I woke up again with someone poking me. I didn’t have much pain until I tried to change my position in the bed. When I did, I wanted to cry. No one knows how many times they move in their sleep, until there is something to point it out to them. Heavy duty pain is one of those things that make it very clear.
“How you doing sweetie,” the only moderately over weight nurse asked.
“I’m hangin’ in there. How you doing today?” I asked even though I did not give a crap.
“I’m good,” she answered.
I had no idea what day it was, nor did I care. I just wanted to go back to sleep, so I did.
That little scene repeated itself half a dozen times, before I managed to stay awake for more than a minute or two. When I finally was able to stay awake, it was because there was food in front of me. I ate about two bites of the pudding, then decided that lifting the fork even with my good arm hurt too much. I then shut my eyes and drifted back into the arms of Morphis.
All that nothingness was followed by even more of the same. People were waking me up to be sure I hadn’t died in my sleep, I suppose. I was at the point I would have been thrilled with a coma, just to have them leave me the fuck alone.
It was after several other wake ups that I found Jennifer standing over my bed. “Maxine how are you feeling?”
“Honey, I got six broke ribs, a broken and separated collar bone, and a detached lung, other than that I feel just fine. I hurt like shit, how do you think I feel?” I did manage a laugh.
“Yeah, other that that Miss Lincoln how was your evening out?” she said grinning.
“Did you bring me a pistol?” I asked.
“Hell no, they would have a shit fit, and I’m a lawyer for god’s sake.” she said smiling.
“Now, you are going to play the lawyer card on me?” I asked getting just a tad pissed.
“I did better than a pistol, I brought you James.” she said.
“They are not going to let him in with a gun anymore than they are you,” I said.
“Come on Max, you know damn well he doesn’t need a pistol. He is like you. He will just rip out their jugular vein with his teeth. Don’t let that balding head fool you.” she said.
“Okay, I know he will take care of me. So send him in, when you leave but I’m going to sleep most of the time. I am not going to entertain him.” I said.
“Duh, you have been asleep since the accident yesterday,” she said.
“You mean it’s only been one day?” I asked not believing I could have been in and out that many time in one day.
“Not even a full day yet,” she said. “Seriously sweetie, the Doctor who is with the hospital said it is going to get worse pain wise.”
“That is so fucking comforting,” I said.
“They don’t want you moving around too much just yet, but when that lung is stable sometime today, they are going to want you to get out of that bed. You can’t heal properly unless you move around some. I know it hurts like hell, but it’s what you are going to have to do.”
“Jennifer when did you become an expert on my pain,” I said.
“Honey, the doctor is worried. You have a huge amount of skeletal damage. He isn’t worried about more damage, just whether you can manage the pain. I told him it was doable for you, but he just sees a skinny middle aged bitch. He don’t know you.” she said.
“Well tell him this ain’t my first rodeo,” I said getting seriously pissed. “Call that nurse in here.”
“Don’t do anything stupid Maxine,” she said.
“Everything I do is stupid,” I replied. Jen went outside and came back with the nurse. “I want this catheter out of me. Then I want to go take a real piss.”
“I’ll have to check with the doctor,” the nurse said.
“You check with anybody you want, but you take this thing out in the next fifteen minutes, or I will pull it out myself. It can’t be that hard.”
When I looked over at Jen she was grinning. “What?” I asked.
“Good to see you back,” she said. “I know it must hurt like a bitch, but you are the bitch to make work for you.”
“Shut the fuck up Jen,” I said. “Get me something to defend myself with. I don’t care if its a bed spring shank.”
“I’ll call Cheryl,” she said.
“You mean you have called everyone who knows me. Call them all and tell them that it’s time to pay up for those favors.” I said. Of course I was exhausted before the nurse came back to remove the catheter. Jen left the room for it and I fell sound asleep.
When next I awoke, James was sitting in the one comfortable chair reading a book. “Hey cowboy,” I said.
“Well hello there little lady. How you doing?” he said.
“I’m going to be okay, just took a while to get past feeling sorry for myself. Do you have something for me?” I asked.
“Not just yet,” he said. “You ain’t ready to take care of a piece yet. You will fall asleep and let these straights find it, then we will all be truly fucked. Besides the boys on the farm called Jennifer. They are sending you a package. It should be here by morning,” He said with a grin.
“How did they know?” I asked.
“They think they know everything. but in this case I called the admiral to tell him I was staying a couple of extra days, and why. He said not to worry. I expect he called one of the spooks,” James said.
“I wonder how close those guys are?” I asked wincing in pain as I tried to rearrange myself in the bed.
“I’m not sure they even know the answer to that. Anyway, they are sending you a package probably a stinger missile. They do believe in overkill.”
“Yeah,” I said. The nurse must have heard us talking because she came into the room.
“So. so you want to try to make it to the bathroom?” she asked.
“Sure why not,” I replied torquing my jaws for the inevitable pain. I got one leg off the bed and the pain was so bad I wanted to throw up. “Cocksucker that hurts,” I was almost in tears as I said it. The bathroom was close enough so that I could reach the door with my good hand. I pulled myself up from the bed. Then said, “Fuck,” in a voice loud enough to be heard outside the room. I managed to let the pain find a place in my brain where it wouldn’t eat it up completely. I had to stand holding onto the door for a few seconds to adjust to it. To James’ credit, it totally ignored me. The nurse was in the ‘nurse wants to help mode’ and all I wanted was to be left alone with the pain.
I sat on the toilet and it hurt going down, I could only image what was in store for me, when I tried to stand. It was pure agony but I let it wash over me and managed to cope with it. Of course the morphine was helping some, but not nearly enough.
I made it back to bed and James had to know what agony I was in. He showed no sympathy at all. It was probably a good thing. Being soft, and being me at the same time was pretty much impossible.
I woke up two more times in some real pain, because I had tried to turn in my sleep. Each time James just stared at me. He never said a word, it wasn’t his job to be my nurse. It was his job to be sure the people who came into the room knew, that if they fucked with me, he would kill them in the most painful way possible in the amount of time he would have. You had to love the guy for that.
“So when you gonna’ close on the stable?’ I asked during one of my few lucid moments.
“Next Friday,” he replied.
“What day is it now,” I asked.
“It’s still Thursday. You are in and out so many times a day, that you probably lost track of the days.” he said.
“I have, some doctor or nurse wakes me up and I think it’s a new day,” I replied.
“Well you are quite the hit around here. I hear them talking in the hall. They were out there this morning trying to guess what caused all the scars on your body,” James said.
“Good thing they can’t see the scars on my soul,” I suggested.
“You and me both honey,” he said. I knew his soul was more scared than mine. At least I knew who I was killing, and that they deserved to die. James was probably a lot like Anya, I thought.
“Are you really ready to retire?” I asked.
“Go back to sleep Maxine, we don’t need to be ass hole buddies for me to keep you alive. It’s a job.” he said.
“Oh who is paying you?” I asked.
“It’s a one day barter thing. I keep you alive 24 hours and Jen prepares my deed and court registrations free.” he said.
“You got the better end of that deal,” I said.
“Depend on which one of your enemies comes calling,” James said. “Now go to sleep or I might kill you myself.”
“Maxine can you get into a wheel chair for me?” A somewhat younger nurse asked.
“Oh are we going our for a drink?” I asked, “Otherwise I’m not sure I want to do that. It hurts like a mother to move around.”
“Well, we need a picture of your collar bone,” she said. “The orthopedic surgeon wants to evaluate you this afternoon.”
“Any chance I can order some Christmas cards of it,” I asked.
“Who knows, we can always ask,” she said smiling.
“James you gonna wait here or you going to walk with us,” I asked after I was sitting on the side of the bed.
“I’m going to tag along,” he answered.
The nurse helped me into the chair. Her help was no more than guiding me to it. I ached for a few seconds but it passed. The ride down was pretty much okay until the nurse rolled the chair onto the elevator. The bump was maddeningly painful.
“Ms. Stone, I need you to stand for me please with you back right here,” the male x-ray technician said. He guided me to the wall. I knew better than to make any sexual jokes since everybody was afraid of being sued for sexual shit. It was a shame because he had nice warm hands.
“Thank you Ms Stone,” he said.
“Thank you sir you were very professional damn it,” I said with a weak leer.
Back in the room I painfully fell into the bed, then just passed out from pure exhaustion. I was on the edge of falling asleep, when I heard James on the phone, “Yes she is fine. I know it’s a big deal, don’t worry, I’ll take care of her.
I drifted off to sleep not at all sure I would wake up. James’s remarks were harmless, but by the same token, I never could tell my friends from my enemies, and no one ever seemed to have a program.