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Well now, after the doc took that call and I was free to heave a breath and move on with my work the darndest thing happened. The medics called that they were on their way with a family of three, car wreck. But get this, the family’s name is Easton! What are the odds? There’s no way it’s the same Easton as the old man we got in a drug fog coma in room 102, can’t be, God would never be so cruel. I mean, my God is a vengeful God to be sure, but He’d never lay all that on one man.
I tell you what, those two boys came through here quick as you like looking just like their mama who came through here just as quick. I didn’t hardly have a chance to consider whether those boys looked like old man Easton in 102, we were just so busy. The mama had a pulse that went all across the board, strong when she came in then all but disappeared a few minutes later. Medic said they almost lost her three or four times on the way over. And while those boys would be just fine once the trauma wore off, you never really knew what could be going on internally.
I wasn’t about to tell doc we needed him, not when I knew who he was talking to on the phone, but I also couldn’t not tell him. So I sent Curdish. He’s our weakest link on the unit and I wouldn’t feel a bit bad if he was reassigned. YOu wouldn’t know we were waiting for the doc with all the activity: lines being put in or swabbed and swapped from the medics, machines being turned on and adjusted and readjusted, and the whole time of course you’re trying to keep the kids calm. They’re in shock but not so shocked that they don’t have a thousand and one questions, most of them about where their mama is.
I don’t have any kids of my own. Never felt the need. Their okay, the future and all that, but they also need constant attention. Like a puppy. Only worse. Kids talk back. I’ve never had a puppy, never wanted a kid, and came this close to having a cat before deciding even that would just be too much. Still, I’m pretty good with kids in a nontraditional sort of way. They like my no-bones attitude, I guess. Most people talk down to kids, why? Talk to em like you’d talk to anyone else, only maybe explain a word here and there that they may not know. Easy.
By the time doctor Voss returned to the floor we had the kids settled and sharing a room (usually against the rules on our floor, but I knew the doc would bend em for this), and the mama…well, I just couldn’t tell. It doesn’t happen often this kind of thing where you can’t tell if the patient realizes their still alive or not. Some patients get the whiff of escape from the corporeal and that’s all it takes. They’re flatlined within twenty-four hours. Other patients are taking all your skill and energy and time and smarts to keep alive but you just can’t get em through and their gone, too, only not willingly.
This woman…I dunno. It’s like she she was already regretting all the things she was leaving behind not realizing she didn’t have to. Like she truly doesn’t understand that she’s still alive if she wants to be.
I could tell the call with Easton had shook the doctor a bit more than he’d expected and I wondered how it went. I could also tell the doc was impressed with how I’d handled the incoming Easton’s. He seemed a little surprised that I’d let the boys stay together, but surprised in a “that’s what I would have done” kinda way. Yeah, well, don’t I know it. I’m good at my job, that little dalliance in the break room not withstanding. Seems the doc remembered my worth.
I followed the doc into the mama’s room to await instruction and see where things were going to go. He grabbed her charts and walked up to the head of her bed. Reading and occasionally looking down at her, he finally asked, “is she stable now?”
“Seems to be for now, but medics almost lost her a few times. It’s not their machinery either. We’ve been having a hard time keeping her here. I haven’t notified her emergency contact yet as I wanted to hear from you first but the medic said he found one on her cell …”
“Did he call it?” the doc interrupted.
“He said he did and…”
The doc had dropped the paperwork on the bed and taken off at what we call a “hospital run” for his office. It just means he was going faster than a walk but slower than a jog; fast enough to get there but slow enough not to draw unwanted attention. It was all the answer I needed. This poor family.
In the silence of her room, as silent as it can be with all the beeping and whooshing and droning of iridescent lights, I stopped for a moment to pray for her and her family. In the silence of my prayer I could have sworn I heard her ask me to turn the television off. But when I looked up she hadn’t moved.
~~~That’s one hour~~~