It was a lousy night at work. Even thought it was a slow night I wasn't even batting 100. Actually I was a lot lower. My first three cases had died on the table. I wasn't very successful that night.
I'm a doctor; My name is Mark Traina III, well actually I am a trauma surgeon. My job is to save lives; I don't do any of the fancy surgeries that all the high dollar guys do. I don't do boob jobs, tummy tucks, or other fancy stuff. I do the grunt work, I save lives. I save the gunshot victims, the knifings, the motor vehicle crash victims, and all other types of mayhem.
I get them when it's still touch and go. I don't try to do anything fancy. I just try to save lives.
My losses that night were two gunshot victims and one knifing. I swear the one gunshot victim was dead before they put him on my table. But they would still count his death against my stats. And my stats were not looking that good for the month. There was a gang war going on in our city and we were losing a lot of young men to these actions and a few innocent bystanders as well.
I had just finished the knifing victim. He had lost a lot of blood and I only gave him a 20% chance of surviving. I had gotten into clean scrubs (knifings were very messy) and was writing up my report on the surgery when my pager went off. A quick glance told me, I had another customer for my table. It was going to be a long night.
I scrubbed up and entered the cold and sterile atmosphere of an operating room. The operating room staff had my patient all prepared and the "gas passer" (Anesthesiologist) had him under. My charge nurse read me the vitals and a description of what they discovered wrong in ER. The team had already set an order to repair the damage. There were no bullet holes or knife wounds to repair. Those types of injuries would have been too easy; this one was a motor vehicle accident, a really bad one.
The anesthesiologist started reading off the numbers and he noted that they were rapidly falling. I didn't want to lose another one tonight so I quickly started in trying to saving a life. Somewhere inside he was bleeding. It was my job to find out where and stop it.
I had been working for about 15 minutes when another doctor appeared across the table from me.
He asked, "Can I assist?" "Damn right! I could use at least another 6 pair of hands, "I answered. " This guy is bleeding out and I haven't found from where yet.
Then I looked at him and remembered that he was an OB/GYN.
I must have given him a funny look because he commented, "I guess you haven't looked under the drape. Your patient is a female. A pregnant female. You have two lives to save." I looked at him and said, "Well do your thing. 'She's' losing blood somewhere inside her lower abdomen. See if you can find it and stop it." I started working faster. She had a ruptured spleen and it was leaking blood rapidly. If I lose her I'd lose the baby also. I was thinking about how bad that would look in my stats when I discovered the blood vessel that was producing this massive blood loss. My attention changed focus again. I was back to concentrating on the bleeder.
We had her on the table for almost 4 hours before we were able to stabilize her. The OB/GYN and I shipped her off to recovery. We had done everything we could do for her. Now it was up to her (or God if you choose to believe) to heal. There would be more surgeries on her broken legs, crushed foot, and various facial injuries if she lived these next 12 hours.
While I was cleaning up the OB/GYN informed me that she was the only survivor of the accident. Her husband had died on the way to the hospital. The driver and passengers in the other car all perished. He also informed me that the fetus didn't look good. It would probably abort within the next 24 hours.
"Poor kid," I thought, "She's going to need to deal with a lot of grief as well as her injuries. I'll make a referral to one of the shrinks" I really don't know why, but I stayed past the end of my shift after I got cleaned up. I walked into recovery, pulled up a chair and sat by her bed side. I wanted her to pull through. I slept there in the chair most of the day.
There were no major changes in her condition for the next couple of days. One afternoon as I came into work the OB/GYN called me. She had lost the baby. It was a little girl.
So although our patient came through that procedure I was still only one for two.
It was another week before she started to recover from her coma. Her body was now breathing on its own so the ventilator was removed. Two days later she started to stir in her bed. The ICU staff paged me. I was there when she first opened her eyes.
She was disoriented and not fully conscious when her eyes locked on mine.
I started my spiel, "Well good morning! Welcome back to the world. You were in a car accident and were in a coma for two weeks." "Water," she interrupted. Her voice was a horrible sound coming from a human throat.
I picked up the glass and put the straw near her mount, "Just take little sips. Your stomach might revolt." She managed to keep he water down so I went back to my lecture, "You have many injuries that will need to heal before you can leave us. Please plan on being here at least two months." She tried to smile but the stitches around her mouth prevented it. She looked in pain.
As I nodded to the nurse by our patient's IV, the sedative went in her IV. Our patient closed her eyes and rested again.
I picked up her chart and spent some time learning about her. Her name was Ivette Taylor, she was married to (or should I say widow of) a Joe Taylor. He was an office manager for an out of State Corporation. The word was that he had been an up and comer. Ivette worked as a secretary for a local law firm. Everybody said they were a happy couple. All that wasn't on her chart, but nurses and EMT's gossip. I was tied into that pipeline.
Now Ivette was alone in this world now. My sources said that the police had been unable to find any relatives on either side.
I spent the next couple of months visiting with her at least once or twice a day. I would stop before starting my shift and chat. If it was a slow evening, I would sit at her bedside and just chat. We'd talk about our lives and our hopes and wishes.
Other nights I'd just sit there holding her hand while she cried sometimes from her loss but a lot of the time from her pain. The staff tried to help her with the pain, but there were rules about the types and amounts of pain killers any patient could receive. The hospital didn't want to discharge a bunch of addicts, so a little pain was good for the soul or builds character so the sayings go.
I had referred her to one of our in house counselors. He helped her come to grips with her grief over the loss of her husband and baby. They couldn't help with the pain. The pain was real.
I'm not exactly sure how it came about, but the counselor and I both decided that she should move into my spare bedroom after her discharge from the hospital. There was no where else for her to go and this would give her a stable place to begin her recovery.
He had some reservations. I was cautioned about her developing an attachment to me. I told my friend I could handle it.
She had no one to take care of her so I had volunteered. It would turn out to be one of the happiest and also one of the saddest times of my life.
On the day of her discharge I proposed that we stop and pick up some of her things from her old apartment.
"No! No! I can't ever go in there again. There are just too many memories." I took her to my house. Over the next few days we bought her an all new wardrobe with all the accessories. Hell I could afford it. I was a doctor. But I did miss the little peeks at her butt I got thanks to her hospital gown.
I made arrangements with a church group for her possessions. They emptied the apartment and gave everything in it to the needy. I got receipts for everything so she could deduct the donations from her taxes.
It took another year before her surgeries were completed. During that year I fell in love with her. I couldn't help it. She was beautiful, charming and a person that looked as if she had lost her best friend. I took the place of her best friend. Later I became her lover.
It was a rough year. She was in pain almost all of the time from the various repair and reconstructive procedures she had undergone. There were nights when she woke up screaming from her pain induced dreams.
I went from sitting next to her bed side to climbing in her bed and holding her while she cried waiting for the pain killers to kick in.
I'm not exactly sure when it happened or even how but instead of going to our respective beds to sleep, we both ended up in mine. It took a while because of her injuries and the pain she felt when touched, but one night we completed our relationship. It wasn't wild and crazy sex like you read about in romance novels. She still was recovering from her various repairs, but it was damn nice.
Ivette's and my relationship developed over the next few years. We became one. Her nightmares faded and our loving making became greater and greater in direct proportion.
The years passed and we got married. It was nothing fancy, just a few friends before a Justice of the Peace. We honeymooned in Cancun, nothing but sun, sand, and hours of love making.
I was happier than I have ever been in my life.
Ivette blossomed, she was happy and the nightmares finally stopped. The only down side was her chronic pain. When the weather changed, she ached. We tried aspirin. When that didn't work, we tried Advil. That didn't work either.
.... There is more of this story ...