One Tiny Miracle...(6)

By: Carol Marinelli


‘Sure.’

‘Could you run a quick ECG on her, too? No rush.’

He was nice and laid-back, Celeste thought. He didn’t talk down to her just because she was a grad, didn’t ream off endless instructions as if she’d never looked after a head injury or hand laceration before. And, best of all, he hadn’t lectured her on whether she should be here.

The observation ward was rather like a bus-stop—you were either standing or sitting around waiting, with nothing much happening for ages or everything arriving at once.

Matthew was brought around first, pale, as Ben had described, but he managed a laugh as he climbed up onto the bed as Celeste had a joke with him.

‘You do know exercise is bad for you?’ His mother and girlfriend had both come around to see him into the observation ward, but now he was there and settled they would be heading home. Celeste did a careful set of neurological observations, warning Matthew this would be happening on the hour, every hour. ‘Whether you’re asleep or not...’

She told Matthew’s family about visiting and discharge times and wrote down the hospital and extension numbers for them. Just as she was about to get started on the admission paperwork, the doors opened.

‘Another admission for you...’ Deb, a fellow grad, was wheeling round a rather delightful Fleur—with rouged cheeks and painted on eyebrows, she was dressed in a blue and white polka-dot skirt with a smart white blouse, which unfortunately had been splattered with blood. ‘Fleur Edwards, 82, a hand injury—’ Deb started.

‘Ben’s already told me about her,’ Celeste said, sensing Deb was in a rush. ‘Any family?’

‘Her daughter’s coming in this afternoon.’ They flicked through the charts. ‘No allergies, she suffers with arthritis, but apart from that she seems very well...’

‘I’ll sort things out, then,’ Celeste said, smiling over at Fleur, who was patiently sitting in a wheelchair, her arm in a sling. ‘Is it getting busy out there?’ she asked Deb.

‘It’s starting to—we’ve got a multi-trauma coming in.’

Though she smiled as she went over to help Fleur, Celeste was hit with a pang as Deb left, just a pang of something. She should be out there, would have loved to really immerse herself in this emergency programme, and though she hoped to when she came back from maternity leave, Celeste was also realistic enough to know that her head would be full of other things by then, and that she’d be exhausted for other reasons, namely the baby who was kicking at her diaphragm right now. Still, it wasn’t Fleur’s problem.

‘Hello, Mrs Edwards.’

‘Fleur.’ Fleur smiled.

‘I’m Celeste—I’ll be looking after you this shift.’

‘You should be the one being looked after.’ Fleur clucked. She really was gorgeous. Widowed for twenty years, she was an independent old lady, and she had cut her hand peeling an orange for her morning snack, Celeste found out as she took her history.

‘Well, for now we’ll get you into a gown and into bed, so that we can elevate your hand on an IV pole. You’ve had something for pain—has that helped?’

‘I can hardly feel it, the bandage is so tight.’ Fleur said. ‘Would you mind taking me over to the ladies’ before I get into bed?’

‘Of course.’ Only at that moment Matthew sat up, with that anxious, frantic look Celeste knew all too well, and with a quick ‘Won’t be a moment’ to Fleur she raced over, locating a kidney dish just in time and pulling the curtain around him.

‘It’s okay, Matthew,’ she soothed. ‘I’ll just fetch you a wet cloth...’ And run another set of obs, Celeste thought. He really was terribly pale.

‘I’ve got to get work,’ Matthew muttered. He wasn’t a particularly large 18-year-old, but none the less he was trying to climb out of bed and he resisted as Celeste tried to guide him to lie back down. ‘I have to get to work, I’m going to be late...’

‘You’re in hospital, Matthew,’ Celeste said. ‘You’ve had a bang on your head, remember?’