Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Melody took one more sip of her now cold coffee and cringed.

Yuck! Why was hospital coffee so vile?

She stretched as she got up from her seat in the nurses station. Nodding to Jane, their unit secretary, she walked down the silent hallway.

“Janie, I’m going to restock the trauma room” she yelled as she disappeared into the largest room of the ER.

Pardon Me! The Alton A. Hovnanian Emergency Care Center! Why is it that the Big Wigs had to rename everything? This used to be called ER, my position used to be called Head Nurse, not the Clinical Shift Coordinator. What a joke! Whom and what am I coordinating? Especially today, when the supervision decided to cancel the other two nurses and leave me with a tech and a secretary!
“Its OK Melody” said the 3-11 supervisor before she left for home “it’s a quiet Friday night! You’ll be fine!”

Well, it was a slow night even for Red Bank. Surprisingly, no drunks or screaming dehydrated children tonight. I guess miracle do still happen. Its almost 2 am, only 5 more hours to go. Well, actually if miracles existed, I’d be on my way home from the Bon Jovi concert at the New Meadowlands

She thought as she quickly restocked the supply cabinets.

“Melody to the Front Desk please” came Janie’s voice through the static of their wall intercom, and broke her train of thought.

O well, here we go! I knew this was too good to last!

She thought as she approached the nurses station.

“What’s up Janie?”

“State troopers on line one. They want to speak to the “Nurse In Charge”!” smiled the secretary.

“I guess its time to earn that extra dollar an hour!” joked Melody as she reached for the phone.

“Riverview Emergency Care Center, Miss Sweet, how may I help you?” she answered in the required “pre scripted manner”.

“Hey Melody!” came through a friendly chuckle “Are you guys swamped?”

“Nope Sal, we are actually on the opposite side of the spectrum” she grinned into the receiver, recognizing the voice of one of the troopers that often hung around the ER on slower nights, trying to mooch some coffee, food and company.

“What can I do for you?”

“Well, in that case I have a gift for ya!” he laughed, “Don’t ever say I don’t bring you anything! We are escorting a large entourage that’s bringing you a leg injury. Meet us at the ambulance bay in 10 minutes, and you might want to have a stretcher ready sweetheart!”

“10-4 Sal, see you in 10 with a stretcher” Melody hung up the phone and turned to Jane “we got “in coming”! Can you please buzz the Diagnostic Imaging and Doctor Arroyo and give them ’the heads up’ for me?” She told the secretary. Sticking her head into the waiting area, she yelled to her tech who was lounging in the empty chairs, watching TV “Hey Fred, wake up sleepy head, we have ‘in coming‘!”

Ten minutes later Melody was standing outside of the Emergency Entrance with her big muscular assistant and watched the approaching lights of the State Trooper’s cruisers. Sandwiched in-between the two police cars were 4 large dark Navigators with tinted windows.

She smirked across the stretcher at Fred “So who is the Drama Queen of the night?”

“I guess we’re about to find out Mel” laughed the big man and tossed her a pair of gloves.

As the cars came to a screeching stop in front of them, Sal jumped out of the cruiser closest to them and gave Melody a bone crushing hug “You soooo owe me!” he whispered into her ear as he moved on to high-five Fred “Yo Mon! What’s up?

The passenger door of the first SUV opened and a tall skinny man with wire rimmed glasses jumped out and ran to open the rear door.

Melody was rooted to her spot. She watched with fascination as another tall man, with a full head of straw colored curls, jumped out and leaned back in to assist a smaller man in dark tight jeans and a red muscle shirt out of the vehicle. The second man was in obvious pain and was struggling to hobble on his right leg as his left was bent at the knee. Another large man with dark hair emerged from the Navigator behind the injured guy. As the two larger men offered their shoulders to support their injured brother, Melody’s professional training finally kicked in and she lowered the stretcher to assist them. She watched as the two men gently settled their brother onto the stretcher, nodded to Fred to raise the side rails and rolled the stretcher into the ER.
She turned to look at her patient, noting the piercing blue of his eyes, the brilliant white of his smile that was gracing his face even though it was clouded with pain.

“Hello, my name is Melody, and I will be taking care of you tonight” she started another scripted line “Can you tell me what happened?”

As her patient nodded and started to speak, his voice was overlapped by a dozen or so voices of the people that were crowding into the waiting room and trying to get close to the stretcher. Each one of the voices was trying to give her their version of the story.

“OK folks! We have a strict visitor policy here. Only two people per patient! The rest of you. Please take a seat and wait for us” She turned to her patient and smiled “Guess what? You get to pick who comes in with you!”

The man on the stretcher smiled back and nodded towards the two large men who helped him out of the car earlier “I’ll keep these two ass.. I mean friends… The rest of you..” He rose on his elbows to glance at his entourage and winced at the pain that the move caused him “Would you please chill and NOT cause any trouble here!”

Melody and Fred promptly wheeled the stretcher past the reception desk and down the ER hallway.

“Which room?” she heard Jane’s voice as they passed her.

“Trauma” Mel yelled back at the secretary without even looking back.
Mel and Fred smoothly brought the stretcher to a stop in the middle of a brightly lit room that resembled an OR. Glancing behind her, she noted that there were still two extra persons accompanying her patient. Turning around she faced them and smiled “The two of you need to go back to the waiting room please”

“But I am Mr. B’s chiropractor!” said the man with the short dark hair.

“And I’m his personal assistant!” came from the annoyed red haired woman who was trying to get past Fred to the stretcher.

“Excellent, as soon as Dr Arroyo determines that uhmm Mr. B needs an adjustment, I’ll call you in from the waiting room!” Mel told the man “And you can personally assist us all by going out to the front desk and providing Jane with the information that she will need to get uhmmm Mr. B registered” she told the redhead.

The other two large man were staring at her. The blond guy’s mouth was open and the dark haired guy had a shit eating grin spreading across his face. Melody just shook her head trying to bring herself out of the “Twilight Zone” episode that she seemed to have been transported to, back to reality. She turned her attention back to her patient. He was quietly rubbing the back of his left calf as he observed the scene playing out in front of him.

“OK, lets take a look at the damage” said Melody and reached in her scrub pocket for her scissors. As she leaned towards her patient’s leg with the scissors in her right hand she heard a loud gasp and screech behind her.

Now what? She turned and stared at the skinny redhead, that was still in the room.

“You can’t cut it!!!” shrieked the assistant “Those are $1000 designer originals!”

Lord have mercy! My weekly paycheck for a pair of jeans? No wonder they hug his ass like a latex glove!

Melody calmly put the scissors down, smiled at the redhead and walked out of the room. Looking down the hallway she spotted Sal and his partner Vinnie leaning over the front desk and flirting with Jane. She waved to get their attention and motioned for them to come over.

“What’s up Mel? Can’t handle the heat?” laughed Sal as he approached the petite brunette in the pink scrubs.

“Oh, I can deal with the hotness! I just need your help with the crowd control!” she winked at the troopers and led them back into the trauma room.

“Officers, would you please assist these two fine citizens in finding our waiting room” she said pointing to the personal assistant and the chiropractor “And can you please make sure they get settled there comfortably?”

“Fred” she turned to her tech, “Would you please help uhmm Mr. B remove his ‘designer originals’ and get him into a patient gown!”

As she watched the two reluctant visitors being escorted out of the room and down the hallway, she closed the door and faced the other men in the room. The curly, blond was shaking with silent laughter and the dark haired man was leaning toward his friend on the stretcher, patting his shoulder.

“Well we sure are in for some night Bro! You got your self a fire cracker here!” he chuckled.

Seeing that Fred was about to help her patient to undress, Melody discretely turned away to give him some privacy. Facing his friends she folded her arms across her chest and gave them an icy stare.

“Excuse me uhmmm Mr. S and uhmmm Mr. B, do I need to ask you to wait outside too, or are you gonna let me do my job here?” Satisfied with their shocked expressions, Melody spotted Fred moving away from the stretcher and turned to her patient once again. He was laying on the stretcher, covered with a drab patient gown that was held firmly in place above his knees with his hands. The shocked look on his face was priceless.

“So Mr. Bongiovi, would you like to tell me what brought you to our Emergency Care Center on this fine, albeit hot, Friday night?”

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