A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder


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

Search result for 'eyes' in PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Chapter 1: Chapter One
"... by permitting thousands of strangers to walk through her home and gawk at her family’s possessions. Misty Vanlandingham shaded her eyes. “I need to ask you something,” she called. Penny climbed out of the hammock, sauntered down her driveway, and crossed Oakwood Street, where heat ..."
"... weekend work.” Misty widened her eyes and smiled. “That hospital in Jacksonville is larger and more progressive than ours. You’re wise to make a change before the situation here grows any worse. It’s a long commute, though. Be careful driving home in the mornings!” More than a ..."
"... Tears stung Penny’s eyes. Her steps in deciding had been littered with second thoughts, but Misty agreed with her. Recently named Dixiana’s Citizen of the Year, Misty managed the Garden Club and ­organized pilgrimage house tours for the entire town. God knew Misty understood business! ..."
"... we were dating then. I loved you, not sports.” Johnny settled into his chair and stared at her with alligator eyes, his mouth a tight seam. He started to speak, but Penny needed to make her point before she forgot what it was. “You came to my choral performances, and I didn’t ..."
"...She closed her eyes, lowered her head, and pinched her nose. Almost inevitably, she recalled an evening when she had compiled lists of age-appropriate chores and presented one to each child at supper. The children complained and Johnny said the lists were a bad idea. She suffered again the desperation ..."
"... on. She doubted that her husband would notice the tears standing in her eyes when he told her goodbye: Johnny was gifted with not noticing. Too busy to need her, he didn’t see her, not really. Her life was unraveling, and she was grasping at the threads; all the good times were over. ..."

Chapter 2: Chapter Two
"...Each time Penny looked at her reflection she hoped to 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. ..."
"...always do what you want anyway.” He sighed as he poured a bowl half full of Grape-nuts, then came to sit across from her at the table. Leaning back, his head supported in his hands, he jiggled one leg causing the table to vibrate. Narrowing his eyes, he gave her a long glare. “You just HAVE to do it!” ..."
"... fire. Before starting home, Penny stopped at the hospital grill for lemonade and a sandwich, and a platinum blond she recognized from the fire in-service sat down beside her at the counter. Her brown bloodshot eyes were rimmed with black eyeliner, which had smudged down her cheeks. ..."
"... said, “Today was a strain, wasn’t it?” The young woman’s badge read: Kerri Kenyon, Housekeeping. Kerri concentrated her big racoon eyes on Penny. “Are you new here, too?” “I was in orientation with you this afternoon.” Penny pointed to her own badge. “I’ll be working ..."
"... Kerri’s chin quivered as she spoke. “They all laughed at me. They asked for our suggestions on cleaning bathrooms so I told them that at home I run my commode seat through the dishwasher once a week to get it really clean.” She wiped her eyes. “Do you think I’ll ever suggest anything again?” ..."
"...lace lined the roadway, and across the interstate in the top of a dead tree, a hawk balanced on a branch that looked too fragile to support its weight. It appeared to be watching traffic, its profile black against a buttermilk sky. Penny remembered reading that hawks’ eyes had five times as many cones as the human eye, making it possible for them to see a sharper image and to distinguish shades of color. Johnny, on the other hand, was nearsighted and color blind; he could tell true, clear colors but he said that shaded tones ..."
"...gopher snake until Dick found a buyer, Penny purchased two large mice and placed them in the tank. Ordinarily, the reptile ate right away, but at times when he shed his skin, it might be several days or even a week before he became hungry. While his eyes glazed over and he lay motionless on his rock, the unsuspecting mice made a nest, drank water, and scampered about setting up housekeeping. Then one of them would disappear, soon the other one would be gone, and the penetrating stink would arrive. ..."
"... from this station for the last time.” Penny watched Dr. Storm’s entire broadcast. She would miss his smiling face, his crinkly, blue eyes, and his thick, shining hair. His reports had been part of her life but, like Penny, he was moving on. Later, running water as hot as she could ..."

Chapter 3: Chapter Three
"...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 a.m., an hour and a half until time to get up and still pitch black outside. ..."
"...Mirroring his enthusiasm, Johnny’s hazel eyes sparkled with green flecks, reminding Penny of the loving looks he used to give her and his intimate, simmering gazes that had seduced her. Now, when he did look at her, his eyes were cold. She excused herself to brush her teeth and to apply lipstick. ..."
"... wouldn’t tangle. “You look nice.” Her eyes downcast, she smiled. “I hope you have a good day,” she said, pulling the kitchen door closed behind her. To Penny’s way of thinking, what Johnny meant was, “You usually look bad.” Enroute to meet Maureen, the musical phrase ..."
"...“Count the fogs in August, and we’ll have that many snows this winter.” Maureen said this every August. “We’re in for a hard one. Spiders’ nests are close to the ground and wooly worms have coats like bears.” Maureen’s mahogany eyes were framed by caramel skin and Bible-black hair straightened into a pageboy style that never moved out of place. ..."
"...“I’m counting on you to tell me if you notice anything I should tell a doctor.” Penny said this because Maureen, at times, seemed hesitant to overstep her role as LPN when Penny was the RN in charge, and yet Maureen’s years of experience and keen eyes often picked up information Penny missed. “I’ll start assessing up here and meet you in the back.” ..."
"... the back.” Penny began with a black woman who had been admitted the day before with an allergic reaction: wheezing, her eyes swollen shut, and her lips huge. “I’m going to turn you over so I can listen to your back. Please take a deep breath and let it out, Mrs. Brown.” “Yeow! ..."
"...Maureen listened to Brenda, her expression respectful, her dark eyes shifting occasionally in a reflective way. Maureen was a walking encyclopedia of people who had passed through the hospital. She remembered their names, what they looked like, what had been wrong with them, and the dates and details of events to which she added her own philosophical ..."
"... that Dr. Scales receive training in subclavian insertion. Turning from his patient’s chart, Dr. Scales regarded Penny with tan, unfriendly eyes and lifted his lips into a curt grin as he dropped his foot to the floor and stood up. Penny questioned her distaste for him: she couldn’t ..."
"...with an allergic reaction, was one of the visitors. He reeked of alcohol and ancient sweat, a combination which Maureen said, “would gag a maggot.” When his wife had been so swollen, he had threatened to kill the nurses if she died, but upon discovering his wife’s eyes open and her lips back to their normal size, he shook Penny’s hand and laughed. ..."
"...When Penny was new 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. ..."

Chapter 4: Chapter Four
"... IT.” She smiled and closed her eyes. “My base was Chelsea, on the Mystic River near Boston, with so much coal dust in the air that my legs, below the hem of my uniform, were grey by the time my shift was over, but it was beautiful at night when the lights reflected in the water.” It ..."
"...Johnny had set the table and piled up a plate with KFC to accompany cartons of slaw and mashed potatoes. Penny gave him a thank-you kiss before going to the bathroom, where the mirror above her sink revealed dark shadows had reappeared under her eyes. She returned to the kitchen area of their long den as Johnny poured tea into two glasses filled with ice. ..."
"... hurt from these stupid glasses...” She paused for breath and ripped off her glasses with one hand. “Anything else?” Johnny looked straight into her eyes, not smiling, not blinking. She rested her head against his shoulder. “I shouldn’t be so cross after you fixed supper for me.” ..."
"...had stopped trying. There was nothing she could do to make Johnny love her: if she worked more and brought home more money, he wouldn’t care; if she cooked fancy meals and dressed up every day, it still wouldn’t change how he looked at her with those apathetic eyes that told her she was dull as dust. ..."

Chapter 5: Chapter Five
"... don’t know—something about what he’s trying to teach them. I didn’t really listen.” “Why not?” From beneath raised eyebrows, Maureen’s big brown eyes left the question hanging. “I guess Johnny would say it’s because I’m too busy thinking about myself. We had an ..."
"... he loves you. I’ve seen the way he studies you.” “People I don’t even know stare at me because I have freaky eyes. Johnny and I live together, but we’re about as compatible as pickles and strawberries.” Maureen laid down the telemetry strip she was interpreting and ..."
"...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 feet against Penny’s palms. The strength in all four of her extremities seemed equal, but Mrs. Spoonhouse couldn’t keep her eyes open long enough for Penny to assess her pupils. When Penny held the eyelids up and shone her pen light on each pupil in turn, she saw constriction and then dilation, instead of only constriction. She tried it several times, and the woman seemed too sleepy to ..."
"...of the bed forty-five degrees and woke her by shaking her shoulder. Mrs. Spoonhouse acknowledged that she had a headache, nodded and said, “Yes.” Penny asked her to focus on the penlight and guided the woman’s gaze back and forth and up and down, noticing that her eyes deviated laterally with fine movements known as nystagmus. She had not observed this before. ..."
"... you want, but don’t worry so much.” Dr. Scales ended the conversation. Penny wrote a phone order for Tylenol and woke Mrs. Spoonhouse, who swallowed the pills easily and remained on her back with her eyes closed. Penny decided to call Dr. Ghent, since he was in charge of the Unit, but she ..."
"...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 flitted around, chattering constantly like an agitated chicken. ..."

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 and pushed ..."

Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
"...The wall above the table still displayed the framed picture of Jesus with his bloody face, his betrayed-Messiah eyes, his crown of thorns, and the nail holes in his hands. Underneath was the declaration: “Christ is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation.” This intimidating picture had spoiled each of the Nichols’ kitchens. Looking at ..."
"... 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 ..."

Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
"...keys. She noticed two flight attendants carrying someone down the steps of a tiny aircraft and recognized her mother-in-law’s white suit reflecting sun like a spotlight. A female attendant arrived with a wheelchair and placed her own pink shades on Mrs. Nichols, who could not open her eyes after being in the dark plane. ..."
"...Alice sighed, closed her eyes, and gulped down the rest of her drink. “If she didn’t qualify for assisted-living, there would be a six-week delay before she could move into the nursing home, and who knows how long before a single apartment would become available for Pop. They would live with us.” ..."
"... 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 ..."
"... “I thought Daddy believed all those things he preached. Just look at him now!” David rolled his eyes and exhaled through his nose. “His mind isn’t functioning—age deterioration. You know that!” “But what about his soul? I thought a soul was something in your consciousness. ..."
"... steps, and along the brick walkway to Faye’s car. Hesitating as she was being helped into the backseat, Mrs. Nichols smiled, her beautiful brown eyes catching sunlight. “Listen,” she said. “The mockingbird is telling me goodbye.” From the back seat, Penny noticed Faye’s bare feet ..."

Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
"...“Hi ya, chick!” Barbara Ruth Tackett, RN, a sun-streaked blond with whom Penny had worked several times, was already dressed, her eyes mirroring Oncology’s distinctive royal-blue scrubs. Barb, who was the age of Penny’s youngest child, laid her newspaper aside and sprang from her chair to give Penny an enthusiastic hug. “I brought you something.” She lifted a small blue jar from the top shelf of her locker ..."
"... one of my patients, a depressed seventy-year-old man, jumped out of his window.” “Wow!” Barb’s eyes were big pools of blue. “How did he climb through?” Windows in the rooms were narrow and high. “Well, I’ll tell you what I think.” The nurse leaned forward, her chin ..."
"... 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?” ..."
"... would not do! ...You’ve seen Dr. Spate’s eyes, right?” On the wall outside the cafeteria hung two gold-framed portraits from which four penetrating brown eyes judged anyone venturing onto the gleaming tile floor of the lobby. Penny nodded. “I can see why you nicknamed it ..."
"...have known it’s a Joint Commission violation to wedge a door open. I’d be in there working and, BAM! The door would go totally shut, you know? I couldn’t hear my patients’ call bells, and I’d be seriously scared and stuff.” Barb rolled her Windex-blue eyes. “I got out of that unit and came to Oncology as soon as there was a position open.” ..."

Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
"...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 looked up through the falling leaves. The sun was a red ember ..."

Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
"... died.” Penny watched her boss for a reaction. Mrs. Gwen’s expression was stony, her eyes unreadable, and she changed the subject. “Penny, did they tell you in Report about the telemetry patient in 304 with a toxic digoxin level?” Deciding that her boss didn’t want to talk about ..."
"... laughed. “How do you manage to stay cheerful with your life so restricted?” “It’s the only life I have.” His eyes were serious, then he smiled. “And I like to be waited on by pretty nurses.” Penny slowly injected the liquid vitamin into a port on his IV line, then flushed ..."
"... Penny started running before she was out of her chair, sending it crashing backward. Her heart knocked about in her chest as she stumbled to the bed and stared down at the still, ashy-faced man, who only a minute ago had been joking with her. His eyes flicked here and there, then stood still as his life withdrew. ..."

Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
"... he spoke to her. “How did it happen?” Penny’s eyes burned but she did not cry. “I had just given him the Vitamin K. I flushed the line with normal saline, walked over here to the desk, and sat down to finish charting...and he arrested!” “It was an embolus then.” Dr. Scales ..."
"...“It was an embolus then.” Dr. Scales moved his hand as if to say “so what,” and wrote “Embolus” as the event leading to death in his progress notes. He gave her a conspiratorial wink above a smile that didn’t reach his glacial eyes. “Thank you, Mrs. Pewitt. His family is coming and they want to see him before you send him to the funeral home.” ..."
"... of her tee shirt, and pulled out her great-grandmother’s medallion, holding it up for Flossie Mae to see. “You have a pentagram too!” Flossie Mae’s eyes were big as quarters. “A what? I inherited it from my grandmother; I didn’t know it had a name.” “A pentagram: the symbol ..."
"...The screen displayed 250/120. That couldn’t be right—way too high! She removed the automatic cuff, applied the manual cuff, and pumped it up. Listening with her stethoscope, she heard the thump begin at 170. It stopped at 100. The man’s face was flushed, his eyes closed, and his deep respirations were sixteen-a-minute. ..."
"... kid who works at the Hi Octane Station.” Penny took in the grey circles under the young man’s eyes and noticed that his face had become less flushed. His respirations were shallow gasps. She shook his shoulder, “Bob! Bob, can you hear me?” His eyelids fluttered but did not open. His ..."
"... stopped breathing in ER,” Penny said. “Quick–-grab an airway!” Earl produced an airway and Penny inserted it, drawing Bob’s tongue forward. He neither coughed nor gagged and did not open his eyes. With the ambulance bouncing them all over the place, Penny couldn’t tell if ..."
"... you wanted me to work because we needed money to educate our children.” Johnny closed his eyes and shook his head. “You were unhappy and I figured you’d leave.... Believe me, I know what it’s like to be left!” “I was unhappy because I couldn’t do it all. I tried to tell you I ..."
"... stay together?” Penny spoke in a small voice. “I think we’ve got a shot at it. We’re a better team than we were. I love you.” Johnny smiled as he made his announcement. His eyes were soft and he curved his arms around her. Penny held herself away from him. “I’ve been on ..."
"... around for a while?” Johnny nodded. “That went all through me. That’s when I knew you would go, and I figured it was just a matter of time.... You’ve never had a loss like I did, so you don’t know what it does to you.” His eyes filled with tears. “But I came back that same ..."
"...Tears sprang from Penny’s eyes, and she fumbled in her purse for a tissue. “I don’t want to take her home; I don’t think I could bring her back for you to...” She removed her sweater, arranged it on the floor of one of the small cages, set Callie on it and ..."
"... 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 ..."

Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen
"...Barb was working at a computer when Penny pulled on her jacket, so Penny descended the steps alone. In the basement, the door opening onto the parking lot was barricaded and a sign pointed down the hall to the left. Kerri, her eyes thickly rimmed with mascara, talked with two other housekeepers at a window beside the door. ..."

Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen
"... jet-lag veteran. Seated by a window, she leaned back and rested her eyes. Vibrations from the plane’s tires rushing over the rough runway excited her, tingled her groin and spread warmth into her lower abdomen leaving it charged and making her wish to extend the pavement. She heard the ..."
"...She heard the powerful engines roar with acceleration toward lift off, then experienced increased gravity as the metallic bird left concrete and forced its load upward. Opening her eyes, she watched the earth, at a crazy angle beneath the wing, slowly straighten out, and a living map passed beneath her: a strange collage of pencil-line roads, matchbox buildings, and snaking waterways. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... else?” or “And then what?” Penny had hoped to witness the old warmth come back to her mother’s eyes, but her gaze was barren. “Mother, remember when we sat on the porch at Westview and watched the sunset? Do you miss that beautiful river?” “There are many things I miss,” ..."
"... don’t know who we are or where we’ve been.” Hot tears Penny had been holding back spilled down her face. She looked through the flood into her mother’s eyes, hoping for some swelling of emotion or even just a slight reaction. Apathetic to Penny’s tears, her mother continued ..."

Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen
"... She’s pulling her IV line, and I can’t do anything with her.” Barb blotted her eyes with a piece of paper towel. “I’ll help him while you draw up the Valium.” She wiped her nose on her sleeve, leaving a white spot. The cumulative total of 6 mgs of Valium had not phased Mrs. ..."
"...“Money problems, fights with my husband—you name it. It’s like everybody sends off all these really bad vibes, right? Our credit cards are maxed out, and the best we can do is pay the interest, you know?” Her eyes were liquid. “It’s a serious bummer.” Barb shrugged off the misery of her own words. “I’m too tired to talk about it.” ..."
"...“Oh yeah? I’ve been in here long enough for dust to collect.” Maureen sighed and kept her face at an angle to Penny, trying to hide the knowledge in her eyes. “I could feel it in there, but I didn’t tell anybody...I knew it was no good and I didn’t want to have it taken out and go through all this, but the pain in my stomach got so bad I couldn’t stand it, and Dr. Lawrence made me ..."
"... leaving her scapulae, like bird bones, outlined beneath the flimsy hospital gown. She’d lost weight! Struck by a wave of fear, Penny squinted her eyes. “Which oncologist?” Her voice was a hoarse murmur. “Dr. Lawrence says they’re both good.” Maureen grinned. “I chose Dr. ..."

Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen
"... “Okay, thanks—I didn’t know that.... I told Mom that Dad’s sick, but she kept her eyes closed. I don’t think she understands anything. Faye’s driving up from Charleston today, so why don’t we call you tonight after she sees them, and she can tell you what she thinks?” In ..."
"... them didn’t answer, and the ones she reached had their excuses ready. Before long, an ER nurse pushed a stretcher through the doorway, 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 ..."
"...Flossie Mae fixed her prominent eyes on Penny’s face. “That’s not all,” she said, then looked away. “We’ve had some patients who aren’t from around here. One day two official-looking men came and stayed in the office with Dr. Scales a long time.... I had to handle all the disgruntled sick ..."
"...on the counter, then filled two glasses with ice and Diet Coke. Into one, he dumped a jigger of vodka, stirred, and handed it to Penny. He placed his hands on the counter and leaned on them, his shoulders rounded like a bag of crushed rock, his eyes fixed on the open bottle. ..."

Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen
"...Penny shifted onto her back, 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 ..."
"...When Penny reached 327, Mrs. Baucom, a woman in her seventies, was lying on her back with oxygen at three liters. Her eyes were open 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 ..."
"... changes.” Penny found the patient more congested. She now had a Foley catheter but there was no urine in the drainage bag, and bubbles escaped from her lips as she blew out each breath. Her eyes were closed, but when Penny lifted the lids her pupils were deviated to the left. Penny located ..."
"... David said, “I asked Dad to squeeze my hand if he knew I was there, and I think maybe he gripped my hand a little, but I don’t know—he never opened his eyes...then he just stopped breathing.” David took a shuddering breath. “I need to call Faye. She can tell the Charleston church.” ..."

Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen
"... Looking into her friend’s sunken eyes, Penny could see that cancer had taken its toll. She laid her gloved hand over Maureen’s, interlocking their fingers. “I’ve had friendships with other nurses, but you and I are like sisters, and we don’t leave each other.” They ..."
"... of Oklahoma.” Twenty-five students took their places. They stood at attention with their eyes on the choral director and as they sang the familiar lyrics of “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” Penny retreated, moving into a twilight zone where nothing was as it seemed. Glassy eyed, ..."

Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen
"... “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 closed the blinds covering Maureen’s windows to the hall. “It’s been long enough that I can give her another Tylenol suppository, and I need to change her pads—all women’s work—so why don’t you men stretch your legs.” Maureen’s daughter-in-law wiped her eyes and Penny gave her a hug, then unplugged the Christmas tree, tossed the cord out, and pulled the door shut. ..."
"... “We’ll have breakfast, and you can rest before you drive.” Penny protested. “But it’s Christmas and your family...” She struggled to control the tears pouring from her eyes and the giant sobs welling up in her chest. “It’s just me, remember?” Flossie Mae said. “I really ..."
" had paid it, and she told me that she was going to call the company and report us. I quit that day and the shit-head never paid me a dime for the last three weeks I worked!” Indignation came off Flossie Mae like steam, and her eyes bulged with fury. ..."
" keep his neck and back in a straight line. Fumes of stale alcohol engulfed her as a siren began to wail. The man pushed himself up again, and Penny glimpsed his face. Most of it was covered by dark, matted hair that hung over his eyes, and Penny was shocked by the emotional impact of recognition. “Buck, listen to me!” she shouted. “You must lie still! The ambulance is coming.” ..."
"... told her. “What does the H stand for, Johnny? I’ve never heard anyone say that!” Johnny’s expression changed to a wide grin and his eyes twinkled. “Hernandez. He was my catcher last summer.” Penny’s face was serious, but the corners of her mouth twitched. “The Jesus I know ..."

Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty
"...milk between them. 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
"...the first people Penny had met at Jackson Medical Center. “Ask them to put a slice of cheese on top of those butter beans. It melts down and...” Kerri smacked her lips, turning her head side-to-side with each smack, then brushed bangs out of her eyes. The girl’s hair was bright copper. ..."
"... of undigested food, and Maria assisted Penny with the clean up. “I’ll take Mr. Brown’s vitals for you.” Maria rolled her eyes, “A person with less morals than me might get pleasure just washing that man’s back.” “Thanks Maria, I’ll go on to Watt.” In Mr. Weeks’s room, ..."
"... Mr. Brown was Dr. Elijah Storm! The crinkly blue eyes focused on Penny. “I’m chilling a little. I need a couple more blankets, and will you go downstairs and buy me some water? I only drink bottled water.” He held out a twenty dollar bill. Maria stood up. “You don’t need to ..."
"... cafeteria for breakfast this morning.” Johnny got that oh-no-not-again look in his eyes and Penny continued with a little less enthusiasm, holding out a sheet of paper. “She gave me this copy of an article about Buck’s motorcycle accident.” Johnny raised one eyebrow in a questioning ..."
"... She asked me if I would be a character witness for her in court, if she needs one.” Johnny turned to look at Penny. His cheeks were scarlet, his eyes blazed. “And you want to know what I think. Right?” Penny nodded, less sure that she really wanted to know, because Johnny looked ..."

Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two
"... “I don’t hear well; you’ll have to talk louder.” Johnny took over explaining and pointed to the picture, but the man didn’t see well, either. His glasses, thick as paperweights, made his deep-set eyes appear larger than normal. “My name is Larry Lilly. Come on in and sit down.” ..."
"...“You don’t say!” He motioned for Johnny to sit down. “People around here call me Uncle Buddy—you can call me that too.” Larry Lilly bent over the blown-up image, looking at it out of his enlarged eyes. He was dressed in a worn gray suit and vest, too much clothing for the stifling room. “The house belongs to my wife and she’s gone to the beauty parlor, but I’ll be glad to show you around.” His lips glistened with saliva. ..."

"... suggest...” Penny interrupted, her eyes wide and earnest. “This may sound crazy, but I want to experience it as much as I can. Listen, we could take them out to supper at Hanky Panky’s! Did you hear Uncle Buddy say he taught history? You might enjoy talking to him!” A vein in ..."
"... go down and see what Lily is up to,” Uncle Buddy said. “Bring in your suitcases whenever you like.” Trailing Uncle Buddy, Penny steepled her hands and her eyes pleaded with Johnny. He sent her a scorching glance. At the bottom of the staircase, he cleared his throat. “Uh, Uncle ..."
"... 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 ..."
"... dishes on the table, is it a different pattern each time?” Uncle Buddy aimed his distorted eyes at Penny. His face was a study in concentration. “I’ve thought for a while that we might have a friendly spirit hanging around.” “I’ll show you,” Lily said. From a cabinet in the ..."

"... wrinkly skin. “Don’t worry about it, baby! You’ve got extraordinary eyes.” Carina addressed Penny from her seat at the table. “You and me, we’re off the calendar.” She made a tsk, tsk sound between her tongue and the top of her mouth as she shook her head. Penny was about ..."
"...“I have to go home now and teach my blind music students to sight read,” he told Maria. “I bet you didn’t know I was born blind! Yeah, I had eye transplants in both eyes so now I give music lessons on my braille Yamaha.” He swiveled to leave, then turned back. “If Dr. Hutton sends Watt to a nursin’ home, his ass is grass and I’m a lawn mower! I’ve got a chopper waitin’ in the parkin’ lot to pick ..."
"... “I know what, y’all,” Carina said. Her brown eyes were big ovals surrounded by thick lashes. “Let’s divide each total in half and claim that. Today’s nurses can get somebody to show them how to clear these little gismos, and we’ll get them to teach us when we come back tonight.” ..."
"...wanted overtime who agreed to come in and work. There were a few tense hours in ER when a grey, perspiring man was brought in after he was stung by a bee on his left temple and his ear. He said he couldn’t move and kept his eyes shut, but after two liters of IV fluid and massive doses of Decadron and Benadryl he was all right, and Penny assigned him a room on North Station for an overnight stay. She went to Central Supply twice and Pharmacy once, and found the needed items with the ..."
"...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 resist when Penny lifted her head and flexed her neck. She had dark circles under her eyes, a bluish tinge around her lips, and her trunk and extremities were pale with patches of color. Her stiff arms jerked spasmodically. Penny lifted one of her cold, clenched hands, spread the fingers, and noted tiny, blue-tinged nail beds and a widened space between the first and ..."
"...Leaning forward, he raised his right hand and pointed a ­lightening-bolt finger at her nose. His eyes seemed to give off heat as he lowered his voice and spit the words at her: “You keep your dirty mouth shut! You will not touch a hair on my body.” He pivoted toward the outside door, beating his fury out on the tiles with his leather ..."
"... twisted around to face him, her legs curled on the couch. His lips were pinched, his eyes splintered steel. “Scales is a crook and he’s dangerous.” His voice rose from a growl. “That bastard! I wish I’d been there!” Penny snuggled onto her husband’s chest, her head on his ..."
"... rose from a growl. “That bastard! I wish I’d been there!” Penny snuggled onto her husband’s chest, her head on his shoulder. She loved him for the anger in his eyes and for the protecting strength of his tensed biceps. “This is unreal!” Johnny sputtered. “You’re right on ..."
"... hospital, too.” Johnny placed his hands on Penny’s shoulders and held her back from him, his eyes boring into her. “Stay away from him! Go to the bathroom, hang up the phone, don’t listen to him! I’m not around, stay the hell away from him!” Exhaustion claimed her and ..."

"...Penny stopped four feet short of the hawk’s perch, and it turned around to face her, revealing mask-like markings around its eyes and a gracefully-curved beak. They established eye contact and Penny felt the impact throughout her body: a sort of explosion in her chest and stomach followed by tingling that extended out into her fingertips. A surge of joy and strength slammed into her, making her feel as ..."
"...head, its speckled white breast exposed before her. It glanced back a couple of times, and about thirty feet ahead settled onto another tree and watched Penny catch up. When she was even with its branch, she looked the hawk full in the face and its blue-black eyes flashed silver. With several tremendous flaps, the bird launched itself forward, soaring ahead without wasting a motion, then it turned, swooped down, and flew toward Penny at the level of her chest, its wings fully extended. The hawk came straight at her, then at the last minute ..."
"...nearby should have noticed the life-shaking event that just took place. She wondered how she appeared to the hawk. Pulling the chain out from under her shirt, she studied her hawk’s eye pendant, turning it back and forth to see the dark stone flash. Closing her eyes, she placed the medallion in the center of her forehead, imagining herself flying higher and higher until the world was far below. A feeling of quiet peacefulness filled her mind, and she opened her eyes as the sun disappeared and the edges of everything began to blur. ..."
"... to the security guards. “The last time I saw him was a month ago and his hair was long—it’s black. He has brown eyes, and he’s tall: people say he looks like a model. Anyway, when I wouldn’t give him the money he wanted, he said he’d make me sorry.” “We’ll take it from ..."

Chapter 26: Chapter Twenty-Six
"...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. ..."
"...gloves were stored. Stationing it against the wall outside Mrs. Sharp’s room, she noticed a new box of green masks sitting on top. Unlike the white masks she had used in the past, these had visors that extended upward from the nose piece to protect the wearer’s eyes against chemical splashes. ..."
"... was joking. The patient narrowed her faded-blue eyes and continued in her ventriloquist’s voice. “Do you ever wonder why they decorate these rooms with pus-yellow walls and blood-red pictures? Do you understand what I’m saying? It’s enough to make a well person sick!” “Are you ..."
"... thanks, honey.” Leaving Flossie Mae in 406, Penny continued down the hall to 408. Mrs. Sharp’s first infusion was almost finished and her eyes were closed. Penny tiptoed into 409, opened Mr. Logan’s window blinds so she could see him from the hall, and shut his door. Returning to the ..."
"... bed, blocking Mrs. Banks’s view of the room. Ruth Robertson, that night’s supervisor, helped Penny slide Flossie Mae’s body out of the doorway into the hall. Mrs. Robertson closed Flossie Mae’s inflamed eyes and covered her with a blanket. Stripping off her blood-spattered chemo garb, ..."

"... Dixiana up to this hospital, and...” “You know her son?” Both men leaned forward. They seemed excited. The fat one rolled his eyes toward his partner, positioned a legal pad in front of himself, picked up a pen and clicked its point in and out. Penny slid her hips against the back ..."
"...Penny relived the instant in which he had looked at her. The memory gathered so closely around her that she experienced again the physical shock she felt when their eyes met, but her voice held steady. “Dr. Scales looked straight at me, and I looked straight at him. I was glad I had on a mask with an eye shield so he couldn’t tell who I was, but even with that black wig I knew him...with his ..."
"... who I was, but even with that black wig I knew him...with his yellow-ice eyes.” The temperature in the room rose as both officers stared at Penny, and the scrutiny of their four eyes penetrated her skin. “Wait a minute.” The older policeman held up his hand, his long fingers spread ..."
"...He might have recognized her in spite of her mask. As many times as they had looked at each other, no mask would keep Penny from recognizing him! She knew his walk, his mannerisms, his reptile eyes. He was probably waiting for her in the basement hallway. She had been insane to come down by herself–-he had killed three people, and maybe more. ..."
"...enough to be sure there wasn’t a latch somewhere. Her terror rose, and she threw her whole body against the bar. The door flew open and she fell forward, striking her shoulder on a riser. She lifted her head and raised a hand to shadow her eyes as she looked up into sunlight shining down a staircase from the floor above. ..."
"...flexed her elbows and observed her hands, covered with blood. She felt no pain and no fear; she must be dead.... Dr. Scales was dead too. Blood was running out of his hair onto Johnny’s Louisville Slugger. Johnny would be upset. Penny closed her eyes to shield them from the blinding brightness of the sun. ..."
"... from the blinding brightness of the sun. “Penny? Penny...Penny, talk to me!” Security Guard Tony Roscoe bent over her. She opened her eyes. “What happened?” “You got him pretty good in the balls, and I clobbered him with one of the bats out of your trunk. I think I killed him! ..."

"...She turned her face into the pillow and waited for the fear to fade away, to let her move beyond it into the new day. But what day was it? Two days since.... She sucked in a breath and held it, pressing her fingers against her eyes to keep back tears, pushing her abdominal muscles against feelings that threatened her. If she even relaxed, she might loose control; if she permitted herself to remember people gone from her life, it could wreck her. ..."
"... we’d all fall off. You know?” Penny searched her husband’s face. He smiled but his eyes were sad, and he spoke so quietly his voice was almost drowned out by the bird chorus. “Are you happy with me?” He added something else, but Penny missed it. She answered quickly. “I ..."

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"Margaret McMillion's PERSONAL BAGGAGE is a very entertaining story of professional life within a corrupt medical community, and the toll..."

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