One Tiny Miracle...(5)

By: Carol Marinelli


Her family was no longer speaking to her, especially as she had steadfastly refused to name the father, but how could she? Having found out that not only was her boyfriend married but that his wife worked in Admin at the hospital she worked in, even though no one knew, would ever know, guilt and shame had left Celeste with no choice but to hand in her notice. Then, just as it had all looked hopeless, she had found out that she been accepted at the graduate emergency nursing programme at Bay View Hospital, which was on the other side of the city.

She hadn’t been pregnant at the time of her application and the polite thing to do might have been to defer—perhaps that was what had been expected of her—but with such an uncertain future ahead, a monthly pay cheque was essential in the short term, and, as a clearly single mother, more qualifications wouldn’t go amiss. Also, moving away from home and friends would halt the endless questions.

It was lonely, though.

And now her colleagues were having to make concessions—no matter how much they denied that they were.

‘Cubicle seven is Matthew Dale, eighteen years old. A minor head injury, he tripped while jogging, no LOC. He should be discharged, Ben’s seeing him now.’

‘Ben?’ Celeste checked.

‘The new registrar. He started this morning. Here he is now...’ Meg waved him over. ‘What’s happening with cubicle seven, Ben?’

‘I’m going to keep him in. Sorry to open up the observation ward so early but...’ His voice trailed off as he caught sight of Celeste, but for whatever reason he chose not to acknowledge her, just carried on giving his orders for the patient. Although she had to offer him no explanation as to her being here, and though there was absolutely no reason to, again, for the ten zillionth and first time, Celeste felt guilty.

Almost as if she’d been caught.

Doing what? Celeste scolded herself, as she walked round to the closed-off observation ward, flicked on the lights and then turned back a bed for Matthew.

She was earning a living—she had to earn a living.

She had ten weeks of pregnancy to go and the crèche wouldn’t take the baby till it had had all its inoculations, so if she stopped now she wouldn’t be working for almost six months.

The panic that was permanently just a moment away washed over her.

How was she going to cope?

Even working full time it was a struggle to meet the rent. With no help from her family, she was saving for the stroller and cot and had bought some teeny, tiny baby clothes and some nappies, but there was so much more she needed. Then there was her bomb of a car...

Celeste could actually feel her panic rising as she faced the impossibility of it all and she willed herself to be calm, willed herself to slow her racing mind down. But that was no help either, because the second she stopped panicking all Celeste felt was exhausted.

Holding the bed sheet in her hand, she actually wanted to climb in, to lie down and pull the sheet over her head and sleep—and get fatter—and read baby magazines and feel kicks and just rest.

‘Feeling better?’ Celeste jumped at the sound of Ben’s voice. ‘After this morning?’

‘I had a stitch,’ Celeste responded just a touch too sharply. ‘And, before you ask, I am quite capable of working. I’m sick of people implying that I shouldn’t be here. Pregnancy isn’t a disease, you know!’

‘I was just being polite.’ Ben gave her a slightly wide-eyed look. ‘Making conversation—you know, with my neighbour?’

She’d overreacted, she knew that, and an apology was in order. ‘I’m sorry—I’ve had a bit of trouble convincing the doctor that I’m capable of coming back to work, and I’ve got Meg questioning me here. I just...’

‘Don’t need it.’

‘Exactly,’ Celeste said. ‘I’m hardly going to put the baby at risk.’

‘Good.’

She waited for the ‘but,’ for him to elaborate, for the little short, sharp lecture that she seemed to be getting a lot these days, but ‘good’ was all he said. Well, it was all he said about her condition, anyway.

‘I’ve booked Matthew in for a scan. He had a small vomit, and I’d rather play safe. He’s a bit pale, and I’m just not happy—they should call round for him soon. I’ve also found a hand injury to keep you occupied...’ He gave her a nice smile and handed her the notes. ‘Fleur Edwards, eighty-two years of age. She’s got a nasty hand laceration, probable tendon, though the surgeons won’t be able to fit her in till much later tonight. Given her age, it will be under local anaesthetic, so if you can give her a light lunch and then fast her—elevation IV antis, the usual.’