Chapter Twenty

Dr. Chase was really upset when he found out about her resignation. He had gone ahead and written the article for the NEJM, including a glowing tribute to the intuition and compassion of a certain Chloe Marzhal, RN. He didn't have to do that, but it pleased her that he did. The nursing department had sent in their version of the story to Nursing2007. Her name didn't appear at all and only one vague reference to 'the night charge nurse' was made.

"Robert, dear, I've been doing this for," she glanced at the calendar, "thirty-one years this month! I'm tired. I'm tired of the bullshit, I'm tired of every third patient being a drug seeking addict, I'm tired of the politics. I'm just tired."

Chase was desperately trying to talk her out of retiring.

"I want to go out and take dance lessons, I want to write the great American novel, I want to teach inner city kids how to crochet at the Boys and Girls Club. I want to do something that either makes me happy or garners me some sort of grateful appreciation from others. I'm sick of emptying bedpans and cleaning up other people's messes."

"Maybe you could help us in Diagnostics!" He became quite animated. "Cameron is getting really tired of going through House's mail, we could definitely use somebody who understands medical terminology…"

She cut him off, "Robert, going from a nurse to a secretary is not my idea of fun. Besides, working with House that closely day in and day out would simply lead to another shooting incident. He and I understand each other, let's just leave it at that, shall we."

Chase gave up. He hugged her tight, shook her hand and gave her his card with his home phone number and email address on the back. "Please keep in touch."

"Write down your birthday and I will." She smiled and patted his cheek.

Esi Dagomba stood in her little room in the convent and read the letter that had been delivered from such a long way away. The nurse with the kind eyes had written to her, wanting to know how and what she was doing. The letter was filled with descriptions of the hospital where they had treated Esi so well, jokes and a few pictures. Esi liked the pictures the best. Dr. Chase was so friendly and kind. The social worker, Bettye Martindale with her funny pink glasses and of course, Nurse Chloe. Esi had decided she wanted to be a nurse, too and the nuns near her village were sending her to school. Her family was proud of her and she was grateful they never had to know what she'd been through.

"Where's Chloe?"

"This is her last night, you'd think she'd be here early."

"She knows we're having a party for her, doesn't she?"

It was 6:30p.m. and the staff on the third floor were fidgeting. The cake was fantastic, Jennifer had made it from scratch. Everyone had brought a little something for the retirement bash they had planned for her. Banners and ribbons bedecked the nurses station. They had all pitched in and bought her a beautiful pair of sterling silver earrings, her favorites. They were so excited.

Earlier that morning, Chloe had experienced car trouble on her way home from work. 'Blasted cars!' Luckily she managed to get it to her favorite mechanic and left it there for him to work on. One of his flunkies drove her home. They were good to her like that. But, that had meant she had to get up earlier than usual and take the bus to work. The bus was notoriously slow and she was afraid she'd be late for her last night at work. What were they going to do? Fire her? Ha!

She was glad to be getting out of this hamster cage. Chuckling to herself, she entered the backside of the hospital and made her way to the all-but-forgotten freight elevators. Just as the elevator door opened, she felt a blow to the back of her neck and a tremendous burning in her shoulder. Then all went black.

"Adler, you got a phone call!"

Jason Adler rose from the table where he was engrossed in an interesting card game and proceeded to the bank of payphones against the back wall of the recreation room.

"Adler."

"I see."

"Well done, thank you."

He returned to his table, laughing his ass off. That would show her who was boss. To hell with that Dom of hers! It had never occurred to him that he was the patsy in that little drama. It never occurred to him that she would live through the night.

END

Agnus Dei qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserére nobis

(Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us)