The Ghost of Christmas Present – Pt 3

Hello, Literary Lovelies!

Thank you for your being a part of my holiday-themed tiny tales this year!

Click below if you missed:

The Ghost of Christmas Present – Part 1

The Ghost of Christmas Present – Part 2

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“New patient coming in.” He hesitated for a moment looking over his shoulder  as if the patient would somehow magically appear behind him. He was acting strangely even for him. 

“Anything we should know before we receive his chart?” Tawny stood. 

He leaned in, “You know I’m not one to gossip…” 

I felt my eyes want to roll and managed to stop them as I stood to hear the lowering tone of the doctor. 

“He supposedly has a connection to the patient in room 212.” 

“Scarlet,” Tawny spoke her name, in her perpetual need to humanize her patients especially to those who generally referred to them by their room numbers and diagnosis. 

“Yes.” He coughed slightly. “According to the police liaison for her case, our new patient was on the scene to assist…” He paused as though it took effort to call her by her name, “… Scarlet. And although he managed to get her out as her car as it started on fire, he was struck by a vehicle after getting her to safety when he tried to return to help someone else. I guess it ended up being a huge pile-up.” 

Just as he finished speaking the elevators dinged open to allow two porters to enter the ward, guiding a patient almost entirely enshrouded in bandages towards the empty room beside Scarlet’s. This time the silver bells which they had attached to the sides of the bed no longer rang out in joy but in apparent sorrow. 

I looked to my computer screen for the newest patient file. Nothing had popped up. “The system has yet to update. Name?” 

“John Doe.” 

“Doctor?” 

At the same time as the doctor spoke the mystery man’s non-name, Ever from 204 had stepped from her Gran’s room. 

“I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time, doctor?” 

He immediately grabbed his tablet and turned away from Tawny and I to follow Ever into room 204. 

Tawny made a move in the other direction towards the new patient. I almost always let Tawny be the first nurse to greet the patients but for some reason found my hand reaching out to hold her back. 

“I can go.” 

“You sure?” Just one of her brows raised in question. 

“I need the distraction.” 

“Okay.” She simply shrugged. “I will check on Arthur and follow up with Ever after she speaks with the Doctor.” She walked away with the usual swing in her step. 

My steps didn’t feel so sure as I turned and made my way to the new patient in 210. I smiled at Addie when I made it to the room and moved closer as she finished settling John into our ward. 

“I love your latest,” I nodded at her scrubs which were littered with tiny black and white dogs. 

She smoothed out the fabric and twinkled, “Arthur says dogs are his favourite.” Addie had been the latest addition to the nurses in our ward, who showcased a brilliance when it came to the tiniest of our patients. She and Arthur had instantly connected and I loved hearing their laughter ring out from his room. No one could make Arthur laugh like Addie. 

“Well he is all set,” Addie placed her hand on John’s arm, which was one of the few places not adhered to by bandages. “I was told there was a slight glitch in the system which is why we haven’t received his chart yet. It should be rectified soon. But until then,” She gently squeezed his arm, “Welcome to our ward John. We will take excellent care of you, especially Etta here.” Addie winked at me. 

I moved closer as Addie left the room making sure to touch my shoulder gently on passing. My knees clicked as I pulled a chair closer to the side of the bed. We always liked to take a moment to introduce ourselves to the patients upon their arrival, fill them in on their nursing staff, as well as a tidbit about the fellow ward patients. Often, patient health allowing, we would bring them together for board games and cards. It created a great bond between everyone and Tawny felt increased recovery. It was how Everett and Arthur had become such close friends. 

“Hello. Welcome to Ward C. At this time of the year we call it Ward Christmas.” I inched forward in the chair as though bringing myself closer to John would allow him to hear me better. “As Addie mentioned, my name is Etta. I’m one of the head nurses of Ward C. So if you have any complaints don’t hesitate to buzz me.” 

The last part of my spiel sounded silly to me. How could a man in a coma on a ventilator, whose entire face was covered in bandages minus his closed eyelids and his lips, issue any complaints.

I moved to stand, grabbing at the call button so I could place it easily under his right hand. As my thumb grazed the skin on the back of his hand, I felt a shock pass between him and me. Stupid wool socks. 

“Sorry. It’s these darn…” 

I was interrupted by the thrashing of his body as his eyes snapped open and he began to choke on the endotracheal tubing. This was the moment I should have flown into action but my own breath caught as I recognized his amber eyes.    

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Photo by Simon Migaj from Pexels

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