~ torn ~ 9

23 Mar

(previous chapters can be accessed through the ARCHIVES calendar)

*****

The nurse checked the bandage. Gently placed the injured hand back on the bed. Refastened the wrist-restraint. Stared without sympathy at the sleeping patient.

A voice approached.
“What happened?”
The startled nurse turned.

“Doctor…I’m glad you’re here. I was out at the desk, about 3:00AM, heard the most awful screaming.I came in and found she had somehow managed to get her arm out of the restraint and must have bitten her hand. Blood was everywhere. Smeared on her lips and cheeks.”

The Doctor inspected the dressing.
“Fine work.”

The nurse absentmindedly twisted her wedding ring.
“I also administered the sedative you left as soon as I got her restrained again. I hope that was the right thing to do.”

The Doctor faced the Nurse and touched her arm.
“Sandra, that was perfect.”

A silhouette cut the the doorway light.

“Manuel, come in.” The doctor discreetly slipped his hand from the nurse’s arm.
“The storm has passed. Thanks to this very capable young lady, everything is under control.”

Dr. Simmons approached the bedside with a quiet, practiced demeanor.
“That is good news.”
He deftly lifted Julia’s eyelids and examined her pupils.
Checked the wound dressing.
Peered over his glasses and searched for a name badge on the woman in white.
“Thank you…Nurse Clark. Good work.”

“You’re welcome, Dr. Simmons.”
The Nurse glanced nervously between the two men.
“I should get back to the desk now. I’m off duty soon.”

The men silently watched the shapely woman leave the room.
They both looked at their patient and Dr. Simmons spoke.

“I got the message at home, about 3:15. I was afraid that we would lose her this time, that maybe we couldn’t bring her back.”
He paused and aimed a questioning look at his colleague.
“You got here quickly, Ron.”

“I was asleep in my office. I sensed that I should stay close.”

Dr. Simmons shook his head.
“I don’t know how you handle it all. Your practice. Your work here at the hospital. The problems with Julia.”

“You would do the same thing if you had a wife.”

“Maybe…I would like to think so.”

“I’m no saint, Manuel, just playing the hand I’ve been dealt.”

“It really makes me wonder though, when I stop and consider your situation. Lots of men would try to find a way out.”

Both men once again regarded the pale figure on the bed before them.
Sleeping and peaceful. Beauty still evident, despite her ordeal.

“Ron, I’ve been treating Julia for nearly six months, and her condition has slowly worsened. The hallucinations, the blackouts. This episode yesterday morning shows all the signs of a complete psychotic break. I must suggest, regretfully, that institutional—”

“No. I’ll care for her at home before I’ll lock her away with strangers.”

“Alone? How will you manage that?”

“I’ll have a live-in, if it comes to that. But I’m confident that this will all resolve itself. I don’t think involvement by any other parties will be necessary.”

“This may sound trite, but you are one cockeyed optimist.
And a better man than I.”

“Well, let’s wait until the trumpet blows on Judgment Day before you anoint me, alright, Manuel?”

“Agreed.”

Dr. Simmons smiled.
Ron clapped Dr. Simmons on the back.
“Now, let’s say goodnight to Julia, and let us get some well-deserved sleep.”

*****

©2016 JEFITZGERALD

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