The Thing About Regrets

Fictioneer Friday
Dawn Q. Landau photo credit

Flash Fiction for Friday Fictioneers
100 words
Narrative Medicine

The Thing About Regrets

I have kicked many a stone down the tracks but that mutt still follows me.

My best friend in medical school, older and wiser, had protested and stormed out of the canine lab that day. She would have rescued that mutt if the white coated professor hadn’t stopped her.

The rationale? For the greater good of human medicine. For the greater good of sentient beings.

The mangy mutt with no choices had stayed. Her rights had been euthanized the day the kill shelter had picked her up, unwanted and unloved, off the street.

I had a choice that day and I had stayed.

That’s the thing about regrets, they hound you. I’ve long forgotten the important cardio-physiology but I can’t forget that beautiful mutt, that wasted life, that meaningless death.

Fictioneer Friday

38 Comments Add yours

  1. plaridel says:

    sad story. there should be a better way.

    Like

    1. Med schools no longer do dog labs as far as I know because we have sophisticated simulation human models now. This was in the olden days before computers were so robust. ๐Ÿ™‚ and I took a covered wagon to school.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. plaridel says:

        i’m so glad to hear that. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

  2. Ginger and buddy say “la, la, la…I can’t hear you…!” I say, no! Wh a a a a t?

    Like

    1. Stacey, tell the pups they’re safe. I do not experiment on Biscuit unless he’s very bad! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And by experiment I mean buy an exotic dog treat sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautifully done. I still have guilt feelings about dissecting a frog years ago in a biology class for non-science majors. It wasn’t necessary, we were English majors fulfilling a requirement. I said nothing and went ahead. Wish this was my worst regret, but it’s still there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right Perry? I always wondered why I had to learn interpretive dance as a pre-med major. Oh that’s right, I didn’t have to, but it was an easy “A” and it comes in handy at boring cocktail parties. I feel bad for those frogs too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Tracey,

    Your beautiful words, heavy with meaning, sent waves of regret through me as well.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Rochelle. I wonder why regrets are so much more painful than other suffering? Maybe it’s the shame we feel knowing we could have, should have….

      Liked by 1 person

  5. mscwhite says:

    A well executed story and an interesting take on the photo prompt.

    Like

  6. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Tracey,

    That sentient being.

    (Your writing moves me, Tracey. I know of no better compliment to give. Loved the inclusion of the word ‘hounds’. Masterful work. Do quit your day job.)

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doug, I can barely make a living in medicine these days because I really don’t choose to work very hard but I would surely starve as a writer. Thank you for your kind comments. You made my day.
      Be well, Tracey

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Michael B. Fishman says:

    Kill shelter ๐Ÿ˜ฆ This is a sad story and, I’m afraid, maybe autobiographical? I’m not sure though that all the regrets we have are bad if we learn from them and help others to not make them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a very personal and true regret. I think they stopped doing dog labs at Nevada after my classmates protested. I wasn’t brave enough or mature enough then to speak out but my classmates were brave and they changed the curriculum. There was a ground swell of students across the nation protesting unnecessary animal labs in the early ’80s. I do understand the necessity of animal research but this was worthless. Thanks for commenting Michael.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Liz Young says:

    I disected a worm once – I had forgotten that. Good story, well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mjlstories says:

    Very thought-provoking and moving.
    Thank you also for describing (in your comment to Michael B) the story behind the story.
    We all have regrets. It’s what we do next that matters.

    PS The ‘covered wagon’ is great – I love your feedback almost as much as your stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoy my writing. There have been so many incredible advances in medical technology but I’m the first to remind my students that the basic skills of listening and touching, should never change.

      Like

  10. Margaret says:

    Powerful. To write from the perspective of a non-protester is so effective – because so many of us can identify. I’m very glad to read in your comments that there was a change of practice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What an interesting comment Margaret. You are right, we don’t often hear from the non-protestors.

      Like

  11. Tracey, excellent portrayal of someone haunted by regret. I only condone using animals for experiments if the only alternative is to experiment on humans and only if really necessary. Of course, who determines that is vital as well. I agree with dog that the use of “hounds” was well done.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are many gray zones in medicine. Not much is black and white. There is not a single patient who hasn’t benefited from animal research but I try to remain grateful for the sacrifices.

      Like

  12. karen rawson says:

    Powerful story. Especially liked the word choice ‘they hound you’. Very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. milliethom says:

    Beautifully written, Tracey. I can well understand your feelings of regret about this. It’s fortunate that things have moved on and med schools have simulation models now (as you mentioned above). You brought out the emotion well in this piece. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Millie, There’s another reason to be grateful for computer technology but I suppose a case could be made that the simulation models are based on a century of real animal and human observations and research.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. milliethom says:

        Yes, computer technology has made so much difference in many fields. The advances in medicine have been enormous and wonderful. Your work must be quite awesome, Tracey – also constantly changing. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

  14. erinleary says:

    Lovely – great story telling. ‘That’s the thing about regrets – they hound you’ – couldn’t be more perfect. Really well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The first words on my page were those. Thanks, Erin.

      Like

  15. Chilling.. what a story of a wasted life.. I remember a book by Richard Adams about two dogs escaping..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Plague Dogs. Adam’s Watership Down was the first book that truly captured my imagination and made me hungry for the written word. I have never been without a novel since, I was 11 years old.

      Like

  16. Her rights had been euthanized the day the kill shelter had picked her up
    Wow!!! A great line among many. Well done.

    Like

    1. I’m glad you liked my work. Thank you Alicia.

      Like

  17. Difficult choices don’t make for an easy life. Hope your protagonist remembers some of her learning – don’t say otherwise.

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    1. Patrick, I learned many lessons that day but while writing this story I learned another valuable lesson – to forgive my younger self.

      Like

  18. rubyr8 says:

    Words that craft regret in its essence. Beautifully written.

    Like

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you stopped by.

      Liked by 1 person

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