On day three I managed to walk to the bathroom, alone. I did it with a hell of a lot of pain and the help of a cane. I could never have gotten out of bed at home. My decision to stay another day was based on that experience. Trying to sit up caused me to cry that first time. Broken ribs are not for sissy, I decided.
By the evening of day three I was going to the bathroom on my own. It still was with a great deal of pain. I prepare myself mentally for it and I did it with a lot of grunts and groans. It sounded as though I was in more pain than truly was. I would have screamed, except I feared it would bring the nurses running. I wanted as little to do with them as possible.
By the morning of day four I had the bathroom thing figured out. With the aid of the cane and by rolling on my side and swinging my legs onto the floor, I could mostly avoid using the muscle which put pressure on the ribs. Not very medical sounding, I know, but it worked for me. I could make it to the bathroom which was about all the movement I was up to. I considered it a great victory at the time.
By the afternoon of that day, I was ready to try walking down the hall for the first time. I rolled onto my side with some pain, but not nearly as much as sitting up in the bed caused. Then I swung my legs over the side and used the cane to lever myself upright. Yeah it was ugly, but it had me sitting on the side of the bed with less pain. It was a pain I could cope with.
I pulled myself out of the bed with the cane, so that I was standing. I wasn’t standing upright but I was up. I took my first steps using only the cane for support. I had been holding to door and rails attached to the walls to go to the bathroom. The bathrom trip was only three painful steps. The walk I planned was a lot more steps.
I slowly made my way to the door, when I got there I was exhausted. Exhaustion or not I continued on. I managed to get the door open. I looked down the hall and found mine was the only door that was closed. I was also the only one with a plain clothes officer sitting outside the door.
“Where do you think you are going,” he said pleasantly.
“Dancing?” I asked breathlessly.
“You might want to hold off till after dark for that,” he suggested.
“Well then how about once around the halls and home James,” I said.
“Tell you what if you go real slow, I’ll go with you. I probably can’t keep up,” he said. He used a cane to lever himself to a standing position. Since he was about my age and had the bearing of a military man, I figured him for a soldier.
“Iraq?” I asked.
“Yep early on before we armored the hummers,” he said.
“I’m sorry, you seem to have adapted pretty well,” I suggested.
“What else could I do,” he said.
“When you are a pro, it’s all you can do, I guess,” I said. “So now you are with the SBI?”
“Not the State Bureau we fall under the State Attorney’s office. You are in the witness protection program at the moment,” he said.
We were moving along at a snails pace while we talked. It took some of the pain away to have my thinking off the pain for a while. “So can you run in the Olympics?” I asked.
“No, but I can outrun you right now,” he said.
“That is true. So where you living while you are in town.” I asked.
“A motel out at the interchange about five miles out of town,” he said “Why?”
“Well I live in a motel and nobody is using my room right now,” I said with a smile.
“Oh well, I’m not on a per diem. They pay the motel directly. So let them pay,” he said.
“Right,” I said with a smile. We had been around the floor by that time. “Well I don’t think I’m up for another lap.”
“Well you go on back and I’ll have a nurse come tuck you in,” he said.
“Don’t bother I’m fine,” I said.
“Lady you are a hell of a lot of thing,s but you are not fine right now,” he said with a concerned look,”
I was back in bed when the nurse came in to change my dressing. “Your wound is weeping. It’s to be expected for a few days still.” She said it as if I had been concerned. I assured her I had not been. When she left, I went back to sleep.
I slept for a couple of hours, then the day shift cops came in to check on me. I wasn’t sure what brought them in, but I was glad to see them. Well most of them. They didn’t stay but a minute, just long enough to update me on the progress. It seemed that the guy with the bullet in his gut wanted to make a deal. The driver not so much. But the one with the bullet was facing the needle, since there was no question that he had been a shooter.
The district attorney was about to file on a local businessman. I asked who of course but they didn’t know. “It’s all just rumor anyway at this point,” one of the older day shift’s officers said. The two officers and supervisor from the day shift left, after fifteen long minutes.
If the District attorney did file charges on the boss, my need for protection ended. Just when I was starting to wonder about sex with a gimp. I laugh at the thoughts I was having, not the man.
When they left I fell back asleep for a couple of hours, I was awakened next by a visit form Chief Deputy Webster. “Well there’s our little heroine,” he said.
“Not all that little, but hello Chief Deputy,” I said.
“How are you feeling,” he asked.
“I feel like I got kicked in the ribs by a jackass,” I said.
“Well you did in a way, I thought I would come in to tell you myself. The District Attorney is going to file charges against Dan Edwards,” he said.
“Dan Edwards the real estate developer,” I asked.
“One and the same. It seems Dan used Meth money to finance his realty business when the market crashed. He just found some kids with enough chemistry to cook, and off he went. Some where along the line he got twisted enough to think killing you would solve all his problems. It would have been only a short term solution, but maybe he planned to leave the country, who knows.” the Chief Deputy said.
“Well, I will be damned,” was my reply.
After dropping his bomb the chief deputy didn’t stay long. I couldn’t blame him we didn’t really have much to say to each other. “I am still trying to decide what to do with you when you come back to work. You are coming back to work aren’t you.” And there was the real reason for his visit. He wanted to know if I was coming back.
“That my plan at the moment,” I said. “No one is rushing up to offer me a job.”
“Well just as soon as we allow you access to the press, that might change,” he said as he went out the door. So they were still controlling my visitors. Well it did make sense, I was in protective custody.
I fell asleep after dinner and slept till sometime in the middle of the night. When I woke I had to use the bathroom, so I tried my method for getting out of bed. The pain was terrible but I managed to make it. I just couldn’t get back to sleep for a while. Since I was awake anyway I decided to try a walk around the hospital floor again.
When I opened the door sometime later, the first thing I noticed was that my guard was gone. With the arrest of Dan the Realtor, I suppose the threat was gone, That kind of sucked since I supposed it meant that the press would have access to me. It also mean I had no way to defend myself and no one watching my back. I suddenly have a feeling of being alone. I hadn’t really felt alone since Afghanistan. I walked the halls of my floor until I was tired. Then I went in and fell asleep.
Day five opened with a visit from the doctor of the hospital which was fine since I didn’t have a doctor of my own. “Well young lady you are doing well. They tell me you are up roaming the halls in the middle of the night.”
“I did. I bet that is a sign that I want to go home,” I said.
“It says on you chart that you live alone, do you have any close friends or family you can stay with,” he said.
“Family, I guess,” I replied. There was no way I was staying with family.
“Well if you go to stay with family, I will release you tomorrow. That is if you are truly mobile. So let me see you walk to the door,” he demanded.
I did my rolling thing and levered myself up with the cane, I did not scream, even though I wanted to. I made it to the door and back. “So how about it,” I said.
“Use today to line up your exit plans If nothing changes for the worse you can go tomorrow.” he said.
My first call had to be for a ride home. I wanted the Monk since he knew all about it, but I couldn’t put him in danger. Next best was Mary Ellen even though her part time job might come back to to bite me later.
“Mary Ellen you did know I was in the hospital?” I asked.
“Yes what can I do?” she asked as I hoped she would.
“I need a ride home. Does Angel work at all?” I asked
“She works for me and I can send her to pick you up. Just call the store about fifteen minute or so before you are ready to leave.” she said.
“Mary Ellen I need some clothes as well. Do you think you could send some with her. I’ll gladly pay.” I said. “And Mary Ellen send panties.” We both laughed at that remark.
So I had the exit cover but I had a day to survive without a weapon or a guard. Yes I know it sounds paranoid, but I had proved that paranoids sometimes had a valid reason for it. I spent as much of that day outside my room as possible. I doubted that it would matter to a determined killer, that he had to go to the solarium. but I felt that I was at least doing something.
The time passed slowly but it did pass. Then without much warning I was calling Angel to come get me. She brought me jeans and a tee shirt. She brought panties but no bra, I should have known.
“Miss Porter,” the hospital business officer person said, “You have no liability at this time. Since it was a line of duty shooting, the state insurance is going to cover it all, I think.”
“Gee that nice of them,” I said.
“The other thing is the lobby is full of press. You should plan to speak to them,” she said.
“No I shouldn’t,A can I got out a back way,” I asked.