Anh yêu em Tuyet...
Tôi yêu con gái KaSandra & Katrina...
Tôi thương con trai của bố Luc…
a novel by nicholas sheridan stanton
100TH POST...WOO HOO!!!!!
LA General, Los Angeles California…Monday, June 27th, 2005…6am
It had taken four days but Lizzie was finally over missing her birthday night out with Jace and Noah Kelly. Sure, it was a mini-milestone, you don't turn thirty but once in your life. Well that wasn't entirely true. She seemed to remember her mother claiming that birthday at least twice, and truth be told would probably try it again sometime, and might just pull it off if the room was dark enough! She smiled at that thought and allowed herself a light hearted moment. There had been so few of those in the 72 hours since Katie Tate had had the stroke. That was the urgent call that had derailed her birthday plans. Her cousins were terrific support, as they had been her whole life. The twins were a couple of years older than she and had been the siblings that she never had, both of them as well as their older sister Tori (Victoria Kelly). No matter what anyone tells you about the pluses of being an only child the negatives are far more relevant, the main drawback being loneliness. It doesn't matter how hard your parents try to fill that void there is nothing that replaces the comfort of having someone to play with, fight with, cry with, and laugh with, no matter how annoying they might be!
Anyway, the two young men had taken the disappointment well, cancelling all the birthday plans and replacing them with a ride to the hospital and a long night of fears, tears, and coffee runs. They camped out in the parent's room with all of the Tate family and friends for two days running errands and arranging for take out meals while everyone waited nervously for Katie to show some sign of recovery from a grand-mal seizure brought on by her new chemo regiment. The kid was a fighter but Lizzie worried she was falling into the category of the cure being more dangerous than the disease. But at 3am this morning the rascal opened her eyes and made a little noise, something her neurologists were certain would not happen. The night of her episode they had determined that her seizure had been so severe that she would be blind and mute at the very least, if she survived the night that is. Thankfully diagnosis is not an exact science, and their understandable pessimisms weren't realized. They were wrong, wrong, wrong, thank God!
Lizzie wished the twins hadn't had to go yesterday, but they had jobs to go to and schedules to keep, she understood. The world can't just stop when someone is suffering, although wouldn't that be a nice place to live? She had noticed that phenomenon during the course of her time at LA General. How when a patient first arrives there are armies of family, friends, and well wishers. But over time, as a long illness drags out to an uncertain future, the army's ranks begin to collapse as one by one people go back to their own lives. And when the end is closest, when the one suffering needs them most it is usually just the ones most dear who remain, the ones who would lovingly change places if God were only listening to their prayers. Elizabeth looked through the window at Katie Tate. She was resting peacefully on a bed equipped with an adjustable air mattress, her body attached to a tree full of machines with blinking lights and annoying alarms. There were lines running from here swollen and bruised hands to these devices as well as from the pick-line just above her heart. There was even a line from under her blanket, connecting a catheter to and drain bag at the foot of the bed, the ultimate rude imposition on her personal freedom. Lizzie had had one of those things attached to her once, about eight years ago when she had had gallbladder surgery. It wasn't pleasant!
Katie weakly held a rainbow colored teddy bear with her free hand, it looked like a lifesaver candy with arms and legs. The hand attached to the machine tree was held gently and lovingly by her father who sat beside her in an uncomfortable chair. The television was on, tuned into the Disney Channel with an episode of Hanna Montana running in the background. Nobody was paying any attention. They were all a million miles away. Lizzie wanted to just walk away and leave them in peace, but she couldn't, the Tate child had captured her heart, much like that French kid, Gabriel Bouchard had a while back. She pushed on the door and walked in quietly.
"Hello Dr. Andrews, what are you doing here, I thought you were working night?" Wallace Tate asked in a whisper.
"Actually I'm pulling a double shift, I just wanted to look in on you guys before I went to the lounge to grab a short nap," Lizzie replied, stopping at the foot of Katie's bed and giving her toes a little squeeze.
"How's our girl doing this morning?" she asked.
Wallace Tate slowly let go of is daughter's hand, setting it gingerly back onto a clean white draw sheet. He stood and then bent over the bed to kiss his daughter's cheek, lingering there for an entire minute, and then turned to face Lizzie.
"She seems to be beating the odds according to her neurologist, Dr. Soo," he said as he yawned and stretched.
"Pardon me, I've sitting in that thing they loosely call a chair since one this morning," he added, apologizing.
"No worries. You don't have to tell me about the furniture around here, you should see the cots they give us doctors to use when we pull all nighters, there should be a law!" Lizzie said, commiserating rhetorically.
"Hey, what do you know about this Dr. Soo?" Mr. Tate asked, suddenly more attentive.
"What do you mean?" replied Lizzie.
"I mean how long she been a doctor anyway, she looks like she should still be in High School?"
Lizzie laughed, "That's funny! Carrie is actually three years older than I am; she just looks like a kid. A lot of Asians are like that. I know, my older cousins are half Chinese and they look younger than I do as well. It's NO FAIR!" Lizzie said trying to lighten the moment.
"I see, thanks for the tip. Don't get me wrong, Dr. Soo is wonderful and we have complete confidence in her. I just wasn't prepared for a Doogie Howser is all," replied Mr. Tate, smiling.
Laughing with him Lizzie replied, "Gotcha, who's Doogie Howser?" she asked, dating herself.
It was Wallace Tate's turn to crack up now, "Forget it, I'm surrounded by children!" he said walking over to give Lizzie a hug.
An alarm went off on the tree beside the bed followed by a weak and garbled voice, "Where's mommy?" asked a semi-conscious Katie Tate.
"Oh thank God!" Wallace said releasing Lizzie and rushing back to his daughter.
Dr. Elizabeth Andrews pulled her stethoscope out of her jacket pocket and walked over to the opposite side of Katie's bed. She pressed the button on the railing to summon the charge nurse and then attached the instrument to her ears and leaned over Katie to give her heart and lungs a listen.
"Welcome back you," Lizzie said smiling, a single tear dropping from her face and onto the little girl's. Katie smiled a crooked little smile and sighed weakly. Lizzie sighed as well. Apparently God was listening because her birthday wish was still living and breathing. When love is pure there is always hope. Prayers are answered all the time. When you accept how they're answered, even when the answers aren't exactly what you were hoping for or expecting, there is peace.