Chapter Six Hundred and Fifty-two - Turned to stone (part six)
Chapter Six Hundred and Fifty-three - Compassion (part two)

Chapter Six Hundred and Fifty-three - Compassion (part one)


(part one)

Wednesday morning — 10:05 a.m.

Hospital Intensive Care Unit

“Are you Tanesha?” the attending physician asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Tanesha said.

Intimidated by the woman, Tanesha looked down. She’d just gotten to the ICU floor.

“Doctor,” the attending physician said.

“Yes, ma’am,” Tanesha said.

“Yes, doctor,” the attending physician said.

“Oh.” Tanesha looked up and blushed. She looked up to see the woman grinning at her. “Sorry, I. . .”

“I don’t really care,” the attending physician said. “But the lead doc is a stickler for this kind of crap. Since this is your first day on rotation here, I figure you’d better learn the right way before some asshole. . .”

She grinned at Tanesha.

“You of all people know assholes,” the attending physician said.

Tanesha snorted a laugh.

“You’re ‘Miss T’?” the attending physician asked.

“Tanesha,” she said. “Everyone calls me, Tanesha. Except my husband and my dad. My mother has her own private name for me. I won’t burden you with that.”

“My mom has a nickname for me too.” The attending physician nodded.

Tanesha smiled.

“I wondered,” the attending physician said. “I’m Margaret Vierns. ‘Meg.’”

“Yes, doctor,” Tanesha said.

“You were already warned?” Dr. Vierns asked.

“My first day last spring,” Tanesha said. “‘Doctors will give you their first names, but stick with Dr. until you know that if you want to even know them better.’”

“Who are you quoting?” Dr. Vierns asked.

“Dr. John Drayson,” Tanesha said.

“Vascular surgeon?” Dr. Vierns asked. “English? Handsome?”

“He’s a family friend,” Tanesha said.

Dr. Vierns looked as if she were reassessing Tanesha.

“Anyway, the lead nurse said that you worked Covid ICU since the pandemic started,” Dr. Vierns said.

“My cousin and I got jobs almost immediately,” Tanesha said. “We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to learn as much as we could during this event. Pandemics are a new thing for people, but this won’t be the last pandemic in my lifetime.”

Dr. Vierns nodded.

“Why do you ask?” Tanesha asked.

“I was pregnant,” Dr. Vierns said. “They sent me home in March. Then I was on maternity. Today’s my first day back.”

“So you’re stuck with the newbies and the med students,” Tanesha said with a nod.

“Yeah,” Dr. Vierns said with a sigh. “Anyway, no one on this morning has your experience.”

“How can I help?” Tanesha asked.

“We were hoping that you could walk us through the best way to intubate,” Dr. Vierns said. “I mean, we can all do it in our sleep, but I wondered if there were any tricks or. . . I thought I’d ask.”

“Does someone need it?” Tanesha asked.

“Yes,” Dr. Vierns said. “But. . .”

Tanesha watched the woman work through what she was going to say.

“The patient doesn’t believe they had Covid?” Tanesha asked.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


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