Unintended Consequences

Unintended Consequences by Marti Green

Book: Unintended Consequences by Marti Green Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marti Green
Tags: thriller, Suspense, Mystery
than Angelina. Nothing. So the doctor took some blood from her arm and she kept screaming while Sallie held her, but we were thinking all this time, ‘Please, God, don’t let anything be wrong with our baby.’ We said that over and over and just tried to close our ears to her screaming.
    “Well, it didn’t matter how much we prayed, because when we went back to the doctor, he said to us, ‘Your daughter has leukemia.’” George stopped, took a deep breath, and dropped his head to his chest. They all waited silently for him to continue. When he looked up, his eyes were liquid pools of anguish. “Do you know what it feels like to be told your baby might die? Your precious baby that you waited fifteen years for and then comes to you as a gift from God?”
    Dani did know what that felt like. When Jonah’s doctor had told them that their child had a heart defect, that their five-year-old son needed surgery, that surgery always had risks, her own heart had stopped. It felt as if the walls of the room closed in on her, trapping her in a tiny space with no light or air. No parent should ever be faced with a child’s life-threatening illness. No parent should ever be faced with the death of a child. It turned the natural order of the universe on its head.
    She didn’t tell George how deeply she empathized with his plight. Instead, she murmured, “I’m so sorry.”
    “We had no money and no insurance, so we signed some agreement to pay for the treatment over time. They put that stuff in her body—it was supposed to cure her—but I tell you, it was near impossible to watch what it did to our baby. She threw up day and night. Her poor little body could barely take it. By the second month, her beautiful blond hair fell out, and her mouth was full of sores. She cried all the time and there wasn’t anything we could do for her.”
    “How long was she on the chemo?”
    “Six months. And when it was all done, the doctor said she was fine. In remission, he called it. Her hair came back along with her smile, and everything seemed good again. But there were bills we owed. Big bills for her treatment, you know. I told Sallie she had to go back to work. She didn’t want to. Leaving our baby with someone else—well, it just broke our hearts. There wasn’t any choice, though. Sallie tried awfully hard to find a job with health insurance, but the only work she’d ever done was waitressing. She ended up taking a night job at the diner. That way she took care of Angelina during the day and I stayed home with her at night. We were so happy that next year.” George stopped and smiled. “You see, God had given us back our little girl.”
    Once again Dani asked the question still unanswered. “I understand. Angelina was very sick and you both were very frightened. She got better, though. So what happened to her?”
    George shook his head. “We just thought she was better. But the leukemia—it came back. Along about the time she was nearing her fourth birthday, Angelina started falling down a lot. We thought it was just growing pains—you know, they grow so fast, they’re falling all over themselves. We weren’t worried when we took her back to the doctor. That was stupid of us. It was like we got too cocky and had to get our comeuppance. The leukemia—it’d gone to her brain. The doctor said she had to start with that chemotherapy again. Radiation too. And a bone-marrow transplant—that’s what she really needed. But we had to find some that matched. Sallie and I, we were both tested, but ours wasn’t right for Angelina. We were still paying back the doctor for the first round, and now there’d be hospital bills too. The doctor said we shouldn’t worry about him but that we had to come up with money for the hospital. He said they’d need proof we could pay before they’d treat her.”
    “Did you get the money for her treatment?”
    “No, ma’am. We tried everything. We even went to the Medicaid office, but they

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