She was alive when she should have been dead. Of course there were consequences.
"I can't believe you survived that," Katherine, the nurse on duty, chirped as she took Penny's (still abnormally low, despite bucketworths of transfusions, blood pressure. "I mean, a machine part spearing you right through the lungs, blood spurting everywhere… who'd have thunk it?"
Desperate Housewives blared from the TV; Penny followed the nurse with her eyes, a bit too worn out to ask her to turn it off. Earlier that day, they'd mixed up her veggie burger with the burger burger intended for the guy in the room next to her. And Penny, even if she'd only recently woken up from a month-long coma, didn't intend to eat anything that came from a moocow.
So, with one hand on the wall, shuffling through the corridors in her hospital gown, Penny had dragged herself to the cafeteria, where she'd grabbed a veggie burger from the takeout line. She took one bite- and, exhausted, toppled backwards onto the tile floor. So now she had a terrible puncture wound and a mild concussion. Oh, well.
Penny always looked on the bright side, though. Even now, with one of her least favorite shows invading her overly sensitive ears, she could find something to smile about. It was a beautiful day; she knew that because she'd been lucky enough to get a room that faced the sun. Sunlight streamed in through her window, and a breeze made the curtains billow. Little birds chirped outside. What a truly lovely day! She couldn't wait to get out of the hospital and enjoy it properly.
And she was alive. By some freak twist of fate, the piece of metal that went into her chest hadn't hit anything too vital. One inch more of tilt and it would have scraped an artery; one inch less and she'd still be on the ventilator, assuming she could have survived at all. Okay, so apparently her boyfriend had dumped her while she was in a coma, but her co-workers had taken up a collection to pay her rent until she got back, and she still had her wonderful job.
The cuff tightened around her arm, but Penny ignored the pain- she'd gotten used to it.
"So, what's the first thing you're going to do when you get out of here? Go to the movies? There's this great horror movie that came out recently, Saw 27- blood and guts all over the screen!"
Penny shook her head. "That sounds fun, but… I have something important to do."
Like finding the person who'd saved her life. Someone had stopped her from bleeding to death, had kept her lungs working and her heart beating. Someone had sat with her until the police arrived, cradling her, whispering her name. She remembered hearing them, but she couldn't remember the tone of their voice. And although she tried to call up an image, a name, the color of their eyes, anything, nothing concrete really came to mind. Just the touch of a gloved finger against her cheek.
The monitor beeped, and, with a sigh of escaping air, the cuff loosened. Katherine looked at the readout.
"Well, you might get to do it this week," she said. "These numbers are almost normal. You'll be going home soon."
The sunlight streaming through her window seemed even brighter than before.