The night shift was one shitty experience after another. After all the rooms filled up the ambulance had shown with our latest trauma situation. Patients waiting to be discharged in the hallway watched the whole ordeal unfold as a gang member was brought in shot in the chest. He didn’t make it too long at the hospital but long enough to cause us to be backed up for hours dealing with all the paperwork. My heart squeezed a little with the thought I was becoming jaded. I at least hoped so. I was tired of the pain it caused me when I looked into these young kids' faces and saw their whole life swept away because of wanting to fit in. Wanting to find a family to love them even if it was with a bunch of other misfit boys doing nefarious criminal activity. To think of the extremes they would go through to not be alone.
Unfortunately, I realized being fully jaded hadn’t happened to me yet as tonight’s child was twelve years old and even though I tried to push it out of my head, his young face, a face who couldn’t even grow stubble, kept with me as I worked on each and every patient. He followed me around like a boulder on my back and as the unending shift progressed into the morning I found I gave my last fuck quite a while ago.
When seven am rolled around I gave report to Dr. Blackmore and checked in on my last patient before I hunkered down in some hole to finish my charting, Sean came by and informed me Dr. Sanchez was looking for me although I had an idea why. It never seemed good when the head of the emergency medicine looked to speak to you. I kept reminding myself I needed this two-year stint. If it wasn’t important in keeping my medical license, I would have been out of here a long time ago.
Entering his office, I glanced at his usually stoic face this time looking a little heated. I steadied for the backlash about to happen, trying to remember to keep my mouth shut as much as possible. I learned a long time ago that I see things differently from most. Of course, it is usually me being right and everyone else being wrong. I just wished they would see it my way.
“Come in Dr. Rhodes. I believe you already have an idea what this is about.” He sat back smugly in his chair.
“Yes, I have an idea. The three-year-old febrile seizure.” He looked at me pointedly and I noticed he didn’t ask me to sit down yet, so I did anyway.
“Then you know why I am concerned with your actions last night.”
“Actually, I thought you called me in here to commend me for a job well done. Certainly, my detainment could not be of any minatory reasons.” He lifted his eyebrow at me and I snickered at least on the inside.
He ignored me for the time being, “I do not usually like to second guess our emergency physicians--”
I didn’t let him finish, “Then why are you second guessing me?” His once olive complexion sported a pink tinge and I knew exactly what color was coming next.
“You gave that girl a CT scan for a febrile seizure. That seems excessive.”
“THAT GIRL had her third febrile seizure in the past six weeks. I needed to rule out neurological reasons instead of her mother being a blatant idiot. Is the reason you are bothered by the CT scan because it was done, or because it was done and we aren’t going to be reimbursed for it?” I called him out on it. It always came down to the almighty dollar.
“Nina, I just don’t see a good enough reason for it, monetary reimbursement aside. You realize just as well as I do that children grow out of febrile seizures and that she probably is more susceptible to them.” Already on a first-name basis, I must have really hit him in the pocketbook, although I didn’t feel like playing his game this morning. With the shitload of charting I needed to get done, I already felt like evading my responsibilities and letting off some steam.
“If it wasn’t the third one this close together I would agree with you Dr. Sanchez but I had to rule it out.”
“Well then, did you need to call CPS on this mother?” Child Protective Services was on my speed dial since coming to this godforsaken hospital for all the good it would ever do me.
“The mother is neglecting her child. All she needs to do is give her acetaminophen as instructed, but she states it is too expensive when she has a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit. To me that is neglect.”
His voice grew to a growl as he went to full red face mode. Quicker than my usual time, I felt a little proud as well as a little apprehensive. “CPS does not have the manpower or time to investigate every hair brain accusation that comes out of your mouth.”
“Hair brain accusation? What the hell does that mean?” Not backing down in the least I glared at him as I tried to keep my voice calm.
He stood up to loom over me and I didn’t care for his little power trip. “She had no marks on her body that would indicate abuse. It was uncalled-for.”
Unwilling to let him stand over me in a dominant position I stood to meet him face to face. “Willful neglect is just as damaging. I had every right to call them in on this.” When the welfare of a child was on the line, I would never back down.
Turning to leave I couldn’t help but add more of my own flare to the conversation, “I will not stand here any longer and listen to you ululate about it and excoriate my integrity or my judgment.” With him giving me a slightly confused look, I left his office but was too mad to even enjoy the confusion I caused to see straight. How dare he second guess me!
Fuming I walked into the physician’s lounge and quickly changed out of my scrubs and back into my street clothes. Fuck the charting, it would be here when I returned in ten hours. Right now was the most I had been wound up in a while and I almost seemed desperate for a release. The three-year-old little girl seizing in my arms was bad enough, but I couldn’t swallow down the pill of losing another child to gang violence. He was just twelve years old. He would never have a chance to even hit puberty and his hopes of having a family died with him on the table.
Slamming out the door I made my way to the parking lot. I should be watching my surroundings, the last thing I needed was to get mugged again, but right now I almost wished for it. I would beat the shit out of anyone and knew I needed the release that came with a fast, painful fuck and it worried me more than any mugger would.
It was barely eight in the morning. Knowing I couldn’t walk into a nightclub and find a willing partner to fuck me into forgetting my shitty life I accepted my only alternative. Besides, I had been taking too many chances lately and the last one was the worst. Cowboy showed his aggressive nature and if I hadn’t depleted some of his energy who knows what type of situation I would have needed to deal with.
Reaching into my purse I pulled out my phone. Staring at it, I tried to decide if I was that desperate. I swore I would stop this. I swore I would find a better way but I kept coming back to this being the only thing that numbed me. The only way I could distract myself. At least with calling Charlie I had a little more control over the situation. I just wished I had a fall back plan to better suit me.
Instead of calling I sent a text. Waiting for a response, I took in the sunrise peeking above the high rise buildings surrounding me and wondered if there was another way. Looking around I instantly got the feeling of being watched and made my way to my car. Once inside I cracked the windows hating not having the breeze on my face, even if it consisted of the shitty smog-filled air all around me in this town.
My phone chimed and as I looked down I saw Charlie’s answer. I didn’t know whether to be relieved or sad. Instead, I started my car, made sure the radio was turned off, and drove home to await a visit I only hoped would help me fully forget this time.