Made for You Page 11

My nurse today, Kelli, is cool. She was here yesterday too. She’s the youngest nurse I’ve had, only a few years older than me, but she’s not so old that she has that parent-vibe.

“How about a change of scenery?” Kelli busies herself opening the curtains, letting bright light pour into the room. “You could get the grand tour of Peds.”

“They aren’t letting me walk yet because of the traumatic brain injury, but I don’t want to walk either, so it works out just fine.

“You’re moping. It won’t help to hide away in a dark room.” Kelli levels a look at me that would do Grace proud. It’s the keen gaze of someone who isn’t going to accept my excuses or whining. I’m torn between smiling at it and wishing the day nurse was the one from two days ago. She didn’t care that I was wallowing.

“Be right back.” Kelli leaves, and when she returns, she’s pushing a wheelchair. “There’s a great view down in the lounge.”

“Maybe later,” I hedge.

Kelli crosses her arms over her chest and looks at me. “You’re one of three patients I have right now, and I just checked on them. Now’s a good time.”

“Fine. Give me the grand tour.”

I reach out to grab her arm, and she helps me as I turn my body ninety degrees on the bed so I can get down. Then, she steadies me as I lower my good leg to the floor. It takes longer than I think it should every time I do this, but at least I’m getting out of bed.

After Kelli helps me into the chair and hangs my IV bag on the pole, she quietly hands me a tissue. “Do you want something for the pain?”

“Nope.” It hurts more than I expected, but I’d rather hurt than feel like puking. The muscle relaxers already make me queasy, and I’m trying to avoid as much of the pain meds as I can. I dislike the oxycodone they added on what they call “PNR” dose, which, I learned, just means “take as needed.” As far as I’m concerned, it’s not needed at all. I tried it, but it made me feel fuzzy-brained. Even without it my tongue feels fat, and my brain feels slow.

Kelli hands me the lap blanket Mrs. Yeung brought me. It’s something she made herself, and I can tell that it’s one of her more recent attempts. The stitches in this one are more even than the others I’ve seen. After I cover my cast and my bare leg with the puce and lime blanket, Kelli wheels me out of the room. It feels a little strange to be in public wearing a blanket, pajamas, and a robe, but it’s either this or have someone bring me a skirt because jeans won’t go over my cast, and even if they did, balancing on one foot to unhook jeans when I need to use the bathroom sounds like a bad idea. So, a nightgown it is.

The floor is flooded by natural light because of skylights and large windows, and the walls are decorated with photographs of nature. Huge potted plants—that I think are probably fake—add to the overall sense that the designers were trying to bring a little of the world outside into the hospital. The common area has chairs and game stations, racks of books, and a few tables. It’s as inviting as it could be considering where we are.

“This is the playroom,” Kelli says as she points to the left. “Over here is the Teen Zone.”

I snort. I don’t mean to, but I do. Then I quickly say, “Sorry.”

“I didn’t name it.” She sounds unoffended, almost happy.

We’re quiet as she pushes me through the hallway. Most of the patients’ doors are closed. A few rooms are vacant, and a few have doors wide open with families visible inside. I try not to stare. I wouldn’t want strangers invading my privacy. There are a few different types of cribs, and I guess that means that there are different ages of babies in them. That makes me feel sadder. It sucks to be in the hospital, but at least I’m old enough to ask questions and make some sense of everything. Babies can’t do that.

Maybe Kelli senses my mood shifting or maybe she’s just used to people sinking into a funk when they have more cuts on their face than Frankenstein’s monster. Regardless of the reason, she starts talking again. “I hear that your friends can’t come during the week, right?”

“Jessup is a long drive.” I sound defensive, even though I try not to. I suspect that she already knows that I asked the desk to lie for me about the no-visitors policy.

“Maybe you can talk to some people here?” Kelli suggests.

I make a noncommittal noise because, truthfully, I’m simply not looking to make friends with the other patients.

Kelli wheels me past a kitchen and a laundry room, and then into a room that is a little bigger than the “Teen Zone.” There are a couple of sofas, a few chairs, a coffee table, and a decent-size television. It’s a slightly sterile version of the sort of living room that would be in most homes.

Another nurse comes around the corner. “You’re needed at the desk.”

“Do you want to go back or wait here?”


She smiles like I did something wonderful and then points at a panel that’s low enough to reach from a wheelchair. “There’s a call button if you need anything. I’ll be back, but page the desk if you’re ready to go back to your room sooner.”

I nod, and she leaves.

The window in the lounge overlooks a park. A group of about six people show up after I’ve been sitting there for a few minutes. They’re playing some sort of group Frisbee game. I watch them. That’s all I can do right now. It makes me feel pitiful, which pisses me off. God knows I’m not longing to chase a Frisbee. Sitting outside in the sunlight or taking a walk would be nice though. I can’t do either of those things. I’m not sure when or if I will ever be able to either.

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