart by her kind words, she kept her agonies to herself. | Source: Pexels
One day, Carl was reading a novel to Doris. He used to do this often ever since Doris's eyesight became blurry, and she didn't like wearing glasses. Carl enjoyed reading books and even refused when his children tried teaching Doris to use audiobooks.
"Nothing can match the feeling of listening to your loved one reading out to you. She needs no computer robotic thing speaking machine language," Carl once told his children.
As he flipped the pages, he found Doris in a still posture. At first, he thought she had slept too early. He leaned over to tuck Doris's messy hair behind her ears, and as he touched her face, he saw she didn't react. Her eyes were closed, and she didn't move.
"N-no no…please, wake up. It can't be…I can't live without…." Carl cried. Carl placed his head on Doris's chest and immediately called an ambulance.
"Yes, her heart is still beating. Please get here. Please save her," he begged the hospital staff and gave his address. A few minutes later, an ambulance pulled over outside Carl's house. After examining Doris, the doctor informed Carl that she needed to be rushed to the emergency unit.
Carl often read Doris a novel as her eyesight became blurry. | Source: Pexels
"We'll do our best, sir," the doctor told Carl.
The old man was crushed as he held Doris's hand while the ambulance raced to the hospital. "I'll not let anything happen to you," he mumbled.
Minutes later, Doris was rushed to the ICU. "I'm sorry, sir. But you need to go back home or wait outside," the nurse advised. "Maybe you can visit her later as her condition is critical."
Carl was heartbroken and returned home by taxi. He couldn't sleep the whole night as Doris's empty bed reminded him of how much he missed her. He was restless, and he had barely slept for five minutes in the morning when the sun's intense rays woke him up.
"I got to go… I got to get ready and see her immediately," he said.
He drove to the hospital and rushed to the ward Doris was kept. But as he tried entering, a male nurse stopped him by grabbing his shoulder from behind.
Doris was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. | Source: Unsplash
"I'm sorry, sir, but you're not allowed to enter this room," the man told Carl. Though Carl tried to convince the guy and enter the ward, he didn't succeed.
"No, sir, even if you get special permission, I don't think you'll be allowed as there are so many sick people inside under critical care," the nurse explained.
Carl was shattered he could not be with Doris or be assured of her condition. He sat alone outside for a few minutes and walked out of the hospital faster than he ever did all his life. He could no longer bear this separation, and somewhere in his heart, he felt Doris would soon return home.
For the next couple of days, Carl constantly called the hospital asking about Doris. "Is she fine? Has she asked about me? Will I be allowed to see her today?" he asked the receptionist.
But every time, he got the same monotonous response. "Er, I don't think so, sir. We'll call you and tell you if it's the right time to come over," Carl heard random people say.
Carl had never been so anxious. He kept walking across the bedroom, checking his phone every two minutes. He then walked over to Doris's empty bed and found the novel he had read to her. Looking at it, he had an idea. "Let me see how they stop me now," he mumbled.
After finding the novel on his bed, Carl had an idea in mind. | Source: Pexels
"Hey, Thomas. Do you remember where you kept my old radio?" Carl asked his son.
"Are you kidding me? Are you gonna listen to music on that damn radio when mom is battling for her life?" Thomas shouted on the phone. "By the way, I guess it's in the barn."
Carl hurried to the barn and butchered the place, searching for an old portable radio he used as an amateur for a radio club decades ago. "Found ya!" Carl shouted in joy as he picked the dusty old thing from behind a stack of cartons.
He impatiently waited the whole night and set off to the hospital at dawn. He waited outside Doris's ward to see who would help him. Just then, he found a nurse named Sophie.
"No, sir, I'm afraid I can't do this for you," Sophie told Carl as he constantly pleaded with her to take the radio to Doris's room and set it up near her bedside.
"Please try to understand. Maybe it'll save her life," Carl begged the woman. The nurse was baffled by Carl's stubbornness and love for his wife. After deep thought, she grabbed the device from Carl and hurried into the ward. "I hope I don't get into trouble for this!" she hastily stated and closed the door on Carl.
Carl found an old radio in his barn. | Source: Unsplash
That evening, Doris started blinking her eyes while she was still unconscious. Sophie adjusted the audio distortion and slightly increased the radio volume, ensuring the other patients weren't disturbed.
"…And then, she looked at him in his eyes…." Carl's voice seeped through the speaker. Doris opened her eyes, turned to the side, and saw the radio by her bedside.
Doris smiled and cried as Carl read the novel to her on the radio. Since Carl was at home, he couldn't interpret Doris's happiness that day, but he firmly wished she would recover soon.
"Oh, darling! I love you so much," Doris whispered as Sophie smiled and helped the old woman to sit properly on the bed. Moments later, Carl got a call from the hospital.
"Hello sir, your wife wants to talk to you," spoke the person. "Yes, she's fine now." Carl was excited and couldn't believe what he had just heard!
Doris woke up hearing Carl's voice on the radio. | Source: Pexels
What can we learn from this story?
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