Ordinary Life

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Chapter 42

On the way across the road to the other hospital Brett made a call. He called Kim and asked her to come down to the hospital but leave the boys there. Stephanie didn’t want them to know yet. Then he called the police Chief. “Sir, this is Brett Miles you just spoke with my wife and daughter about the Lincoln shooting.”

“Yes, what can I do for you?”

“I just thought you should know my daughter has started running a fever and they are worried about infection and my wife is begin readmitted to the hospital across the street.”

“Thank you of calling. Will you keep me informed on their condition?”

“Yes sir.”

“We are hoping to do a press conference about 5:00 this evening and I’d like to have an update on their condition to give.”

“Sure.”

“Mrs. Miles?” A nurse came out from the doors looking for them. It was the same nurse she’d seen yesterday when Holly had brought her over.

“Here”

“I understand you’re having some problems?” She asked as Brett wheeled her back.

“We were next door with my daughter and the doctor noticed a fever and something about the wound that concerned him.”

“Ok let’s get you back here and we’ll take a look.”

Ten minutes later the doctor was calling up to the operating room. “Mrs. Miles this is a nasty exit wound. We’ve got some infection and some additional dead tissue we need to take care of. This is going to require putting you under.”

“Sir my daughter is next door and trust me she’s much worse off than I am. How long before I can go back?”

“Well I have some good news Give the special situation hospital administrators want to keep you two together and limit the amount of media exposure for you. So we’ll perform the surgery here and get you on some IV antibiotics. Then we’ll take you back across the street and let Dr. Wallace monitor both you and your daughter.”

“That sounds great.”

“OK let me go make sure everything is prepped and we’ll get you up there. Suzanne is going to get your IV started and give you a little something to relax you and they’ll be down to get you. There was an operating room open so it shouldn’t be long.”

Suzanne was an older lady and she moved like a woman who had been doing this for a long time. She talked to them as she worked “So have you seen any of the news coverage?”

“No we haven’t had the TV on yet. Emmy’s been sleeping most of the morning.” Stephanie wondered how much they knew.

“What are they saying?”

“Well so far the officials haven’t said anything more than there was a former student with a gun in the school and two people were shot and taken to the hospital. Beyond that it’s mostly been speculation. There have been several students and parents interviewed that said you were the teacher shot. I’ve heard that the student was a foster child but also that the shooter was a kid from the same foster home. I’ve also heard reported that she was your daughter or a player on your basketball team.”

Brett smiled. “They are all true.”

The nurse finished and Stephanie started to feel really good. “Wow, now I know why Emmy was so funny before her scans this is some good stuff.”

Suzanne smiled. “I’ve started a little sedative that’s what you’re feeling. I’ve also added an IV antibiotic and some fluids.”

“Brett have I ever told you how sexy you are?” Stephanie was reaching out for his hand.

“Yes sweetie you have. You’re pretty sexy yourself.” Suzanne looked down pretending not to hear their conversation.

“Suzanne, guess what? Emmy called me Mom yesterday after I got shot.” Brett smiled and tried to explain.

“Emmy is a foster child that we’ve been trying to adopt. She’s been through a lot in her short life and it was a really big deal for her to call Steph Mom.”

“She called you Dad today too.” Stephanie was slurring her speech at this point.

“She did and it took my breath away.”

Brett’s phone buzzed in his pocket. He looked at Suzanne unsure if it was OK to answer it. “I had to leave Emmy alone next door. Is it OK if I answer this?”

“Of course.”

“Hello.”

“Brett I’m here with Emmy now. She’s fine. Michelle said that Dr. Wallace got her to take seem more pain medicine and she’s been out since right after you left. How is Stephanie?”

“Thank you so much for coming down again. Kim I really don’t know what we’d do without you through this.”

“That’s what family is for Brett.”

“Stephanie is feeling pretty good right now. They gave her a sedative and she’s waiting to go upstairs to the operating room.”

“Operating room?”

“Yeah they think there might still be something in the wound that causing irritation and the infection. They want to see if they can clean up the back of her leg some. She wouldn’t let them do surgery yesterday but now she doesn’t really have a choice.” The curtain around her little room opened and a transport person appeared. “Kim I gotta go. I’ll keep you posted. You keep an eye on Emmy.”

“Like she’s my own.” Brett hung up knowing that Kim would take care of everything over there.

“Mrs. Miles I understand your heading up to the OR?”

“Yes sir. Got shot in the leg yesterday.” She was smiling and trying to lift her leg so he could see. “You ever been shot?”

“No ma’am.”

“It sucks.”

He laughed at her. “I bet it does.”

Suzanne led the way and Stephanie talked the entire way up. When he pushed her into the room where she would be prepped for surgery he told her good luck.

“Thanks for the ride.”

“You bet.”

Brett kissed her on mouth “You be strong just like our little girl.”

She smiled a drunken smile. “Absolutely, a fighter just like Emmy.” Then she raised up and kissed him back.

“Ok lovebirds hate to break up the party but we need to take her.” Suzanne smiled as she teased.

“Mr. Miles the waiting room is right around the corner.”

“Thanks” He stood there for a moment until she was completely gone from sight.

45 minutes passed so slowly. He called Kim twice to check on Emmy. She’d woken and they were just talking. Her fever ticked up to 103 degrees, just like Stephanie’s, but hasn’t changed since then. Michelle has been in and out keeping a close eye on everything. Then she asked if it was OK to let Emmy watch TV? She’s been wanting to see the coverage.

Brett said yes it would probably help pass the time. He’d been watching CNN in the waiting room and so far everything was just speculation but was pretty correct. They were still airing video, mostly cell phone, from yesterday showing kids running from the building. There was some from a mini press conference that the Police Chief had given just letting people know that shots had been fired, that two had been taken to the hospital and that the shooter was in custody.

Then the speculation began. There were reports that one student and one teacher had been the victims. He saw they a picture of Stephanie from the school website that they posted when they said that she was believed to have been the teacher shot. They also showed footage from the state basketball tournament of the team down on their knees. The anchor said something about this team and school having already faced adversity this year. There was no mention of the student’s name, just saying that it hadn’t been released. There was also no word on the condition of the two victims. Rita’s name and photo was released. Brett also heard that she was arraigned this morning in court and that she would be held at the juvenile detention center until her trial.

“Mr. Miles?” Another nurse wearing the traditional green scrubs came out asking for him so he quickly stood.

“That’s me.”

“You wife did great. She’s back in recovery and beginning to wake up. I can take you back to her if you’d like.”

“That would be great.”

He followed the nurse back into the hallway and left into the recovery room. It looked a lot like the one at the Children’s hospital where they’d spent the previous night. It was a long room with lots of curtain dividers on both sides. As he passed he noticed that most of the curtains had patients behind them.

The nurse took him all the way to the back. There in the corner under a white sheet was his beautiful wife. Her eyes were closed and she appeared to be sleeping. “Stephanie, look who wanted to come see you.” She slowly opened her eyes fighting the weight of her lids. As she saw him a smile cracked on her lips. “Hi.” She got out very weakly.

“Her throat will be a little sore from the intubation tube.” Brett stepped closer to take her hand. As he did he noticed that she was shaking.

“Are you cold sweetie?”

“No”

He looked at the nurse. “Why is she shivering?”

“Perfectly normal, a lot of people have this response to the anesthesia. I’ll go grab some warm towels.” She was only gone a moment and returned with two warm towels that she laid over Stephanie’s body. Brett felt her relax as the warm penetrated her skin.

“Ahh, now I know why Emmy likes these so much.” As if a light bulb had literally gone off in her head, Steph’s eyes widened instantly. “Oh what about Emmy? How is she?”

“Emmy is fine. Well Emmy is resting comfortably next door. Kim called just a few minutes ago and said she’d been asleep the whole time.

The nurse looked over at them “So who is Emmy?”

Brett answered not wanting Stephanie to wear herself out talking. “Emmy is our daughter and she was shot too. She’s over at the Children’s hospital and has been running a fever like Steph.

“Oh my you all have had a rough couple of days. I’m sure she’s in good hands next door.” The nurse left and time passed slowly again. Stephanie drifted back to sleep under the warmth of the blankets. Brett wasn’t really sure if the sleep was from the anesthesia still in her body or the fact that they slept very little last night.

The curtain pulled back again but this time it was the surgeon. He put his hand to Brett, “Sir you’ve go a tough wife. I’ve got to admit that this surgery really should have happened yesterday. But I hear she refused.”

The doctor pulled the sheet back from her leg and she just continued to sleep. “This was a really nastily gunshot wound. The front as you can see wasn’t too bad. And in reality it went straight through and missed all the important stuff. However a tiny piece of the fabric of her pants was embedded in the wound tract. It would have been impossible for the doctor yesterday to see without going in like we did today.”

“We opened it all back up, cleaned the wound again removed the piece of fabric and stitched everything up. There was a lot of skin damage on the back however and she may chose at a later date to have some cosmetic work done to clean that up. There was some infection so we will keep her on the IV antibiotics for the next couple of days and see where we are.”

“Now I understand that she is begin admitted across the street and not here?”

“Yes, our daughter is being treated over there.”

“Who is her physician?”

“Dr. Wallace I have his assistant’s card.” Brett dug Michelle’s card from his pocket.

“Thanks I’ll give her a call and see if we can arrange to have your wife moved over there.”

“Thank you so much.”

The doctor left pulling the curtain closed again and Brett sat back down beside her taking her hand in his again. After all of this he was beginning to wonder if he should ever let any of them out of his sight again. Maybe that bubble wrap thing wasn’t such a bad idea. Combat helmets, bulletproof vests, and then a layer of bubble wrap over the top should do the trick.

He decided sitting there waiting for her to be moved that after all this was over he was taking them all on a trip to the beach. They were all going to sit in the sand and just relax. Every morning they would sleep late, eat crazy elaborate breakfasts fixed by someone else, take naps every afternoon and just enjoy life for a little while.

The curtain pulling woke him from his salty daydream. The nurse was so gentle tapping Steph on the arm as she said “Ok honey its time to move you out of here.” She only barely opened her eyes and the nurse could sense Brett’s worry. “She’s perfectly fine. Some people take longer to fully wake up than others. We’d leave her here longer if we were sending her home, but since she’s going to be staying we will just let them keep an eye on her this evening.

The word evening hit Brett and he looked down at his phone. It was already after 5:00. The day had been going so slowly he didn’t think there was any way it was that late. “OK Jeff here is going to help get your wife over to the other hospital. I’ll go with you and make sure we get everything squared away. What room is your daughter in?’

“412”

“Alright Mr. Jeff to the pedway and then to 412.”

Jeff the transport guy began pushing her. “I think in the 10 years I’ve been here this is the first time I’ve taken a patient over.”

Two elevators, a pedway a hundred feet in the air, and ten minutes later they rolled Steph off the elevator on the fourth floor of the Children’s hospital. The ding of the door opened caused Stephanie to wake. She looked around confused and Brett quickly stepped beside her. “Hey sweetie they are just taking you to Emmy’s room.” Seeing him she relaxed.

Brett knocked softly when they arrived at the door and opened it slowly. Emmy was awake when they pushed Stephanie in. Brett stopped by Emmy’s bed and took her hand. Steph smiled as she rolled in.

Emmy had alone in the double room and had been in the first section of the room. Stephanie’s bed was pushed past her and then into position at the second section, near the windows.

They pushed her bed into place and attached her IV to the pole that was waiting. Michelle and the other nurse, whose name Brett never asked went over some paperwork and then the nurse said goodbye and good luck and she and Jeff were gone. Michelle checked Stephanie over and hung the call button over the side of her bed. “You know what to do with this, but if you’re anything like your daughter you’ll never use it.”

“I’m going to leave you all alone for a little while. Emmy, I saw Doug one of the physical therapists down the hall a little while ago. He said you were the next one on his list. So he should be here soon to work with you on moving around.”

As soon as Michelle was gone Kim asked how it went. “Everything was great. There was piece of fabric imbedded in the muscle. They cleaned it all out good, sewed it back up and started her on an IV antibiotic like Emmy. They will keep an eye on her for the next couple of days but she should be OK. What about Miss Emmy?”

“Well nothing new. Michelle has been watching her temp, but so far its staying right at 103.”

He took Emmy’s hand, “How are you feeling?”

“Good, much better now that I know Mom’s ok.”

“I know the feeling.” Brett stood between the beds holding both of their hands.

Now that he knew how everyone was doing he sent Kim back home and called the boys. They were upset with him for not telling them ahead of time but he knew that there was no reason for them to have worried or made the trip down to sit and wait.

His girls were both sleeping so Brett stepped over to the door and took a picture with his phone. It would be easy to say he just wanted to put this behind him. That looking back at this time later would just bring back bad memories that they’d rather forget, but Brett knew that this moment was something much more than that. He was thankful for this moment. He could have easily been only taking a picture of one of them, or neither of them right now.

His phone buzzed and he looked at the caller ID it was the police chief. “Mr. Miles, we just made a second arrest and are about to have that press conference and just wondered how your wife was doing?”

“She’s out of surgery and resting with Emmy. They’ve started them both on IV antibiotics and we are watching and waiting.”

“Any news on Emmy’s kidney?”

“No it’s still too early to tell if she’ll need a kidney or if she can even get on the registry.”

“Sir is it OK if I share her condition with the media? We’ve gotten clearance from CPS to release Emmy’s name and condition. Our investigation is wrapping up so we can now answer a lot more of the media’s questions.”

“Yes its OK.”

“Thank you sir. You may want to watch our investigation has found that your daughter is quite the hero.”

“She is to us too.”

He hung up and texted Kim and the boys telling them to watch for the press conference. Brett flipped through the stations and sure enough every one of them were carrying it.

A podium had been set up in front of Lincoln Middle School on the covered walkway. Behind him stood, what looked like all the faculty and staff, including Mr. Woodson.

“Thank you all for sticking around. I know we had to delay this a bit, but we were working on some new information and can say now that a second arrest has been made. A second student, James Rucker, has been arrested for his involvement in allowing the shooter, Rita Sanchez access to the school. He has been taken into custody without incident and is awaiting arraignment in the juvenile detention center.”

“Now to fill in information that we were unable to give you yesterday. At 9:53 a fire alarm was pulled. All faculty and students exited the building and during that time the shooter, a former student joined in with the other students and when they reentered the building after the all clear she entered the building too. Mr. Rucker is suspected of being the one that pulled the alarm at Miss. Sanchez’s request.”

“Miss Shanchez then hid in the bathroom near the cafeteria until time for lunch. Once the first group of seventh grade students began their lunch period she entered the lunchroom. Her target was another student, Emmy Taylor. The counselor was on duty in the lunchroom and called in the threat as soon as she began accosting her target. Emmy Taylor, is the foster daughter of one of the teachers at Lincoln, Mrs. Stephanie Miles. Mrs. Miles was alerted to the situation and she and Mr. Woodson the school principal entered the lunchroom.”

“Once they entered Miss Sanchez pulled a gun. Emmy got her to let the other students go. Several did not leave and it is estimated that there were 12 students and staff in the lunchroom at the time of the shooting. Words were exchanged and Miss Sanchez attempted to shoot Mrs. Miles. Emmy hit the gun as it was fired and Mrs. Miles was stuck in the leg.”

“Moments later a second shot was fired at Mrs. Miles. However Emmy dove on the weapon and was struck instead. In the struggle Mr. Woodson was able to gain control of the weapon and police officers moved in.”

“Once the scene was secure the student and teacher were transported to the hospital. Emmy underwent emergency surgery and is listed in serious but stable condition. Her mother, Coach Miles, underwent surgery this morning on her leg and is expected to recover from her injuries. Thank you.” And with that he was gone and the commentary began. The reporter said that they would be working on gaining more information about the victims now that the names had been officially released.

Almost instantly his phone began ringing.

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