Order up! Macabre Macaroni

Lisa BurtonLisa Burton here with another serving of Macabre Macaroni. I try to avoid the dark side of technology, being a robot myself. Even I have to admit it can be misused.

Technology is wonderful, but it should be used with caution. This week, Craig takes kind of an extreme approach to some future advancements in the medical field… or are they already here?

***

Monitors

Mrs. Levine sat beside the hospital bed and held her husband’s hand. It had been three days this time, and only a few lucid moments passed between them.

She held on to something through her faith, but another part of her explored the value of their home, what might be left of their finances, and even the possibility of going back to work. One day per week at the library was all she’d found, so far.

They both knew one or the other would go first. After fifty-seven years of marriage, it was inevitable.

The doctor came into the room and placed a hand on her shoulder. “How’s he doing today?”

“About the same. He’s been pretty quiet.”

“Why don’t I have Nurse Silvio take you to the cafeteria for a nice cup of coffee? I want to check his vitals, and get someone to change the bedding today.”

“You’re too good to me doctor. You need to get some rest too.”

“I’ll be fine, don’t you worry. I have an intern helping today. She can do the heavy lifting.”

The doctor walked her to the nurse’s station and handed her off to Nurse Silvio before returning to his patient.

***

He waited for the intern, then closed the door. “Take some notes, Parkins. The Accounting Office needs this data.” He lifted the face off the patient monitor. The false data kept reporting even as he set the cover aside.

The real monitor revealed different data. “Looks like he has about two-hundred thousand, eight-hundred heartbeats left,” he said.

Parkins asked, “What’s that put it at, Tuesday morning?”

“Seems about right. I’ll be in surgery that day. The old woman is all yours.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“It’s part of the job. You’ll have to get used to it.”

“Isn’t there anything else we can do for him?”

“Look at this number. His bank account will run out just about the time his heart fails.”

“The third graph shows his insurance is still strong.”

“Doesn’t matter. If he can’t pay his deductible, the hospital gets stung for that part. Accounting keeps this hospital in the black and I, for one, want it to stay that way. Our new monitors are really helping. They allow us to do everything possible while the patient can afford it. This bed needs to go to someone who can pay.”

“I don’t know, I mean it isn’t like Accounting has to talk to the grieving widow.”

“The accountants are in charge, no doubt. I think they may be a bit more generous in the wage department this year. The new monitors are allowing us to detect all kinds of surgical options. Just the other day, insurance authorized the removal of a gall bladder for a patient who’d had a motorcycle accident. Insurance paid full price for the surgery even though we already had her open to treat internal bleeding.”

“That’s a blessing, I suppose. My parents bought me a Camaro before I headed for college. That was nine years ago, and I’m still driving it. The passenger window is held up by duct tape now.”

“Tell you what, I’ll let you notify the mortuary. They pay a nice referral fee and you can keep it. It won’t replace your car, but it might let you fix the window.”

“I really appreciate it.”

“If the widow gives you a hard time, hook her up to a monitor. Maybe she has something insurance will cover in full.”

“Hope so, we already know she doesn’t have anything for the deductible.”

“You’re going to make a fine doctor one day, Parkins.”

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44 Comments

Filed under Short Stories & Vignettes

44 responses to “Order up! Macabre Macaroni

  1. Far too real, Craig… the chills were real too…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would not be surprised if this is not already the case ? Scary!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Order up! Macabre Macaroni — Entertaining Stories | Fantasy Sources: Art, Gifts, Ideas, Article Resources, News

  4. So, trying for non-fiction this time? 😜

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Reblogged this on Siân Glírdan and commented:
    It’s Macabre Macaroni month over on Entertaining Stories – this short story is not so far off reality methinks and really chilling for that reason! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cold, heartless, scary, brilliant!
    I’m shuddering just thinking about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Count me in! Well done! My lovely brunette Doc (female!) tells me I have 34 million heartbeats left! Now, ‘ain’t that sumpun’!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Chilling, and yet – believable.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. D.L Finn, Author

    Very chilling… And not too far from reality now when money and profit becomes more important than humans.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yep. That was great. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Creepy good Craig! I KNEW there was a reason I avoided hospitals! AND doctors!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ooh, a dark look at healthcare, Craig! I suppose reality is almost as twisted…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Seriously bent, and terrifyingly believable. Great job, Craig!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Only you could make me believe this is a true story from your mill process. Great job, Craig.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. That time of year again, eh? Superbly spooky and wonderfully well written!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    It’s another edition of Macabre Macaroni from this post on C.S. Boyack’s blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It wouldn’t surprise me if this mimicked a real conversation between hospital board members. Horrifying to consider, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow! Even though it is fiction, it is way too close to the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Icky good, man. Icky, icky good.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Now that is what I call seriously creepy, Craig! Well done! Love it. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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