TITLE: The Exiled. Part of first chapter. 29th April 2017
By Elaine Hemingway
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It had been a glorious day, the sort of day that promised contentment and anticipation. Dr Blake Edmonds had felt a little melancholic though with a frame of mind forcing him to wonder about the challenges he would have to face on such a bright day. When three accident victims were consigned to his care, three women from the same crash, his melancholia was dissipated and his fighting mode kicked in. A woman who was the sole survivor of a disaster that had taken her family and two more from another vehicle in the same catastrophe had all started the day unaware that tragedy awaited them. The next few days would be crucial. He would do his best and hope it would be enough.
Marla Davison slept a drug induced escape from reality.
Doctor Blake leant over her bed deeply concerned for his patient. “Come on, my dear. I want you back with us now, even if it is hard for you.” His words were soft but sincere. He was beginning to despair of her state of mind, as she tossed in delirium and he wondered what the outcome would be when she regained consciousness. How does one reconcile the loss of not one loved one but three? Five lives had been lost, her husband and two children, together with both drivers of the other vehicles. Had he made the right decision to place her in a medically induced coma to give her multiple fractures a chance to heal? Would it be possible that she had some recollection of the horrific accident that had claimed the lives of her loved ones? No sense in second guessing himself now, he had other responsibilities.
His next patient was the wife, or widow now, of the driver of the 4x4 who hadn’t made it. The green curtains billowed around him as he bent to take her hand and gently stroke her fingers.
“Corinne, can you hear me?” he asked and beckoned the nurse standing at the foot of the bed. She handed him the chart and he looked at it cursorily before handing it back with a grunt. He had overstepped protocol by putting Corinne in the bed next to Marla, and though separated by curtains in the Intensive Care unit of the Addison General Hospital, his hope was that they would be able to comfort each other in some way when fully conscious. There was only so much a doctor could do.
“She woke a little while ago, but only mumbled a little.”
The voice was that of the third survivor, a fifty-something woman, with pewter coloured hair, keeping vigil at the opposite side of the bed. He had barely noticed her in his concentration on his patient.“Goodness, Margaret, I know I gave permission for you to visit, but not full time. I didn’t expect you here so early. Don’t you have someplace to go?”
Doctor Edmonds was amazed at the persistence of this woman, the least injured of the three. Margaret Mitchell had been released with bruised ribs, dislocated shoulder, sprained wrist and, he mentally diagnosed, delayed shock which would reverberate through her for some time to come.
“Actually not at the moment, but you said yesterday you may be able to move Corinne to another ward today, so here’s hoping.”
“Didn’t you say you were staying with Corinne, and her late husband, Cole?” He released Corinne’s hand, noting the flutter of her fingers as she responded to his touch, and bent to initial the chart at the foot of the bed, the harsh light from the ceiling reflecting on his slightly balding head.
“Yes, indeed, but sitting there and thinking of what might have been is not helping. My cousin was so looking forward to our travelling round the countryside together; reviving memories of our childhood, I guess, and now I feel I have a responsibility to Corinne to give as much support as I can, as long as my furlough lasts.”
Her smile, like a bowl of flowers in a dark room, confused him again as he considered her profession. She was certainly not a stereotype missionary, which was the occupation she had given on the admittance form. “I’ll call you back shortly, then, to be my eyes and ears for Mrs Davison when I start to bring her round. I know you have been speaking to her.”
Margaret nodded. “I hope she hears me. I understand that is highly probable.”
“True. But why not go along to the cafeteria while I finish my examination. When I’ve finished my rounds, I would like to hear more of your plans. Can I meet you there?”
Margaret had been discharged two days after the accident and now, sitting in the hospital cafeteria, remembered the sickening crash, the screaming skid and the smell that had been her last sensation before losing consciousness. What was it? Oil? Burning rubber? She wondered when Dr Edmonds would allow Corinne into another ward. Unconsciously rubbing her injured shoulder she adjusted the arm still secured in a surgical sling, unaware of the sympathetic glances cast her way from those at nearby tables. The bruises on her face where she had hit the headrest of the front seat in the 4x4 were fading to a yellowy green and a nurse, passing her table, stopped to speak.
“Hi there! I hope you don’t mind my interrupting. You look deep in thought, but I just wanted to say how glad we in ICU staff are that you are recovering so well. It is a miracle that you survived and that you are able to get around so well.”
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