Author's Notes: Here is a short story I've been working on for a good cause! The story is complete, so updates will be fast. Thank you in advance for your reviews and feedback! I hope you enjoy "Be the Match."
Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight series or any associated characters, nor do I have any rights to "Be the Match" or the "National Bone Marrow Registry." No copy right infringement intended.
For more information on how you can join the bone marrow registry go to: www(dot)marrow(dot)org
Saving a Life
The day I saved a stranger's life was the day my life was forever changed.
I got the phone call around 8:00 a.m. that morning that I was a match. "A match for what?" I enquired, wondering what they were trying to sell me now.
"Several months ago you submitted your DNA to the National Bone Marrow Registry. Are you still willing to donate?" the lady on the phone asked me.
That was not what I had expected. "Yeah, sure," I answered. I had forgotten I had even signed up for that.
"I know it's short notice," the lady continued, "but do you think you could get to St. Joseph Hospital in a few hours, time is of the essence in this special case."
Luckily I had a long weekend ahead of me and I wasn't working on this particular Friday; it seemed my chores would have to wait. I remembered reading when I signed up as a possible donor that the bone marrow donation often meant life or death for the recipient. "I can be there in an hour," I answered. I would need at least that much time to shower and drive there.
"Perfect," the lady responded. "I'll make the appointment for 9:00 in oncology, just ask for Dr. Cullen."
I hung up the phone and quickly threw myself together and was out the door forty-five minutes later.
I walked in the hospital at nine o'clock on the dot. A friendly volunteer directed me to the third floor to find the oncology unit. As I approached the nurse's station I was greeted by a nurse about my age. "How can I help you?" she offered.
"I have an appointment with Dr. Cullen," I responded.
"Which one?" The nurse smiled back.
"Uhh, there's more than one?" I asked a little confused.
"Yep!" she replied, "Dr. Carlisle Cullen and his son, Dr. Edward Cullen."
"I'm here for a bone marrow donation, the lady on the phone just said to ask for a Dr. Cullen." I bit my lip anxiously.
"Ok, I'm Angela by the way- sorry I didn't catch your name?"
"Bella, Bella Swan," I told her and reached out to shake her hand.
"Okay Bella, why don't you have a seat and I'll find out what's going on." Angela smiled and walked away down the hall.
Not five minutes later Angela reappeared and guided me down a long hallway to an office that had:
Dr. Carlisle Cullen
inscribed on the glass door. Angela ushered me in and a stunning, middle-aged gentleman smiled up at me from behind his desk. "No, that's not soon enough," Dr. Cullen said back into the phone. "I need the O.R. by two o'clock." He met my eyes with his shinning blue ones and held up one finger, asking for a moment. I just sat myself down quietly folding my hands in my lap as I looked around the professional office. There were several awards and degrees on the walls, and one degree I recognized the school emblem of Stanford on. That thought made me feel better.
He seemed a little flustered as he let out a sigh. "Alright, I'll take it, please book it under my son, Dr. Edward Cullen. You said O.R. 8 at 2:30?" He nodded his head in confirmation before saying, "thank you," and hanging up. Dr. Cullen stood up and reached over to shake my hand. "Isabella Swan, I'm Dr. Carlisle Cullen, thank you for coming in on such short notice."
"Sure, no problem." I shrugged my shoulders and gave him a smile.
"We normally give more notice to donors, but this is a special circumstance. The family of the recipient and I truly appreciate your flexibility," Dr. Cullen said with sincerity.
"I have a long weekend, so it really is no trouble," I admitted.
"Ahh, well God does work in mysterious ways. I'll cut to the chase Miss Swan."
"Just Bella is fine," I interrupted him.
"Bella," he continued, "my patient is very sick with childhood leukemia- a cancer of the blood. Unfortunately, due to patient confidentially laws, I'm unable to share a whole lot of information." Carlisle paused as he typed away on his lap top computer
"How familiar are you with bone marrow donation," Dr. Cullen asked me.
"Honestly, not at all. I remember when I registered they said they normally do a procedure like donating blood but more complicated- aph-," I stumbled over the term for it.
"Apheresis PBSC donation, yes that is the more common procedure, unfortunately due to my patient's advanced state, I'd prefer an actual marrow donation immediately. Of course this is your option too, if all you will agree to is the apheresis we'll gladly take it and hope it's enough."
I shook my head and stopped him there, "No, no we need to do what's best for her." I don't know why, but I suspected it was a little girl I would be helping and Dr. Cullen didn't correct me otherwise.
"The donation is considered a surgery and averages about sixty to ninety minutes in length. I'm sure we will want to keep you overnight since it will be late in the afternoon by the time you would be done."
I nodded and asked him the lingering question in my head, "How bad is this going to hurt? Not that it will affect my decision, I'll do it regardless."
"It is typically done under general anesthesia- you would be unconscious during the procedure. There will be some weakness and pain afterwards, but we can manage that with medications." I cringed at the memory of the last time I was put under, I puked for days. "You seem distressed by that," the doctor replied to my cringe.
"When I had my tonsils out I was nauseous for days afterwards," I admitted.
"Well, there is an option to do an epidural or spinal block; some doctors will also administer a mild sedative to help put the donor at ease if we do either of those options." Dr. Cullen clicked away on the mouse pad for a few moments on his computer before turning the screen to me.
An animation played on the screen as Dr. Cullen explained, "Once the epidural has taken affect and the area cleaned thoroughly, a hollow needle is inserted on the back side of the hip bone."
I squinted my eyes shut as my stomach flipped. I held out a hand asking him to stop.
"Bella, are you alright?" Dr. Cullen asked worriedly.
"Yeah, just give me a moment, I'm extremely squeamish."
"Sorry dear, I didn't mean to upset you."
"It's not your fault I have a very weak stomach." I opened my eyes to see the computer was back facing the doctor and his eyes were looking at me intently.
"Bella, are there any questions you have for me? I know this is all sudden, but if you're willing, we have an OR booked for you at 2:30." I glanced up at the clock on the wall and saw it read 9:20. "We still need to do a full work up, blood tests, urinalysis, chest x-ray, an EKG and prep you- so time is short, but I want to make sure you are comfortable with all of this," he concluded.
"No, I don't have any questions. I think the less I know the better, I trust you and that's all I need." Who wouldn't trust him with his obvious excellent bedside manner?
Dr. Cullen seemed a little distressed by my statement. "Actually, my son Edward will be doing your surgery as I will be attending to the recipient. He is an excellent doctor and you will be in great hands." At that moment there was a knock on the office door.
"Ahh," Dr. Cullen said, "speaking of, Bella, this is my son Dr. Edward Cullen; Edward this is Bella, our donor."
I was utterly speechless. He was like Adonis personified. His defined jaw held a crooked grin; his eyes were forest green and his hair, the most unique shade of copper, looked like he hadn't had time to style it. He walked up and shook my hand confidently then he moved his lab coat back as he rested his hands on his hips.
"So where are we at?" Dr. Edward Cullen enquired in the most handsome voice I had ever heard.
"Bella has agreed to the marrow donation. I tried to give her a run down, but she'd rather not know the details." Carlisle looked to me to confirm.
I nodded in agreement, "I'm very squeamish and really don't need to know anything about incisions, needles and drills unless you want to see how quick you can make me sick." I gave a timid smile.
"She has also had bad reactions to general, you'll probably want to go with an epidural," Carlisle suggested as Edward nodded. "Edward can answer any of your questions, and Bella," Carlisle paused, "thank you again. You're saving her life."