One Tiny Miracle...(9)

By: Carol Marinelli

‘I bought a brush from the chemist,’ Fleur said as Celeste gave it a good scrub. ‘You know, on a long stick, but I still can’t get there.’ So Celeste took her time to wash it as thoroughly as she could, wondering how best to approach this proud lady.

‘You’ll be needing some help with your hand out of action...’

‘I will not!’ Fleur said, as Celeste wrapped her in towels. ‘I’ll manage fine with one hand.’

‘You probably will,’ Celeste said, ‘but there are so many aids, like hand-held showers, and there are brushes for your back but with curved sticks. I’m not sure of all the things that could help, but maybe we could get you assessed.’

‘I like my independence.’

‘Well, this will help you keep your independence.’ Celeste shrugged. ‘You may as well while you’re here... Have a think about it.’

Fleur was right, Ben thought. Sitting at the desk for a moment, having made a very difficult call to Matthew’s mother and not ready to head back out there, he’d overheard the conversation between the two women. Celeste was kind, very kind indeed.

It was so easy to become hard working in Emergency—he’d seen it happen to so many colleagues. It was necessary almost if you wanted to survive in this area. He had become hardened too—switched off on certain occasions, because at times it was easier to deal with a patient than a person, kinder to yourself not to think about a family and friends and futures that were being obliterated, to just get on with the job in hand, rather than look at the bigger picture. But watching Celeste wheel out a smiling Fleur, all powdered and warm and well looked after, Ben was a mite conflicted.

Because pregnancy was his thing. One of his many things if he actually stopped and thought about it, which he tried very hard not to do.

Most people had one—Belinda had just told him on the walk back from Imaging how her younger brother had almost died from a head injury. The staff hadn’t noticed his deterioration and it had been Belinda herself who had recognised the signs when she had come to visit. Yes, they all had their things. And pregnancy was Ben’s—the one thing where he just had to detach and deal with a foetus rather than a baby, look at a set of numbers instead of the person.

He didn’t want to be hard, didn’t want to be bitter—except he was.

Yet watching Celeste rub her back after helping Fleur into bed, reluctantly watching the shape of her pregnant belly, he resisted the urge to just walk away, to shrug his shoulders and let her get on with it. She wasn’t a nurse, or a set of numbers, or a pregnant woman, she was Celeste, who was kind and tired and had had a difficult start to her shift and a lot of mess to clean up.

‘I’ve spoken to Matthew’s family...’ As he chatted to her, he lifted the metal bedhead from the floor and replaced it, then easily dragged the portable oxygen cylinder back to its spot—just doing a couple of little things that he didn’t need to, in the same way Celeste had done for Fleur, only she could never know the effort behind his easy gestures, because being around her was becoming unbearable for Ben. ‘They’re on their way back. I’ve told them to come to the front desk, but if they arrive here, just give me a buzz.’

‘I will.’ She pulled over a linen skip and stripped the bed. ‘Do you think he’ll be okay?’

‘He’ll be in Theatre by now,’ Ben said, ‘so, hopefully, yes. I’ll let you know when I hear.’

Her quiet shift was anything but. By the time it came to a close the crash cart was checked and put away, the eight beds had been filled with patients, Fleur had agreed to a visit from Occupational Therapy and now that visiting time was over, the ward was actually neat and in order—at least the night nurse should have a quiet shift!

‘Thank you, Celeste.’ Fleur smiled as Celeste helped her into clean, dry undies before she headed off home. ‘For all your care and for washing out my clothes—my daughter never suspected a thing.’

‘That’s good. Theatre just called and it shouldn’t be too much longer till they’re ready for you.’