So I have a book that i am writing with the working title of 365. It chronicles the last 365 days of Micheal Dufran a 16 year old guy facing certain death via brain tumor. Needless to say he is not very happy about this predicament. The book focuses around how he deals with the problems of facing the one journey we are all going to make the one that ends in a grave. Along the way their is a lot of conflict between Micheal and the world as he tries to come to terms with his imminent demise. So yeah here is chapter one of 365. Any questions, comments, concerns, threats, should be left in the designated comment section and anyone with better title ideas it is greatly appreciated.
PS~ it is VERY long as a whole
Chapter 365: Diagnosis
I was sitting on my bed preparing myself to go to school on Monday, May 29th. I always did this before school. I would sit on my bed and wait for 6:20 AM. Then I would stand up and start my day. But that day was different, because at 6:15 AM my mother walked in and said “Michael, the doctor called and said that they wanted to see you. You won’t be going to school for at least the first half of the day, so you can go back to bed.” That was all I needed to here. I gave my mom the thumbs up then I laid back down and went to sleep. My mom came back in at 8:30 and woke me up to go to the doctor’s office. I put on my trademark black t-shirt and jeans. I walked down stairs and ate a bowl of cereal and milk. My mom walked down and by 9:00 we were in the car on the way to the doctor’s office.
I sat in the waiting room for a while. I have always hated waiting rooms. They build up the suspense of what I’m waiting for. When I am waiting to go into the doctor’s office it scares me, will I have to get a shot, what’s goanna happen, how long am I goanna be stuck in this waiting room. All the questions spun around in my head. Then finally the receptionist called for us “Dufran?” she called into the waiting room. My mother and I stood up at the sound of out last name. “The doctor will see you in room 31B.” She said pointing down the hall. I walked slowly down the hall looking for the room. It was all the way at the end of the hall. I walked into the empty room. It was not an examination room, but an office. It had a desk made of some dark wood and a spinning chair behind it. On the wall were certificates assure patience that the doctor they would be seeing had graduated medical school, or at least had a paper that said he did.
I ran to the spinning chair and sat down in it. I spun around in it. “Get off of that.” My mother said. “Why should I? We paid for it, it’s just as much ours is it is his.” I said “Michael.” My mother said looking at me angrily. “Fine, fine.” I said. I stood up and sat down on one of the chairs in front of the desk. It was defiantly not as comfortable as the first but would suit me just fine. The doctor walked in after a while. He was an older man, bald with a grey beard. He was fat but not unhealthily so. He sat at the desk in his chair and took a deep breath. “Well Mrs.Dufan, I have some bad news. During your sons last visit he described symptoms that makes me think that he could have a brain tumor.” The doctor said. There was a long silence. “What do you mean symptoms?” my mother said slowly. The doctor took a deep breath and began to explain. “Well he has been experiencing dizziness, memory problems, and other things that point to brain tumors. The reason I called you in here was to have cat scans done so I can be sure, and know what course of treatment we need to take.” “Well I’m sure that I was over stating things and all, it’s nothing, certainly not a brain tumor or anything. I’m a sophomore in high school, brain tumors are for like old people and stuff.” I said “I wish I could say that was true, but sadly you can get brain tumors at any age.” The doctor said. “Learn something new every day.” I said leaning back in my chair. “How real is this concern doctor?” my mother asked. “Well, he just has the symptoms, it could be nothing, but it could be a brain tumor. So we don’t want to take any chances.” The doctor explained. My mother nodded nervously. “Well, I’m sold! Put me in a small tube and shoot me with some radiation, let’s get this done.” I said like I was about to run out onto a football field. The doctor smiled and nodded, “I like your eagerness.”
The doctor led my mother and me down the hall and down a flight of stairs to the ground floor. Then he led us outside and into a building that contained all of the x-rays, MRIs, and all of those kinds of machines. Then he left us in a waiting room. “Wait here, a technician will come and get you in a few minutes.” Of course more waiting. “Ok.” My mother said nervously. She had a death grip on her purse which was on her lap. “Don’t worry mom, like the guy said, it could be nothing.” I said trying to comfort her. She gave a weak smile and nodded. I did not want to sit in a waiting room so I paced around the room looking at pictures. One was of a CAT scan that was bright red and green. I was wondering if the guy who belonged to that CAT scan was nervous to get his. I was not nervous; my health had never been something I took seriously. I did things I probably should not have done at the expense of my physical being. Then I moved on to a copy of a painting of a man getting his leg operated on. It was an old fashion operation that was done in public and I assume with no anesthesia beyond being very very drunk. I counted myself lucky that I wasn’t that guy. Then a small woman walked out and asked “Are you Mrs. Dufran?” behind me to I assume my mother. “Yes.” My mother replied still sounding very nervous. “We are ready for you.” She said. I turned around and the lady was holding a patient robe. “Can’t I just wear this?” I said motioning toward my clothes. “Sorry, the jeans have metal on them, the machine will rip the buttons right out.” She explained. I nodded, “Good reason.” I took the robe and was led into a small room to change. I quickly changed into the robe. I folded the clothes and walked out of the room. My mother took my folded clothes from me and the woman who I assumed was the technician led me into the room that contained the machine. It was white and had a hole with a flat mat sticking out of it. I assumed that I was meant to go on the mat. Then the woman said “All I need you to do is sit on the mat and relax, the machine will do the rest.” I nodded and took my position on the mat. Then she walked behind a wall with a window. I shut my eyes and took deep breathes; I was in relaxation mode. I let my mind wonder from thoughts of school and what I was missing to friends and then the mat started to move, pulling me into the machine. I heard mechanical movement happening inside. Then I decided that it was as good a time as any to take a nap, so I started attempting to sleep. I had a trick for falling asleep when ever needed; I would run through the multiplication tables. I hated math and found it generally boring, so running through the multiplication tables helped me to lull myself to sleep. Right when I was at 11 time 3 and right when I was about to fall asleep the mat started to move again. I opened my eyes and was outside of the machine. I sat up and got off the mat. The technician walked into the room “How was that?” she asked. “Not long enough, I was so close to being asleep.” I said. “I know.” She said. “That’s not creepy at all.” I replied. “I was looking at your brain, I could tell you were nearly asleep.” She explained. “Still creepy, but ok.” Then she led me back into the small room where my mother was waiting with my clothes. “A doctor will be here in a minute to check the CAT scans to see how everything is going inside your head.” The technician said, then walked out of the room. “Well that was the most fun I think I have ever had in a MRI.” I said jokingly, my mother gave a weak smile. Everything she did had a weak way about it. The way she handed me my clothes and the way she walked out of the room all seemed to lack confidence in what she was doing. She seemed defeated and was doing all of this not on energy but on the shear thought that it had to be done, it did not comfort me at all.
I got back into my clothes and opened the door and waved for my mom to walk back in. I sat on the examination table and stared at the wall. “Waiting sucks.” I said. My mom gave a small nod and went back to staring at the ground. I wanted for something to happen. For the doctor to walk in and say “False alarm, nothing wrong, you can all go home and sleep, sorry about all of this.” I thought that that would get my mother back to her normal self. Then after what felt like another eternity of waiting my doctor walked in, accompanied by a man I had never seen before. “Hello Michael.” He said. “What’s up doc?” I said. “This is Dr. Fredrick Holmes, he is a neurosurgeon.” My doctor said motioning to the man beside him. He stretched a hand out, I shook it. “Nice to meet you Michael.” He said. Then I phased out as Dr. Holmes made introductions with my mother, I do not remember how it happened exactly but my mother left the room with the two doctors. I remember having a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach at that point. Then only Dr. Holmes returned. “Michael, let’s take a walk, shall we?” he said motioning to the door. I he had a slight German accent that I did not pick up when we first met. He led me down a hallway and into another hallway that had paintings on one side and windows that looked out onto the perfect looking May morning. When we got into this hallway I felt Dr. Holmes slow down. He took a deep breath and I could feel that he was uneasy. I stopped and looked out a window. There was an awkward silence. I could tell that something needed to be said, I knew what it had to be but did not want to say it. After shutting my eyes and gathering my strength I asked “What’s wrong with me doc?” The words felt painful coming out of my mouth. “Brain tumor.” He said slowly. The words hit me like a baseball bat to the chest. I gathered everything I knew about brain tumors. My knowledge was lacking, all I knew for sure was that they could kill you; this was all I really needed to know. I wanted to ask a question desperately, but was too afraid of its answer to ask it. Then the words came out of my mouth, it didn’t feel like I had been the one to say them but they came out all the same, “How long do I have?” “Excuse me?” Dr. Holmes said. “You heard, don’t make me say it again.” I said slowly. “Well I can’t be certain until we run a few more tests…” his voice trailed off. I slammed my fist on the window sill “HOW LONG DAMIT?” I yelled angrily still facing the window. “I can’t be sure, but in my professional opinion, one year, assuming we can’t treat it.” Then I turned around to face the doctor. “And can you treat it doc?” I said my anger slowing. I doctor looked down and closed his eyes. That was all the answer I needed, these tumors were going to kill me, and there was nothing I could do about it. This sudden realization hit me harder than I have ever been hit before or since. It was hard enough to put me on the floor. I don’t remember hitting the floor, but I remember falling. I remember that the falling took hours. My entire life came into view as I fell. I don’t remember what happened when I hit the floor, but I remember the doctor letting me lie there for a moment, I needed that moment on the floor to regain myself.
I was walked back to the room by the Dr. Holmes. My mother was sitting in a chair; I could tell she had been crying. My mind told me to comfort her, but my body told me not to. Dr. Holmes spent the rest of the time trying to convince me and my mother that treatment was possible and that things weren’t that bad. I didn’t listen. I just tuned the world out and stared at the wall until it was time to leave. Then I carried myself to the car and didn’t pay attention on the drive home. My mother walked in and fell onto the couch. I couldn’t stand to see her cry so I walked up to my room and collapsed on the bed and stayed there for the rest of the day. One day of my year, gone.
Maybe it would be better to post this in a blog format on a different website, and link to it here. The ning's text format is not very nice to read large chunks of text in.
You spelt Michael wrong. -.-
I spell a lot of things wrong
I think this is very excellent writing. Very excellent. Please, if you choose to self-publish, PM me the link. It was very enjoyable reading.
On that note, some criticism:
The main character is very attractive, witty and laconic. However, make sure they do not remain so for the entire novel. They seem to be not denying their fate but being somewhat logical about it all. The sting of the recognition provoked a typical but not cliché reaction. For such a composed character, however, I would like to see an emotional breakdown or break up of composure at some point in the novel.
Also, some of the other characters are not as believable as others. Some of the professionals act less than professional, playing into the narrator's hands like putty and going along with his jokes. While I understand some may do that, I think some of the technicians/nurses acting straight-faced and professional the whole time would provide a contrasting backdrop for the sarcastic nature of the narrator, which would be as humorous as a charater who goes along with his jokes.
Overall, excellent job, and I'l love to read more.
As far as the break down goes, his fate has not really hit him yet. He understand and accepts it, but does not fully understand it, there is a point though when it does finally hit him, there is a very large break down.
As far as the point about the doctors and such, I was trying to put forth the air that they look down on him, the way a kindergarten teacher acts around their students. If that did not come across I may need to tweek things a bit.