Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.
I decided to switch back to A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University, the fourth novel with my Russian characters, because the subject of Chapter 41, “A Modern-Day Greek Tragedy,” is now very timely and relevant. It’s September 1949, and 20-year-old Bogdana knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that she became pregnant when her 35-year-old secret boyfriend, his nephew, and their roommate assaulted her six weeks ago. Without a job, and afraid to ask her parents for mystery money, she took matters into her own hands.
Bogdana began bleeding profusely when she used a sharpened piece of hanger, and she called a cab in desperation, asking for her friend Achilles and intending to see the radical Dr. Scholl. She fell unconscious shortly after he arrived, and Achilles sped to the underground clinic.
This comes a bit after last week’s excerpt, when Dr. Scholl gave Bogdana a saline IV, blood transfusion, and anesthesia. Achilles, a med student, asked if he could be of any assistance, and said he wants to be a doctor like Dr. Scholl. Dr. Scholl asked what drew him to this field of medicine, and Achilles said his wife died of a crochet hook abortion last August. She was attacked by three men while he was in the hospital with a broken leg and bone infection.
Dr. Robert Spencer of Ashland, PA (1889–1969), who helped 40,000 women from all over the U.S. for very affordable fees. He was arrested thrice, but never convicted. Local residents welcomed or tolerated his clandestine activities, since his out-of-town patients brought a lot of business to the area.
Dr. Scholl reaches for a small gripper. “Your suspicions were correct. This is some type of metal. It’s hard to say if she’s lucky she got it all the way through the cervical os instead of pushing it into the cervix itself.”
Dr. Scholl places the extracted piece of metal on a tray covered by a gauze pad, then dilates the cervix and reaches for a cannula attached to a pump and bottle. Achilles watches as he extracts the tissue, while Bogdana continues to bleed.
“I’ll have to pack her uterus with cotton padding to stanch the bleeding. She must’ve punctured something, but hopefully didn’t tear through to the intestines or bowel. The padding will be treated with a solution to facilitate the expulsion of any leftover tissue, along with the padding itself. Dr. Spencer uses this technique too.”
The ten lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.
Achilles watches as Dr. Scholl performs this final step of the procedure. Everything seems so logical, though he’ll have to watch and assist with many more procedures before any doctor trusts him enough to do it on his own.
“She’s got awhile before the anesthesia wears off,” Dr. Scholl says as he washes his hands. “I think she’ll pull through. There’s no telling what would’ve happened to her if she hadn’t called for you, or if she’d fallen unconscious while waiting for you. So many other women aren’t this relatively lucky.”