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Something – Changed

March 7, 2013

The nurse pushed him back onto the bed.

“I’m afraid you are not going anywhere Sir, please lie back down.”

He groaned in objection but the stubborn woman would not hear his pleas, excuses or threats. He remembered back to earlier that day. The visit by his doctor, then shortly afterwards by his boss

“You need rest.” His doctor had proclaimed in that stuffy, I-know-more-than-you-because-I-went-to-school-longer-than-you-even-thought-about attitude.

“You need a rest.” His boss had demanded.

Though he had listened patiently to his doctor, he openly objected to his boss.

His boss had refused to listen.

“I don’t want to hear it. You’re going to take time off. If I see your ass at any time in the next month you’ll find you wont be coming back at all.”

“You can’t do that.” He had gasped in disbelief.

“Try me.” His boss had replied.

So here he lay, unable to leave the hospital until all his tests had been returned with satisfactory results and with the knowledge that when he did get out of here he would be unable to return to work. At least here he could complain about the food and the treatment, but the minute he returned home there would be no one to complain too and nothing to do.

The next morning he awoke still groggy from the pills he had been forced to swallow the night before by the large overweight male nurse who had been assigned to look after him.

He dragged himself up towards the head of the bed and shoved a nearby spare pillow under his head. Grabbing the small electronic remote he slowly raised the top half of his bed.

Dropping the remote, he pulled the side table over and with one shaking hand, poured himself an unsteady glass of water. Beside his glass, next to his deck of playing cards were several small red squares.

Letting go of the glass he gently touched the tiny objects.

Each red piece slid silkily through his fingers. Picking up a handful of the objects, he lifted them to his face. Sniffing them carefully he inhaled their sweet floral scent.

Rose petals

His eyes drifted closed.

“Good morning.” The cheerful voice automatically drew a scornful glare from his patient.

The nurse watched him lower the flower petals back to the small table and push himself higher on the bed.

“Where did they come from?” the pale man on the bed demanded weakly

“A young woman brought them in last night. You were asleep and she said she didn’t want to wake you.”

“A young woman?” He asked, absently rubbing his chest with his hand.

The nurse moved closer to the bed and pushed the table out of the way. Wrapping the black band tightly around his patient’s right arm, the nurse took note of his still slightly too high blood pressure and asked, “any pain?”

“Young woman?” he asked again, refusing to be distracted from his question. The nurse persisted until he mumbled that he felt no pain.

“She wasn’t that young.” Muttered a rough female voice from the doorway. The doctor stalked towards the nurse and examined the clipboard he held.

“No pain?” she asked.

On the bed, he shifted uncomfortably and avoided the doctor’s piercing stare. “Maybe a little.” He finally mumbled.

The doctor sighed and grumbled something under her breath about ‘stubborn males’ and lifted the stethoscope to her ears and lowered the blanket from her patient’s chest. Sliding her arm and the metal heart of the stethoscope under his embarrassingly short hospital gown she ordered, “breathe in.” He obeyed silently holding in the breath until she ordered him to release it.

Nodding seriously she moved the cold metal over his chest.

Removing the heart monitor, the doctor made several notes on the clipboard and handed it back to the nurse. “Your test results haven’t returned yet, I should have them by mid-morning.”

One the bed, he nodded impatiently, unsure whether he was dying to get out from under her eagle eye or whether he’d rather stay here for as long as possible to avoid going back to his cold empty flat.

“Tell me more about the woman.” He asked.

“Gorgeous.” The nurse muttered, shooting a smile at the man lying helplessly on the hospital bed

The doctor shook her head at her assistant. She then looked at her patient. “The woman didn’t leave her name. She said she was a friend and after she realised you were asleep she left the petals and said you’d know.”

“Know what?” the nurse asked seriously.

The man on the bed smiled grimly to himself. “I should have been awake.” He muttered.

“What?” the doctor asked unable to hear his words.

“hmmmm?” he looked up and focused on the woman in the white coat. “Nothing… I understand why she left them.” He didn’t elaborate on the meaning of his words and the doctor stared at the nurse to halt his next question.

“I suggest you try to rest.” The doctor finally said, “I’ll return when your results come in.” Turning to her companion she suggested he bring in her patient’s breakfast.

She looked back, concern feathered across her face as she watched him stare at the petals on the table.

He stared but didn’t see the blood red flakes. So she had come. Why? Worried about him? Concerned? Or was it something else? – If so, then what was the letter about?

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