Mira punched in as the night nurse at the city’s hospital. She checked the charts to see what rounds she had and which patients she would be attending to that night. She looked at her image in her pocket mirror and saw how haggard she actually looked. She sighed, “At least, I made it to work.”
She had been up during her sleep time arguing with her live-in boyfriend. Mira was trying to make sense of it all, but the haze enveloped her. She simply knew that she could not go on like this. Something had to give.
She momentarily forgot her woes as she reviewed the patient charts. There was a new patient and from what she could tell his prognosis did not look good. He had had surgery and she saw that he was 42 as she was. Her jaw dropped when she saw that they had the same exact birthday.
“Wow! This is really deep,” Mira mumbled under her breath.
After Mira did her routine beginning duties, she decided to look in on her new patient, Daniel. She fully expected him to be asleep from heavy sedation. When she entered the room, she gently checked his vitals and made sure that the attached IV’s and machines were properly working. Everything seemed to be in order.
She noted that he was a handsome man and automatically, she wondered about his personal life. Did he have a wife? A family? Kids? Anyone? She privately knew that she was delving into territory that was not ethically correct, but who would not at least wonder.
Mira decided to look at his records and flipped through the clip board. She saw that there was no ‘next of kin’ listed. In fact, the line was left empty. She knew that there was certainly a story here.
“How disturbing!” she thought. As she turned to leave the room, she heard him cough or clear his throat. She spun around when she heard a weak, “Hey.”
“Hi Daniel. I am Nurse Mira. How are you feeling?” she asked.
“Oh. A little groggy,” his voice strengthened in a heavy bass tone.
“Wow!” she thought. That voice. Mira instantly recovered from her private thoughts and responded, “Okay. Let me check to make sure you have everything you need. We want you to be comfortable here.”
“Mira, is it?” Daniel asked.
“Yes,” she responded. “It is Mira.”
“I need to talk,” he stated promptly. He raised a little to get a better look at her.
“Okay,” she said weakly. His voice alone seemed to command her attention and as a willing child, she found herself obeying.
“Let me make my rounds and I can come back during my break and listen. Okay?” she asked.
“Yes. Thanks, Mira,” he said as he leaned back in a more comfortable position.
Mira left the room and had temporarily forgotten about her own war at home. As she prepared the medication for the other patients on the floor, her mind briefly returned to what awaited her when she did get off from work. Brian, her boyfriend, seemed to be more argumentative lately. She could not put her finger on what it was, but something was not right. Either, he was looking for an escape hatch or something. She brushed off the thoughts and tucked them away. She almost said out loud, “Not now.”
When her break rolled around, she took her snacks and returned to Daniel’s room. He slept lightly as she peered closely after entering the room. His breathing was steady and as she was about to move away from the bed, his eyes opened.
Lynn Originally written: October 17, 2014