Mistaken Surgery

You are in the operating room and are slowly being put under to have your gall bladder removed. Just as you are dosing off, you notice the doctor entering the room isn’t the doctor scheduled to operate on you. When you awake, your gall bladder is still there, but something else about you has been changed. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or less) in the comments below.

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One thought on “Mistaken Surgery

  1. kathleenmagner

    He hadn’t been Doctor Cartin.

    That last thought before I blacked out under the anesthesiologist’s care became the first when I resurfaced. The accompanying shouts and alarms had faded with my descent from consciousness, but now quiet footsteps paced along my bedside.

    Hoping for a doctor or nurse, I opened my eyes. I sought the hospital’s pristine tiles, the straight lines of ceiling meeting walls, and the antiseptic smell of protection from all things sickening or invasive.

    I discovered an empty stone cavern instead.

    Irregular lumps of gray held together by green-tinged mortar suggesting mold or mildew curved around me. Sconces held burning torches, the light flinging shadows up the cylinder.

    Glancing down, I found my painted toenails, legs, and arms bare, and a plastic medical bracelet ringing my wrist. My pale blue surgical gown adhered to the curves of my breasts and hips, the thin fabric rustling with my quickening breaths.

    While I struggled for comprehension, the feet stopped. “Good morning, Karmen.”


    My appointment had been the last of the afternoon, an in and out procedure, done hundreds of times, nothing to worry about, be back at work by Monday. But now, it seemed a day at least had passed.

    Someone other than Doctor Cartin appeared at my shoulder. White hair sprouted, Einstein-like, around a round head sporting two jutting ears but I didn’t get the sense of genius nor any comfort from the stranger’s clean-shaven face split by a beaming grin. He’d kept the lab coat, the one with Cartin’s stitched name half-hidden beneath the lapel. Underneath, his scrubs had been replaced by dusty jeans and a purple tee shirt with a frayed collar and chipped lettering to a word I couldn’t make out.

    Not-Cartin spread his grin. “How are you feeling?”

    “Who are you?”

    His teeth sparkled in the torchlight, each pristine and white. “You first.”

    “Enough of this.” I sat up and the room seemed to join me half a second later.

    Not-Cartin chuckled with approval. “Good, good.”

    Ignoring him, I sprang off the table, what had been a mattress now a thick slab of stone.

    Despite the chill on my back and butt, I sought a door. The curved rock walls, however, failed to break with anything more suggestive than bits of mortar needing repair.

    Spinning on not-Cartin I retreated against what I hoped would be a sturdy defense. I thought about pointing the index finger my IV-bruised hand and my arm moved in a blur, the demanding digit thrust forward and quivering. I squinted at my target while the rest of the world caught up.

    “Whoever you are, let me out of here.”

    “Oh not yet.” Not-Carlin pocketed his hands. “I don’t think you’ve quite got a hold of yourself.”


    “Look at where you’ve been already.”

    Not-Cartin motioned at the footprints, my footprints, dotting the earthen floor like raindrops. My steps raced around the room in giant strides I didn’t remember taking.

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