The Siren (part 1)

by Simon H., Age 13 , Grade 7, Lexington Montessori School, Lexington, MA USA
Teacher: GM Hakim

The Siren

By Simon Herpers

Chapter 1

The Siren was different than that of an American siren.

The hospital building was different than an American hospital building.

The medical equipment was different than American medical equipment.

Because most of my family is from France, they can read French, they can write French, and they can speak French, so naturally when I was born, I was taught to read French, write in French, and speak French. We go to France every three to four years. Because our family had not gone to France in almost three years we decided that this, summer 2015, when I was heading into fifth grade, would be the summer in which we would go to France. We were really looking forward to this vacation. But little did we know that part of it would be spent in the hospital.

After spending a relaxing two days going to the beach and eating ice cream while watching the sunset become one with twilight, Dad announces we we are going to see his sister who lives an hour's drive away. We arrive at her house and while the adults yammer about god knows what while eating cheese and drinking wine, my cousins Nicolas and Lucie and I play with their guinea pig, Bidule, which in French, literally means thingy. We  proceed to have a rather uneventful lunch full of lifeless small talk with the adults. Nicolas, Lucie and me, decide to go to Nicolas room to play colin-maillard which, for those who don’t know, is basically hide and seek except the the hider can move around while the person who is the seeker wears a blindfold. The only way to be “found” is to be tagged by the seeker. We play once or twice but we find that it's rather boring to play with the lights on! (Can you see where this is going?) So, we close the blinds and turn off the lights and determine that its Nicolas’s turn to be the seeker while Lucie and I hide. Nicolas’s room is rather small, so it's quite easy to be tagged if you are hiding on the ground, so I have the genius idea of hiding on the top bunk of Nicolas’s bunk bed. I climb up the ladder to the top bunk and wait, but unfortunately for me, the bunk bed squeaks, and Nicholas starts climbing up the ladder. I decide to sit on  the corner post of the bunk bed where Nicholas will most likely not look for me (remember he thinks I am sitting on the mattress not the wooden frame of the bunk bed) so, I slide onto the wooden post. Nicholas comes up onto the top bunk feeling around for me, I am sitting on the post with my feet digging into the mattress keeping me from falling. Nicholas crawls towards the post, he has heard me. I move further back, away from Nicholas when, my feet slip. I tumble backwards head first, plunging  seven feet down towards the cold cement floor.

It hurts.

It really hurts.

I am screaming because it really hurts.

Chapter 2

I am screaming, my left arm is pinned behind me, and I am scared to death. My parents, my brother and dad’s sister all tumble into the room, take one look at me and call the ambulance. While we wait for the ambulance, my parents ask what happened. Nicolas, has no idea, because he was blindfolded, all he knows is that he heard a loud boom and screaming and when he took off his blindfold he saw me lying on the ground. Lucie does not really know either all she saw was a body falling from the sky, In the end they get the information from me: I unheroically fell off a bunk bed and possibly ruined our vacation.

The ambulance arrives and the paramedics rush inside and try to put me in a stretcher designed to keep people’s spines immobile in case they are damaged. They try putting me in the stretcher, but the pain is agonizing. Every time they try to roll me onto the stretcher, I scream in agony as the arm which is pinned behind my back spasms in pain. They decide give me a small dose of pain medication but they don’t have any in the ama  bulance that is made for children so, they call an out-of-town doctor who happens to have some of this painkiller. Meanwhile, the paramedics complain because they are missing their lunch break which, in France, is very important.

Thirty minutes later, the doctor comes and gives me the dosage of painkillers.  Eager to get back to their lunch break, the paramedics roll me onto the stretcher and, I swear, while they do this I feel the bones in my arm shifting. ”Well.. um bye,” my parents and brother tell my Dad’s sister's family. Then they jump into the car and follow the ambulance.

Chapter 3

The Siren was different than that of an American siren.

The siren sounds like a soothing chorus of tritones (a tritone is some fancy word for a couple of musical notes put in a juicer and mashed together. I think.) compared to the achingly aggravating siren often heard in America that is known to split your eardrums. I hate American sirens. I mean, have some class, people! Just because the person in the ambulance is suffering does not mean those who are not also have to suffer.

The hospital building was different than an American hospital building.

The paramedics put me in the hallway which doubles as their “waiting room.” In the hallway I have plenty of time to look around. The hospital, which seems to have been built in the fifties and has undergone some sort of renovation that has never been quite finished. There are old wires sticking out of holes where the ceiling panels are supposed to be and the building is perfumed with the aroma of cleaning products, blood, and mold.

The medical equipment was different than American medical equipment.

When I broke my hand in America, I went to the Boston’s Children Hospital which had brand new modern medical equipment that always seemed to work without a hitch, but in France, while I wait in the hallway, I notice that the the medical equipment is coated in beige plastic and is always displaying some sort of error message.

A nurse wheels me into a small white room with a row of mismatched white and grey cabinets on one side and a mural of flowers, old, and heavily damaged on the other. The nurse positions me with my feet facing the mural, leaving me to listen to the humming of the ancient fluorescent lights. She explains to me that “in order for the nurses to be able to give you an xray they need to put your arm in the correct position..” “But...  It hurts,” I announced. “Will they at least give me some sort of painkiller?”

The next thing I knew I was staring at the mural as the nurse puts a mask on me and waits for it to start pumping laughing gas into my lungs. Within two minutes, the mural becomes dancing color and flickering patterns and I feel like a moth, attracted to the brightest most beautiful lights; then the colors turn grey and the room starts spinning.

Chapter 4

Since I have a mask on and the effects of the laughing gas are still present, I can’t speak so instead, I screamed but all the nurse did was tell me to be quiet. I tried to rip the mask off my face but with the effects of the laughing gas still there my left, functioning arm, could not move with enough precision to do so instead, since this required little precision I punched the nurse. “What is wrong with you?” she yelled at me, then the machines started beeping and she swore, opened a cabinet, grabbed a oxygen tank, plugged it into my mask and then mumbled “you were out of oxygen”.  

When the effects of the laughing gas wear off I am to tired to yell at the nurse and tell her how uncomfortable it is to not have oxygen! And frankly it's never a good idea to make the psycho controlling your oxygen levels mad.

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