A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder


This is a list of how often and where the term 'bed' appears in the book PERSONAL BAGGAGE.

Search result for 'bed' in PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Chapter 1: Chapter One
"...From a weed patch in the center of the driveway circle, a ­woman rushed to rescue her pet. Comforting the animal, she stumbled past a bed of yellow zinnias and sank into a Pawleys Island hammock beneath the protecting arms of a live oak tree, whose leafy canopy danced softly on a honeysuckle breeze. The kitty kneaded Penelope Augusta Nichols Pewitt’s stomach and purred while the hawk circled slowly overhead. ..."
"... “I need to ask you something,” she called. Penny climbed out of the hammock, sauntered down her driveway, and crossed Oakwood Street, where heat waves rose from the pavement into air thick with the watermelon fragrance of freshly mown grass. Misty spoke in a tone Jackie Kennedy might ..."
"...Long past the puppy stage, Penny’s dog Zac seized any opportunity to swipe the neighbors’ papers. He dug up flower beds with joyous barking and pilfered trophies from all over town: a cell phone which rang incessantly, several hats from a baseball cap to a bonnet, and innumerable shoes from the porch of their Japanese friends. In fact, until his masculinity was removed, he had distributed his DNA all ..."
"...Penny faced her neighbor. “I’m changing jobs: I am going to work full-time at the Jacksonville hospital.” She paused, afraid her friend would disapprove. Jacksonville Medical Center, a new 300-bed hospital, was 75 miles northeast of the town of Dixiana. Penny would begin her new job the next morning. ..."
"... skirt swinging as she paced. “Faye, did you leave them alone?” “Well...Mom was in bed and Dad seemed calm. I’ve got to find another housekeeper! I have a couple of leads but I need somebody who can start tomorrow.” Penny had assumed that when the need arose she would be the one who ..."
" work and her parents’ needs, walked barefoot through her kitchen, across the den, and down the hall to the bathroom. She was standing in the shower running hot water on her head when Faye called again. Grabbing a towel, she scurried to the telephone beside her bed while water dripped onto her rug. ..."
"...a perfect mother; Dr. Spock’s falling-apart paperback was her Bible. But as time passed, she became a survivor, struggling with one day’s catastrophes only to face new obstacles the next. She remembered working eight-hour night shifts, ten on and four off, and dragging herself out of bed before the children arrived home from school. After supper and baths, when they were tucked in, she sometimes cried as she folded laundry before returning to the hospital to work again. ..."
"...Surely, one might agree that when a relationship fell apart there should be a sign to show that something life-changing had happened—not like this: just keeping on keeping on. Even lovemaking, which her mother described as “your privilege to do something for your husband,” had become just another chore before Penny could sleep. ..."
"...Determined to make a good first impression, Penny selected her outfit carefully: black slacks, a silky gray blouse, and her new Bass flats. With her clothes laid out and the room tidied, she propped up in bed and scribbled a letter describing Zac’s panty theft to her parents. They enjoyed receiving mail, and Penny made her story entertaining. ..."

Chapter 2: Chapter Two
"... weekends, starting tomorrow. Awakened by soft music from her Bose clock/radio, Penny shut off the alarm and dressed quietly to avoid disturbing Johnny, who slept in another bedroom. Because of her work schedule, they had stopped sleeping together years ago. Each time Penny looked at her ..."
"...find herself improved, her features suddenly beautiful, but as she adjusted the makeup mirror and painted yellow coverup over her under-eye shadows, the same odd eyes frowned at her: one brown, the other one blue. She parted her shoulder-length hair at the center of her high forehead, back combed, sprayed the wispy ends to hold them in place, and then smeared on lipstick. ..."
"...The mood shifted from tense to jovial as they moved outside and took turns using a bed sheet to smother a fire set on top of a dummy on a stretcher. Next, they were directed into a small building a short distance from the emergency entrance. Penny stretched to her full five-feet, nine-inches and palmed the ceiling while she watched a fireman ignite a ..."
"...Arriving home, she slowed as Oakwood Street curved around her front yard and looked across the pavement to admire the Vanlandinghams’ large flower bed, where multicolored zinnias, nandina bushes, and ornamental grasses encircled the base of an electric pole. Deep in the lot, moss-draped oaks simultaneously veiled and romanticized the tall Tuscan columns that supported the portico of Oakden. Built as a millionaire planter’s town house before the Civil War destroyed ..."
"... a Summer League baseball game. The unmistakable odor of snake defecation hung in the sultry air and assaulted Penny as she entered the garage. When her son Dick had married and moved to his own home, he left his glass aquarium in a bedroom at the end of the hall. Hence, every month, in order to ..."
"...Later, running water as hot as she could stand, she showered until her thoughts were fuzzy and her feet were red. She found ­sanctuary in her queen-sized four poster, remembering shopping trips with Johnny in search of their perfect bed, and her anticipation of ­lying ­beside him every night for the rest of her life. Although low on ­finances, Johnny had encouraged her to find high quality furniture, generously using the money his mother had saved for him from his father’s insurance. ..."
"...through high school and after graduation had worked as an aide in the now-demolished old City Hospital while studying to become a licensed practical nurse. She had taught Penny the fine points of nursing procedures and of surviving in the profession. The Director of Nursing for Dixiana’s ­fifty-bed River Park Hospital had agreed to schedule Maureen to work each of Penny’s weekends, starting tomorrow. ..."

Chapter 3: Chapter Three
"...In a fraction of a second, Penny passed from a dream world surrounded by blazing fire to wide-awake, gasping at air that seemed stiff with smoke. Sensing someone standing beside her bed, she peered into the darkness and fumbled with the lamp switch, trembling like a patient with escalating temperature. Squinting her eyes against the abrupt light, she surveyed the bedroom with a sweeping glance: she was alone in her room, there was no smoke, and the Bose showed 4 ..."
"... Undoubtedly, her dream had derived from the fire in-service yesterday—and vodka at bedtime! She rolled out of bed. In the mirror her face looked like it belonged on a transplant list. It would take work to make herself look better, but maybe it would help her feel better. Two ..."
"...Penny breathed disinfectant-laced air as she surveyed her home-away-from-home, which appeared smaller than it actually was because of its flowery wallpaper. The room contained eight beds separated by green curtains and arranged around a central desk, above which monitor screens traced the electrical activity of CCU patients’ hearts as well as those of the telemetry patients on South Hall. At the back of the Unit, a locked door, which opened to the ambulance loading ..."
"... Eager as babysitters to relinquish their charges when the parents return, two night nurses gave Report on the five in CCU and the six on telemetry, patients they had monitored since 7 p.m. yesterday. Leaving the cramped cubicle, the tired nurses hurried out the door, headed for home and bed. ..."
"...“I’m sorry.” Penny apologized and signaled Maureen for help, observing Mrs. Brown’s heart pattern on the monitor screen above the bed until Maureen arrived to stand across from her. They turned the patient back and forth, maneuvering the waterproof pad, which had wrinkled into a lump, back to its proper position under her hips, and lifted it, pulling her toward the head of the bed. Maureen elevated one ..."
"...With the assessments completed, Penny moved from bed to bed, raising each patient to a sitting position and passing out warm wash cloths and clean towels. The dietitian brought the breakfast cart and Maureen positioned over-bed tables and distributed food trays, removing lids, opening milk cartons, and offering assistance. Penny rolled the drug cart between ..."
"...Brenda Bumbalough, housekeeper, was currently assigned to South and to the Unit. With dyed-brown hair and a constant frown, she vacuumed when people were talking and brought down dust from light fixtures and monitors onto the patient’s beds. Penny brushed a powdery film off the desk and made an effort to smile at Brenda through the mote-filled air. ..."
"...Jiggling coins in his pocket, he appeared more interested in the monitor patterns than in what Penny was telling him about the IV. “All right,” he conceded. “I’ll write the order and you can move him to the hall.” He swaggered to the bed and addressed his patient. “Didn’t I say I’d make you well if you’d trust me? I’ve kept my promise and I brought you a present.” He pulled a small red and white bag of Beechnut chewing tobacco from his pocket. “I made sure I got ..."
"... He’s going to self-destruct one day and you don’t want to be in the middle of his mess.” He turned to the lab section in one patient’s chart. “I wrote for labs at eight o’clock. Look: CBC and SMA at 8 a.m.” Irritated, he jabbed at his order with a ballpoint. “It’s nine and they’re not here!” ..."
"... herself. He bounded forward to hand her the report. “Buck Dalton,” he said, giving her hand a ferocious shake. Glancing toward the far wall, he combed his fingers through a mop of black hair which tumbled back down over his glasses, then he turned and retreated out the door. Reaching ..."
"...Penny delivered carbon copies of the new orders to the pharmacy department and transcribed the changes the doctors ordered onto the Medication Administration Record on which meds were checked off as they were given. She then copied the meds and the treatments onto the Kardex, from which Report would be presented to the next shift. ..."
"...Maureen moved from bed to bed straightening the covers and asking the patients if they needed anything. She leaned over Penny and ran the second print-outs from each of the telemetry monitors. “It’s time for visitors and it’s my turn to post these strips at South Station, unless you need to ..."
"...After visitors and before lunch the nurses reassessed their patients, looking for changes. Penny began with one of Dr. Lawrence’s two patients, a thirty-six-year-old male named Darryl Dodson, admitted with chest pain to rule out heart attack. As she approached his bed, a sudden dread squeezed her throat and her heart shifted. His skin color was ashen. His monitor pattern was unchanged and he said he felt okay, but he appeared short of breath. Listening to his chest with her stethoscope, Penny heard on inhalation the crackling sounds ..."
"...breathe easier.” The patient was receiving oxygen at two liters by nasal cannula, so she turned his flow meter up to five and called Maureen. Penny’s voice sounded louder than she had intended and Maureen was at her side immediately, looking down at the man’s bluish-tinged nail beds along with her. ..."
" to the Unit, Maureen had counseled her to calm down. “Don’t get excited until I do–-I’ll tell you when.” This time, with her stethoscope against the young man’s back, Maureen confirmed what Penny had heard with wide eyes and bared teeth and Maureen remained at the bedside while Penny moved with controlled speed to the desk and grabbed the phone. She paged Respiratory Therapy, then dialed Dr. Lawrence’s office. When told that he had left for lunch, she immediately called his house. ..."
"... By phone, Penny described the patient’s condition to Dr. Lawrence and received orders for a STAT electrocardiogram, arterial blood gasses, and a portable chest X-ray. As she replaced the receiver, one of Respiratory’s summer-student helpers arrived to answer Penny’s page. “Where ..."
"... as you can.” The teenager fled. When Penny returned to Darryl Dodson’s bedside, Maureen had raised him to a sitting position and placed pillows under his arms. “If you’re okay here, I’ll go back and finish what I started,” Maureen said. Hansel Hall, Director of Respiratory ..."
"...Hansel Hall, Director of Respiratory Therapy, jogged into the Unit and glanced at Penny, then at Dodson. He set out his syringe and swabbed and palpated for a radial artery while Penny introduced him and explained to the patient that Dr. Lawrence needed to know exactly how much oxygen his blood was carrying so he would know how much more he should give him to breathe. ..."
"... to transfer Dodson to a cardiologist in Jacksonville. Dr. Lawrence returned to his patient’s bed as Rebecca Daniels, one of South Station’s nurses entered the Unit. “What’s going on in here? Do you-all need some help?” We’re going to need a chart copied to send with a ..."
"...In answer to loud knocking at the back door, Maureen admitted two Emergency Medical Technicians with their stretcher and accompanied them to Dodson’s bedside. “We need to put you on a stretcher to move you from your bed, out the back door, across the lawn, and onto a helicopter,” Maureen explained. “I know it will be hard, but try to relax as much as you can so your heart won’t have ..."

Chapter 4: Chapter Four
"...She helped Dr. Scales’s tobacco-chewing patient into a wheelchair, loaded up his belongings, and rolled him out to a room on South Hall. Following Maureen’s example, Penny opened the door for visitors and called the X-ray results to Dr. Lawrence, who ordered his patient moved to a telemetry bed. By mid-afternoon only Dr. Ghent’s two patients remained in the Unit. ..."
"... “I saw a bed pulled way out from the wall in an empty room and no matter how many times I pushed it back, next time I went in, it was out again...then there were the burst pipes, and trouble with the heating—like some rooms turned cold for no reason. Everybody knew the spirit had done it.” ..."
"... from under his tee shirt. “Maybe you could sign up for overtime or work at one of the doctor’s offices until you catch up.” Penny watched him massage the back of his neck. He removed his glasses and rubbed his forehead. “Do you have a headache?” she asked. “My head feels like ..."
"...At the bedside Penny patted the woman’s leg, pressed the hearing aid into her hand, then raised the head of the bed and positioned the over-bed table. She explained where the food was located on her tray: fruit salad at ten o’clock, iced tea at two, and on the dinner plate: ..."
" the horses on Sundays.” She laughed, then turned toward Penny with a distant expression. “I was at one of those horse races when some fancy-dressed woman with a cigarette holder in one hand and a drink in the other said, ‘Oh my dear, I hear they’ve bombed Pearl Harbor.’ I had no idea where Pearl Harbor was then.” ..."
"... into her husband’s car she collapsed.” Maureen positioned the wheelchair next to the empty bed just inside the door. The nurses replaced the patient’s clothes with a hospital gown, helped her to lie down, then connected her to the heart monitor. Maureen yelled over her shoulder as she ..."
"...The chart contained a telephone order canceling the discharge and placing the woman in Critical Care. She was still short of breath after they had raised the head of her bed to a forty-five-degree angle. Her vital signs were within normal limits, but neither nurse could hear breath sounds on the front or back of her right chest. Penny started oxygen and called for Respiratory Therapy while Maureen gathered the equipment needed for emergency chest tube insertion. ..."
"...Dr. Ghent threw open the outside door and charged to the bedside. Puffing, he listened to what the nurses said and placed his stethoscope against the patient’s right lung fields. He ordered a STAT portable chest X-ray and arterial blood gasses. By this time the woman seemed comfortable, even embarrassed at all the fuss. While the ..."
"...Johnny joined her at the table. “Well, this morning I worked on the ballfield until lunchtime, grabbed a hotdog at Sonic, and got our yard mowed before practice, which went better today. They were in the mood to listen, you know, after their win.... Yesterday, I called my catcher and my first baseman aside before the game–-this catcher is good, by the way. ..."

Chapter 5: Chapter Five
"...Finding Mr. Harris’s bed stripped was no surprise when Penny entered Dixiana’s CCU on Sunday morning. Dr. Ghent had told the Harris family a week ago that the old man would not regain consciousness and had recommended moving him to a nursing home, but the Harrises had refused to have him transferred. ..."
"...Penny propped open the hall door and apologized to their patient’s husband who had been waiting so long. When he asked if his wife could sit in a chair beside the bed, Penny showed him how to help manage the tubes and wires, and they settled her into a recliner. Penny served Mrs. Chumley’s lunch and had just picked up the stack of telemetry strips when the phone rang. ..."
"... strips when the phone rang. “We will be bringing you Dale Spoonhouse, Dr. Scales’s forty-five-year-old head injury in a little while, if you want to get a bed ready,” the ER secretary said. “Ambulance brought her from an MVA about thirty minutes ago.” Penny considered her ..."
"... family we can take care of her here.” The nurse added a sarcastic sniff. Penny paged the supervisor overhead. She needed to get her chest-tube patient back to bed, and she would need help with a new admission. The supervisor called, and Penny explained her predicament. “ER’s sending ..."
"...Wearing a small bandage on her forehead, the patient entered the Unit in a wheelchair pushed by an ER tech and trailed by a short, wiry man and his two teenaged children. The man, whose face was a mustache, insisted on remaining at his wife’s bedside, but Penny finally persuaded him to wait in the hall until she completed her assessment. He herded his offspring, a gangly boy wearing a denim shirt with the sleeves cut away at the shoulders and a plump girl with severe acne, out to the waiting room. ..."
"...Connecting the over-bed monitor, Penny observed her patient’s heart pattern: a little fast but with only a few irregular beats. Her blood pressure, temperature, and respirations were normal. She was oriented to time and place and obeyed instructions to grip Penny’s hands and pushed with the balls of both her ..."
"...Dr. Ghent’s chest-tube patient was asleep in the recliner, her ­partially-eaten lunch tray in front of her. Penny called the desk at South to ask that someone come help her to put the woman back into bed. In a few minutes, a nursing tech arrived and agreed to stay and take Mrs. Chumley’s vital signs so Penny could return to the new patient. ..."
"...Dale Spoonhouse was asleep with her happy family around the bed. Penny asked them to return to the waiting room. The woman woke up when Penny called her name and cooperated with the neurocheck, although she seemed weak and held onto Penny’s hands after she had been instructed to release her grip. Still, she did let go ..."
"...Ghent, since he was in charge of the Unit, but she remembered that Dr. Graham was covering his patients. She found Dr. Graham’s number on the call list taped above the phone. Old, tired Dr. Graham always had a joke to tell and would sit at the bedside discussing movies and ball games, but he made a quick exit if a patient wanted to ask questions about his or her illness. ..."
"... but he made a quick exit if a patient wanted to ask questions about his or her illness. With Dr. Graham on the line, Penny described the patient’s symptoms, including her own fear that they were worsening. “It’s not nice to criticize the doctors, Mrs. Pewitt. I’m only on call for Dr. ..."
"... with an abrupt “ALL RIGHT,” and the phone went dead. Maureen and the house supervisor arrived together, and the three of them were at the patient’s bed when Dr. Scales threw open the outside door and strutted in. “Mrs. Pewitt, I’m transferring this patient to Jacksonville, ..."
"...The supervisor notified ambulance service and carried the chart to South’s copier while Penny telephoned Report to the Jacksonville Neurology Unit. Maureen woke the patient, pulled the privacy curtain, and helped her onto a bed-pan. Dr. Scales ushered the family into the Unit, and they waited outside the hanging screen until she had finished voiding. Mr. Spoonhouse, his eyes dark and his face drawn, did not speak and his daughter, her eyes red-rimmed, looked at Penny with mute appeal. The son ..."
"... mind. Just thank your lucky stars you got her out of here.” I guess this is another thing I’ll have to write up.” Penny described to Maureen the multiple-copy incident reports she had learned to fill out in Jacksonville. “We could use those here! Yes Ma’am, you’re chopping in ..."

Chapter 6: Chapter Six
"...Penny rubbed her eyes and stretched out beneath the covers. Outside her window, the sun was already high in the sky. She remembered yesterday’s run-in with Dr. Scales and experienced such an awakening that she could not imagine she would ever sleep again. She stood beside the bed ..."
"... on her opinion? Drawing her robe closer against the cold in her air-conditioned house, she warmed a cup of Johnny’s leftover coffee in the microwave. Too tense to feel hunger, she gathered dirty clothes from the bathroom hamper, stripped their beds, and started the washer. She pulled on ..."
"...panting while Penny stretched her legs. Starting this late there shouldn’t be much traffic since most of the neighbors were already at work. Zac ran in front, straining his leash to go faster. At the end of the driveway, they turned left toward the corner, then climbed the hill to a new area under development. ..."
"...Penny read aloud the numbers on her patient’s unit of blood, and the lab technician verified them with the paperwork. After they both signed the ledger, Penny climbed the deserted stairway to the third floor. The CCU nurse would watch as she administered the blood so that, if she did it correctly, Penny would receive credit on her orientation task sheet and be approved to give transfusions in any department of the Jacksonville hospital. ..."
"...At the bedside in CCU, Penny and the patient’s nurse checked the unconscious woman’s wrist bands against the labels on the blood bag. Jacksonville’s policy was for a nurse to remain in the patient’s room for the first fifteen minutes, so while the blood infused the nurses sat at the bedside ..."

Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
"... a big church ceremony. My parents just attended the wedding.” As they tiptoed into the living room, Rev. Nichols, wearing pajamas and squinting against the light, opened his bedroom door. “Can I help you with anything?” “No thank you, Daddy,” Penny said. “I’m sorry we woke ..."
"... seems to take more energy every day.” “You walk perfectly, Faye,” Penny said. “I always walked a tight rope, afraid I would offend somebody.” The pitch of her voice climbed and she closed her eyes. “I was afraid all the time.” “I didn’t try to please them as hard as ..."
"... Equipment.” Too tired to shower, Penny prepared the convertible couch and climbed into it before removing her shoes. On the outskirts of sleep, she mused, “I know Mother and Daddy did their best; I know they love me; but I’ve been more myself since I left home.” That was ..."

Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
"... Sustained by a light supper in her brother’s home, Penny helped her mother up the steps to a guest bedroom and unpacked the suitcase. Rev. Nichols joined them and silently accepted his belongings. After a trip to the toilet he climbed into bed and left Penny to undress his wife. In ..."
"... mirror over the sink and recognized her father’s scowl. “Never mind, Mother. Let’s just put on your pajama bottoms.” She guided Mrs. Nichols to the bed, kissed her goodnight, and tucked her in beside her silent husband. On the way downstairs, Penny visualized her neat bedroom at ..."
"... beside her silent husband. On the way downstairs, Penny visualized her neat bedroom at home where everything was calm and in order. She detested having to look for anything. Since she had left Dixiana, everything was out of place and every day was more stressful. Entering the kitchen, she ..."
"... the key provided for incoming residents. Returning alone to check on her parents, Penny found her mother hobbling around upstairs and her father lying in bed with his eyes closed. She leaned over him. “Daddy, would you like to get up now?” “No!” He bellowed at her, his voice and ..."
"...When Alice and David arrived with carry-out for a late supper, David tried to console his sobbing dad, who refused to eat. After supper Alice volunteered for bedtime care and Penny, driving David’s car, followed the truck back to IP and helped him set up twin beds and fill the closets. Then they returned the truck to a U-Haul dealer. ..."

Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
"...At her patient’s bedside, Penny disconnected the empty blood bag and took vital signs to complete the transfusion sheet. She reconnected the maintenance IV and smiled at her patient. “I’m giving you some Lasix and you will need to pee soon. The bedside commode is here, but call me if ..."
"...shift finished, Barb and Penny sat in a corner booth of the almost deserted cafeteria. It was still too early for office personnel to arrive, and the surgeons and their staff were already at work. Only a few family members who had spent the night at a bedside were there at that hour. “I’m honest,” Barb said. “Putting out fires the whole shift is not my idea of nursing–-supervising’s one job I absolutely would not do! ...You’ve seen Dr. Spate’s eyes, right?” ..."
"...“My second night I was in a vacant room setting up for a new patient admission, and the air mattress on the bed inflated—like when a patient turns over and the weight changes. You know? I heard SSSSH! from the mattress, and then the call bell and the emergency alarm started. I went to the head of the bed to turn them off but the bed wasn’t plugged into ..."
"...couldn’t catch my breath—like something had totally sucked all the oxygen out of there. Something was in that elevator with me and wouldn’t let me off! I seriously believe I was being watched. When I finally got out, I ran down the hall to Main and climbed up those steps. Leroy said they took the stairs to Second and looked around for me before they walked back up to Fourth. All of us were really spooked. That’s the last time I’ve been to Eye Second and I won’t ever get on that elevator ..."

Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
"...“I’m Colonel Philpot and I’m paralyzed, see? I won’t bring him unless you guarantee me a room with a recliner. My phone rang a while ago, and I almost grabbed it out of the wall tryin’ to answer it and now I’m paralyzed. If I don’t get a recliner, I’m takin’ Watt to another hospital.” ..."
"... He surfaced and rolled onto his back kicking his legs in ecstasy, creating a boiling disturbance of red and gold. Penny beat him into the third pile, sinking into the middle of it as Zac landed on top of her. She scratched behind his ears and rubbed her fingers through his soft fur. They looked into each other’s eyes and an overwhelming tide of emotion rose in Penny’s chest, entered her throat, and tears ran down her cheeks. Lying in a leaf-pile with a dog on top of her, sobbing beneath his kisses, she ..."
"... her neck and the pendant rested comfortably on her chest. Tomorrow was Saturday, a Dixiana hospital weekend, so Penny climbed into bed early and read her uncle’s book until she fell asleep listening to the racket of rain on the roof. ..."

Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
"... the way a transfer should be accomplished. After a while, Dr. Scales arrived to check on his CCU patient and glanced at Penny as though she had leprosy. He picked up Mr. Aceworth’s chart and stalked to bed seven for a visit. Scales had ordered daily subcutaneous injections of ..."
"... to bed seven for a visit. Scales had ordered daily subcutaneous injections of Heparin to prevent the development of blood clots, a common complication of bed rest, but today’s lab results showed an elevation in the value used for monitoring blood coagulation. In a few minutes, Dr. Scales ..."
"... was supposed to be the job of CCU nurses. “Thank you.” Enveloped in fear, Penny tried to speak casually, but she knew she must call Dr. Lawrence and tell him about his patient. She dialed his number and described the irregular heart pattern. “Get a STAT EKG and I’ll be there as soon ..."
"... pattern. “Get a STAT EKG and I’ll be there as soon as I can reach a cardiologist and line up a bed in Jacksonville,” Dr. Lawrence said. “I imagine she needs a pacemaker. Tell the floor to get everything ready for a transfer. We need to get her on up there by ambulance.” Penny ..."
"...CCU’s single visitor had left, so Penny closed the hall door. At the medicine cart, she checked the vial of Vitamin K against the order she had copied onto the MAR and drew the prescribed amount into a syringe. She prepared another syringe with 10mls of normal saline and approached Mr. Aceworth’s bed. ..."
"...When the loud alarm sounded at bed seven, she looked at Mr. Aceworth’s heart pattern on the screen above the desk. My God! Either his electrodes were off or his heart had stopped! Penny started running before she was out of her chair, sending it crashing backward. Her heart knocked about ..."
"...Forgetting to breathe, Penny ran to the desk, grabbed the phone, and dialed the number to page overhead. “Code Blue CCU; Code Blue CCU.” She tried to focus her racing mind. “A for airway, B for breathing, C for...what is C for?—um—circulation.... Let someone else push the crash cart over. Get the airway ..."
"...She raced back to the patient and yanked the emergency lever on the bed to flatten the mattress. Pulling an S Airway from the emergency box on the shelf beside the bedside monitor, she opened the patient’s lax jaw, inserted the airway with one end of the S up, then rotated it 180 degrees so that the end passed down behind his ..."
"...The code team had arrived. A nurse from ER pushed the crash cart toward the bed, and Penny grabbed the backboard from its slot on the cart. The respiratory tech and the ER nurse lifted the patient while Penny pushed the plastic board under him and positioned his head into the cupped-out headrest. Penny plugged the crash cart’s electrical cord into one of ..."
"...The respiratory tech squeezed the ambu bag with her left hand, and with her right thumb and forefinger held the mask in place by curling her other fingers under his chin. The ER nurse stood close to the bed with her shoulders over the man’s chest, her arms straight, the heel of her right hand pressed against the back of her left hand, fingers interlaced. She called out the cadence as she compressed the middle of his chest: “One two three four five breathe, one two three ..."
"... his chest: “One two three four five breathe, one two three four five breathe.” Dr. Lawrence, the nearest physician, strode to the bedside, flipping pages in the chart. “Has anyone notified Dr. Scales?” “I’m ringing him now,” Mrs. Gwen called from the desk. Penny tried to think ..."
"...Penny called, “Clear!” Glancing about to be sure everyone was back from the bed, she leaned over, placed the two defibrillator paddles on the pads, and simultaneously depressed both buttons. It sounded like a light bulb blowing out, and the man’s chest jerked slightly under the electrical discharge. ..."
"...the blip, then a straight line crossed the screen. She charged the defibrillator to 360 and delivered the third shock. Its sound reminded her of the time she plugged her hair dryer into a faulty socket in a motel. There was a scorched odor around the bed as Penny stepped back and the code team resumed CPR. She lifted a clipboard from the cart, checked her watch, then scribbled on a code sheet, attempting to document the progression of events. ..."

Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
"... There was no time to think. Someone had laid telemetry unit number four on the desk and turned off the monitor. Penny removed the battery and put it away. Feeling fragmented, scattered as a shipwrecked boat thrown onto a rocky shore, she walked to the bedside of her remaining patient who had slept through everything, and whose skin color and monitor pattern looked beautiful. ..."
"... gave Vitamin K IV to Dr. Scales’s patient and he died.” There was silence on the line before Maureen said, “You can give K IV, I think, and if it was that man in bed seven, he was on the way out...Mr. Aceworth, that who it was?” Her voice shaking between gasps, Penny described the event, ..."
"... and if it was that man in bed seven, he was on the way out...Mr. Aceworth, that who it was?” Her voice shaking between gasps, Penny described the event, ending with Scales’s evil wink. “It was his time,” Maureen said. “Haven’t I told you that? When somebody’s time comes, ..."
"... needs one, and don’t worry about the strips. Dr. Scales and Dr. Lawrence use different cardiologists for their consults.” Penny sobbed, unable to speak. “Listen to me now! If you go telling something like this to Dr. Scales, it would be like giving binoculars to a Peeping Tom. ..."
"... Dr. Scales, it would be like giving binoculars to a Peeping Tom. He’d love it, and you’d be beholden from now on. Just let it’ll be all right. You did the best you could, so don’t think on it. Now I’m going to bed, and you’d better do the same because tomorrow will come early.” ..."
"... all right. We’re both gonna get through this. Goodnight now.” After a restless night, Penny left her house Sunday morning comforted by the fact that Johnny was asleep in his bed, even though she hadn’t talked to him. Flossie Mae had arrived early and waited for Penny at the time clock. ..."
"...Penny climbed into the back of the ambulance with her stethoscope and turned on the portable EKG machine. After loading the patient and securing his stretcher, Earl jumped into the back with her and helped her to connect the oxygen and the heart monitor. The IV site was not ..."
"... At last, they finished eating hamburgers at McDonald’s and climbed into the front seat of the ambulance. Earl drove and Penny sat in the middle, holding her knees together and her feet back to avoid touching anything that might set off the siren or the lights on the way home. ..."
"... “I bought it from Doc Scales. We’re buddies.” Buck stooped to pat Zac’s head, then rubbed the dog’s ears and Zac jumped against him, begging for more. When Buck stood up, Zac tightened the slack in his leash, pulling away. “Louise told me you’re working in Jacksonville,” ..."
"... tempt her, Penny set a bowl of StarKist tuna on a step halfway up. Later Sunday night, Johnny entered Penny’s bedroom and handed her a stack of papers. “If you don’t mind, sign these for me before you go to sleep.” Accustomed to the request because Johnny managed their finances, ..."
"... for food—an unfounded fear—but thinking about money still unnerved her. She slipped on her glasses, accepted the pen from Johnny, pulled a nursing magazine from her bedside table, and laid the papers on top of it. “Don’t you want to know what you’re signing?” he asked. “What is ..."
"... “But I came back that same night—I didn’t leave!” Penny hugged him. “I won’t leave you unless I die, and I’m not dying as far as I can tell.” Returning to her room, she clicked off the light, curled into her bed, and attempted to silence the tune galloping through her brain. ..."
"...Emotional things could blind-side a person; one couldn’t plan for them. Penny was too confused to relax. Reviewing the conversation in her mind, she couldn’t decide whether it was good or bad. It was not a good discussion to have at bedtime. Remembering her necklace, she shifted to her back, pulled it from inside her gown, and balanced the medallion on her forehead. She imagined herself flying down their driveway, veering right, and climbing above the treetops to circle their home. ..."
"... She sat up, then walked out into the hall. “Are you okay?” Johnny called from his dark bedroom in which every horizontal surface held evidence of his interests: tiny baseball players, autographed balls, die-cast race cars, and coin books. Penny slid her bare feet forward on his rug, ..."
"... Penny slid her bare feet forward on his rug, feeling for obstacles with her toes. She perched on the side of his bed and looked at him by the light from his Bose. “I hate dealing with money, but I need to know about our finances. If you’ll teach me, I want to learn to pay our bills.” ..."
"... “That sounds good.” David continued. “But we’ve had to relocate Mom to the nursing home at IP. She’s not able to feed herself, and Dad can barely do his own stuff. We transferred him to a one-bedroom assisted-living apartment this past weekend.” “Thank you for doing all ..."
"... Her day off suddenly consumed, she went into overdrive. She called the local travel agency to schedule her trip, then phoned Claws & Paws. The vet could see her. She dressed, stripped the beds and piled the wash in the laundry room. She would ask Dr. Allen what to do with Dick’s snake. ..."
"...By 2 p.m., Penny had the sheets back on the beds and stopped ironing to write a grocery list. She would have to shop fast to finish in time to fix supper. Maybe she would know what to do about Callie and she could stop by the vet’s office on the way home. Armed with the checkbook ..."
"... do it myself, but it’s your call.” Penny wiped her eyes on a paper napkin. “I don’t know how much she’s hurting. I don’t want the reason I do it to be more for my convenience than for her comfort and,” she sobbed, “I’ll miss her.” “You’ll miss her the way she used to ..."
"... off, she slathered on lotion, and waited in the four poster for Johnny to bathe. When Johnny came to the bed, he threw back the covers. “You look clean enough to lick!” He laughed and crawled in beside her. His skin was still damp when Penny kissed him in areas to which he responded. She ..."

Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen
"... must be full!” Barb munched a nacho and shoved the plate toward her. “Every bed! Day shift’s flitting around too fast to give Report.” Fetching a cup of coffee, she placed it in front of Penny. “Drink up! We won’t be stopping to eat again anytime soon.” The Evening Unit ..."
"... off.” “I’ll check it now, and when you’re ready to go to sleep I’ll put the automatic cuff on your arm and set it to cycle every hour so I can watch your pressure without waking you up.” Penny completed her assessment and added ice to the water pitcher beside the bed. Maria ..."
"...It was bad. Consequently, both Maria and the LPN helped Penny bathe and reposition Darlina’s mammoth body on fresh linens, then Penny straightened the room, emptying the yellow bath water into the sink beside the bed. Finally, Penny approached the desk to enter Darlina’s assessment and vital signs into a computer. ..."
"... Pauline’s sink bowl from the drain. Penny grabbed the dentures and directed Pauline to sit down on the side of her bed while she fetched the automatic ear thermometer. Pauline’s temperature was 102, so Penny checked Dr. Benton’s standing orders. Finally, two hours later, after ..."

Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen
"... Following her father, the room Penny entered had a bathroom just inside the door. To the left, in a bed against the wall, lay an old lady with her eyes closed, and at the end of the room, near another bed, hung her mother’s favorite painting: three camellia blossoms with dewdrops on the petals. ..."
"... dewdrops on the petals. Rev. Nichols stationed his wife close to the painting and pulled up a chair while Penny sat on the bed and described her trip. Mrs. Nichols smiled occasionally, but seemed more interested in ­picking at the vine pattern on her own skirt. “We’re so glad to see ..."
"...reaching out and picking up anything she could grab. When Rev. Nichols paused to catch his breath too close to a fire alarm, she managed to pull the handle, setting off insistent clanging and flashing lights. Her embarrassed husband apologized to the attendants, but Mrs. Nichols remained unperturbed. She removed her feet from the wheelchair’s footrests and let them drag, oblivious to Penny’s instructions to put them back up. ..."
"... Daddy.” “I found several worthwhile books in the library; this one is Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.” He lifted the book from his bedside table and showed it to Penny, then laid it down and unbuttoned his shirt. “I want you to see this rash on my back.” “It looks like ..."
"... right!” Before going downstairs to meet her taxi, Penny rubbed Vaseline onto Rev. Nichols’s back and told him, “Tomorrow morning I’ll give Mother a bath, then take you out for lunch, and we’ll shop for socks tomorrow afternoon. Does that sound all right to you?” “I don’t ..."
"... how much I admire you! You are SO beautiful,” her father said. The next morning Penny drove her sister-in-law’s car and, following the taxi driver’s directions, arrived at her mother’s bedside before breakfast. Mrs. Nichols resisted her daughter’s efforts at bathing and dressing, ..."
"... hung his head. “They don’t like me.” While Penny rubbed Vaseline onto his back, he said, “In the morning we’ll watch a church service on TV; I don’t go to the service downstairs because the seats are too hard and they hurt my back.” Penny had washed her parents’ clothes the ..."
"...them and returned to the nursing home. Already dressed, Mrs. Nichols sat in her wheelchair while Penny folded her clothes away into drawers. She placed her father’s clothes on her mother’s lap and pushed the wheelchair to Rev. Nichols’s apartment where he lay, fully dressed, on his bed. ..."

Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen
"... with her left hand. “Use the other arm,” she said. “Have you had breast surgery, Miss Logan?” Penny consulted her notes from Report. The previous nurse hadn’t mentioned it and there was no sign over the patient’s bed. “No.” The woman offered no explanation. “The reason ..."
"...As she moved to the left side of the bed, Penny’s mental alarm sounded: the fingers on her patient’s left hand were bluish with long, gray nails. An implanted IV port on her left chest had been accessed and normal saline infused slowly to keep the vein open. Fearing a circulation problem, Penny reached for the woman’s ..."
"...Penny had been warned about the sisters in Report: they were suing a nursing home because their mother, eighty-seven years old with advanced ovarian cancer, had fallen out of bed. They then brought her to Oncology requesting aggressive treatment. Yet, when Dr. Hutton ordered radiation and the ambulance had been summoned to transport her, they had refused to let her go to the radiation clinic. ..."
"... in my notes.” “She’s Mama’s sitter,” Zuna explained. Penny turned to the sitter, who was writing on a legal pad. “I’m glad you’re here. Please help me pull her to the top of the bed so I can raise her head.” “I don’t do nursing measures,” the stout sitter said, ..."
"... her blanket and picked something imaginary out of the air. Zunetta helped Penny pull her mother up in bed, then pointed to the woman’s head. “Look at this lump. I want you to see what they did to Mama in that nursing home!” Penny clicked on the over-bed examination light: there was no ..."
"...Penny clicked on the over-bed examination light: there was no redness. Palpating the scalp, she felt a slight ridge which was probably part of the woman’s skull. “I think it’ll be all right,” Penny said, cranking up the bed to a sitting position. She offered the Lortab and Coke, but Mrs. ..."
"... time for the next dose. When Penny returned with a fresh, crushed Lortab, the sitter had wiped the floor. Penny mixed the Lortab powder in jelly, spooned it into Mrs. Posey’s mouth, and she held it for a full minute before spewing it onto her gown and bed. “Spell that medicine for ..."
"... going to start this blood.” Penny called Barb to witness as she wasted the dirty Lortab, then Barb accompanied her to Miss Logan’s bed where they compared tags on the blood bag with the patient’s identification bracelet and signed their names to the forms. Dragging the computer-on-wheels ..."
"...Penny handed over the ballpoint, and they returned to Mrs. Posey’s room, where she administered the drug, repositioned her, and activated the bed alarm. “Left side—did you get that?” She regretted her tone when the sitter shot her a sideways glance. But—Good Night! All the woman did was write, and she didn’t even have her own pen! ..."
"... ER nurse had done a good job. Nancy North, sitting on the side of her bed, frowned at Penny. “I’m catching my death of hot, honey—having my own private summer in here. Could you turn the heat down? I need more pillows and I’m soooooo hungry.” Penny adjusted the thermostat and ..."
"... leaving a white spot. The cumulative total of 6 mgs of Valium had not phased Mrs. North at 2 a.m. when Penny returned to the room to stick her finger. The can of ethyl chloride spray was not at the nurses’ station, and Penny assumed she had left it at the bedside. “You took it with ..."
"... the woman answered. Thinking that Maria must have forgotten it when she set up the room, Penny obtained a new measuring-hat from the supply room and fitted it into the toilet. When her patient was back in bed, Penny searched for the spray can, then called the supervisor. “I’ll get another ..."
"... start radiation treatments next week, and after that comes chemotherapy.” Staggered by the gravity of Maureen’s illness, Penny placed a hand on the over-bed table. The death-dealing disease was murdering Maureen! “Yeah, I’ve picked myself into some thin cotton.” A house wren landed ..."
"... “Which oncologist?” Her voice was a hoarse murmur. “Dr. Lawrence says they’re both good.” Maureen grinned. “I chose Dr. Benson because he’s better looking. Now you’d better hit the road, girl; it’s your bedtime.” Penny pressed her hand against her chest. “I love you, ..."
"... to come through this time. Johnny had already left for school so Penny undressed and crawled into bed without eating. When she awoke and looked at the clock, it was noon and she had slept four hours. She poured herself a bowl of cereal and called the hospital. “Jacksonville Oncology, ..."
"...“No, you don’t have to–-we found the can stuffed in a sock at the bottom of Mrs. North’s bed when we changed her sheets this morning. She’s driving everybody crazy! She stashed speci-pans full of snacks in her closet and piled pillows in her cabinet. That woman’s got mental diseases they haven’t even named yet. By the way, you were right about Miss Logan’s ..."

Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen
"...Instead, she had left for Jacksonville early, contributed a pot of shamrocks to the floral display on Maureen’s windowsill, and spent thirty minutes with her before clocking in. At bedtime, she revisited Maureen’s room to bid her goodnight. After that it was hard: Delores Allison’s family arrived, Barb unloaded, and Penny encountered Mrs. Digby. ..."
"...stop her cancer treatment and to discharge her with hospice care, but after two weeks at home, her husband brought her back to the hospital to ensure her death would be pain free. Around 4 a.m., the whole Allison clan gathered: twenty-seven men, women, and children at her bedside and spilling out into the hall. ..."
" that had once been a closet. Stacking up three manilla folders and centering them on her desk, she shook her arms so that her bracelets settled at her wrists, seated herself, and looked at Penny with an expression that would have been more appropriate at the sick bed of a friend. Her lips glistening as if they were painted with Vaseline, she interlaced her arterial-red fingernails on top of the folders. ..."
"...It was early afternoon when the ringing telephone beside her bed jarred Penny awake. She reached for the receiver but found it farther away than she had thought. She flailed about and knocked a Kleenex box to the floor. Every muscle was sore and it took her body a moment to unlock, but her mind raced. ..."
"...In a nervous state since David’s call, Penny cleaned house with a vengeance. She was stripping the sheets from Johnny’s bed when he arrived to change clothes between teaching his classes and the high school football game. Fridays were hectic for him; sometimes he didn’t make it home until late at night. ..."
"... sick, I don’t know who would work anyway.” At 9 p.m., Penny sat on her bed folding the wash when the phone rang. She followed the white, intestine-like chord as it traveled under the crumpled sheets, ending beside a pile of Johnny’s socks. Faye spoke from Roanoke. “I don’t think Dad ..."
"...“Thank you,” he said. “I’m in a hurry, but I just gotta see him again.” Penny accompanied him to the patient’s bedside. “When I was younger some of us boys played pranks on old Squeaky—real high voice—sort’a like a woman’s voice, yeah? We burned a bag of manure on his porch, put a snake inside his screen door, things like that, and he didn’t tell our folks or nothin’. ..."
"... then paused to close the door while Mr. Head looked around with frightened eyes. “We’re going to help you,” Penny told him. “First, we’ll move you over onto your bed from this stretcher.” On the count of three, Mr. Head yelled as the two nurses slid him, sheets, pads and all, ..."
"...On the count of three, Mr. Head yelled as the two nurses slid him, sheets, pads and all, onto one of the Unit beds. A putrid, pungent odor permeated the air and the patient started a continuous chant. “Hey hum, Hey hum, Hey hum.” He inhaled and said the words on exhalation, with emphasis on “Hey.” ..."
"...curious undergarment with a slit in the front and a flap in the back, but no other openings. Small grey feathers clung to the fabric and it reeked of excretions. Penny cut away the material and discovered a feather stuck in the man’s navel, and more feathers imbedded in his pubic hair. ..."
"...Penny said, “He’s not bothering his oxygen cannula or his IV site, so maybe once I get the catheter in, he’ll leave it alone. Please stay just a minute or two longer and help me insert his catheter before you go.” Mr. Head spit at Penny and grabbed the gown as she tried to snap it over his arms. ..."
"...perineum and cleaned the glans penis, lubricated the tip of the catheter, and slipped the tube into his bladder. She instilled saline into the catheter’s balloon to hold it in place. As she positioned the line along the man’s leg and hooked the collecting bag onto the bed frame, his chant changed. He shouted “Hum DAMN! Hum DAMN! Hum DAMN!” with his emphasis on “DAMN.” ..."
"...He combed fingers through his Brilliantine hair, pushing it back from his forehead before replacing his glasses. “It will be, I guess. For right now, I’m working a lot and missing my wife. Basically, I got to hang in there and think about the amenities.” Buck set ..."
"...Raising Mr. Head to a sitting position, she placed the tray on an over-bed table in front of him. He stopped chanting and opened his mouth, allowing her to spoon in a wobbly lump of orange Jello. He worked his tongue and lips around with his mouth closed, then turned his head back and forth, spewing orange liquid. Penny removed ..."
"... emesis. No visitors had appeared so Penny closed the hall door and gathered supplies. Borrowing a clean over-bed table from another cubicle, she set on it a wash pan half-full of warm water, a can of shaving cream, and a safety razor. The man’s long beard was matted with food. As Penny ..."
"... razor. The man’s long beard was matted with food. As Penny turned to reach for the razor, Mr. Head grabbed the wash pan, dumping it all over himself. Water dripped off the sides of the bed onto the carpet as Flossie Mae entered the Unit. “Oh Honey! That nurse wasn’t just whistling ..."
"... doctor, and he’ll explain it to you.” “I brought what he likes: peanut butter crackers and brownies.” Jane handed the bag to Penny and walked over to the bed with Flossie Mae. “He takes Coke at ten of a mornin’ and four of a evenin’.” Penny dialed Dr. Ghent. “Tell Jane ..."
"... can have brownies and Cokes. Give him whatever she says.” Jane settled into a chair beside the bed, and Flossie Mae untucked the covers to expose the purple circles on the patient’s legs. “Sweetie, what made these spots?” “Moth balls. I put some in his bed to keep snakes ..."
"... Mae untucked the covers to expose the purple circles on the patient’s legs. “Sweetie, what made these spots?” “Moth balls. I put some in his bed to keep snakes off.” Penny approached Jane, “I’ll have to ask you to leave now so we can take care of your brother.” “I won’t ..."
"...“I’m sorry, Buck. I forgot to call you,” Penny said. “Please cancel the type and cross match–-we won’t be able to transfuse him—and discard all the requests except for the potassium.” She walked to the bed with Buck. Patting Mr. Head awake, she explained that Buck had come to draw blood and she held down the arm into which his IV was not infusing for Buck’s venipuncture. Mr. Head struck her with his IV arm. ..."
"... her with his IV arm. Flossie Mae, who was in the linen closet gathering blankets and a pillow for Mr. Head’s sister, stepped forward to help them. Glaring at Buck, she walked to the other side of the bed and restrained Mr. Head’s IV arm while tension expanded the air. Buck stared straight ..."
"...Saturday night over a bowl of chili, Penny listened to Johnny’s account of winning Friday’s homecoming football game, which the whole town was celebrating. Then, after a hot shower and fortifying herself with Tylenol, she fell into bed trying not to think, listening to Music From Scotland on her Bose. ..."
"... herself with Tylenol, she fell into bed trying not to think, listening to Music From Scotland on her Bose. Seating himself on the bed, Johnny asked, “How was your day?” “It was pretty rough until Flossie Mae came to help me. I had a ­thousand-year-old fossil-patient straight out ..."
"... with feathers. His sister said the feather mattress had come undone.” “Do you remember his name?” Johnny asked. Penny always knew which bed a patient occupied, but names were hard for her to remember. “His sister’s name is Jane...Head. Richard Head’s his name.” Johnny ..."
"... were hard for her to remember. “His sister’s name is Jane...Head. Richard Head’s his name.” Johnny sat on the side of Penny’s bed, smiling. “Does he have a nickname?” Penny pulled herself back from the edge of sleep. “Dr. Ghent told me to ask about his nickname. Do you ..."
"... You’re not thinking rationally! It’s ten o’clock at night, and you’re wiped out. Listen to me, all right? Maureen’s probably asleep, and David will call if he needs you. Okay? Now I’m going to fix you a drink and put you to bed. You can feel guilty again in the morning, if you want to.” ..."
"... and put you to bed. You can feel guilty again in the morning, if you want to.” Johnny stood and Penny, wanting to monitor the alcohol in her drink, sat on the side of the bed testing her foot against the floor. “Is something wrong with your foot?” he asked, watching Penny limp in front of ..."

Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen
"...stretched, and struggled to focus her eyes on the illuminated numbers on her Bose. It was ten minutes before the alarm would sound on a Dixiana work Sunday. She blundered to the bathroom regretting her crying jag the night before. Her lips stuck together, her eyes throbbed, and she dropped everything she picked up. Struck by her own clumsiness, she perched on a bedroom chair to pull on her jeans and turtleneck, then returned to the bathroom mirror for lipstick. Leering back at her with bloodshot eyes was an old woman dressed in sports ..."
"... settling into a favorite chair. The night nurse looked up from a magazine as Penny unbuttoned her coat. “When did Mr. Stephens die?” Penny pointed to the amputee’s stripped bed. The sleepy nurse yawned. “When I turned him to his left side at four, he quit breathing—today should ..."
"... fast,” said Rebecca Daniels, a South Station nurse, who rushed to help. They lifted Jane into a wheelchair and as Rebecca bent to release the brake, Jane grabbed Rebecca’s stethoscope, pulling it from around her neck. Realizing she had left the Unit uncovered, Penny stepped back inside to ..."
"... Jane grabbed Rebecca’s stethoscope, pulling it from around her neck. Realizing she had left the Unit uncovered, Penny stepped back inside to check the monitors and Rebecca followed, rolling Jane to Mr. Head’s bedside. Jane placed the diaphragm against her hair just above her left ear and ..."
"...“I’ve been lying here long enough to get a bedsore, don’t have any strength, can’t do anything—I’m about as useless as a beard on a goat.” She snickered. “It’s always darkest before it gets completely black, don’t you know? Your Dr. Benson didn’t tell me the half of it—he could sell rosary beads to Baptists!” ..."
"...and seemed to focus on Penny’s face, but she would not respond to questions. With each inhalation, she raised her head and opened her mouth, using all of her energy to take in air. Penny and the tech pulled her up and elevated the head of the bed, then bent the woman forward, and Penny listened to her back with the stethoscope. Every breath sounded like a waterfall. Penny scanned the patient’s list of medications and discovered that Dr. Scales was Mrs. Baucom’s doctor, and that he had ordered an intramuscular medication to be given ..."
"...The supervisor left to write Scales’s orders on the chart at South Station. Penny turned down the bed closest to the hall door and warmed up the over-bed monitor. Unable to sit down, she straightened the desk and the nurses’ lounge, then began to scribble an account of the progression of events leading up to Mrs. Baucom’s admission to the Unit. ..."
"... to the Unit. Suddenly, the door slammed open and bedlam exploded into CCU. Rebecca and the nursing tech propelled Mrs. Baucom’s bed alongside the Unit bed. Mr. Hockney followed, carrying the STAT blood gas results in one hand, shoving a ventilator in front of him with the other. Penny and ..."
"... shoving a ventilator in front of him with the other. Penny and Rebecca counted, “One, Two, Three,” and heaved Mrs. Baucom from her bed into the Unit bed, grunting with the effort. The pale, gasping patient could barely move air. Disconnecting the oxygen tubing from the transfer tank, ..."
"...Disconnecting the oxygen tubing from the transfer tank, Penny attached it to the bedside outlet before connecting her new patient to the heart monitor and the IV pump. The monitor alarm sounded because Mrs. Baucom’s heart rate was above 150. Penny turned off the alarm, dragged the crash cart over to Mrs. Baucom’s bed, and plugged it in. ..."
"... and barked, “Get that stuff out of the way! We’re going to intubate.” The nursing tech pushed South Station’s bed out to the hall while Rebecca helped Penny pull the Unit bed away from the wall. Mr. Hockney squeezed between the wall and the head of the bed, ripped off the ..."
"... the hall while Rebecca helped Penny pull the Unit bed away from the wall. Mr. Hockney squeezed between the wall and the head of the bed, ripped off the headboard, bent over Mrs. Baucom, and shouted, “I need more room!” Penny jerked the footboard, rolling the bed toward her and over the end ..."
"...Penny jerked the footboard, rolling the bed toward her and over the end of her shoe, barely missing her toes. She grabbed a couple of towels from the linen closet and ran to the head of the bed folding one towel into a bolster, which she stuffed under the patient’s shoulders. She placed the ..."
"... to your patients.” Dr. Scales, holding the new lab values run on blood from Mr. Hockney’s arterial stick, walked to his unconscious patient’s bed. Mrs. Baucom’s facial muscles were relaxed as the ventilator filled her lungs with the oxygen she had craved all day. “Her condition has ..."
"... Alice told her. David says he thinks it will be soon.” “Is David all right?” Penny imagined her brother sitting beside their father’s bed in the nursing facility, and from 500 miles away a fog of emptiness descended upon her. “I’m going back over there to stay with David,” Alice ..."
"... Alice said. “We’ll call you when we know anything.” At 12:30 a.m., the jangling phone woke Penny. She heard Johnny say, “Hold on just a minute.” He opened her door, picked up the bedside receiver, and extended it to her. David said, “I asked Dad to squeeze my hand if he knew I ..."

Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen
"... “I know you, Maureen, you can do it. I’m going to give you two units of packed red cells tonight—and I may have come up with a solution for your Christmas shopping problem.” Penny deposited the sack of catalogs she had brought onto Maureen’s bed. “Maybe you can order presents!” ..."
"... towels. “My daughter-in-law likes this color.” “You can’t go wrong on towels,” Penny said, sitting in a chair beside Maureen’s bed. She picked up another catalog. “Some of these things are pretty strange, though.” “I looked at that one. Never saw so many things I ..."
"... away the tears rolling down her own cheeks. Seven days of chemo had left Penny’s third patient with uncontrollable diarrhea. His day-shift nurse described him in Report as, “A modest forty-two-year-old who wants his door kept closed.” He had answered Penny’s questions and accepted ..."
"...When Penny knocked on his door to check midnight vital signs, the bed looked like Mount Vesuvius had erupted with shit, so she helped his wife clean him up and stacked a generous supply of wash cloths and diapers on the over-bed table. “I’ll come again when the lab wakes you in the morning, but call if you need me during ..."
"...I went by to check on Mom this morning because we hadn’t been over there for a couple of days. She was doing better for a while, but then she started sleeping all the time, so they quit putting her in a chair and she just lies in bed, all curled up. They told me this morning that she hasn’t had anything to eat or drink for three days.” ..."
"... he said goodbye. “Why don’t you go to bed for a while,” Johnny suggested, watching Penny stare at her coffee. “I’ve got to go finish up a few things, then I’ll be home for the rest of the day. We’re supposed to go to the teachers’ party tonight, remember?” “I can’t go to ..."
"... day. We’re supposed to go to the teachers’ party tonight, remember?” “I can’t go to a party,” Penny said, already moving toward her bedroom. “Not without a major tranquilizer or general anesthesia!” She struggled to fall asleep, her mind cycling through images she couldn’t ..."

Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen
"... understand that I’ll be glad to take care of her tonight.” “Thanks, Janet, but I want her. Maureen claims she’s getting better. She insists on using a bedside commode, even though she’s too weak to stand up.” “That’s how she was last week,” Janet said. “Dr. Benson ..."
"...The BAD drip was off for fifty minutes while the platelets infused, and Penny had started it back at half its previous speed. When she reentered the room after charting her assessments, Maureen moved her legs restlessly and rubbed her forehead, so Penny rechecked her vital signs and increased the drip rate. ..."
"... “Your family’s here, Maureen. If you open your eyes you will see your grandson.” Dragging an empty chair over to the bed, she encouraged Milton to sit down. “I’m going to make a fresh pot of coffee, so help yourselves. If there’s anything else you need, please let me know.” ..."
"...Penny fetched the patient’s back brace, positioned it and fastened the velcro straps and helped Mrs. Hall to sit on the side of her bed. Penny then noticed three toothbrushes: a pink one, a blue one, and a yellow one lying beside an industrial size tube of toothpaste on the bedside table. “Which toothbrush do you want to use?” she asked. Watching her complete her pink toothbrush procedure, Penny considered asking ..."
"...Maureen’s extremities dangled and flopped when the two women turned her to her side. Penny lubricated a suppository and bent over Maureen to insert it, feeling heat rise from the bed. With her patient clean and presentable, Penny opened the blinds and the door and re-plugged the tree. The preacher had left and Milton and his son stood waiting. ..."
"... something about Mama,” Milton said. Maureen appeared to be asleep. Her daughter-in-law lowered one of the side rails and sat on the foot of the bed. Milton resumed his chair, and Maureen’s grandson sat in a straight chair against the outside wall. Penny perched on the closed lid of the ..."
"... wall. Penny perched on the closed lid of the bedside commode. “Listen Maureen,” she said, “Milton’s going to tell us a story about you.” Penny looked across Maureen’s bed, bathed in colored lights, through the hall windows to the Christmas tree with its glowing angels. “When I ..."
"...this family your Daddy works and I work and you’re going to get up and work too!’ Daddy just stood with his mouth open. I showered and dressed as fast as I could and got out of there. The room was a mess: the wall, the bed, and the floor, all covered with smashed potatoes. But when I came home that evening she’d changed the bed, cleaned the floor, and wiped down the wall. Nobody ever said anything about that morning, and Mama was sweet as could be. ..."
"... that morning, and Mama was sweet as could be. “Now, I don’t miss work unless I’m real sick so at the Christmas banquet last week they gave me the award for best attendance.” Milton propped up the certificate on his mother’s bedside table. “I believe she heard you,” Penny said, ..."
"...faster, rounding the corner onto Oakwood with Zac prancing. Johnny sped up to catch them, then stopped while Penny bent to unsnap Zac’s leash from his collar. After giving her a questioning look, Zac ran in front of them, crossed the street, and jumped into the flower bed beside the Vanlandinghams’ driveway, barking. ..."
"...The flower bed, five-feet-wide and perpendicular to the street, was filled with tall ornamental grasses and nandina bushes. Near the middle of the bed an electric pole jutted upward. It’s base was hidden by shrubbery, and it was at the bottom of the pole that Zac continued to lunge and ..."
"...Maureen’s death, and the excitement of having their children at home for Christmas, topped off by Buck’s motorcycle wreck kept Penny awake far into the night. If she had not worried about waking Johnny, she would have gotten out of bed and started cleaning their wrecked house. Sometime after four, she fell into a sound sleep. ..."
"...“When I went out front to get the paper, they were out there taking pictures and measuring tracks. I talked to them until the wrecker came and hauled off Buck’s motorcycle. Last night, we only saw skid marks into the flower bed and the gash in the pole, but this morning they found car tracks on down toward the dead end. They dig into the grass, then come up onto the pavement with marks where somebody started off fast coming this way on the wrong side of the street. ..."

Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty
"...The grim month of February stretched on without horizon. Like sagging skin, Penny’s bedroom drapes hung in beige wrinkles above her matted-brown carpet. The house suffocated her. Her clothes pinched her waist and pricked the middle of her back, an itch she could not reach. Seemingly routine events triggered memories and unexpected tears, and she hardened herself against emotion with ..."
"... as she drove home to Dixiana through a frigid torrent. Still wearing jeans and a turtleneck, she climbed into bed under an extra quilt, while the ice-fanged wind rattled bare branches and tossed sleet against her window. That afternoon, Penny dragged herself out of bed and into the ..."
"... and tossed sleet against her window. That afternoon, Penny dragged herself out of bed and into the kitchen where Johnny worked over a table covered with bills and receipts. “Welcome to the world,” he said. “Have you looked outside?” She plodded to the living room window. The ..."
"... Penny stabbed four frozen hot dogs with shish-kebab skewers and roasted them over the flames, holding the metal ends with a potholder. The wood crackled, and as the meat thawed, drops of water bubbled and hissed on the logs. The saucepan of chili came to lukewarm on the hearth. ..."
"... Johnny yawned and rubbed the back of his neck. “It’s almost nine. We should get in bed and cover up; maybe they’ll get the electricity back on while we’re asleep. I’ll set the alarm for five in the morning and build a fire so you’ll have some heat to get dressed by.” ..."
"...“Mrs. Pewitt, Dr. Scales here. I’m writing orders to transfer Buck Dalton from Jacksonville CCU to your Unit tomorrow. You know him— he worked in the lab there before his accident. He’s had multiple surgeries, but he’s better now and they need his bed to make room for storm victims. As soon as the interstate clears, ambulance service will transport him. Do you understand?” ..."
"... storm victims. As soon as the interstate clears, ambulance service will transport him. Do you understand?” “Yes, Dr. Scales. I’ll tell the supervisor to hold a bed for him.” It was dark when Johnny picked Penny up and demonstrated his expertise at driving on ice by deliberately ..."
"... tonight.” On Sunday morning, Penny drove on slick streets to the Dixiana hospital anticipating an easy day. She moved Mr. Garrett to a telemetry bed on the hall before lunch, then listened for the telemetry alarms while she checked CCU’s par list against their inventory. In the ..."
"... Buck Dalton to your Unit, and I’ve got Report for you,” a Jacksonville CCU nurse said. “Okay.” Penny grabbed pen and paper. “I know him, but I don’t know anything about his treatment.” “Buck’s been with us for about two months. Um, he’s had neuro and ortho and abdominal ..."
"...Suddenly the monitor alarm sounded. Then the ventilator alarm blared. All three nurses dashed to Buck’s bedside. His screen displayed a straight line. Penny pressed the electrodes against his chest, but they were already in contact. His face was pale grey, and she could not locate his carotid pulse. ..."
"... of CPR, the doctor said, “Now give Epinephrine and get ready to defibrillate again.” Penny grabbed one of the pre-filled syringes, ripped away its protective covering, and injected it into the IV line. One of the night nurses charged the defibrillator. “All clear.” She shocked at 350 ..."
"... came to the edge of Penny’s memory and dropped back. “We resuscitated him, but...” “I’m wiped too,” Johnny said. “If you want to go on to bed, I’ll clean up the kitchen.” Penny awakened with a jolt at 2 a.m. Her thoughts fuzzy, she thought she was in the nurses’ ..."
"...Sitting opposite Penny, he jiggled his leg, making the spoons dance on the table. He removed his glasses. “You didn’t take any time off when your parents died, you know. The hospital will understand why you need to be off.” Locking eyes with Penny, Johnny jabbed his glasses frame toward her. “And You Need Time Off!” ..."

Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One
"...Picking up her clipboard and stethoscope, Penny accepted the scrap of paper towel on which Maria had written the new patient’s weight and entered the room pulling a portable computer behind her. Sunny Setser, completely naked, sat in the center of her bed beside a wadded-up hospital gown, and her brown-eyed gaze was so direct that Penny could almost feel it on her skin. Closing the door, she shook out the gown. “My name is Penny, and I’ll be your nurse tonight. May I help you put this on?” ..."
"... the room. His TV boomed out the Weather Channel’s Storm Series program. Maria sat at the bedside of a man wearing blue silk pajamas with a washcloth draped across his forehead and a glass thermometer in his mouth. “Mr. Brown, my name is Penny and I’m...” The patient pulled off the ..."
"... Brown, my name is Penny and I’m...” The patient pulled off the washcloth and positioned the thermometer under his bedside lamp, leaning over to read it while Penny stood at the foot of his bed with her mouth open. Mr. Brown was Dr. Elijah Storm! The crinkly blue eyes focused on Penny. ..."
"... thermometer and placed it under his tongue, timing it for three minutes. Maria came in and set two bottles of water on the bedside table. “They had three brands to choose from; I hope I didn’t get the wrong kind.” Penny removed the thermometer from Mr. Brown’s mouth. “Your ..."
"... rang and Penny jumped up to answer it. “May I help you?” “I’m ready for coffee and send my nurse in here to find my contact lens. I dropped it in this damn bed.” It was the deep, resonant voice of the weatherman. Penny loaded a fresh pot of coffee and started toward Dr. ..."
"...“Buzzard!” Sunny shot up in her bed like a jack-in-the-box. Forgetting her IV line, she stretched the tubing tight to throw her arms around his neck. With Sunny standing on her bed they were about the same height. Her gown tail was up around her waist, but Penny decided it didn’t matter ..."
"...On Friday morning as Penny drove home after three crazy night shifts, she couldn’t separate the events of one night from another. Her mind had compressed everything into a whirlpool of bedlam, capped off by the newspaper clipping Flossie Mae had given her at breakfast that morning. She fumbled in her purse to be sure it was still there. ..."
"... snake but discarded the idea. She wouldn’t be here to clean the tank. She packed a bag and then attempted a nap. Lying in bed, Penny reread the newspaper account Flossie Mae had given her. It was dated December 26. A man who police suspect of fatally beating his wife, mother, and child ..."

Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two
"... great-grandmother’s necklace, standing in front of her home.” To show him, Penny drew the medallion up from the neck of her sleep-shirt, then moved to her side of the huge bed. “Goodnight. I hope you rest well.” She awakened to the sound of Johnny snoring in irregular snorts and ..."
"...She awakened to the sound of Johnny snoring in irregular snorts and puffs. Turning onto her stomach, she pulled a pillow over her exposed ear and tried to relax, but her bladder was full. She crept out of bed into a dark, unfamiliar room, felt her way to the wall, and followed it to the bathroom. Once inside, she closed the door and turned on the light. Her wristwatch read 3 a.m. ..."
"...Back in bed, her mind replayed breakfast with Flossie Mae. Blood thudded in her throat, and her scalp itched. She elevated her head on two pillows and scratched the itchy area. Her back prickled so she turned onto her right side. A spot on her right arm tingled ..."
"... so he came here when he was thirty years old, found a beautiful war widow, and married her.” Penny sat on the side of the bed with her cup. “All that was in the chapter I read in the car.” “Just bear with me. Here comes the interesting part, I think it is, anyway. Before the Civil ..."
"...On her way to the bathroom, Penny said, “Daddy taught me how to find the North Star: it looks like it’s falling out of the Big Dipper. The ‘drinking gourd’ would have to be the Big Dipper.” She turned back to sit at the foot of the bed. “Do you think that when my great-grandmother was a little girl, in that first house, it was a station on the Underground Railroad?” ..."
"...A second door opened out of the bathroom onto the back porch, where a steep wooden staircase climbed above them to a second floor porch, and it was obvious that at some time a stairway had descended to the basement; the opening in the porch floor was closed off by double panels, which had been nailed shut and padlocked. Gazing down at the sealed space, Penny ..."
"...To their left and across the hall from the Lilly’s bedroom, they passed into a room crowded with bulky old furniture. Behind them was a kitchen with a door opening onto the back porch. The room in front of them connected through sliding doors with another front parlor, jammed with boxes and more dark furniture. Floor-length windows ..."
"...“Then they’ll stay with us, of course.” She turned to Penny, “We’ve got lots of bedrooms upstairs-th.” The woman shoved her upper teeth back into place with the tip of her tongue, and moved across the hall with geisha steps. In the stuffy parlor she approached an upholstered rocker and, while still two feet away, threw herself backward into the seat. ..."

"... the water. “After you.” Penny turned to face him. “Wait, Johnny, I have something to say.... If the upstairs bedrooms look decent, let’s spend the night in the house. Please! I want...its almost a compulsion to stay in my great-grandparents’ house.” “You want to sleep there? ..."
"...Lily waited downstairs while Uncle Buddy led the way up the wooden treads using the banister like a towrope, but near the top he lost his grip and lurched. Johnny nudged him from behind until he grabbed the railing and steadied himself, and when Uncle Buddy resumed his unsteady climb, Johnny shot Penny a long-suffering look. ..."
"... above the front parlors. “You can sleep in either of them, or both if you want.” They peeked into the two rooms that flanked the front of the hall. Under a layer of dust, the bedrooms were elegant. Johnny inspected a circular metal staircase that provided access to the cupola. Even ..."
" her suitcase in the motel room. His frustration more than he could hide, he turned toward the window, placed his palms on the sill, and leaned heavily on his hands. “I’d think someone so thankful to me for giving up my nice, clean, paid for, king-size bed would be falling all over me with appreciation.” ..."
"...crumbling window sill, decide not to climb onto Lily’s chair, then scurry back and dash down the wall. She tried, without success, to synchronize her mind’s music with the torpid tick of the mantle clock. Fighting sleep, she stood up. “I’d like to go on to bed, if you don’t mind.” ..."
"...At the top of the stairway, Penny turned left into the room in which Johnny had stacked their suitcases. Against the far wall stood a magnificent old bed whose half tester towered six feet above the mattress and extended three-fourths of the way down the length of the bedframe. Against the wall to the left was the monstrous matching armoire: ten feet tall from its base on the wide-plank floor to its ornate top. On ..."
"... Johnny entered the room and tossed a red flashlight onto the bed. “There you go. I’m going back down and talk to Uncle Buddy a little longer, it’s only nine-thirty.” He raised his eyebrows and grinned at her. “Sherry tastes better after you drink a couple of glasses, you know it?” ..."
"... later, Penny heard Johnny bid Uncle Buddy goodnight and start up the creaky steps. “It’s cold up here,” he said, joining her in the bedroom. “I think I’ll sleep in my clothes.” “I found some quilts,” Penny said. “We’ll need them and our clothes if it gets any ..."
"... Johnny dropped his shoes and stretched out beside her. Resting on his back, his head and his feet jammed into both ends of the bed. He sat up immediately, his movement causing the tester to joggle. “This bed’s too short. You can stay here, but I’m going over to the other room.” ..."
"... going over to the other room.” “Okay, but take some quilts with you.” Penny walked across the hall with him. The other bedroom contained no lamp and she placed the flashlight beside his bed. “Thank you for staying here with me; I owe you one.” “You owe me big time!” Johnny ..."
"...Back in her room, Penny examined the bed. Carved into the footboard was a hawk, whose extended wings reached the corner posts. The bird stood on a vine that divided and continued along the sides, then climbed the posts that supported the headboard. Branches of the vine extended around the square tester and met ..."
"...From a long-ago conversation, she remembered hearing her mother say the same thing. She had told Penny that she didn’t like sleeping in her grandmother’s bed because she was afraid the tester would fall down and cut off her legs, and that bed was the one in which both her mother and her grandmother had been born; it must have been a half-tester like this one! ..."
"...Sometime later, it was with a sense of relief that she awoke from a dream in which she had been trying to find her way through darkness. Moonlight, drifting through the tall bedroom windows, penetrated a shifting mist, wispy as smoke. Through the diffused light, she observed a figure standing in the doorway with one hand on the door frame, as if about to come into the room. ..."
"... her. “Penny! Wake up! They’ve got breakfast ready for us,” Johnny said. Raising her hands, she shielded her eyes against beams of sunlight streaming across her bed. “I was real that...” Johnny interrupted, “Lily’s cooked us a hot breakfast, so come on down as ..."
"... face and brushed her teeth. “It’s always too cold upstairs,” Uncle Buddy said when Penny, wearing a heavy jacket, entered the kitchen. “That’s why we gave up the idea of having a bed-and-breakfast. Folks would rather have comfort than history.” Penny smiled in his direction, ..."
"... rather have comfort than history.” Penny smiled in his direction, then watched Lily pick up a pickle and bite into it with her false teeth. “The bed I slept in last night is beautiful,” she said. Do you plan to sell any of your antiques?” Lily’s smile was stiff above her ..."
"...“Day to day living is all we can manage right now,” Uncle Buddy said. “If you are referring to the tester bedroom, that furniture was here when Lilly’s aunt died and it was in worse shape than the house. I refinished all three pieces and Lily lined the tester—she sewed back then. Before that we thought we’d make a hobby of restoring furniture, but it was too much work.” ..."
"...Penny reached his side. “Last night I dreamed that an old lady led me though a tunnel from the basement to a hole in this hill. Her smile was like Mother’s.... And the bed I slept in—I think it might be the one Mother and Grandmother were born in. Johnny—the medallion on the ceiling is just like my necklace!” ..."
"...kraut up there. I couldn’t find the ­flashlight, and I had to feel around in the dark for those smelly old quilts—it was like winter in Alaska! I gave up trying to sleep and came downstairs around five and the lights were on with everybody still in bed.... Uncle Buddy told me that one time Lily left a teakettle with water in it on the stove, and it started whistling in the middle of the night; he’s worried they have electrical problems—the wiring in that place must be ancient!” ..."
"... lunch? I saw a Waffle House as we came into town.” “That’ll be fine.” Penny walked through the yard and around to the rear of the house. She climbed the steps onto the back porch and stood above the sealed entrance to the basement. Uncle Buddy had seen them coming and opened the ..."
"... sun ignited the world. Its colors intensified in front of them until the heavens glowed, like a promise. As they neared Dixiana, Johnny rubbed the back of his neck and yawned. “How’s your throat?” Penny asked. “It doesn’t hurt now, but I try not to get cold when I have a sore ..."

"...Wednesday and Thursday nights were equally turbulent, and when Penny woke Friday afternoon, after sleeping most of the day, she extricated herself from her warm bed to shop for such necessities as soap and toilet paper at Kmart. Other nurse friends complained about being unable to sleep in the daytime, but Penny’s problem was the opposite: too tired to wake up. Her mission accomplished, she refilled her gas tank at Sack and Pack ..."
"...Penny climbed into bed early, trying to decide if she should work Saturday and Sunday at Dixiana; wondering whether the guilt from calling out when she was not sick would be worse than working. She decided to plead sick and reached for the receiver, making up symptoms for a fake ..."
"...The two nurses walked toward 104, and Penny heard labored breathing before they reached the room. The mother looked to the nurses for help and moved away from her daughter. Penny clicked on both the room light and the over-bed light and turned the girl from her side to her back, straightening her little body. With Joan’s help, she elevated the child’s head and chest on two pillows, noting the facial characteristics of Down’s syndrome: wide bridged nose, flattened skull, and low ears. The patient did not ..."
"... He slammed his phone down. Penny replaced the receiver and ran fingers through her bobbed hair, leaving it tousled. Steeling herself, she returned to the child, whose life was her responsibility. Joan had her arm around Mrs. Honeycutt, who was weeping. Penny turned to Joan. “Please ..."
"...Joan read Penny’s face and left the room without speaking. When she returned, they placed the warmed blanket beneath the child, and the electric, water-warmed pad on top of the blanket covering her while Mrs. Honeycutt sobbed and moaned. The patient would not allow an oxygen mask or nasal prongs on her face, so Penny held the prongs above her mouth, hoping that she would inhale some oxygen with her gasps. ..."
"... you can think of anything else we can do.” Penny called Dr. Scales again. “Loretta’s mother, Mrs. Honeycutt, needs a tranquilizer; she’s pretty hysterical.” Penny wrote his order, obtained the medicine he prescribed, and returned to 104. No longer calm, Joan moved about the room as ..."
"... “I’ll stay here.” Penny returned to the phone at the desk. She described Scales’s callous disregard for the child’s condition to the new Chief of Staff, a young man who moved to Dixiana last year. She had heard that he was competent, but did not know him well. “Call Dr. Scales ..."

"...its wings fully extended. The hawk came straight at her, then at the last minute changed course and she felt wind on her face as it rose over her head. She watched it lift and glide, its feathers translucent against the setting sun. Then it rose and climbed out of sight. The air was clear and still; the path was absolutely quiet. ..."
"... fortifying breath. “A hawk flew with me, and when it looked at me, it was just unbelievable.” “That is remarkable.” Johnny cast an oblique peek at his wife and rubbed his nose. “Have you forgotten that I want you to teach me to pay bills when you have time?” “I’ve ..."
"...Maintenance is being eliminated. The hospital has subscribed to the Time Life “How to...” series of maintenance books. These books and a toolbox will be standard equipment on all nursing units. We will be receiving the series at a rate of one volume every other month. We already have the volume on Basic Wiring, ..."
" IV start pack, two needles, and a syringe loaded with normal saline and entered 409, where Mr. Logan sat in his recliner watching television. He was not on Neutropenic Precautions, which forbad flowers in the rooms of cancer patients with low white cell counts, and on his bedside table were two pots of lilies. There was a vase of red roses on his over-bed table and the windowsill was lined with pots of leafy plants. The scent in the room was funereal. ..."
"... shake Penny’s. She grasped Mr. Logan’s hot hand. “I’m going to take your temperature and blood pressure and listen to your chest. Then, if you’ll get into bed, I’ll restart your IV. I’d like to begin infusing your antibiotic so it can finish by midnight.” Maria knocked on ..."
"... have distributed scrubs for weeks!” she said, pushing the cart toward the staff room. Penny sat on the bed beside Flossie Mae and slipped an arm around her shoulders. “Are you in severe pain?” “No—I shouldn’t have come to the ER. I was scared and my head hurt, but now I’m ..."
"... for telling us.” “I want you girls to know how much I appreciate what you did for Watt.” He sobbed a couple of times, then cleared his throat. “I called to say goodbye. I’m back in the Army. They made me general and I’m leavin’ in a few minutes.” “It might be a good ..."
"...As Penny completed Flossie Mae’s admission, two security guards and Supervisor Leroy Crouch arrived on the elevator. The admission assessment had taken even longer than usual because Mrs. Banks, who could see into Flossie Mae’s room from her bed, kept motioning for her daughter to come to her room. Penny had stopped three times for Flossie Mae to go hug her mother, so it was after midnight when she finished and checked Mr. Logan’s antibiotic. The piggyback infusion was completed and Penny clamped it off, recorded ..."
"... Leroy chuckled. “If it had been Spate, he would have turned it right back on.” The desk phone rang and Leroy answered it. “Sorry. I must have left my beeper downstairs.... I turned off their overhead.... Tell them to bring her up here, that’ll free up one ER bed, anyway.” He ..."
"... Mae said. “I used to schedule appointments with him for Dr. Scales’s patients.” Penny stood beside the bed. “Flossie Mae, do you want me to shut the door so your mother can’t stare at you?” “No honey, she’s asleep now, and I feel better with it open.” “It sounds like ..."
"... Mae, working in ER, called around four. “Did you read yesterday’s paper?” “No,” Penny said. “I did well to get out of bed and come back. Why? What does it say?” “Just read it when you get home, sweetie, then you’ll understand why today took a load off me. ..."

Chapter 26: Chapter Twenty-Six
"... from him. Setting her alarm for 2 p.m., Penny sank into bed without bathing. Her body was too tired to move, but her mind wouldn’t shut off. She would get up and shower if she couldn’t sleep. Her arms and legs felt weighed-down and her shoulders ached. Her thoughts drifted. She ..."
"...Heavy footsteps climbed the wooden garage stairs, the piece of plyboard that covered the attic opening slid back, and light from the garage flooded Penny’s target area. Holding the arrow in place with her right hand, she extended her left arm laboring with the effort, her arms shaking and unused to ..."
"... a gun with both hands. Penny grabbed a second arrow, loaded it, drew back and let it fly. It caught him in the side of the neck. She could see a spurt of red onto his white jacket. Was it possible that she had actually hit him? Could that be an artery spurting blood? She rummaged in the box ..."
"...She rummaged in the box for another arrow and he fired his pistol in her direction. The concussion reverberated in the closed space as he blocked her escape. Grabbing a handful of small metal balls from her son’s discarded Pachinko machine, she lobbed them, one by one, toward the opposite side of the attic, but his eyes must have adjusted to the dark. Holding pressure against his neck with one hand, his other hand pointed the gun straight at Penny. ..."
"... nurses, entered the room to give Report. “How’s life treating you, Prader?” “Real bad,” Prader said. “Last night I got in a fight with my best friend and he stabbed me six times.” “Have you come from ER, then?” Joyce asked. “Naw, I didn’t go down there. You ..."
"... “The reason my acting career is so little known is because so few people know about it.” Penny placed a blanket at the foot of the bed and searched the woman’s expression to see if she was joking. The patient narrowed her faded-blue eyes and continued in her ventriloquist’s voice. “Do ..."
"... said. While the overhead speakers serenaded them with The Tennessee Waltz, Carina settled into a chair at the desk and Penny and Flossie Mae carried linens to Mrs. Banks’s room. After a day of clatter and alarms, quiet-time settled over the floor like a blanket draped over a bed. Penny ..."
"...A movement drew Penny’s attention and she looked toward the bed. She had forgotten Mrs. Banks was in the room. Flossie Mae’s mother had been a mute witness to her daughter’s murder! The woman, who had not spoken since her stroke, was sitting up staring at them from across the room. “I’m scared,” she said. ..."
"... scared,” she said. Carina washed her hands at the sink in the corner, then extracted a patient gown from the cabinet and put it on backwards over her blood-stained scrub uniform. She positioned herself beside the bed, blocking Mrs. Banks’s view of the room. Ruth Robertson, that ..."
"...chemo garb, Penny ran to the storage alcove beside the elevator and speed-rolled a wheelchair back to 406. She helped Carina lift Mrs. Banks into it and Carina pushed the patient, staring straight ahead, into an empty room, where Penny helped her transfer Mrs. Banks into the fresh bed. Outside Mrs. Sharp’s room, Penny slipped on another disposable gown, a fresh mask, and a new pair of gloves. She collected the saline syringe and the chemo infusion, grabbed a handful of alcohol swabs, and returned to Mrs. Sharp. ..."
"... “Mrs. Sharp in 406 is a little squirrely,” Penny said, “but I turned on her bed-alarm, and I don’t think she’ll get up without calling. Her chemo’s finished. Mr. Logan in 409 is going home today.” Penny waited at the elevator while Carina told them about her patients. ..."

"...Kerri had said led to an underground tunnel and the maintenance building. Claustrophobia invaded her mind. If the door was locked she would be stuck in this God-forsaken room. Her mouth was parched and her throat constricted as she threaded her way through IV poles and bedside commodes. She squeezed between two cooling-blanket tanks and gripped the cold doorknob. It turned easily and she entered a dim passageway. ..."
"...Struggling to her feet, Penny climbed the steps on unsteady legs and looked out a rear window on the ground floor of the maintenance building. The morning sun sent shafts of light into a wooded area where trees were connected to each other by glistening spider webs, and the ground was littered with exposed ..."
"...Penny turned to run, but a hand grabbed her and powerful arms closed around her. She tried to think if there was anything she could do to defend herself. A film on how to fight back against rape, which she had been required to watch in college, had showed how a victim could defuse a ..."

"...Light crept around the blinds in Penny’s bedroom and pulled her out of a dark dream: she had been groping for a wall switch, her terror increasing as the search became more and more desperate. She turned her face into the pillow and waited for the fear to fade away, to let her move beyond it ..."
"... She thought of patients who endured hell-on-earth treatments to extend their lives by just a few months. Why did people subject themselves to torture when life is so impermanent? She pulled her jacket tighter and her steps faltered. Exhausted, she turned homeward to rest in bed. ..."
"...when she was young and he was not yet old, holding his hand and skipping to keep up with his long strides. When she woke again the sun was over the house and light poured through her window. She padded into the den, where Johnny was completely absorbed in a muted NASCAR race on television, stood behind his chair, and touched his shoulder. “Happy Birthday.” ..."
"...She yelled over the uproar. “Don’t forget you have a date tonight.” She poured a glass of orange juice and carried it outside where sunlight freckled the lawn and illuminated a world so green she could smell the color. Two squirrels stared at her from a bed of pansies and the mockingbird whistled: “He hit him, he hit him; take it out, take it out, take it out.” ..."
"...Johnny grabbed her with both his arms, and she put her feet down to avoid falling. “Neither one of us knew how to have a marriage—we had to live it and learn how. There’s no telling what will happen tomorrow or the next day, but we’re alive and we ..."
"... so she became a heroine.” In her room, Penny opened the Stein Mart bag and spread her new clothes on the bed. She washed her hair in the shower and slathered her body with perfumed lotion, preparing for a date with the man she had chosen all those years ago. Removing the chain with its ..."

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"A nurse juggles jobs at two Mississippi hospitals, aging parents and a stressed marriage in McMillion's novel .... a comprehensive..."

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