“I don’t want to rush your visit, but I would like to discuss Mauve’s prognosis, and some possibilities on the horizon.” His voice was gentle, but Ophelia could hear a note of something unpleasant in the tone; something Marilyn wasn’t going to want to hear, but which had to be said.
Marilyn looked up at the man with her empty eyes, and nodded without saying anything. She’d said less than a hundred words in the three days they had been on Kifo Island.
“We’ll come back, afterwards. “Marilyn looked at her; Ophelia wondered if she was in shock. She didn’t seem to be having any reaction at all. Ophelia took her sister’s arm, and led her after the doctor, who gestured to the small meeting room just outside the main NICU room.
Ophelia helped her into one of the chairs. Marilyn didn’t look up, she just sat there, playing with the vinyl seam.
Doctor Harris sighed softly, and shifted his gaze to Ophelia. “I know you aren’t Mauve’s mother, but you seem better at reaching her than I am. Will you relay this information, when she can hear it?”
Ophelia nodded. “I’ll do my best.” But could her best come anywhere close to what Mauve and Marilyn needed?
“I’ll give you my private number; either of you may call me if you need to clarify anything.” He paused, and looked at Marilyn again. “Sometimes, mothers can’t absorb the fact that their child is dying. Hopefully she’ll come around – but it might be best if she signed a document allowing you to make decisions, if she can’t. And for you – is there someone you can call to come support you here? A parent, or – ” He spoke carefully, his eyes on Marilyn.
“I can call my mother. She’ll come. Is that all? I’d like to get back to the baby.” While she still could; while Mauve was alive.
“There’s one more thing. Your niece is dying, and that’s a tragedy. But there could be something positive in it.” He took a deep breath, and met Ophelia’s eyes, his were soft and determined. “Mauve could give the gift of life to other families. Has your sister ever discussed her views on organ donation?”
Marilyn bolted up so fast she almost fell. “I need to use the bathroom,” she said, breathlessly, and whirled, almost running from the office, the door slamming behind her.
Ophelia looked after her sister, the weight of the doctor’s question making it hard to push air through her lungs. She wished she thought that Marilyn was going to come back.
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