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Hospital Visitation: Bedside Manners

It’s a cloudy morning here in the Burg, but it’s warming up and should get warm enough to wear a jacket before needing to return to the winter coat temps tomorrow.  And I had an interesting walk into work, because rather than head up 2nd Street to my coffee shop, I went a block over to the west and headed up Front Street, which runs along the banks of the Susquehanna River.  It’s a far different experience than heading up what is known in the city as Restaurant Row, which is really about two blocks long.  Chicago we ain’t.

But like Chicago we do have a lot of bridges–

Some that are even unsafe to drive on and have partially collapsed into the river.

Some that are even unsafe to drive on and have partially collapsed into the river.

And we have old buildings–

And quiet drives on one-way streets.

And quiet drives on one-way streets.

We have nice panoramas:

From bridges to buildings to a place where nothing gets done.

From bridges to buildings to a place where nothing gets done.

And, of course, the writer needs to put herself into a few pictures.

The writer outside her normal environment--

The writer outside her normal environment–

 

And within her environment with a new nail color.

And within her environment with coffee and a new nail color.

Now that all that personal stuff about walking and taking pictures is out of the way, it’s on to writing . . .

The scene is finished.  A few hundred words went down last night, and another eight hundred and seventy fell today, which means there’s just over eleven hundred more that you haven’t seen.  Coraline’s in Total Doctor Mode, and she’s handing out medical orders like she runs the place–which, come to think of it, she does.  The last time she had to get all doctoring and stuff with Kerry, this time he’s just laying there listening, and not trying to convince Coraline he’s okay.  He knows he’s not okay, as do the two female types with him in the bay.

So what’s the plan for the rest of the evening?

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Coraline pushed herself back slightly from Kerry’s bed: it was time to bring this meeting to an end. “Until further notice you’re spending your evenings in this bed. You are on a conditional release, which means during the day, when you’re up, you’re free to leave the ward to go classes, the Dining Hall, and the Midnight Madness. When it’s End of Day and Lights Out, you come back here. You, too, Annie; I’ve already spoken to Holoč. I’ll see to it your uniforms and whatever else you require to get through the day is brought over today.

“But first we need to get you through tonight, and I’m going to take a bit of a drastic measure simply because it’s needed.” She leaned forward. “I’m going to give you something that will knock you out for about twelve hours straight, because you’re suffering from exhaustion and you need the sleep. I know you are likely concerned that the dream you had tonight is going to come back, so . . .” Coraline removed a small ampule from the pocket of her robe. “This will suppress the acetylcholine in your brain, thereby shutting down your REM functions. You won’t dream while you’re asleep.” She clutched her right wrist in her left hand. “You know I can’t keep you from dreaming for long, though: it’s not good for you.”

He looked towards his lap again. “I know.”

Coraline stood and pushed her chair back against the wall. “I’ll be right back.” She motioned for Annie to move from her side of the bed before heading to the storage area where she picked up things she required for her patient and setting them in a carry-all. She returned and found Annie standing on Kerry’s right, holding his hand and looking down at his now-flat bed.

She set the carry-all on the night stand and prepared an IV. “I’ll set the acetylcholine inhibitor in this IV, then I’ve give you the sleep patch.” Coraline set the ampule into a sleeve in the tubbing and set the IV transmission patch against the back of Kerry’s left hand. She removed the patch from her carry-all. “You’re going to start feeling drowsy right away; don’t fight the feeling, just let it come. You’re going to have a relaxing, fulfilling sleep, Kerry: I promise.”

“I believe you.” He gave her a somewhat sad smile. “And thank you.”

“It’s my pleasure.” Coraline prepared the patch. “You ready?” She pressed it against his carotid artery and applied a light pressure as she crafted the spell to start the medication flowing.
He looked up at Annie, trying to hold his smile. “I guess I’ll—” Within seconds Kerry’s eyes fluttered. “Um—” His face grew slack as his eyes close. “I love . . .” His voice trailed away as his body went limp. In seconds he was breathing through his slightly parted mouth while a deep sleep overtook him.

 

Acetylcholine is a real thing:  it’s what helps you dream, and while that’s going on your body is producing almost as much as it does while you’re awake.  Shut that down and you shut down your dream functions, and the good doctor is doing just that.  I’ve known she was going to do this for a while, but I didn’t get this information until a few days ago because it wasn’t needed.  Now you know.

Now, this thing with Kerry going right out . . . naw, it’s not something Coraline expected–

 

Coraline let out a long sigh. “Damn.”

“What?” Annie looked up, the semi-pained look still present in her eyes.

“It usually takes about a minute for the medication I gave him to put you to sleep. He was out in seconds—” Coraline checked the status monitors over the bed. “He’s okay, but he must have been tired as hell.” She tisked loudly. “I should have caught this on Saturday.”

Annie continued holding Kerry’s hand. “What did you mean when you said not dreaming for long wasn’t good?”

Coraline waved the carry-all off the night stand and levitated it to the end of the bed. “Going without dreaming for too long has the same effect as going without sleep: in time the beta-amyloid builds up because the body isn’t filtering it out properly—which REM sleep helps do—and before you know it your exhausted, you’re having probably with your memory and concentration—” She gazed down into the carry-all. “You can even start hallucinating. So if he continues to keep himself from sleeping because he fears a dream—”

Annie looked down on her sleeping soul mate. “Would you get him help?”

“I’d have to, but I’d likely have to send him to a facility for that.” Coraline saw Annie’s shoulders slump as the girl grasped her comment. I’ve never seen her suffer so much. Even last year, when she was so desperate to have Kerry remember their time before school, she was never like this. “Annie?”

She didn’t look up. “Yes?”

“It’s okay if you cry.”

Annie straightened before turning to face Coraline. Though her face remained pained, her voice was serious and steady. “My tears are only for him and no one else.”

For Annie to be noticeably shaken a lot of shit has to have went down.  Sure, it’s early in the morning and she was blasted out of a sound sleep by her soul mate screaming, but she’s not reacting well to Kerry’s situation.  And she’s shook up in a way that Coraline’s never seen–but she’d not shook up enough to not let Coraline know there is no way in hell she’s gonna shed a tear in front of her.  The implication is noted:  I may cry for Kerry, but you are not he.  She showed him a tear when they were together in London over the summer, but she’d burn the school down before anyone  else sees one.

So, Kerry’s been more or less kicked out of the tower for the time being–and Annie as well–and he’s down for a twelve hour rest.  What’s next?

 

Coraline nodded once. “Got it.” She sorted through things in the carry-all as Annie wandered over. “I need to get a catheter in him.”

“You brought two.” Annie looked up. “And another IV.”

“Yes, I did—” Coraline rested against the foot board of Kerry’s bed. “For you.”

“Why?”

“Because you need sleep as well, girl. You’re a moment away from losing it now, and I know if I leave you on your own tonight, you’ll stay up and watch over him and worry—which means come morning you won’t be worth a damn.” She shook her head. “He needs a good twelve hours of sleep, and I don’t see any reason why you should have the same.”

Annie turned to Bed #1 then back to Coraline. “Do you—?”

“Oh, please.” She chuckled for the first time since arriving at the hospital this evening. “I’ve been told I’m a facilitator to your affections, so I don’t see a reason to stop now.” She pointed towards the bed. “Climb in and get comfortable. I’ll get your IV and do the catheters after you’re out.”

There was a momentary pause, then Annie gave Coraline a warm hug. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She held the girl by the shoulders. “Best get settled before I change my mind.”

Annie slid into bed next to Kerry, getting comfortable in the crook of his right arm, and nodded when she was ready. Coraline applied the sleep patch and watch the tired girl drift off to sleep before getting her IV affixed. Before she pulled back the covers to get their catheters in place Coraline slumped as she considered what had already happened this evening as well as why they needed to do today. I hope to hell we can figure this out soon, ‘cause it may not go well for Kerry if we don’t. She patted both sleeping children on their heads. We can’t fail these two; we simply can’t.

 

The couple that soul mates together get to do the long nap time together, and Coraline could give a shit if anyone says anything to her.  She’s also aware that they are in this together:  if Kerry is suffering, then Annie’s suffering, ad they’re helping not just one kid, but both.  Or at least that’s how Coraline see this.  Other’s may have a different view of the situation–

In face, in the next scene, someone will have an extraordinarily different view of the Lovely Dovey couple . . .

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9 thoughts on “Hospital Visitation: Bedside Manners

  1. Seriously, Annie should cry it all out. Crying is very cathartic. For some reason, crying at sad movies seems to make me feel so much better. Coraline should tell Annie that. Is there an instance where Annie lets the tears fall ? I don’t remember anything of the sort .

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