“Anthony??” My voice was quavering, to my own surprise. “Are you in there? It’s me! Open the door; we have to tal-”
The door swung open. “Sheila! What’s the matter??” Anthony asked anxiously. I found myself gazing directly into the slightly worried eyes. I was surprised at the tremor of pleasure that ran through me at sight of him.
“Can I come in?”
Anthony hesitated. “I was just about to go out, but-” He stepped back to allow me entry. “You sound . . .” he hesitated. “. . . upset. Did something happen at work?” He finished finally.
“No, not that I know of. It’s my day off. I just . . . I had to talk to you.” I paused to look at the man I once loved, and still did love, my eyes wandering up and down his body. He was dressed in jeans, a black t-shirt and white sneakers. He wore his usual baseball cap, but no glasses.
“Talk to me?” He said. “The last time you came to talk it was not very pleasant for either of us.”
I stood my ground. Scott was right, one date wouldn’t solve all are problems “I know that and I regret it. If I could go back I would, but I can’t. We need to talk,” I said firmly.
“There is no us, Sheila,” said Anthony. “It seemed as if you made that perfectly clear. You tried to give back the ring. You accused me of something that I’d never dream of doing. IF it was my fault, which it wasn’t I would be liable for the mistake, and while I’m not one to blame nurses for mistakes, the nurse was the one overseeing the dosage, as I read it out to her. She told me she was a third year, not a second year. I went to Anna about it. She knows.”
I folded my across my chest and waited. Seeing that I wasn’t going to take the hint and leave. Anthony sighed and turned to shut the door, unaware that my eyes were greedily following the movement of every muscle in his back as revealed by his taut shirt.
‘Why had I never before noticed how . . . hunky . . . Anthony was?’ I wondered
“What do you want?” Anthony’s quiet voice interrupted my thoughts.
I took a deep breath. “To apologize. I thought after what you found out you did something to prevent me from taking care of Harry, but when I look back at it now I realized it was a simple mistake that anyone could have made. You were exhausted. Apologizing is the only thing I can do at this point Anthony. I don’t know what else to do to fix this. I never intended to end our relationship. I was angry about what you did. I did despise you. I did think Harry wanted me back. But now that’s changed. I need you now. I always have. I should have gone to you first. I needed you. Not Harry. I know that now.”
“Do you not think I felt the same way when I saw you kiss him?”
A fleeting expression of pain crossed Anthony’s face and he half-turned from me. “Anthony… I know your upset with me. And I’m sorry I let it go that far.” I took another step forward and placed a determined hand on his arm. He shrugged it off, however, folding his arms defiantly across his chest. He raised his head and finally met my gaze, his eyes stony. Stung by the coldness in his face, I added as if the words were wrenched from me, “I can’t bear it. I can’t lose you.” Her voice was beginning to shake. “I just . . . can’t-“I choked, unable to go on.
“Sheila,” said Anthony uncomfortably. He unfolded his arms and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. His expression had softened, but he looked miserable.
Anthony shuddered. Moving quickly, he turned his back and hurried from me, hunching his shoulders as if to ward off the pain that had pierced his heart. Keeping his back to me, he stepped into the kitchen. He walked over to one of the counters and placed his hands on it, leaning on his arms. Biting my lip, I gave him one last look and turned to go. I hadn’t taken more than two steps, however, when suddenly I whirled and almost ran into the kitchen after him. I had to do something to fix this; otherwise my life would never be the same.
“I can’t do it, Anthony,” I said in a low voice. “I can’t walk away from here knowing that our relationship is over. I can’t take care of one of my new patients without you. I need you.”
I stood and watched him. I could see his chest rising and falling rapidly; my words had obviously affected him deeply. I felt a small jolt of triumph; he didn’t want our friendship to be over, either. That would make it easier. I was going to be able to persuade him to start from scratch. For the first time it occurred to me I really might be on the verge of losing him forever.
“I can’t…” He paused eyes looking straight at me. “Which patient? You’ve never asked for my help like this before. Is it something you can’t handle or–”
“Well I’ve never found myself in this position before. I’ve never been known as a nursing officer even as a lieutenant. It was always nurse. The day I came to see you I was called to the C wing. They needed an officer stat. There was a young officer. Double amputee. He’s like nineteen or twenty. Even younger. Constantly talks about football, his girlfriend, younger sister; the only one who isn’t enlisted in the military and his parents. Wants to end his life because he thinks he’s a burden. I haven’t been in to see him for a few days since I’ve been off.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen him too. Toby. Nice kind. He actually smiles for days after your visits. Tell me you had Brody in there with you.”
“No. As I said they needed me stat.” I explained.
“Oh gosh.” He said. “That certainly explains it. I shouldn’t have been so hard on you. But that doesn’t make your words sting any less.”
“Anthony . . . .” I said, and my voice was hoarse. He shook his head, not speaking. “Anthony. Please . . . .” I breathed. “I know what Amanda did to you. And I know what I did to you, both of which are unforgivable. But please. I know my words were inexcusable, and if it was in any other situation you could have got me in a lot deeper trouble than just not speaking to me. They were in the heat of anger and I didn’t mean them.”
He turned to face me, but wouldn’t meet my eyes. He straightened his shoulders.
“NO!” I burst out. “You-I can’t! I-” I choked. “I love you. I want to make this work, just as much as I know you do too. Harry knew that when he left me. He wants me to be happy. And he knew I wouldn’t be happy without you. And I haven’t been.”
I froze. For a minute there was no sound in the room. Finally he said with painful slowness, “What did you say . . . ?”
“I love you,” I repeated. And it was true. I was no longer struggling to figure out how I felt about the old flame that had entered my life after so long. As soon as I said the words, I felt a sense of release. I had never been more sure of anything in my life: I wanted Anthony. And I didn’t know how I could have been so blind not to realize it before.
“I know I made a mistake. I know you’ll probably never forgive me but I need you. The ring is the last link to us. I took it off because I thought it was over. I was angry not at you, but at the situation. I was angry that Toby had been put in his predicament. I was angry that Harry was snowed with medication. I took it out on you and that wasn’t called for, so I did the only thing I could, give you back the ring. But when you didn’t take it back, I knew that there still might be a chance. But I couldn’t put it back on so I stuffed it in my jewelry box and forgot it, until a few days ago. Krista looked me in the eye and said, I need to decide what I want, there’s nobody standing in your way. Every time I think about what I’ve done to you the flood waters fill me and I can’t control my emotions. I will promise you, that my first time, and only time I ever planned was with you. I know I let things go too far, and I never meant to let it get out of control. It’s high time I put it back on, so this will never ever happen again. If you still want to. When I read Harry’s letter again I realized he was letting me go. He’s seen us together. When I was with him, it was as if I was second priority. His men came first. I should have known he’d do this again.”
‘Damn it Brody why do you have to be right about these things. She shouldn’t have had to see him like that alone. Who knows what it could do to her emotional state.’ I thought to myself. She was right, I needed her too.
She began walking towards me, speaking rapidly. “I never realized how much I love you until I lost you. I’ve missed you every day that we’ve been apart. Every morning when I wake up my first thoughts are about you, and you’re the last one on my mind before I go to sleep at night. I can’t bear the thought of you walking out of my life, Anthony. Holding me as I lie in your arms. Being at home with my brother is great. Having the kids greet me in the morning is great, but there’s one thing missing. I’m sticking out like a sore thumb over there. I mean I’m the aunt, but I’m not as happy as I once was, and the kids are noticing. They’re constantly asking where ‘Uncle Anthony’ is and when can they see ‘Uncle Brody again. I’ve run out of excuses.”
I still hadn’t moved or spoken. I moved around in front of her, looking searchingly up into her eyes. “I-don’t know what to say, other than I understand. I’m feeling the same.” I said huskily. “I’ve tried to live my life without you for the last ten weeks, but had it not been for my brother I don’t know what would have happened. I’d like to see the kids too; I mean I’ve grown attached to them, not only as their doctor but as a possible uncle too. I’d like to make this work and it sounds like you want to make this work too. I don’t suppose you have plans Friday?? I’m off; we could maybe try that dating thing again.”
“Yeah, I’d like that.” she said with a smile. “So would you like some help with the dishes?”
“Yeah, that would be good. Somehow I got behind and they’re about to attack.”
“I thought you said you were going out?” I said. The dishes had to be soaked before they went into the dishwasher, or they’d never be fully cleaned. They looked as if they hadn’t been washed in a few days, and forgotten about.
“I was, but that was before I realized that if I had left, I would leave the one thing—person behind that meant more to me than life itself, and that person Sheila, is you.”
“So you were going to reenlist?”
“It crossed my mind yes. It’s the only other thing in life I have. And when I thought I lost you I panicked. Like your childhood home, the military is what I can use as a safety net so to speak. But if it means leaving you, I’m not going to do it. Not anymore.”
She pulled a small item from her jean pocket. “I don’t want this to spoil our relationship Anthony. I don’t know what I’d do if you left.” She slid the ring back on to her finger. “I wasn’t kidding when I said I can’t let this fall through the cracks. Please don’t leave. I was mad when I found out what you did. But it also made me realize, you felt the same way.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” I promised. After laying the last pile of dishes in the sink full of hot soapy water we headed to the living room where we just talked.
“Anthony!” Before my horrified eyes, Anthony’s body was bathed in blood. Two of his for limbs were missing. “NO!” I surged forward, but hands held me back. I fought to break free, even as tears scalded my cheeks and my cries rendered my throat raw.
“Sheila, it’s me; Anthony. Wake up! It’s a dream… just a bad dream!”
I looked down and fell back to the pillow. He was fine. He was not the young solider back at the hospital.
“Do you want to tell me about it?” He asked pulling me close.
“Ever since I was called to attend to that young boy the double amputee, I can’t stop thinking about him. The dream is about his injury, but it wasn’t him that was hurt, it was you.”
“This is why you’re not supposed to go see patients like that alone. It’s because you’ve connected with him, but are putting one of your own in his place.” Anthony agreed. “It’s the first time you’ve had to deal with such an injury as a nursing officer wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. In fact since I started working here, as a Nursing officer it’s the first time in six years I’ve had these sort of responsibilities. I mean I can handle it no problem. They needed an officer stat. I didn’t think of going to find you. That will teach me to be in control before talking to a senior outranking officer.”
“You’re not the first or the last person who’s reacted that way. You’re still blaming yourself aren’t you? If I had I known you had gone to see him sooner I would have been there with you. Even a senior nursing officer needs comfort. That was the emergency you went to deal with wasn’t it? That’s why you couldn’t help with the medication rounds.”
“Yes,” I admitted. I rubbed my eyes.
As I looked on him now, I knew more than ever that I didn’t want to live without him again–. Anthony was my life, and though we had reclaimed the missing parts of our souls, there was still emptiness within the bond wasn’t strong enough to survive, not yet.
“Shh. I know. Let’s not worry about that now. We’ve been through this already.”
“It’s just that… I really had given up on us. My head was spinning and when I realized there was a medication error I—.” The emotions caused the words to jam in my throat.
“I know Sheila. I know. And I forgive you. You just have to forgive yourself.” He stroked my hair and kissed the top of my head. His hands slowly wandered down my body. I sighed deeply, losing myself in the gentle caress. “Would you like to… go back in time?”
Hours later my alarm woke me at four forty five. I groaned, but as I was about to push myself out of my warm nest of covers I felt something move beside me. Sheila had slept next to me, it was late by the time we had finished talking and while we had both agreed we could start with a clean slate; the passion and need for the other was still there. The night before had proved that. For the first time, in a long time I was sleeping better than I had been without her.
I looked down at her as she slept, all tangled hair and sprawled limbs. Not quite the picture most people had of Captain Sheila Grey…not the one that I’d had of her either, until early this morning when she’d fallen asleep exhausted. I’d been watching her since she had surrendered to sleep, smiling softly as I memorized how she looked when she dreamed, when she rolled over. She snored slightly; at times she ground her teeth.
She was only human, and I was glad to see it. Somehow, over the years, I’d begun to believe otherwise. I had begun to believe she was some mythological creature, out of my reach. But now I realized that she was indeed human, her nightmare proved that. She had connected with the young officer and while she had faced the challenging task of going to see him without a MO present she had done her duty.
I yawned, tired to the bone. I wanted to sleep, to curl next to her and close my eyes, but some stronger–or was it weaker?–part of me insisted I stay awake, watch her until the alarm went off. Because this moment had been long in coming, and I wasn’t sure what would happen when she woke up. I really didn’t want her to wake up. I could be happy if she just lay next to me forever, if I were given the rest of his life to study her, to touch her gently without waking her. If the morning light would never come.
She moved restlessly, and I realized she was close to waking. Sighing, I slid down in the bed, moved close to her and pulled her against my body. She felt so good, her skin touching mine, her cooler body against my warmth. She made a sleepy noise, and turned over, burrowing into his chest. I felt my throat catch, as I wondered if she had any idea who she was in bed with.
I looked down, realized that Sheila was staring up at me. Her eyes were unreadable. “Good morning,” I said carefully, trying to stop his arms from tightening around her reflexively. I expected her to pull away.
She didn’t. Just continued to stare at me, her blue eyes were calm, serene. Finally, she gave him the cocky half-grin that I loved. “Good morning. Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Sorry.” I tried to grin, saw her eyes soften at my expression. “I’ve missed you,” I said, choosing honesty, even though I knew she might run from it.
She touched his face gently. “I’ve missed you too.”
She had not pulled away, seemed in fact to be pressed closer against me. “Last night was…” I wasn’t sure if I could do it justice.
She nodded. “Long overdue.” She said finishing my sentence for me for the first time ever. “Yeah. I agree. Where are you going? We don’t have to work till three.”
“I really need to go for a run. Do you want to come?”
She groaned. “I suppose I probably should before you make it an order.” She agreed. “But I need to shower first.”
I grabbed the lamppost. My feet ached. My back ached. My knee injury was playing up. And to top it all off, it had still been dark when Anthony pulled me out of bed. I took another series of deep breaths, “You’re killing me here. I recall you promising to go easy on me today.”
Anthony who was almost at the other end of the street, rolled his eyes before running back to me. “Hey you’re the one who wanted to come with me and this is slow by military standards.” He reminded me for the twentieth time. “You going to live?” He handed me his water bottle since mine was dumped when I fell over a hidden root.
“Yeah. I just have to make sure I do this every morning from now on.”
“I think I can handle that.”
This thing called love I just can’t handle it
This thing called love I must get round to it
I ain’t ready
Crazy little thing called love
I found myself unable to get the tune out of my head as I walked down the hall heading to the C wing. Brody had been right. We just needed time and patience to fall in love once again. I had taken more time than normal today to select my uniform. It wasn’t the normal scrubs but my military uniform, since I had opted to cover the military unit since they were understaffed. Pitifully understaffed. Thankfully and surprisingly Scott understood my reasoning and was thrilled that things were going in the right direction
“You certainly look happy.” A voice said from behind me.
I jumped startled by her unexpected presence at the time I needed her. She was like that though always there when someone needed her.
“Hey Anna.” Without me knowing it I had reached my destination. But I had been standing at the nursing station, trying to figure out why I couldn’t enter the room. He was a patient.
“Are you alright Sheila?” She asked her voice full of concern.
“Have you seen this patient?”
“No. How bad is he?”
I swallowed. Surely Anna had much more experience with this sort of thing than I did. “Double amputee. Second suicide attempt. The medics barely saved him. I haven’t seen him for weeks. I just can’t keep thinking about him.”
“Yeah. I’ve heard the nurses talking about him constantly. They’ve dubbed him ‘The kid’ because he’s so young. Barely eighteen. You’re not working on this unit right now are you?”
“No ma’am I’m not. But I was going to ask if I could switch. Daniel’s okay with it. They’re understaffed. It’s Anthony’s request.”
“Of course it’s alright. Make an appointment with me and I’ll switch you over. If it was by request then it’s something you don’t have to worry about right now. Do you want me to go in there with you? You shouldn’t go in by yourself.”
“I’ve already done that the day I snapped at Anthony.” I confessed. “In fact I had a nightmare about him but instead of it being the young solider, it was Anthony.”
“Oh Sheila.” Anna said. She pulled me into a hug without a second thought. “It’s no wonder you’ve been so— out of character. I’ll go in there with you.”
My eyes widened. “Are you sure? I could page Anthony. He told me this morning he’d meet me here. I should have gone to him in the first place.”
“Are you talking about the SMO?” A voice asked from behind me.
“Senior Medical Officer. Another name for a doctor, with an officer status.” Anna translated and answered before I could, “Yes.”
“He’s inside, sitting with the kid.” The nurse, who I had never seen before said. It seemed everyone was using the nickname ‘The Kid’ rather than his name, Toby. “If you’re the SNO he’s been waiting for you.”
“SNO?” I questioned. It was apparent I was no longer used to working in this sort of environment; the terminology had left my memory banks.
“Senior Nursing Officer.” Anna translated once again. “It’s another name for a nurse who’s a Military Officer. Senior because you’re the highest nursing officer on the unit. It’s a charge nurse. My role is the chief nursing officer since I’m the highest in the department. It’s the same thing as Nursing Director only it’s a term used in the military. It was suggested that you didn’t get a increase in ranking because it’s said that a Major is a harsh serious nurse, who doesn’t spend time with patients and usually does paperwork.”
“Oh, right. Why don’t I know that? That may describe you in a way Anna but harsh isn’t you at all.”
Anna laughed. “I can be when there’s a need for it. Two reasons you weren’t told any different and you have a lot more than work on your mind right now.” She guessed. “Let’s go in.”
The minute I entered the room I was welcomed with a warm smile from Toby. He was the spinning image of Harry; however he was much younger no more than twenty at the most.”Ah there they are.” Anthony said with a smile. “Good timing. He’s been asking for you.”
I smiled, “Hello Toby.” He had told me to call him that rather than Private Brice. The name sounded familiar but I couldn’t put a finger on it.
“Hello Ma’am.” He said smiling.
“Please, it’s Sheila. I’m an officer, but sometimes I find it’s less intimidating for my younger patients. I admit you’re the youngest military personnel I’ve taken care of. How are you feeling?”
“Okay, I suppose. Would you be able to do me a favor?” He asked.
“Of course. Call your Mom?” I guessed. It was something I wished I could ask some of the other nurses but until recently I didn’t know she was already right in front of me.
“Yeah. I know I’m supposed to be brave and stuff but I really need her right now.”
“Of course. I’ll be happy to call your Mom for you. Nobody has to be brave all the time.”
“That’s not what my father constantly tells me. And Captain Grey.” He continued, forgetting my request to call me by my first name. He was very disciplined in respect. I nodded. “I thought about what you said about the new prosthesis. I want to try them. I’m sorry for the way I treated you when I first met you. I think you mentioned you have one, in your knee but you hardly notice it anymore. I want to get my life back.”
“You were in shock. Confused about what was happening because nobody took the time to sit down and actually speak at your level. Until I did of course. It’s understandable. You probably haven’t dealt with many female officers have you?” He shook his head. “But you’re right. I do have a prosthetic in my knee. I did adjust, with a lot of help from those around me. It’s not the same as your injury but I did need a prosthetic. It was one of my own who did the surgery, and he is very close to me. I only notice it when I overdo it.” I said with a smile. “I’ll go call your mom. She’ll be very happy that you’re alright.”
“Thanks. Can I request something else of you Ma’am?” I nodded. “You’re the only one that seems to give a damn about me, would you be my primary nurse? I know it’s a lot to ask but…”
“Of course. I’ll be happy too. I’ll make a note in your file. I’ll make sure the nurses know that you’re concerned about certain things in regards to your care. And I’ll put a stop to the nickname.”
“It’s not the nickname that bothers me ma’am it’s the talk I hear about not walking again. Not playing football, being rejected by my family and friends.”
“Well, you will walk again. If you want it, it will happen. Nobody is going to stop you other than yourself. As for your family, well it can go both ways really. But the nurses have no right to talk about that sort of thing behind your back.”
“No, they don’t.” Anthony agreed. “I guess we’re going to have a department meeting. We are the highest ranking officers in this unit. That’s why we’re senior; next to Anna of course. Sorry Ma’am I didn’t notice you were in here.”
“You’re forgiven. I’ll also prepare a memo to post on the board and gather some ideas for your use at the department meeting. I have a funny feeling neither of you have been department heads; or at least the highest ranking in the department.” Both Anthony and I nodded.
When Anthony and I got back to the ICU the speakers were filled with music. The song “Kiss the Girl” was from the movie The Little Mermaid. It brought a smile to both Anthony and my face when we both realized who was responsible for this unexpected surprise. Brody. But I had to admit it was a nice surprise.
The visit with the young officer had not been as emotional as it had been the first time I had gone to see him, but unlike the last time I wasn’t the only one visiting. And that helped a lot. The injury was traumatic. When the song finally finished a crowd gathered around us. But just for show, Anthony did kiss me, but not passionately. That would be saved for privacy.
“Brody?” Anthony said
“Yes Anthony.” He said moving with slow steps to hide behind me as if I was a shield protecting him from the enemy or more appropriate his older brother.
“Did you have something to do with that?”
“Yes, Anthony I did. Hey, I told you I’d do almost anything to get you back together right? Well I thought because you love Disney Movies a fact about you only I know I thought it would be appropriate. Besides everyone knows you’re specialty is a Pediatrician. And nobody knew it was for you. I played it from upstairs.”
“Yeah. You did. And why are you hiding behind Sheila?”
“Because she outranks me and will protect me.”
“Well I outrank her. And she doesn’t out rank you that much. You’re the same rank. All I was going to say was thanks. We couldn’t have done it without you. We’re not back to where we were yet, but we’re very close.”
“OH okay. You’re welcome.” Brody said with a laugh, and slowly headed to check on his patients. He stopped in his tracks. “So that’s what you were doing last night when I came home.”
Neither of us answered. At least for now we’d keep that to ourselves. If we could help it.
After borrowing Anthony’s office I phoned Toby’s mother who as I expected was relieved that her ‘baby boy’ youngest of five children was alive. I wasn’t about to give details over the phone and while it was family these things always were much easier when you were face to face as it was easier to comfort the emotional mother. With a promise to call her with any other updates she was going to make plans to fly out from Washington within a few days.
I walked, didn’t run down the corridors heading to the other wing. “I was paged.” I told the nurse at the desk.
“I don’t know who you are ma’am.” She snapped going back to her ‘charting’ via the computer.
I sighed, this was one of the main problems I had not knowing everyone. I scanned the unit until I saw Anthony signal me. “What’s wrong? I was paged.”
“I know. Dragon Lady is on the prowl again and I thought the charge nurse would be best suited to solve this problem. She won’t talk with me. I’m just a Medical Officer. I know nothing about how to run a unit. That shows her what she knows.”
“You’ve got that right.” I placed a hand on his shoulder, telling him without words I’d try to help. “Mitchell!” I called. “What’s the problem now?”
As the charge nurse I was also responsible for trouble shooting issues between nurses and solving patient care concerns an issue that I would be tackling as soon as I finished with this nurse. She looked at me as if I had two heads. She was a bit older than I was, her hair was in a perfect bun and her uniform had been pressed, “I don’t know who you are ma’am or who put you in charge but this is my unit.”
“The name is Captain Grey. I’m the Senior Nursing Officer on this unit now. Anna will make it official when she comes down later. You’re not the CNO. She is. If she ever wanted to be. For that position you have to have more qualifications then you’ve got. Now we can solve any issues you have now, or wait for Anna to get here. Now who gave you the right to change the way we run things around here? This is a civilian hospital which just happens to have a specific set of units for military personnel. There’s no reason for it to run differently than the other parts of the hospital. Those of us with high ranking status, which at the moment is Anthony and myself are what could be the department heads. We go by the standards of the directors of our departments, nursing and medical.”
“Well I’ve always believed that even if you’re a Nursing Officer you have to be ready for anything therefore reading during the shift is unacceptable.”
“Well that’s your opinion which sadly I don’t agree with. I’ve worked at a military hospital for several years, but it runs just like any other hospital. Only difference is you work alongside of other officers and you’re title is different. The tasks are different and you’re dealing with military along with their families. This unit shouldn’t be any different, except for one thing, it’s in a civilian hospital; there’s no reason for it not to be run according to the handbook. And secondly when a Medical Officer who happens to have seniority over you tells you to do something, I’d do it if I were you. You can go on your break now; we’ll be having a meeting in twenty minutes at 18:00 hours. Entire nursing staff. It’s not an option unless you’re off work.”
“Whatever you say Ma’am.” She said as she stormed out of the department.
With the phone call out of the way and the fires out of the moment my next task was the nursing meeting. I had done this several times; however this was the first time I had been chosen to lead as Nursing Officer. Apparently there was a difference between charge nurse and Nursing Officer.
“For those who don’t know me yet my name is Captain Sheila Grey and I am the senior nursing officer on the unit. I have also been given the role as charge nurse. Next to me is Major Anthony Gray who is the senior medical officer. Next to him is Captain Brody Gray, who is second senior medical officer; if nobody already knew they’re brothers. My last name is spelt with an E while theirs is spelt with an A. And before the rumor mill starts going again Anthony and I are engaged. We just had a misunderstanding that temporarily knocked us backwards. It seems things have gone back to where they’re supposed to be and have re-established the relationship.” I shifted uncomfortably in my chair as my knee started to throb but I ignored it.
“I’ve called this meeting today, and will keep it as short as possible to bring up some concerns. First of all you’ve all been given a copy of the handbook drafted by Anna Mackenzie who is or would be the Chief Nursing Officer in this Hospital. Second of all it has come to my attention that there are nurses taking about the patient in room 280C known as ‘the Kid’. He has requested I act as his primary nurse and the talk about him behind his back stop. It brought down the boys spirits but he feels that he had to end his life since he felt nobody cared.”
The nurses groaned and started talking among themselves as if they hadn’t been listening to what I had said. I wasn’t used to working with nurses with so little respect for their patients.
“That’s enough!” I cried. “I know he’s a young patient and many of you have not had education in pediatrics, however he is military and in need of care. I will be drafting a memo for all of you over the next few days and when I find out who started the gossip about me they will be dealt with accordingly.”
I turned to Anthony who was the highest ranking officer present. “Anything else you need to add sir?”
“Yes, actually. It may be a unique situation taking care of a young officer such as Toby but I assure you, he needs as much care as anyone else in this department. The talk stops now. If you don’t listen to Captain Grey, you’ll certainly be dealing with me, or the head of this hospital. Dismissed.”