Welcome! The word prompt this week is "pitch." "Two of Hearts" continues. Ellen and Marcy are Stan's ex-wife and his grown daughter. Thank you for coming. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales.
She arrived at intensive care by nine thirty. Marcy and Ellen were already there, talking to the doctor. Stan was sitting up. They had taken the breathing tube out. He gave her a blank look. The head of the bed had been raised to support him. Relief fought with apprehension in Jen.
She approached the bed. Hesitating a bit, she kissed the top of his head.
“How are you?” He looked thinner and pale. Dark brown eyes washed over her.
“And you are?” His voice was hoarse.
“Jen. Your wife.” She clenched her fist to keep her hand from trembling.
“Oh. I have good taste,” he said, wearing a half smile.
Marcy’s raised voice caught her attention.
“I can only get permission from Mrs. Hogan,” the doctor said.
“Permission? For what?” Jen pushed her way between the two women who blocked her path. She mustered all her strength to focus on the doctor’s words.
“He’s doing well. We want to monitor him today and if he continues to do well, we’ll move him to a private room. With your permission, that is.”
“Of course, Dr. Harrison. Whatever you think is best.”
“He should stay in intensive care! You don’t know about his brain. It isn’t safe,” Marcy said, her voice shrill.
“Marcy. I trust Dr. Harrison’s judgment. We will do what he suggests. Why don’t you go for a walk? Get a cup of coffee?”
“So you can have alone time with dad? Nope. I’m staying right here.”
“Suit yourself. But I’m calling the shots.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Hogen,” Dr. Harrison said. He shook her hand and left.
“I’m here. I can hear you,” Stan said, his voice soft and weak.
Marcy rushed over shoving Jen aside. She watched as Stan’s daughter took his hand and spoke softly to him.
“I’m thirsty,” he said.
“Get him some water, Jennifer,” Marcy ordered.
A slow burn started in Jen.
“Can I speak to you outside, Marcy?”
“Not while dad’s awake. I almost lost my father. I’m not going to waste a minute.”
“Then I suggest you backoff and be reasonable. You are standing next to the water pitcher, cup and straw. I suggest you give him some water or get out of the way, and I will.”
Marcy shot her a hostile glare, but did fill the cup and handed it to Stan. His hand shook. He spilled the water all over himself, and started shouting. Marcy apologized over and over.
“Get away, get away! Let me in there,” Jen said, tugging on her stepdaughter’s sleeve.
Shaken, the young woman backed up and stood by the wall. A nurse came in.
“I’m wet. I’m wet!” Stan shrieked.
“A little water spilled,” Jen corrected.
“No problem. I’ll get a new gown,” the nurse said and left.
“Marcy, please wait outside.” Jen grabbed a handful of tissues and dabbed at the water pooled on his lap. The young woman slunk out of the room. The nurse was back in a flash.
“You don’t have to bother. I’ll get him changed,” Jen said.
“Thanks,” the nurse said, stopping to take his pulse. “I’ll be back for vitals in an hour.”
“Come on, darling, lean forward,” Jen instructed.
Stan looked at her with suspicion, but did as she asked. Undressing a man in a hospital bed who wore a cast challenged her. Jen mustered all her strength and got it done. Afterward, she fell back in the chair, exhausted.
“Still thirsty,” he said.
She poured water in the cup, added the straw and held it to his lips. He drained it.
She did it two more times.
“You’ve been out for a while.”
“Out? I have? What happened?”