When Jane's friend LeAnn came in, I left her side for just a minute to talk with Dr. Langley out in the corridor.
"Jane's asking questions that I answered minutes ago like she doesn't remember what just happened."
The doctor nods like she already knew. "That's not uncommon so soon after a concussion. We're monitoring her condition closely. I wouldn't worry too much about her."
"You might not worry, but I do," I say, running a hand through my hair in frustration. "She's obviously disoriented and in pain. All you people seem to be doing is watch her go through it. Aren't doctors supposed to *treat* patients?"
"I've already told you. We won't be certain of her condition until at least tomorrow afternoon. We could easily push her into a coma if we aren't careful. If she doesn't improve, we'll do more tests."
"Like what tests? If you can do more, why aren't you doing it?"
"I'd like to do an MRI of her head and neck, but it can't be done with the trach tubing there. I'd rather not remove it until she's healed more."
"There's gotta be something you can do for her now."
"We're doing it. She's getting as much pain relief as we can safely provide. Right now, she needs quiet and rest, and she won't get that until you all leave her alone."
"Well then, tell them to leave."
She just sighs and says, "I already did if you'll remember. Everyone insisted on seeing her."
"Then, let's get them in and out quick."
"You know I'm including you when I say she needs to be left alone."
I shake my head in determination. "I'm not leaving her."
"Jane, wake up." That's Adam, the nurse assigned to Jane for the night.
I was totally against the idea of a male nurse, but it's not my choice. They're short-staffed so it's either him or no one. That's not an option for me or the hospital. Dr. Langley's also made it clear that if I complain any more, I'll be the one forced to leave, so I shut up and let Adam do his job.
Liz is to thank for getting me permission to stay the night. She convinced them that Jane and I are engaged. I'm deeply grateful to her. I don't know what I would've done if they'd sent me home. If anything happened to her when I was gone... What am I thinking about? Something's already happened to her while I was gone. That's what got her here in the first place. I'm not leaving her again so something else can happen.
It turns out that the sofa in here has a fold-out bed. Adam helped me get it out when he came on duty, but I don't plan to sleep in it much. They're waking Jane up every hour to check on her level of consciousness, and I'm going to be there every time she opens her eyes so she knows she's safe and she's going to be ok.
Liz went to our apartment after they sent her home and brought me some essentials and a few changes of clothes. She also grabbed some things Jane might want. There were still cops there so it took some convincing and phone calls before she was allowed to take anything away from the crime scene.
You couldn't accuse Liz and I of being great friends before this, we only know each other though Jane. After today, though, I've really come to appreciate her. Jane was right when she told me that Liz is her best friend.
"Jane?" Adam's voice again.
It's louder now and tinged with concern. That concern finally breaks through my exhaustion, and I realize that my eyes are closed. Snapping them open, I see that I'm lying on the fold-out bed. Dammit, I must've fallen asleep. The room is dark except for the light above Jane's head, so it must still be night. I couldn't have been out too long.
I pull myself up to my feet and walk to the other side of her bed, still shaking off weariness. Adam's got his hand pulled into a fist and he's rubbing it back and forth along Jane's breastbone. He looks confused, like she should do something about the rubbing and she's not.
"Jane, open your eyes... Jane."
He's stopped the rubbing and pulled out a penlight. Opening one of her eyes, he flashes the light in it and then pulls it away, watching for a reaction. He does the same to her other eye. Then, he starts knuckling her breastbone again. She still doesn't respond.
"Jane," I join in. She should be waking up. This isn't right. Why isn't she waking up?
Adam presses the call button above Jane's bed and then he starts shaking her shoulders gently.
"Jane, wake up," he orders.
"C'mon, Jane. Open your eyes, baby," I add, my worry building.
Another nurse comes in and Adam tells her to page the on-call doctor. This is bad. What's going on? Is she in a coma? Is she dying?
Adam tries something else, reaching over and gingerly picking up her splinted, swollen arm. At the movement, Jane moves her head to the side, causing both of us to react.
"That's it Jane," Adam says.
"C'mon, babe. You can do it," I encourage.
Adam sets down her arm and knuckles her chest a third time. Jane moves again, reaching up her good hand to brush him away.
"Yeah, Jane. Wake up. Wake up," I say.
With that, she does, squinting her eyes open and looking at both of us just as the doctor comes running into the room.
"What's the situation?" he asks Adam as he moves the nurse aside.
"She was unresponsive to regular and painful stimuli until I moved her injured arm. Then she started coming out of it."
The doc checks her eyes like Adam had with his penlight, commenting that they were "equal and reactive," whatever that means. In fact, he does a whole slew of tests and asks Jane several questions, telling her to blink once for yes and twice for no. She still looks groggy, but the doctor seems to be satisfied with her answers.
He turns to Adam and says, "Let's keep her awake for the next hour and then try letting her sleep again."
She looks so exhausted, and I wish we could let her rest, but I know we can't. I don't want to risk her falling asleep and not waking up again, so I spend the time between 2:14 and 3:14 in the morning helping Adam keep her awake. I talk to her about everything and nothing. Adam and I trade off telling her jokes. We even try flipping through channels on the TV, but there's nothing but infomercials and Jerry Springer re-runs on this late at night, so we quickly give up and go back to talking to her.
Even though she tries nodding off, we keep her eyes open and keep her responding to our questions. After what seems like forever, Adam pages the doctor and he comes back, declaring Jane safe to resume her sleep schedule. Of course, that means Adam'll go back to waking her every hour, but at least she'll get a little rest. She needs every minute she can get.
It's not until the next afternoon, when Jane's finally cleared to sleep undisturbed and declared well enough for orthopedic surgery tomorrow, that I remember the show. Jane and I left so suddenly yesterday that they probably have no clue what happened or why we're gone today. I've got to call in and let them know we're both going to be out for a while.
The phone rings four times in Diane's office before I get transferred back to the receptionist. It's Shelly, and I'm screwed. We had... well, let's just say we know each other pretty well, and after we... um... you see... she hates my guts.
All I got out was, "Hi, Shelly. Is Diane..." before I got cut off.
Diane should be in her office so I called and let it ring four times before hanging up and calling again. After about four tries without an answer, I called Ray. I've really come to despise him for Jane's sake over the past few months, but he is the Executive Director. If I can't reach Diane, he's the next in line to call. He picks up on the second ring.
"Hey, Ray. I tried calling Diane but she wasn't in her office."
"Hi, Eddie," he answers.
Then, I hear Diane's voice in the background. "That's Eddie? Ray, give me the phone."
After I hear the phone being moved, I say, "Diane, I have to tell you..."
"Where'd you disappear to yesterday, Eddie? Jane left me with thirty-five minutes of dead air time to fill because of that little, romantic stunt of hers. I went from having the ungettable get to having nothing at all. We had to show a re-run!"
"I'm the laughing stock of the business. We couldn't even exploit Jane's confession. If I'd had some warning, we could've gotten a real psychiatrist and discussed desperate, single women over thirty, but Jane gave me nothing."
"Now that's just..."
"Is she with you right now? Is that where you've both been all day? Well, you can tell her she's fired. You hear that? And if you don't get your ass into work in the next thirty minutes, you're fired too. I won't endure this unprofessionalism because you've found yourself a new office slut. Eddie. How dare you two embarrass me..."
"Screw you, Diane!" I yell into the phone. "I was calling to tell you Jane's in the hospital. She almost died yesterday, not that you'd care. That's where we've been. And if you expect me to race down to work on your pathetic show today, you can just bite me. I'm not leaving Jane alone."
With that, I slam the phone down on its handle.