Quitting Time

Quitting Time (March 2019, Week 3, Day 4)

“Why isn’t that clock moving, Pat?”

“Because you want it to, and it knows it.”

“Well, shit. That’s true enough. I feel like this shift is gonna last ‘til my last breath.”

“You better hold it, then – looks like you’ve got a new one coming in.”

Rae followed Pat’s gaze over her shoulder and sighed when she saw the orderly pushing his way backwards into the ward. 

“No rest for the wicked. Which rooms do we have open?”

“We’re down to one – room 64.”

Rae called out to the orderly as she went for the computer. “Room 64 tonight, Franklin. I’ll be there right behind you.”

Franklin was standing by the door with both hands on his gurney when Rae walked up. “She’s in the bed.” He looked down at Rae and lowered his voice. “Rae, she’s not ok.”

“I imagine not, Franklin, since she’s here.”

Franklin left his bed and pulled Rae down the hall, out of earshot of the room. “She’s more not ok than normal.”

“What’s got you so spooked? Whatever she’s got going on she shouldn’t be in there alone.”

Franklin looked over Rae’s head. “Pat, can you step into 64 while I talk with Rae?”

Pat pressed herself up out of her chair and waddled down the hallway. “You two need to make it quick – once I’m up you know I’ll have to pee soon.”

“So now you want me to watch the clock? I’m kidding – we’ll make it quick.”

Franklin waited until Pat had made it into the room and closed the door behind her before turning back to Rae. “Look, that girl doesn’t want to be here.”

“That’s not so unusual, Franklin. Some people are stubborn about hospitals.”

“That is NOT what I mean.” Franklin’s voice rose. “Please, let me finish.”

“Ok, ok. Sorry. I won’t say a word til you’re done.”

Franklin looked back at the closed door of room 64. “That girl’s ‘boyfriend’ will be up in a minute and you’ll see for yourself what I mean. He’s pulling all the strings that girl has and it’s not ok.”

“All this for a girl in a crappy relationship? Franklin, sometimes you let your old man routine get too big.”

“I am not doing a routine. That girl needs help, and not the kind that will come from the attendings. You’ll see once you go in there, and once you meet her boyfriend. I can’t do anything for her, but you might be able to.” 

The door to room 64 opened and Pat poked her head into the hallway. “This baby says your time is up. I need to go.”

“Right, Pat – sorry! On my way. Franklin, stick around at the desk until Pat is done, will you?”

Rae didn’t wait for his answer. She navigated the computer  into the room, trading places with Pat, and let the door close behind her. Rae took in her patient’s appearance without missing a beat.

“My name is Rae and I’ll be your nurse for a few hours yet – let’s get you comfortable.”

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