The Test … continued

6 Jun

Continued from yesterday

◊◊◊

The night was cool for mid-June, chilled by three days of slow, misty rain with persistent clouds that blocked the near-summer sun. As the ambulance sped down the slick street, its emergency lights struck out like bolts of lightning. The wail of the siren echoed along empty side streets and caught the dimming attention of sleepers on soft pillows.

The ambulance turned down one of the side streets and the driveway of the emergency department drive, its howl dying and the jabs of white, red and blue bolts of light suddenly extinguished. Attendants at the ready rushed to the back of the ambulance, and a human-laden gurney snapped to out its doors, one EMT holding a saline bag aloft. The small group disappeared into the maw of the ED, and through a swivel doored corridor to disappear into another room. The doors snapped shut behind, and the patient was swallowed up.

Dawn Cardish Ellington’s deep sleep was aborted at the ring of her cell phone on the night stand. Her husband Jared rolled over and pulled the covers over her head as she switched on the bedside lamp and felt for her phone.

“Hello? . . . What? . . . When? . . . Oh, God! How is he? . . . Is anyone down there? . . . I mean from the rest of the family?

. . . Yes, I’m coming! Yes, I understand!”

She clicked off the call and buried her face in her hands.

“Dammit! Dammitdammitdammit!”

Jared uncovered his head and rolled over.

“Your dad?”

“He’s had another heart attack!”

“Is he okay?”

“I don’t know, dammit! I just got the friggin’ call, Jared!”

“Okay! I’m sorry! We should go down there. Frye?”

She was already up and changing.

“Yeah. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. It’s Father’s Day, and the kids wanted to take you out.”

“No, of course not! It’s your dad … I’ll go with you.”

“Then hurry up.”

◊◊◊

He drove. She sat quietly in the passenger seat, rocking slightly back and forth. He reached out and touched her hand. She instinctively withdrew her hand. Things were not right between them.

“He’s going to be okay, Honey,” Jared said in what he thought was a reassuring tone.

“Maybe … maybe not … I’m medical power of attorney,” she said slowly, as if half-thinking it aloud.

“When did that happen?” Jared asked, surprised.

“Two weeks ago. Dad asked me to keep it quiet. It was Mom, but when she passed … Well, he only just now got around to fixing it.”

“Jeesh.”

“Yeah. Jeesh. So what do I do if he’s like in a coma or something? Or brain dead and unconscious?”

“Wow … yeah. Well, you follow his wishes.”

“Follow his wishes. Sounds simple.”

“What else can you do? You do what he wants you to do. God knows he’s always done what others want. Lousy time to finally doing something for him that he wants.”

“See? That’s why he loved you more than his own kids.”

“I doubt that’s true. Anyway, he isn’t dead yet. So correct what you said.”

“What’d I say?”

“You said he loved me. Past tense. Like he’s already gone. Look, he’s survived a lot … Vietnam, two business failures … the man has chutzpah. Take more than a heart attack to do him in. Besides, all the medical technology today? He’ll probably be sitting up in his hospital room cracking jokes and trying to pinch the nurses’ butts.”

“The doctor said it’s serious.”

“What doctor?”

“Cardiologist. They had to call him in. He told me not to expect too much.”

They pulled into the emergency department parking area and hurried in. The receptionist directed them to a waiting area and said she would call back.

Jared grabbed an old Sports Illustrated magazine while Dawn started texting on her cell phone. It was late. Two in the morning. Rain drizzled down, shrouding the outdoor streetlights in grays, blues which diffused into the dark night.

Dawn’s phone soon came alive with calls and vibrations.

“Yes, we’re at the hospital. About an hour and a half ago. No, we haven’t seen the cardiologist. I talked on the phone with one of the emergency docs. No, not good. He said not to have raised expectations. No, Dad was not conscious when he came in. Well I assumed Diane called it in. I don’t know anything for sure. Yes. I’ll keep you posted. Just check my Facebook page for updates. Right. Thanks, we can use them right now. Yes, I will.”

The conversation repeated in various fashion for the next hour. Frustrated, Dawn put her phone away and walked back to the reception window.

“Is there not any news on my father?”

“Honey, I let the doctors know. When they can, someone will come get you. It is a Saturday night, you know.”

For the first time Dawn became aware of others in the waiting room, and that the emergency department seemed to be very busy.

“Yes, I’m sorry. I’m just worried.”

“I know you are, Sweetie,” the receptionist nodded in sympathy.

◊◊◊

Want to see more …?

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 6 June, 2015
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One Response to “The Test … continued”

  1. InfiniteZip June 6, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    It always helps when I read the first part😊first.

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