Room 312

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Room 312

Post by DATo »

Room 312



Doctor Madeline Flemming walked casually toward the end of the hall. Her hands were buried deeply in the pockets of the immaculately white lab coat she wore. Doctor Flemming smiled and nodded to the police officer seated at the small table just outside the door of room 312 before entering. Standing at the foot of the only bed in the room was Nurse Prentice who was engaged in the act of filing statistics into small boxes on a form which was attached to a metal clipboard.

"Let’s have a look at that Susan." said Doctor Flemming.

Nurse Prentice handed the clipboard to Flemming who studied it carefully with a practiced eye.

"Word travels fast around here Madie. Scuttlebutt is that you worked on this guy for four hours in surgery last night, that you almost lost him twice but refused to throw in the towel. What gives? The guy’s a sleezbag hoodlum. He shot a bank teller for Chrissake!"

Susan Prentice’s familiarity with Doctor Flemming was the result of years of close association and personal friendship. She would never have dared to speak this way to any other doctor.

"The Hippocratic Oath does not discriminate between heads of state or hoodlums Sue." replied Madeline Flemming.

There was something in Doctor Flemming’s voice which advised Nurse Prentice to drop the subject. Flemming smiled as she handed the clipboard back to Susan for she too was aware of the curtness of her response.

"I want to be beeped if there’s a change, any change at all, in his condition. Make sure that gets passed on to your relief shift, okay?"

"Anything the finest neurosurgeon in Denver asks is my command." said Nurse Prentice as she quickly snapped to attention, bowed, and then saluted.

Doctor Flemming laughed out loud. She then turned her gaze upon the man lying unconscious in the bed, her broad smile immediately lapsing into one of thoughtful meditation.

In the weeks that followed, Donald Archer’s progress proved to be nothing short of miraculous owing in large part to the meticulous attention given to his convalescence by Doctor Madeline Flemming. There was an undercurrent of mild resentment by the hospital staff for the attention Flemming paid to this enemy of the people. An unholy hand already protected this dispenser of mayhem and grief. He had been once arrested and charged with the abduction, rape and murder of a twelve year old girl in Des Moines, Iowa. He had beaten that charge. A juror later confessed to the press that despite their frustration the state had failed to present enough evidence beyond doubt for all of the jurors to find Archer guilty.

Donald Archer was aware that he had been handcuffed to a hospital bed, he had become restrained upon recovering consciousness, but was unaware of the circumstances which required this restraint for he had no memory of the events which had brought him to this state. He did not know that a policeman's bullet had grazed his head removing a part of his skull nearly killing him. The questions he posed to the hospital staff who entered the room to fulfill their duties were always met with a stony silence.

He awoke in a daze once to find what appeared to be two doctors at the foot of his hospital bed, one was male and the other female. The female checked her watch and after saying something to the male doctor left the room. The male doctor noticed that Donald was awake.

"Hey doc, what’s the deal? I can’t get anyone to talk to me in here. What am I doing here? What happened?" said Donald Archer.

"Your memory will return in stages." said Doctor Phelps. "For now the most important thing is rest and the worst thing would be any form of mental stress. We have you on medication to keep your blood pressure down. Elevated blood pressure could easily cause an aneurism in your brain."

"What’s with the bracelet?" said Archer as he nodded in the direction of the handcuff restraining his left wrist to the bedrail.

"Ahh ... well ... let’s just say we don’t want you getting out of bed and falling to the floor." lied Doctor Phelps.

"And who was the broad who was in here with you? Nice looking dame!"

"That broad is the doctor who saved your life when you were brought in here. Her name is Madeline Flemming." said Doctor Phelps.

"She comes in and sticks me every day. I thought she was a nurse." said Archer.

"That’s a high blood pressure medication. Without it you would have probably already had a fatal stroke - that aneurism I was talking about. Normally you’re right, it would be done by a nurse, but you have become her special case so-to-speak."

"Yeah, she’s been in here every day - just smiles at me and asks how I feel and then sticks me. She has a nice touch. I never feel it."

"She just sticks, as you call it, an adaptor on the IV, not your arm."

"Well I’ll be damned. What will they think of next? She’s a looker ain’t she doc? Best part of my day when she comes in here."

A week later Doctor Flemming entered room 312 for the last time. It was the time of day when the police officer guarding the room was relieved by another and the two of them were flirting with a pretty nurse at the nurse’s island just down the hall. Doctor Flemming closed the door completely.

"What’s up Doc? Ha - Haaaa! I always wanted to say that to a doctor. Whycome you stopped with the needle? You ain’t stuck me with the juice for a week now. Am I getting better?"

Doctor Madeline Flemming smiled sweetly at her charge and replied, "Yes Don, you won’t be needing it anymore."

Doctor Flemming took Archer’s wrist between her thumb and fingers and monitored his pulse. She then did something which pleasantly shocked Donald. She bent over him and kissed him on the cheek. Archer was too shocked to speak as Flemming’s other hand slowly crept beneath the blanket towards the foot of the bed. Archer’s breathing deepened as Flemming’s hand found what it was seeking and slowly began to massage. Donald’s eyes were closed as he luxuriated in the touch of Flemming’s hand. He was living in the moment and the moment was blissful. She continued to monitor his pulse as she began to speak.

"Look at me Don." said Doctor Flemming softly.

Donald opened his eyes to behold Flemmings pretty face close to his own.

"My hair wasn’t always blonde Don. It was red once, back when I lived in Des Moines." said Flemming.

"Her name was Teresa, Don. She had a cocker spaniel named Tibbet. Her favorite color was blue."

Donald’s eyes grew large. Des Moines! Teresa Flemming! Madeline continued to monitor Archer’s pulse which was dangerously elevated.

"You looked me in the face and smiled at me when you left the courtroom a free man, and I knew, I knew you had done it." Donald’s pulse rate was racing.

"My head! My head! it hurts ... GOD IT HURTS !!!"

"Yes, Donald, it hurts doesn’t it? My first impulse when I saw you in the trauma room was to let you die, but no, no, that wouldn't do. You were unconscious. I wanted you to be conscious. I wanted you to look at my face one more time."

And then, while staring deeply into Donald's eyes, her face inches from his own, Madeline Flemming's lowered hand found what it had been searching for and squeezed with all the strength she could bring to bear. Donald's scream was muffled by Flemming's other hand. His head then arched back upon the pillow. His unseeing eyes bulged from his head.

Doctor Madeline Flemming continued to monitor Donald’s pulse till she was satisfied and then stepped slowly to the room’s lavatory and emptied the syringe of medication into the toilet and flushed, as she had done each day for the last week.

“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright
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Post by gali »

A great story! I liked the twist at the end.

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
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Post by DATo »

Thanks @gali. In case you were wondering, the kiss was a red herring to make the reader think she was romantically inclined toward the patient ... in reality it was the kiss of Judas for she was betraying her sacred oath, but unlike Judas it was understandably without remorse.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright
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Post by Peter Chanda »

Interesting story
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