Thanks for following along my A to Z Challenge memoir posts. We’re almost to the end. — Stacy 
As close as I could get to an X.  Photo by Tracy S. Williams

X is for X-ray

I never saw the film. I didn’t have to. I could tell. 
Breathing labored. Mucus discolored, dark. They added up to pneumonia before the X-ray machine ever clicked.
The hospital ordered an X-ray almost once a week to see whether Jimmy’s lungs fell victim to another infection. Pneumonia was like a bully always there to harass him after his brainstem stroke. 
“You need to step outside,” the tech told me after I helped him pull Jimmy’s body forward to drop the X-ray plate behind his back. 
They always asked me to leave, so I didn’t soak up the harmful X-rays that Jimmy did.
“If it’s bad for me,”I asked one day, “what happens to him.” 
The tech shook his head. “Well, you don’t want to do it all the time.”  
Several times a month and sometimes several times a week, Jimmy had an X-ray taken. The portable machine always followed Jimmy’s reports of “trouble breathing” and heavy mucus being sucked from his lung, since he couldn’t do this for himself. 
His X-rays became so frequent during one month, I decided to quit my job. I grieved that decision, but knew I had to make it. We often learn we can’t have everything. I wish we could, but sometimes there is an X in the equation we just can’t fill.
On another note: 
Don’t forget the Wish You Were Here Giveaway.