Dan conner woke up with a nauseating headache, bleary eyes and no memory of how he ended up in this hospital room.
He stayed quiet, just looking at the ceiling. He closed his eyes again and tested himself to see how much he remembered.
"Dan…Daniel Stephen Conner. Uh Darlene, Becky, Jerry, D.J. D.J. that stands for something, I can't remember, Rosie, and Roseanne….Jackie…"He muttered running his hand over his face and through his hair. His muttering caught the attention of a female nurse dressed in navy blue scrubs. She put her hands in his left arm as a calming gesture.
"Slow down Mr. Conner. You were in a car accident. You didn't break any bones, but you received a head blow that cracked you're skull open. We're keeping you under observation in case of a concussion. Also, you have cuts on your arms, legs, and torso from your windshield."
Dan listened to this very young nurse. All he could think about right now was his wife.
"What about my wife? Roseanne?" He asked, sitting up, and preparing to get off his hospital bed.
"You're wife? Well I'm sorry. She didn't survive the ambulance ride."
Hearing this sent an instant feeling of disbelief through Dan. Maybe it was the drugs in his system or the intense love he had for his wife or something else that caused Dan to snap.
"NO! SHE CAN'T DIE! SHE CAN'T BE DEAD!..." Dan was all the way off his bed now, and standing on his own two feet, pulling his IV and pulse ox from his arms. He picked up the food tray beside his bed and threw it at the wall beside the nurse.
The nurse a whole foot and half smaller than Dan, held out her hands in front of her, fearing for safety. A doctor approximately Dan's height saw the commotion through the door way and ran to help the nurse, followed by an orderly and a security guard.
"I have to see her. She isn't dead. " Dan said to himself, while making his way to the door way.
The doctor lunged at Dan shouting the name for a tranquilizer and managed to push Dan who was at a slight disadvantage due to his headache on the floor, lying on his back.
Dan grabbed the doctor and made a fist but the security guard grabbed both of Dan's arms and forced them to his chest while the orderly and two other nurses took his legs and forced them to bend straight on the floor. Another doctor took the opportunity and pushed a syringe full of tranquilizer into Dan's thigh, as a crowd of shocked patients and doctors looked into the room.
"You can't keep her from me you BASTARDS! SHE ISN'T DEAD! I KNOW IT! I know it…" Tears formed in Dan's eyes as his body lost its battle to the tranquilizer, and Dan went unconscious.
Feeling that it was safe to let him go, the doctor, security guard and nurses stood up, as two different orderlies came to put Dan on his bed.
"What was that?" Asked the original nurse, still in shock.
"A man who loves his wife." The doctor answered.
"He was going to hurt me."
"I don't think so. He bypassed you to go out that door. All he was concerned about was seeing his wife."
Darlene Conner sat at her parent's house watching her baby brother Jerry, who was 18 years younger than she was. Normally she was at college, but she had a three day weekend so she decided to use that to visit her parents and help out with her brother so her parents could go for a night out. Nothing good was on TV so her mind began to wander and she began to think about her family.
The generations in her family had somehow become screwed up and twisted around to the point of confusion. She held in her lap her baby brother who was two years shy of being two decades younger than her, while her father had a brother who was born 38 years after him, and a sister who was born 39.5 years after him. Also she was pregnant but she hadn't told anyone that yet, not even the father, so her baby would be only 11 months younger than her baby brother, and three years younger than her cousin.
"Jerry, our family is totally screwed up." She said, looking at Jerry, as the phone rang.
Before she answered it, Darlene put Jerry in his play pen then ran to the phone.
"Hello?" She answered.
"Hello. This is Fulton County Hospital; I'm calling about a Daniel S. Conner and a Roseanne H. Conner…"
"What happened?" Darlene shouted.
"They were in a car accident. We'd like you to come down…" Before the lady on the phone could finish, Darlene slammed the phone down and called her other brother.
"DJ! Come down here!"
D.J. ran down the stairs hearing the franticness in his sister's voice.
"What?" He said.
"I need you to watch Jerry. The hospital called, mom and dad were in a car accident. I have to go there."
Now 14 years old and feeling like an adult, D.J. decided he was going too.
"I'm going with you." He said.
"Listen Deej, Jerry is better off here and you have to stay with him. Call Aunt Jackie and Becky. I'm leaving." Before DJ could protest his sister had grabbed her coat and was out of the door. He walked over to the playpen and picked up his brother.
He remembered when he was seven and Darlene had been sent to the hospital. Becky stayed home with him, and it was there job to tell their dad what happened. Then he also remembered when his dad had come home from work after a head injury and convinced him that he wasn't going to die for a very long time. He remembered that moment while his dad's words floated in his head. Somehow that made him feel better.
When Jackie hung up the phone after her nephew told her that her sister and brother in law were in the hospital she turned into a crying mess even though she had relatively little idea how serious the situation was.
But still, she grabbed her keys and rushed out of the door and made her way to the hospital. Luckily, her son, Andy was at his dad's house for the week.
Darlene reached the hospital, parked in a no parking zone and practically flew to the help desk. "I'm looking for the Conners." She proclaimed to the African American woman.
"Car accident?" The lady asked. Somehow Darlene immediately disliked the woman attitude and made that clear
"No. Rodeo accident."
The lady took the hint and changed her attitude. "Their names please?"
Darlene stiffened up. "Daniel Conner and Roseanne Conner."
The nurse went through the folders on her desk. She found the one labeled: Conner, Daniel Car Accident and looked threw it. "Mr. Conner is your dad?"
"He's stable, with no broken bones just a minor head injury. He is in room 307 on the second floor. If you get the chance can you fill out this form please?"
The nurse handed Darlene a form that looked like a job application.
"What about my mom?"
The nurse looked through the piles of folder and found the one labeled Conner, Roseanne D.O.A. She frowned at the paper, and then changed her gaze to Darlene. Darlene could tell right away that the news about her mom was not good.
"What is it? What's wrong with my mom?" Darlene felt herself tearing up and that made her mad.
"I'm sorry; she didn't make the ambulance ride."
Those words spun around in Darlene's head along with a thousand strange feelings and thoughts. There had been many times when Darlene imagined her mom dead. But now she was. Dead.
Oddly the first thing she could think of was her brothers. D.J. was 14 but that was still a young age to lose a mother, and Jerry won't grow up with a mom…maybe Aunt Jackie will be like a mom to him….All this swamped Darlene's head and she stopped it by refocusing on her dad.
"Can I see my dad?" She asked, as she realized that the nurse had her hand on her shoulder.
"You can try."
Darlene walked away and up the stairs to the second floor. She found the door marked 307 but a security guard was blocking it.
"What's going on?" She asked the man, approximately a foot taller than her father.
"This patient is under a psychiatric evaluation."
Darlene was shocked by this.
"What? What'd he do that you find crazy? Besides being a part of his family?" Darlene's sarcasm was her way of coping with the situation but the guard didn't see it that way.
"He had a mental break down and became violent. No one allowed in his room except medical personnel."
Darlene quickly pictured her dad pacing back and forth mumbling the names of car parts and punching out someone that tried to stop him, at the mention of mental break down.
"He's my father!" She yelled, seemingly frustrated.
"I'm sorry, miss. You'll have to wait until his doctor gives you permission before you can see him." Darlene accepted this and walked towards the stairs again.
Jackie appeared, waving her arms in shock and crying hysterically.
"I just heard. Oh my god! Oh my god!" The two women hugged each other tightly, and Darlene found herself not wanting to push her aunt away.
"They won't let me see dad, Jackie!" Darlene cried, more bothered by that than her mother's early demise.
Jackie's crying stopped quickly enough for her to ask for an explanation.
"They said that Dad had a mental break down and became violent…"
Jackie quit crying again and paused. "You're dad? Violent…?"
Before Darlene could speak again she saw a man in a lab coat enter her dad's room. She jumped up and ran to him.
"Excuse me. Are you this patient's doctor?"
The doctor had a puzzled look on his face. "Um yes. Who are you?"
"Darlene Conner, that's my aunt Jackie and I want to know why the hell I can't see my dad!"
The doctor had the door half opened, but he closed it and posed himself in a more professional manner.
"You're dad experienced a post traumatic mental break. This isn't uncommon in accident victims but when it does happen it usually takes a few days…sometimes weeks…to recover from. When he woke up, a nurse told him you're mother passed away and he became violent, because of that we will have to keep him under a psychiatric evaluation for a mandatory 74 hours. If he goes that long without another episode and is cleared by me or a psychiatrist he will be allowed to leave. I'm sorry to have to tell you this on top of your mothers passing."
Darlene just listened to the doctor but came to like his direct manner. One thing she hated about doctors, they're always beating around the bush, while this one told her everything she needed to know at once.
"Can I see him?" Darlene asked, already knowing she was already told no.
The doctor peeked inside the room and saw that his patient was asleep.
"I still want to see him."
The doctor said nothing but motioned for her to follow him in the room. Jackie who was still trying to stop crying caught up with them and followed.
The first thing Darlene noticed about her dad was the restraints on his wrists. Somehow they made him feel like someone else.
"We'll only restrain him like that until we're sure he won't act violently again."
Dan had gauze all over his arms and a bandage on his forehead above his right eye. If Darlene only looked him in the face he looked the same as all the times he dozed off on the couch. Darlene went to the side of his bed and put her hand in his. She could feel his rough calloused hands and she just stood there looking down at her dad.