I used to refer to it as the Third Eye. When someone asked me why I sent this patient to X-ray and not that one, I shrugged and told them: I have the Third Eye. I have heard most of the jokes there is about seventh senses, instincts and intuitive thought, but personally I believe there is a scientific, logical explanation for why I can open my invisible eye and use my X-ray vision for the benefit of the patients. From experiments conducted in private I have concurred that my Third Eye is located somewhere under the skin in the middle of my forehead and subjected to conscious decisions to open or close it. There is nothing supernatural about it. I simply have an orifice that is capable of receiving and interpreting X-rays. In short; I can literally see the skull under the skin.
As a little girl I wanted most of all to be a doctor. Could there be a better way to apply my gift? I worked late hours at the hospital to finance medical school. The emergency rooms where severity of injuries had to be determined, fast, was my area of choice. I trusted my Third Eye that much, making my priorities with confidence and erring but once. I will tell you about my one mistake.
The day was crisp and clear. There is something crystalline about certain days, the light, the brittleness and the fragility. I had been working all night. One massive heart-attack, four victims of a car accident, one of which was critical, and a suspected case of food poisoning. I still remember every detail, every name.
It was ten o'clock in the morning when a great deal of people came in through the revolving doors. There were two skaters, one male, the other female, their coach and their parents, along with the ambulance men. The male skater was unconscious. He had bitten through his tongue and his mouth was full of blood. I saw quite clearly that he had broken his jaw, a nasty fracture. There were no damages to his chest or back that I could see, but the back of his head was swelling rapidly and would have to be drained of fluids. The doctor in charge rushed him to surgery.
Apparently the two skaters had been practicing a lift when they went down together. The girl was in shock, sobbing through her nose-bleed. The head-nurse put her down on a cot and stuffed a tampon up her nose before running after the doctor. The male nurse, Jacob, ushered the coach and the parents out of the room. I had to call several dentists before one finally answered the phone and agreed to meet us in the surgery section. So, except for Jacob that would stay behind, I was last out of the room.
I was on the verge of shutting the door when the girl called out to me. She needed more cotton for her nose. I remember feeling vaguely worried about the bleeding being so intense. She was strawberry blonde, waifish. She had still her skates on. I had believed figure skates to be white, but hers were brownish. They stuck out from under the blanket. She took the wad of cotton I gave her. Her hand was thin, the nails a shade of blue, and I made a mental note to ask a haematologist to have a look at her. She smiled gratefully at me and tilted her head backwards. That was when my Third Eye snapped open, involuntarily, and I saw, I tell you, I saw as in slow-motion, how her third and fourth vertebrae dissociated.
She might have cried out, or else it was my own cry that rang out between the walls of the small room as I tried to support her head, tried to preserve the vertebral canal without putting pressure on any spinal nerves. I remember yelling at Jacob to call a surgeon, the sudden rush of personnel closing in, competent personnel which I was not. I remember her eyes rolling back in her head. They were grey, encircled with black. She had a faint band of freckles over the bridge of her nose. I remember stumbling out on the street with Jacob's arms around me for support and the ice crystals breaking under my feet as he walked me home.
The doctor in charge was let off with a warning. I was not even warned; neither was Jacob or anyone else on duty that day. The girl had a detectable heartbeat for another hour. Her name was Christine Russell, 15, only daughter of Marilyn and John Russell. Through her medical records I found out that she had a history of anemia and recurring respiratory infections. Two years ago, she had broken her wrist and two fingers while skiing.
I am married to Jacob now. He went on to medical school, I did not. He runs a small orthopedic practice where I work as a nurse. I do use my Third Eye as an additional source of information, but every patient has been carefully diagnosed and treated elsewhere; I don't have to make priorities in realtime anymore.
When I write this, I am three months pregnant. I have no way of knowing whether the child will inherit the Third Eye or not, but I don't really care one way or the other. With great powers comes great responsibility. Take away the powers and the greatness if you will, and still the responsibility remains.