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Category Archives: Chronicles

“Two weeks to get a new ship and get it fitted?” I wasn’t too happy with the news.  I had been in a little scrap which ended in the ship melting around me.  I was in Ignoitton and there wasn’t a Roden Shipyards around, so I docked my pod at the Federation Customs station.  I figured I could get a new ship and get out of there fairly quickly, but I was just told by the station manager that it was going to take two weeks.  I figured that I would hang out here and make the most of it.

In the single room quarters I was offered, there was your typical furnishing – bed, sofa, table, and small refrigeration unit.  What surprised me was the view into the central atrium.  The lush park reminded me of home – the trees, shrubs, and lake made a spectacular site.  I took the communications pad and browsed through the station’s services – repair facilities, but no lab or factory.  The medical facilities had something I had never heard of.  Along with the typical cloning facilities, there was something called a “Pediatric Intensive Care Unit” or PICU.  Were there really children here? I wondered.  So, I followed the station directions and found what looked, at first, to be a normal medical center; however, nothing could prepare me for what I was about to experience.

The doors were hand written with sand carved letters ‘P I C U’.  The halls, stark and cold.  The air was cold as it filled my nostrils.  I walked aimlessly through the hallways.  I found myself at the end of Corridor ‘F’, I showed my ID, and the doors opened toward me.  The tension could be cut with a knife and the silence was broken only by the sound of machines chirping busily away.  I walked around a room full of glass wall partitions.  Inside each area was a bed occupied by a small boy or girl.  As I walked in disbelief, a man approached me.  “Are you a family member of one of our patients?” he asked.

“No, sir.  May I ask — Who are all these children?”

“All of these children are fighting one ailment or another.”  He proceeded to tell me about the two children with fluid in their lungs, one little boy who was badly burned during a pirate attack on a civilian transport ship, and others with different illnesses.  As the individual rooms circled the perimeter of PICU-F, my eyes stopped at one particular area.

I looked through the glass and gazed upon a beautiful brunette.  Her body was swelled, as if she were pregnant.  Her legs were covered with a fuzzy pink blanket  laying in a bed surrounded by cloth flowers of all sorts.  She was hooked up to all sorts of machines and as I looked through the glass, her chocolate brown eyes opened.  I was moved.

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“What is her story, Doctor?” I asked.

“This little girl is Kenna.” the doctor began, “She came in a few weeks ago.  Her parents noticed that her stomach was hard and she was pale.  They brought her in and our bio scanners noticed a mass on her kidneys.  We ran a 360 laser scan on her and found that the mass was weighing on a lung and started wrapping itself around her heart.”

“Doc, you make it sound like this mass is a living thing.”

His face turned very serious.  “It is, in a way.  This Malignant Neoplasm is a group of diseased cells which show properties of uncontrolled growth.  In Kenna’s case, it has grown to approximately one third her normal size.  The fact that it is sitting on her lung makes it difficult for her to breathe and if the MN continues to grow around her heart it could choke her to death.”

I could feel a knot form in my throat, “How does this happen? What’s the cure?”

“The type of MN that Kenna has is very rare and little is known about it’s cause.  What we do know is that it is found in children and about 50 percent of the cases are found in children under two years old.  We do not know of a cure yet, but radiation therapy and anti-neoplasm chemicals are two ways of battling it.”

“Doc, I don’t know what to say.  I can’t believe these kinds of diseases exist.”

He put a hand on my shoulder, “There have been some diseases that we haven’t been able to escape.  Modern medicine hasn’t found a cure for this.  If you would like I can show you a different part of the PICU.”

“If you don’t mind, I think I’d like to stay here… Where am I, anyway?” I looked up at the number on Kenna’s glass wall.

“Area 51, young man.” the doctor answered.  And he turned and walked away.

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The preceding chronicle was based on real life events.  To read the real story, click here or go to www.hopeforbabymckenna.org

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