She couldn’t believe this was happening. So many appointments. So many tests. Blood pressure checks. Prescriptions. Wires. IV fluids. Oxygen tubes. Vials of blood. The myriad of nurses and doctors coming and going made her head spin. No one in her family had heart problems. Why did she have to be the lucky one?
Sabrina Rogers plopped her weary body into the uncomfortable wooden chair in the cardiology waiting area. Looking about the room she noticed pairs and pairs of old, watery eyes looking back at her. God, these people were ancient. Wrinkled and overweight. Sabrina shook her head, twirling a long blonde strand of hair around her finger. These are the types of people who should have heart problems, she thought. Old fat people. Not someone thin. Not someone just twenty-three-years old. Not her.
“No, not me,” she whispered aloud as she picked up an outdated Living Well magazine. She rolled her hazel eyes as she perused glossy pictures of green, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables. She’d always eaten a well-balanced diet. She exercised. She got enough sleep. What on earth could the matter be?
“Are they gonna poke me again today, Mommy?” Sabrina heard a small voice say.
“Yes, dear, I’m afraid they probably will,” a woman answered. “But you know the sad feeling won’t last very long. Remember?”
“Yes, I remember,” the small voice replied. “Will I see Miss Lilah again? I like her a lot.”
Turning in her seat, the distraught young woman eyed a little red-haired girl of approximately three-years-old. Her cheeks were almost as crimson as her hair; her eyes tired.
“Jeri, shush now, you’re disturbing people,” the girl’s mother scolded.
“She’s not bothering me,” Sabrina smiled weakly. “If you don’t mind my asking, what is she here for? I mean, she’s far too little to have a heart condition.”
“Nuh uh.” Jeri bounced on her toes, dimples deepening at the corners of her mouth. “My heart didn’t work right when I got borned.” The child puffed out her chest, wearing her abnormality like a badge of honor. “But my Mommy put hope in my heart a long time ago. Hope and prayers and courage, right Mommy?”
Sabrina stroked the leads on the heart monitor beneath her over-sized shirt then moved to the vacant seat next to the toddler. “So you don’t get scared of stuff?” She hoped she was able to have children one day, perhaps a daughter like the precious Jeri.
The little girl shrugged a shoulder and looked at Sabrina quizzically. “Nope.” Tears filled the distressed patient’s eyes and Jeri placed a small hand on the woman’s cheek. “Are you scared, lady?”
She nodded her head slowly.
“I’m Eva Owens,” the older lady to Sabrina’s left stuck out her hand. “Jeri has an excellent attitude and, well, right there that’s half the battle. Her father and I have talked to her extensively about everything. She knows it all, the medical terminology, all of it. She continues to amaze us daily.”
Jeri placed a hand on her hip and tipped her head slightly. “Yeah, I’m a delight.” Her tinkling giggle filled the room.
Sabrina laughed her first real laugh in a while. “Jeri, tell me, how can you be so happy when you know that your heart doesn’t work right?”
The child licked her lips. “I know that more things work than don’t work,” she grinned. “And I know that Jesus is in my heart too. He will take care of me if I only believe. He’ll take care of you too. You just have to believe it.”
A door creaked open. “Sabrina Rogers? Are you ready?” A woman wearing purple scrubs called out.
Tousling Jeri’s hair, Sabrina stood. “I believe I am. Yes, I believe.”