(If you missed chapter 10, click here)
If this is your first visit, and you want to start with chapter 1, click here.)
“Come in,” Addie said as she climbed out of bed and reached for her robe. Ellen, the day shift nurse entered pushing a rolling blood pressure monitor. Putting her robe aside and sitting on the side of the bed, Addie waited for the nurse to plug the machine into the outlet at the head of her bed and apply the blood pressure cuff. The cuff began to inflate and Addie winced slightly as it tightened on her upper arm.
“Your pressure is up a little this morning, but that’s not unusual when a patient is getting ready to be discharged. It’s natural to be a little excited and apprehensive about going home,” Ellen commented. The nurse then took her temperature, checked her pulse, and entered the information on Adelaide’s computerized chart. She then removed the blood pressure cuff, unplugged the monitor from the wall outlet and wrapped the cord around the base. “You can get dressed and go to the dining room for breakfast. Dr. Wilson will be here at 10:30 for a final consult.”
Adelaide took a quick shower, dressed, and then packed her few belongings in her bag before walking down the hall to have breakfast. Once in the dining room, her eyes searched the room for Michael. Failing to spot him, she took a seat at a table near the door. Immediately she was served orange juice and decaf coffee.
“Wheat toast, lightly buttered, and a fruit cup, please,” requested Addie when the server asked for her order. While waiting for her food, she kept her eye on the door, hoping Michael would enter. She lingered after her toast and fruit were gone, sipping her coffee slowly, but still no Michael. Finally, it was time to go back to her room to meet with Doc Wilson.
There was a note taped to the door of her room; Addie carefully removed it and tore it open. “Meet me in the atrium at 11:00 a.m. Michael.” Sighing with relief, she stuck the note in her pocket and went into her room.
Doc Wilson was punctual. He greeted her with a smile and a handshake. “Well, lady, I see you are packed and ready,” he commented, pointing to her bag on the foot of her newly made bed. “So what’s the plan? Are you returning to stress city or accepting Michael Chandler’s invitation?” As he spoke he pulled some brochures out of a briefcase.
“I’m giving some serious thought to taking him up on his offer. It seems lesser of the two evils.”
“Evil? Why, I know Michael, and I doubt he has an evil bone in his body,” the doctor chuckled. “He’s always struck me as an upstanding citizen and a pillar of the community, as they say. Now your daughter, she’s a whole other story!”
“Felicia’s not really bad, either, Dr. Wilson. She’s just very unhappy right now.”
“And she’ll do her best to see that you are, too.”
Addie was taken aback by the comment and stared at him in disbelief. “Why--why would you say such a thing,” she stammered.
“I took the liberty of calling her yesterday after we spoke. Said I needed to check whether you would have many stairs to climb, and such. I got quite an earful from her in the process, and if you hadn’t said you were going to Michael’s, I would have had to figure out a way to keep you from going back there. I’m sorry, but the woman is toxic, and you need to rest, relax, and recuperate in a calm and nurturing environment.”
Stunned that he felt so strongly, Addie dropped into a chair and shook her head. He was right, of course. Felicia was miserable, except where Betsy was concerned. She somehow managed to be a loving mother to the child, but was downright nasty to everyone else—the mailman, the store clerk, Helen who lived next door, as well as to Addie. Dr. Wilson’s voice interrupted her thoughts.
“These brochures have information you need regarding diet and exercise, and there are numbers on each that you can call if you have questions. You are free to leave when you are ready; I’ve already signed your discharge order. And as far as Felicia goes, I suggest you encourage her to get some counseling. I have included a brochure from the Riverside Community Health Center; they offer counseling services on a sliding fee scale. I’m sure they could work out a plan for her. Good luck to you Mrs. Cunningham.” With that, he shook Addie’s hand, picked up his briefcase and walked to the door.
“My office will call you to set up a follow up appointment in a couple of weeks. If you run into a problem in the meantime, don’t hesitate to call me.”
As he exited, Adelaide noticed the clock above the door read 10:58. Quickly she rose, went out the door and started down the hall to the atrium. “I hope Michael hasn’t changed his mind,” she thought, as her footsteps echoed in the corridor.
(to be continued)
To go to chapter 12, click here.