CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FIFTY-THREE
“The patient doesn’t believe they had Covid?” Tanesha asked.
The doctor nodded.
“Whatever,” Tanesha said. “It’s not the first time I’ve seen this.”
The doctor sighed to indicate her agreement.
“Where?” Tanesha asked.
“I’ll lead you there,” Dr. Vierns said.
They were wearing white paper coveralls, double gloves, and these amazing respirators with a clear plastic front and a machine they carried on their backs. Their heads were covered in a hood. Their shoes were covered in booties. Tanesha had had to help her fellow medical student into their outfits.
Even with all the gear on, Tanesha could hear a man gasping for breath. She picked up her pace. But as she neared the bed, the man began to shake his head. His arm was out and he was gasping out the word, “No!”
As she approached, the man continued to say, “No, no, no, no, no, no!” to the ventilation technician.
“Sir,” Tanesha said, reaching the bed. “Your oxygen level is too low. We need to put you on a ventilator to save your life.”
“I don’t have no Covid,” the man croaked. “You can’t pull no hoax on me. I’m too smart for that.”
“Okay, we won’t ‘hoax’ you,” Tanesha said with a shrug. “I still need to put you on a ventilator.”
“I don’t want no monkey doing nothing to me,” the man said quickly switching from venting his anguished rage to his racism.
Dr. Vierns moved to get past Tanesha, but Tanesha stood firm.
“You are injuring your brain,” Tanesha said. “Every moment you go without oxygen, you kill off more of your brain.”
Tanesha crossed her arms.
“Now, you can let me save your life,” Tanesha said. “Or you can continue to make yourself a vegetable. If you’re lucky, you’ll die before you have to live with a severely compromised brain.”
“That don’t happen,” the man said.
“I have seen it before,” Tanesha said. “I’ve worked on these wards since March. There are lot of people who thought just like you. That is, until they couldn’t think anymore.”
The man gawked at her. Tanesha shrugged.
“Can’t she do it?” the man pointed to an ivory skinned medical assistant.
“No,” Tanesha said.
“Tanesha is the most experienced person here right now,” Dr. Vierns said.
“And she’s famous,” the nurse said with a nod.
“How is that famous?” the man asked, gesturing to Tanesha.
“I have put in the most ventilators and had the most patients live,” Tanesha lied. “We have a contest to see who has the most surviving patients.”
“Is that true?” the man asked.
“Absolutely,” Dr. Vierns said with a nod.
The man was silent for a long moment. A set of fat tears rolled down his face.
“Every minute counts,” Tanesha said.
He gave her a soft nod.
“My dad has dementia,” the man said. “I. . .”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
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