You would think that in an ICU where there are stories aplenty about the human condition--the split second changes that have the power to destroy a life or a family--the nurses and docs would get enough drama in a day without having to create it over daily worklife nothingness. But alas, no, that is not to be.
It's enough to drive a person to write bad literature. And, so I shall.
Puzzle of the Abandoned Picnic Basket
"Evelyn? Are you there? Can you hear me? Are you girls still awake? I can never get the time difference down there straight."
"Yes, Mrs. Guiliani, I'm up," I replied.
Mrs. Guiliani had been our next door neighbor for only a few years, ever since Good Samaritan bought up all the land surrounding the ever growing medical complex, which included the house where Mrs. G. had lived as a new bride in the 50's, raised her family and lived as a widow. The hospital' s Alumni Foundation bought the house next to us, did a little painting, put in some new bushes and plopped her right in. My mom kind of adopted her as a project and made sure Mrs. G. made it to the grocery store in the winter and the really hot summer days. She was nice enough, always referred to my sister and me as "you girls" like we were one entity. I was surprised she called me by name, was never sure she could tell us apart.
"Is everything okay there? Are you alright?" I asked as I stood up from my chair to try and find a better reception spot for the phone.
"Well, honey, I think someone has broken into your girls' house. I got up a little while ago to get some water and I saw little white lights floating inside your windows. Your mother asked me to keep an eye on the house so I called the police and they're here right now. I tried to call your parents, but I must have written the number down wrong. No one answers."
" I know, I think their phone's not working in Canada. It's so annoying. Thanks for calling here . Is our house okay? Are you okay? Do you think I should I come home?"
From the corner of my eye I could see that Chandra had tensed and was now leaning forward, putting his glass down on the deck next to him.
"Evelyn, honey, I don't know about that. I think the police should decide. I can't tell you what to do. I'll give them your phone number and you'd best work it out with them."
" Oh... Okay, Mrs. Guiliani. Well, thanks again for calling, and I'm sorry that you got woken up. Are you alright?"
She chuckled softly into the phone. "This has been some kind of excitement and I'm up half the night anyway. Now I have some company. There's neighbors standing on their porches like they got some kind of business being out there in the middle of the night. Haven't seen most of them the whole time I've been living here. That man that lives across from your house--the one with the little fat barking dog--he's walking around your yard in his boxer shorts and Tshirt like he's supervising. This is something to see," and she laughed again.
Thanks, Mrs. G. That is not the image I need seared into my brain. She talked a little more, repeated her phone number several times for me, and promised to call if there was any other trouble. I turned around and saw that Chandra was again leaning back in his chair, glass in hand, eyes half closed as if on the edge of sleep. I didn't want to disturb him with this new disruption, not until I had more information, so I padded slowly past him and quietly opened the sliding door into the restaurant. I wanted to find Bridget and see if anyone from the Sorority Hotline had gotten in touch with Mom and Dad. If not, I would throw some clothes together and get a couple hours of sleep before I started the drive home.