The annoying vibrating sound pierced through the thick slumber of my sleep. My eyelids fluttered and my fingers searched for the light switch.
The sudden burst of light burned my tired eyes and I closed them again quickly before sitting up against the pillows.
The vibrating continued and I snatched my pager from the bedside table, staring at the numbers that flitted past the screen.
It wasn’t even….what was the time?
I glanced at my clock and sighed.
It wasn’t even two-thirty a.m. yet and the hospital already needed me!
It was my day off for crying out loud! I just got home a few hours ago, what could possibly need my attention right this minute?
I grabbed my phone and dialed the familiar numbers. I could dial those numbers in my sleep.
I laughed at my sick joke. I was still asleep.
‘’Dr Martins, sorry for waking you. I know you’ve only been home for two hours but,’’ Drew said in a rushed tone.
‘’Yes, that’s fine. Just tell me what was so important that you had to wake me up at two-twenty a.m. on a Sunday morning.’’ I tried very hard to keep the irritation from tainting my voice.
‘’Kaitlin, it’s your father, he had a heart attack a few minutes ago and your mother wants you.’’ His words barely registered in my brain. All I heard was my father and heart attack.
‘’I’m on my way.’’ I hung up and hurried to get dressed in my state.
I pulled on the first things that my fingers touched. A tight fitted light blue jean and a black spaghetti top.
I tried to be thorough as I brushed my teeth but the rashness won over and I ended up pulling my fingers through my dark brown hair and it tumbled down my back.
As I came back into my room, I pulled on a pair of sneakers that was lying next to my bed and I grabbed my phone and car keys.
I dashed out of the house, only barely managing to successfully lock the front door behind me. I slipped on the wet steps and scratched my elbow on the granite tiles.
‘’Ow,’’ I complained as I got up and carefully walked the few short paces to my glossy black Mustang that stood in front of my house.
The engine purred to life and I was racing the familiar streets to St Peter’s hospital.
I was momentarily abashed at how quiet the streets of New York City were considering that it was renowned as the city that never sleeps.
Load of bull some people can occupy themselves with. I thought sarcastically.
The towering building came in full view a few minutes later and I pulled into the underground parking lot and into an open space designated for doctors.
I got out and walked to the elevator that would take me to the fourteenth floor. My feet were silent on the stone slab, I noticed, but that was just because I was wearing sneakers instead of heels or boots.
I waited for the elevator to come down, it felt like forever.
Finally, the doors slid open and I stepped into the cold cubicle. Wrapping my arms around myself as the lift glided upward to my destination.
My mind was stuck on my father.
Would he be alright? Would I be able to handle such a case so close to me or would I feel the need to betray my mother’s trust and hand it over to another doctor?
A doctor that was much less involved?
The doors opened and I was greeted with an everyday receptionist area.
People, both staff and visitors, bustled around the area, some searching for answers from doctors, others waiting and pacing to hear the long awaited news.
I stepped out and smiled to Cecile Walter, the receptionist. She was short and sturdy with dark black hair graying at the temples and light green eyes that held compassion at some points in her life.
‘’Oh, morning Dr Martins. What are you doing here? You should be at home resting. Chief’s orders remember?’’ she removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes.
‘’My father had a heart attack. Dr Jenson paged me.’’ I said and I watched the sympathy enter her eyes.
‘’I’m so sorry. I hope your father is alright.’’
I smiled and ambled off toward the emergency room.
I saw my mom then, her face morphed into pain and grief. She clutched her hands together in front of her mouth as she saw me and started running toward me.
I wrapped my arms around her frail shoulders and pulled her against me. ‘’It’s okay mom, I’m here now.’’
She sobbed into my shirt. ‘’Oh honey, thank you for coming.’’
I held her at arms length when the sobs subsided and I looked her over.
My mother had always been one of the most beautiful women in my family. She had ear length dark brown hair and deep set brown eyes with evenly spaced and recently plucked eyebrows. Her skin was clear with laugh lines as her only wrinkles. But right now…
My mother’s skin was torn, her eyeliner was running with her tears, her forehead was encased with worry lines and her eyes were wet and horror struck.
A hand touched my shoulder and I turned around.
Drew Jenson was standing a foot away from me, holding my white doctor’s coat.
The coats that defined doctors these days.
Drew was a young but experienced doctor who just finished his residency a couple of months ago. At age twenty-five, he was one of the best skilled young doctors that ever attended St Peter’s.
He was handsome to say the least, with tousled black hair, ice blue eyes that seemed so immature in some ways but when he spoke in that soft gentle tone, it was impossible to ignore the influence that projected from him.
His skin was toffee colored and clear, yielding and muscular.
I reached for the coat and he helped to pull it around my shoulders.
‘’Hi,’’ I said when I turned back to him.
The smile that stretched across his face was almost tangible. ‘’Hello Dr Martins, sorry for waking you up but I knew you’d want to handle this case yourself.’’
I nodded. “It’s okay. Thanks for paging me.’’
‘’Dr Abbott stabilized your father when he came in. He’s in that room.’’ Drew pointed to the room across from me.
‘’Thank you for the briefing.’’ I smiled and touched my mother’s shoulder once more before going to see my father.
The man propped up against the thick pillows staring at me was no image of the man that bore a resemblance to my father.
The man lying there was frail, weak and human. My childhood memory of my father had always been that he was the most endurable man that ever walked the face of the earth.
He was always the strong one, the bravest and the kindest and right now, he seemed too weak to even smile.
As if he could read my thoughts, his mouth turned up into a lively smile and some of the man who was my father returned only with a glimpse.
‘’Hey dad,’’ I took his needled hand gently between mine.
‘’Hi sweetheart,’’ his voice betrayed his posture.
I smiled. ‘’This is so like you. Even on a sickbed, you still manage to sound fit as a fiddle. How do you do it?”
He shrugged and burst into laughter. ‘’You always worry too much. How do you do that?’’
I smirked but a frown encased my forehead. ‘’Guess it’s daughter instincts. You know I always worry about you and mom. Speaking of which,’’ I said as I took the chart that was waiting for me. ‘’She’s pretty shaken up.’’
I glanced over the words that were written by Dr Abbott about my father’s condition.
Mr Alec Martins, age 54, suffered a mild case of heart attack. Condition is stabilized with aspirin. Mr Martins went into cardiac arrest whilst jogging with wife Susan Martins, age 52. No sign of surgery needed. No more indication of chest pains. As indicated above. Mild.
He was quiet as I read; I looked up to him sighing. ‘’How do you feel?’’
His dark green eyes lit up then. ‘’I’m perfectly well. You can evaluate me yourself doctor.’’
I checked his pulse, the beat was a steady rhythm and I adjusted the IV needle that was propped into the top of his hand.
I held the stethoscope to his chest, he cooperated nicely but I gave up a few seconds later.
‘’Fine, you seem stable.’’ I threw my palms into the air, surrendering.
He chuckled. ‘’Where was the times my little Kaitlin still listened to her father?’’
I laughed with him. ‘’Since little Kaitlin grew up and her father felt the need to worry everybody with a sudden mild heart attack.’’ The laughter faded then. ‘’Don’t forget, I’m the doctor here. I know what’s best.’’
He nodded. ‘’How’s your mother coping?’’
I shrugged. ‘’I only talked to her for a second. But like I said, she’s pretty shaken. You scared her.’’
He shook his head. ‘’Women. Always worry too damn much. Tell her she can come hold my hand.’’
I chuckled, kissed his cheek and walked out into the quiet corridor.
My mother jumped to her feet and was mimicked by another two people I instantly recognized.
Tracy, my sister, was fair haired, one of a kind in our little family as both my parents and myself was dark in hair color. She had my father’s eyes though, dark green, almost jade. She was also tall and very slender at the age of twenty-one.
I was three years older than her; twenty-four.
The man at her side was her fiancé—soon to be husband two weeks from now—Greg.
He was taller than Tracy, muscled and athletic with dark brown eyes and ash blonde hair that was complemented with his tan skin.
I was faced with three pairs of equally anxious eyes, waiting for the bad news that I could not give them.
I smiled then and their expressions eased a bit. ‘’He’s fine. Honestly, I haven’t met another man on his sickbed making jokes like dad just did.’’
‘’Oh,’’ my mom exclaimed, clutching her hands to her chest. ‘’Oh Kaitlin, sweetie that is such good news!’’
I hugged my mom affectionately while Tracy was embraced by Greg. ‘’If you feel up to it, he wants you to go hold his hand mom,’’
She chuckled though the tears still fell. ‘’Crazy old man.’’ She muttered as she walked past me into the room.
Tracy took my hands, Greg had his arm around her shoulder, and she smiled. ‘’Thank you so much for saving him.’’
I shook my head. ‘’There was no saving left to be done. It was just a mild heart attack. There’s no damage to his heart whatsoever.’’
She pulled me tight against her then and Greg stepped back.
‘’Tracy, honestly, there’s no need to be worried.’’ I said as I hugged her back.
She nodded against my shoulder. ‘’I know. I know. I know, it’s just,’’ she took a deep breath and stepped out of my arms. ‘’I was just scared that he wouldn’t walk me down the aisle, you know?’’
Greg was the one to comfort her then. ‘’He will baby, stop worrying now please.’’
She gazed into his eyes and something she saw there had her nodding and breathing deeply.
‘’I can’t believe in two short weeks, I’m not gonna be a Martins anymore.’’ She said then to lighten the subject and I laughed.
‘’That’s right, you’re going to be a Thomas then.’’ I yawned.
Greg laughed. ‘’You look exhausted, why don’t you go home?’’
‘’I second that.’’ Drew appeared at my side and he smiled down to me. ‘’You’ve been up for eighty hours already. When Chief sees you here, he’s gonna flip out. He told you to go home and rest.’’
I nodded, stifling another yawn. ‘’It’s your fault I’m here.’’ I slapped his shoulder playfully and he playfully rubbed his shoulder.
I said goodbye to my family and headed for the elevator.
‘’Dr Martins!’’ someone called behind me and I turned around just as the elevator slid open.
A young nurse was rushing to catch me, chart in hand. ‘’I’m sorry for keeping you but could you help me on this patient quick before you go?’’
I took the chart from her hands and read it over.
‘’Sure,’’ I kept the sigh from my voice.
This would take about another four more hours and then, only then, would I be able to sleep.
Eighty four hours up and still running. God, I was proud of myself.
©2012 by Monica Coetzer