Professor Media Matters

I am a media professional with 6 years as a TV producer and reporter, and college professor in the field of Communications. I am also a Conservative with a passion for pop culture. This will be my attempt to put the "me" in media. It will be my take on movies, TV, books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and all that is the worldwide media.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hospital Encouragement (Short Story)

“This stuff is so good,” shrieked Amy, as she scooped another spoonful.
“Pass it down here. My turn,” demanded her coworker Beth.
“You know if Dr. Martin catches us eating at the nurse’s station we are toast,” warned Joseph.
“I know, but this cookie dough is too addicting. Do you think anyone has ever really gotten sick off raw cookie dough? This warning label seems silly to me.” Amy grabbed for the bowl and another turn.
“I don’t know. We had a dormitory full of sick coeds once in the E/R with salmonella and a shared tub of cookie dough was one of many potential culprits,” remembered Beth.
“Dang it! That’s my pager. It’s room 678 again. That man just won’t leave me alone,” complained Amy.
“What’s wrong with him?” asked Joseph.
“Everything. He is going downhill fast. This is the 6th time he’s buzzed me this shift. What’s it gonna be this time? Nurse, fluff my pillows. Fluff your own pillows you crazy old…” Her voice drifted off as she walked down the hallway. She stopped outside his room and took a deep breath, trying to gather her composure. “Dear Jesus. I don’t know why but I am losing my patience with this man. Help. All things are possible through God who strengthens me.” She entered, avoiding eye contact with the old man.
“I can’t give you any more meds for another 3 hours Mr. Bloom. Doctor’s orders. You’re just going to have to wait.”
“What? No, I don’t need any medication.  That’s not why I buzzed you.”
Amy wasn’t listening. “I’m sorry but there’s really nothing more I can do for you. I have to finish my rounds but I’ll check back in on you before the morning shift takes over.”
“Wait. Don’t go!” he pleaded. Now he was embarrassed and with the raising of his voice to get Amy’s attention, he had overexerted himself. He sank back down in his bed.
She wanted to keep walking but she knew she had to stop. His cheeks were red and he was breathing heavy. “Mr. Bloom, what’s wrong? I already helped you with the TV remote. I brought your juice. We changed your bandages and your IV.”  
Amy wasn’t really able to disguise her impatience. But Mr. Bloom didn’t care. This might be his last chance. He tried his best to get the words out.
“Nurse, what day is it today?”
Amy’s chin dropped. She was so frustrated right now. She had 4 other patients she needed to visit and this man was asking her to be his own personal calendar. “It’s Wednesday!” she barked.
“Sorry, no. I mean what is the date? I’ve been in here so long, I’m losing track.”
That made sense to Amy. Though recently moved to her section, he’d been in this wing for about three weeks and she could understand patients getting dementia.  That always broke her heart. “It’s June 3, 2014.”
“That’s what I thought,” he mumbled. Immediately tears welled up in his eyes.
That did not make sense to Amy. “Mr. Bloom, what is it?” She wasn’t sure she wanted to know but was beginning to sense this was going to take a while. She brought him the Kleenex but didn’t give it to him. Instead, she wiped the tears away for him.
“I’ve been trying to talk to someone all day. The doctor came in for all of 20 seconds and she didn’t even let me ask her a question. She spoke a couple of clinical sounding sentences, wrote on my chart and dashed out. You at least smiled at the beginning of your shift and I knew that I had to talk with you.”
The smile returned and Amy let it linger. She was starting to feel bad about how she had been treating him. She sat on the edge of his bed.
“What’s on your mind Mr. Bloom?”
“Call me Alex.”
“What’s on your mind, Alex? Why the reaction to June 3rd, 2014?”
“My wife died one year ago today. In this hospital.” Again the tears flowed and Amy could feel them bubbling up in her as well.
“I’m so sorry, Alex.”
“We’d been married 56 years. I was just missing her so much.” Amy walked up and gave him a hug.
“Where’d you meet her?” Amy sank back onto the bed, fully drawn into the moment.
“I was in the Army. The USO gave a concert at our base and Marianne was one of the backup singers. She had a great set of pipes, if you know what I mean.”
Amy laughed. “Do you have any children?”
“Our daughter, Amy.”
“That’s my name. With a name like that, she must be great!”
“She is. But once my wife got sick and the medical expenses started piling up, we became a financial burden. Our Amy just stopped calling. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since her mother’s funeral.”
Amy was stunned. “Well, enough about her then.”
 “I’m sorry I’m bothering you.”
“Alex, you’re not bothering me. I’m sorry I was in such a rush earlier.”
“I was overwhelmed with this sense of loneliness and then it dawned on me what day it must be. It has been a difficult year.”
“Tell me more about your wife.”
“She was beautiful. She made me the man that is wasting away before you today.”
Amy nodded. He was wasting away and she knew his time was short. She was going to make it as special as possible. “Let me get my coworker Beth and ask her to check on my patient in 684. Do you have any photos of Marianne? I want to see this great set of pipes, as you called them. I’ll be right back.” She left the room. “Hey Alex, do you like cookie dough?” she hollered as she went on a hunt for Beth.

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