The next day the blinds were up and the sun scattered across half of the bed. Pete rested quietly in the regular room just twenty-four hours after his emergency surgery. The transfer from ICU went smoothly with the patient sleeping through it all. Perspiration glistened from any exposed skin as a result from the fever he battled. A heavy bandage covered the surgical site on his left thigh. His one arm was tethered down from the intravenous line that delivered the lactated ringers. Only the steady beeping of the heart monitor resounded in the room. During the last few hours Pete had only opened his eyes briefly before quickly fading back into an unconscious bliss. His body seemed to be channeling all it's energy into healing. At this point Doctor Carter had kept almost every visitor out so his patient could rest. His Sergeant and the Lieutenant looked in once while he was still in ICU then Val forced Mac to go home for some much-needed sleep.
Doctor Carter made his early morning rounds visiting Officer Malloy first. He grabbed his chart and perused over it for his last vitals then sat it to the side before putting in his stethoscope earpieces to assess Pete's lung and heart sounds.
"Can I get you anything, doctor?" A youthful blonde nurse asked.
Pulling out his earpieces he glanced from his patient to his assistant, "Cindy, can you get a 1 gm vial of Ampicillin? I don't want these rattles to develop into full-blown Pneumonia plus his fever is worrying me. Give it slowly in his IV."
"Yes Sir, right away."
He jotted down some quick notes on Pete's chart then leaned closer and asked, "Pete, can you hear me?" He saw a light twitch of his eyelashes, which meant he was waking, but then nothing. He picked up his limp hand in his own, "Pete, squeeze my hand," but still, no response. The doctor rocked his patient gently up on his side to see the bandage covering the back wounds for any seeping. "Looks good." Next he palpated his abdomen and a slight moan was the first response to the pressure. He then checked the condition of the leg bandage, "Clean and dry" he spoke out loud to himself. Then a bit of a domino effect occurred. Pete eyes flickered, he clenched his fists, then flexed back into his pillow with a grimace crossing his face. "Good Morning, Pete. I'm Doctor Carter. Can you tell me how you're feeling?"
Pete tried to focus on the doctor, but squinted from the pain associated with the brightness in the room. With a super dry throat Pete whispered, "my head ... is killing me."
"Well, that's to be expected. You got a pretty good bump on the head, which resulted in a severe concussion. Other than your head, how does everything else feel on a scale of one to ten? Ten being the worst."
"Maybe ... an eight."
The doctor gently patted his right thigh. "Ok, I'll get you some more pain medication right away.
"What time ... is it?"
"Seven in the morning. Monday morning."
"Monday?" Confusion crossed his face.
"Yes, you've been at the hospital for over twenty-four hours. I wouldn't be surprised if your memories of the last couple days are very spotty. It's a common side effect of concussions."
Just then the nurse came back into the room and stepped beside the bed to give the antibiotics in the IV line. "Oh good, he's awake. Morning Officer Malloy. Doctor, can I go ahead with the medication?"
"Yes, Cindy. And then can you get another dose of Morphine for him?"
"Yes, Sir." The nurse gave the antibiotics then paused before leaving. "Doctor, I know Officer Malloy has some visitors waiting to see him. Should I let them in?"
"Not just yet."
"I'll be right back with the pain medication."
Pete shifted and a rattled cough resulted. The sudden movement reminded him of all his aches. He gritted his teeth then said, "Doc, I need ... to see my sergeant." Pete rubbed his forehead with his free right hand hoping to stop the dreaded throbbing then left his hand over his eyes to block the light.
His actions didn't go unnoticed. The doctor walked over to the window and closed the blinds. "Pete, you can talk with your superior in good time. Right now, your priority is to rest. Doctor's orders." He walked back over and tapped him again on the leg. "I'm going to give you something to help you sleep."
Pete's eyes popped open with a sudden clarity. He leaned forward and groaned out, "Jim?"
"Whoa there! Where do you think you're going?"
"You must be talking about Officer Reed."
"Yes," another wet cough followed. His breathing increased to short rapid breaths.
"He's doing just fine. He cracked a couple ribs and has a mild concussion, but otherwise is doing well. I signed his release papers this morning."
Even in his pained state, a sense of relief washed over Pete from the doctor's words about Jim.
Nurse Cindy returned and gave the pain injection promptly. The medication brought a warming sensation throughout his body. The doctor softly requested one more thing. Before Pete knew it, the doctor gave one last medication in his IV. His breathing slowed, his body relaxed, his eyes closed, and he finally succumbed to the sedative drugs.
"Cindy, keep a close eye on him. Let me know if he has any changes in his breathing patterns, otherwise I'll be back to look in on him in two hours."
"I'll go talk to his visitors."
Dr. Carter made his way out to the waiting area. He spotted a pacing gentleman in plain clothes, he recognized as Sergeant MacDonald. Another two uniformed officers leaned against the wall while two more sat in the line of chairs holding paper coffee cups with steam rising. One last man sat beside the others in a wheelchair who Carter knew as his recently released patient, Jim Reed. "Excuse me, Gentlemen." All six men stopped talking and gave the doctor their full attention.
"I know you want to see Officer Malloy, but I want to stress how important it is for him to rest. His body is trying to overcome a number of injuries plus early stages of pneumonia. I believe we are managing him quite well with antibiotics and pain medication, but we can't overstate his need for sleep. Now, I have given him a sedative so he won't be talking for a while. He will be allowed visitors later tonight for only short periods."
Mac spoke up first, "Is he out of the woods yet, Doctor?"
"I believe he is, but I plan to keep a close eye on his lung function."
Ed Wells stood up. "Does he remember what happened to him?"
"The problem with a concussion is the high likelihood of partial amnesia. He is experiencing some other symptoms resulting from the head injury from a severe headache, sensitivity to light, and some confusion. I just think it's best for him right now to not answer any questions. I'll reevaluate him throughout the day and will give you updates, Sergeant."
"Thank you, Doctor." Mac shared as the other officers nodded.
Dr. Carter hustled off to see other patients just as Jean Reed walked up with a couple medicine vials in hand. "Should we get you home, Jim?"
He gave a forlorn look. "Honey, I would just like to peek in on Pete."
"Is he allowed visitors yet?"
"No, but I won't talk to him. I just need to see that he's ok."
Mac glanced down the hall like a look out. "Just a peek can't hurt." He wheeled Jim down the hallway to room 412. He pushed through the door and entered the darkened room. Nurse Cindy turned and walked over to intercept the two men.
"I'm sorry. Officer Malloy isn't allowed visitors."
"We know. It's just ... his partner, Jim," he motioned to Jim in the chair, "was just released and he really wanted to see him before he left the hospital." Mac stated.
Jim pleaded, "I promise not to talk to him. I just need to see that he's ok."
She waffled with the idea then gave in. "Ok, just for one minute."
Both Mac and Jim were so relieved to see Pete resting comfortably. He was going to be ok. It might take some time, but their family was still intact.
Thanks for reading this! I may add more if the story speaks to me.