Jefferey Harrington

by Deren Qian, age 12
Jefferey Harrington Deren is 12 years old. He likes to write science fiction stories that are related to medical things. He wants to be a cardiothoracic surgeon when he grows up.

“It felt as though I was about to throw up. I couldn’t stand this. I quickly walked back into the classroom. I finished the test and walked into the waiting area. My mind filled with “what ifs” until my parents came to pick me up.”

Tomorrow was the day. My legs were shakings as sweat flowed throughout my skin. The practice papers flooded my room. Tomorrow was the day of the biggest test I will have ever taken. 

“I should be ready. I studied a lot,” I muttered to myself. Part of me really wanted to take this test, but I couldn’t pinpoint why. The test I would be taking tomorrow would determine if I could get into an advanced math class in high school. I could not sleep. It felt like hours of me constantly shifting sleeping positions. I can’t wait for this, I thought to myself. I suddenly drifted to sleep.

“Dear Jefferey, we have recently looked over your test results, and you scored a total of 66%. Therefore, advanced math will not be considered for your 2019-2020 school year.” 

Then, a cute dog, a husky, the breed I had always wanted, jumped up and snatched the paper, tearing it to pieces. I woke up. My clock said that it was three in the morning. It was all just a dream.

The day of the test took place at the high school I was going to, Torrey Pines. The heat of summer shone down on me. An old lady was sorting which room the kids would be going to for the test.

“Jeffery Harrington, you will go to room 501.”  The room numbers were based off of your last name. I ran faster than I ever have in my life. There were several desks, each with a piece of paper next to a computer.

“Half the test will be on paper, the other half will be on the computer. You will have no more than an hour to complete all 40 questions. You may begin.”’ It felt as if the weight of the pencil was equivalent to the weight of an elephant. My heart was about to explode. I answered each question and it was not as bad as I thought. The clock kept ticking, and it was getting louder each time. I asked if I could use the restroom. It felt as though I was about to throw up. I couldn’t stand this. I quickly walked back into the classroom. I finished the test and walked into the waiting area. My mind filled with “what ifs” until my parents came to pick me up. 

“How did it go?” My parents asked me. I didn’t respond. I think that they could tell from how sick I looked. I anxiously ran to the mail each day until I received an envelope with my name on it, and the school I was going to. My heart jumped. I slowly opened the envelope and saw the results. I gasped.

The Operation

“Dr. Edwards, are you in charge of this O.R. or am I in charge of this O.R.?”

“You are, sir.”

“Then don’t tell me how to run it, now get out!”

“But sir⁠—”

“OUT!” I could not believe it. He really just kicked me out of the O.R. I was just giving him a suggestion. I put my sweaty palms on my forehead. I didn’t sleep at all for two days straight. My eyes were baggy and I just needed to rest.

“We’ve got a trauma patient!” a nurse yelled. By that time I felt dead. I was on my night shift and in a few hours, I would finally get some sleep. “Jefferey Harrington, age 15, fainted on the sidewalk. He was a thin, pale boy with short, red hair. We put the patient onto a hospital bed.”

“Is he going to be alright?” His parents gasped with a worried look on their faces.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure he is all right. I am Dr. Edwards.” I shook the parents’ hand. At that moment, the patient woke up. 

“Where am I?” he said.

“You just fainted and now we are going to be taking you up for a C.T. scan.”

“What about my test results?” the patient asked.

“We didn’t do the C.T. scan yet so there is no way of⁠—”

“No for the math test, where’s the envelope?” he interrupted.

“We have it here, you passed with a 99%,” his parents told him happily.

“We are so glad that you are awake!” his parents exclaimed. They seemed to be crying. I checked his heartbeat. It was extremely fast. This was not right. I would have to take him to a C.T. very soon.

“I am so relieved,” the boy said with a happy look.

“Are you ready for your C.T. scan?” I asked.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“It stands for Computed Tomography, you might feel a little claustrophobic. It is used to find out what’s wrong with you,” I said in a calming tone. 

“Okay, I am ready.”

The Scan

The doctor walked me into a room with a tunnel-like machine.

“You are going to lay here, and try to keep as still as possible, can you do that?” The doctor told me. 

I nodded. My heart hurt a lot, and I was anxious about what the results might say. The doctor was right, I did feel claustrophobic. There was a small tunnel-like thing that my body went through. It wasn’t a full tunnel, it was only a part of one. I heard lots of whirring sounds. 

“Okay, come back here tomorrow for your results.” The doctor shook my parents’ hand.

“Thank you, Dr. Edwards.” My parents smiled.

“You did very well, Jefferey,” he said to me. I made a fake smile. I was so nervous about what I might have that I had an even bigger heart pain in my body. I decided to lay down on the leather seat of our family’s car. All this worrying made me forget how tired I was. 

When I got home, I immediately jumped into my bed. The blanket wrapped around me like Saran wrap. I fell into a deep sleep. It felt amazing. I slept for at least 14 hours straight. I was woken up by a lawn mower. I went downstairs and poured myself a cup of coffee.

“I’m glad you woke up just in time for the hospital.” My mom started to smile. Her face is always too easy to read. She was very worried about me, but she was smiling, so that I wouldn’t be afraid. But I was afraid. I feared I might die from what might have caused my fainting.

“Okay, let’s go,” I said in a queasy tone. I was walking towards the car and my parents followed. My dad looked very tired. I think he was stressing on what might happen to me as well. I felt my heart start to hurt. It was a pressurized, painful feeling. This was when my parents said the most surprising thing.

“We can get you a dog.” 

My mouth opened widely. 

“We see that your anxiety is quite bad, and being caring parents, we will get you a dog to relieve your stress. We think that this is the right choice. After we go to the doctor, we can drive you to the pet store.”

“Thank you so much!” My eyes filled with tears. We walked into the hospital room, and Dr. Edwards walked in. He was wearing blue scrubs.

“We have your results.”

The Results

The patient and his family had just left. My night shift ended. Tomorrow, I would be reading the scans from the C.T. I walked into the on-call room, knowing I would only get a few hours of sleep. I was too lazy to drive home. I lay on the hard mattress instantly falling asleep. I woke up early and ran to the C.T. scanner. The results were printed on the wall. A few other and I nurses were looking at the scans.

“Someone page cardio!” I yelled. 

Dr. Wilson quickly came into the room. “This looks like tachycardia,” she said. 

I walked into the room where I told the parents to go to.

“We have the results,” I said. “You have something called tachycardia. It is a heart condition that causes your heart to beat over a hundred times per second.” 

The patient felt his heart with a pale, worried look on his face. 

“This causes cardiac syncope, also known as fainting due to an underlying heart condition, in your case tachycardia. Other symptoms may include heart pain and anxiety.” 

The patient looked frightened. “Will I die from this?” The patient asked.

“Very unlikely that you will,” I said. 

That didn’t seem to calm the patient. “But there is a possibility, correct?”

“Yes but⁠—”

“Sweetie the chances of you dying are very low,” his mom interrupted.

“Well I should get to the treatment as soon as possible,” the doctor said. The first thing I need to do is a valsalva vagal maneuver to regulate the heartbeat. If not, I will have to inject a medication for that. In the worst case, I would have to charge electricity to the heart. That’s very unlikely though. I repeated all the steps in my head. Ok, are you ready for the treatment?” I asked. 

He nodded nervously.

The Treatment

It all made sense. I have experienced heart pain and anxiety almost every day. My heart was pounding so fast and harshly. How could I not have noticed this?

“Ok, are you ready for the treatment?” The doctor asked. I tried to keep all my panic within my body. I was able to form somewhat of a nod. The doctor told me to lay down on the bed. I closed my eyes. I felt lots of cords and wires all over my body. I heard a machine start to beat. The doctor told me to blow into an empty syringe. I agreed. I did this for over 15 minutes. The doctor looked relieved. “You did very well, I successfully regulated your heart beat.” I felt extremely relieved. I felt my heartbeat. It was much slower than before. My mom hugged the doctor, and my dad shook his hand.

“Thank you Dr. Edwards,” I said happily. He smiled. 

We walked out of the room into our car. My mind was filled with excitement. I was finally going to get a dog. I was wondering about the dog breed, gender, etc.

“Are you ready to go to the pet store?” my dad asked.

“Of course I am.” I laughed.

“What kind of breed do you want?” My dad wanted to know everything about the dog I wanted before we went to adopt one.

“I want a husky.”

“Baby or adult?”

“Baby, I want to watch it grow.”

“Dark or light?”


“Alright, then it’s decided,” he said. “A lightly colored baby husky.” The car drove a long distance to a store called “Dog Lodge.” We walked into the store and saw so many different kinds of dog breeds jostle their way through each other to get a good look at me. It was a bonanza. I was looking for a husky in particular, but could not find one. I pet the dogs who were all so happy and wanted me to choose them. This was not a pound, so they would not kill the dogs if there was not enough space. Then, I saw what I came here for.

The Human

It was a long day, and no human was coming here to take me to their home. I was sniffing around the room for any odd smells that might be a human approaching. The other dogs were crazy. Barking and whining. I just kept quiet. Then, I caught an odd smell. A human with hair the color of a tomato and bigger humans came in. Its skin reminded me of the liquid that I once saw a cat drink. The other dogs jumped. Here they go again. The human walked around with a grin on its face. It then looked directly at me with eyes the color of my poop. It started to inch towards me.

“I’ll choose this one,” it said. Wonder what that means. The human did the most surprising thing. It carried me with its cold hands. The big humans handed the keeper human green paper. They carried me to a machine with wheels. It started to move. I liked this human. It was patting my head, and I showed my appreciation by licking it. I was happy that I was away from the shelter. It was very crowded there. It kept on saying sounds like, “Aww.” It also said I was the cutest husky it has ever seen. I think that’s a good thing.

They walked me into a house with air conditioning. I love it when the weather is cold. It relaxes me. It took me into a room with a very soft rectangular object. It was so comfortable. I lay on this object and licked the human. He seemed almost as happy as me. It put its arms around me as we lay there. Silent. There was a clear liquid coming out of its eyes. I licked it off quickly. I liked this human and hoped I would spend the rest of my life with him. 

The next day, the human put a pile of food next to me. I finished the entire thing. It was so delicious, much better than the food the shelter gave me. It also put a leash on me and walked around outside. I had to poop. It picked it up with a plastic bag. Wow, it really knew how to take care of me. We walked until I saw another dog who growled at me. I growled back to stand my ground. I had to assert my dominance. I barked and the dog whimpered. The human pulled me away. It pulled a brown, delicious smelling object out of its pocket. It kept on saying “sit, sit, sit.”  I didn’t know what to do. I put my butt on the floor to observe the good-smelling object, and it immediately gave it to me. Is that what it wanted me to do? It was a very flavorful thing. Delicious. I wanted more. The human walked me back to its home and rubbed my stomach. It felt relaxing. 

I lived on in that home and now I am bigger. I will never forget the tomato-hair, poop-eyed, cat-liquid skinned humans who took me home so I could grow.

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