Domino Effect

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Chapter Eight

Bailey assisted in four surgeries that day. There were two that went smoothly, and two that did not. She was now sitting in the waiting area with the families of the patients, trying to process everything that she had seen in the operating room.

The two operations that went alright were procedure. To the button. Nothing went wrong. The anesthesiologist got all the measurements correct and neither patient woke up. Their heart rates were strong. Their blood pressure stayed where it should have. The stitches held and the nurses wheeled the patients back to their rooms.

The two operations that went badly, however, went very badly. Bailey came out of the operating room both times and had to change her scrubs. She came out of those operations shaking so much that she had trouble gripping the handle of the bathroom door.

Bailey had stared at her reflection in the mirror, quite like the way she had on the weekend. Her hands leaned on the counter heavily; her head hung and after a few minutes she heaved a shuddering sigh. She locked herself in the stall and changed, knowing that her scrubs were beyond a washing. Bailey hated throwing away clothes. She’d rather donate anything she didn’t wear anymore. She liked the idea that her clothes were going to someone in need.

But there was so much blood that she was barely recognizable.

Bailey tossed her filthy scrubs into the trash can both times and both times she washed her hands and arms up to her elbows. She scrubbed and scrubbed until her hands and arms were raw and pink. She scrubbed the inside of the sink with her own hands, steady now that she had changed; she knew there had been no blood actually on her, but she felt contaminated all the same. She rinsed the sink thoroughly and walked back into the hallway.

Bailey looked up from her lap. Her shift was almost over. She was that much closer to going home and sinking herself into a good book. She sighed again—she’d been doing that a lot since those surgeries had finished—and stood, stretching. There were a few more things she had to do, so she made her way up the stairs and to the ICU. She had to check on the burn victim again.

Bailey waved to Sam as they passed each other; she must have been on her way to Oncology. So she was the one who got the short end of the stick today. There had been a few murmurings going ‘round that one of the nurses had gotten stuck in the bowls. Nurses usually weren’t scheduled there, as the Oncology wing had too many residents to begin with these days. Maybe some were on vacation. Or they’d been fired.

Bailey smirked after she’d passed. It was just pure luck that she was scheduled into General Surgery today. Add that to the fact that Mathews had a crush on her. He probably put her on his schedule just so he could stare at her when the other nurses were scrambling around and she was the one reaching into the patient and holding an artery closed while Mathews stitched and poked and sliced some more.

She was up by the reception desk again and the woman sitting behind it smiled. Bailey could never remember her name. It was an unfortunate side effect of her accident, and the file the woman had handed her slipped from Bailey’s fingers. Hoping no one had seen, she quickly scooped up the chart and scuttled away.

But the woman behind the counter had seen Bailey’s momentary lapse, and a curiosity began to grow in her mind’s eye.

For the last time that day, Bailey opened the door to room A13. The sign-in sheet hanging on the wall next to the door was still empty, even though Bailey had expected at least one visitor to come by during the day. She had been in and out of the man’s room multiple times between surgeries and no one besides the hospital staff came to check on him. Bailey thought it odd and admittedly a little sad that not one member of his family had come to visit him.

Maybe he’s supposed to be on holiday, so they aren’t expecting him home for a few days? Bailey mused about this as she fixed the sheets around him and knocked down his morphine drip another notch. His chart said—she glanced down at the open folder on the lunch tray table beside him—that he had requested this when he had been conscious. Hurting like hell and screaming, but he had managed to tell Doctor Mathews exactly what he’d wanted. And because of the confidentiality and trust between doctor and patient, Mathews decided to go with it.

That was a load of bull if she ever saw one, Bailey thought. She looked down into the man’s sleeping face. If she had been his doctor, she would have kept him on the morphine until he’d healed properly, no matter what he’d asked for. Morphine was an injured person’s best friend. Enough of it could knock a person out. Which is the best way for someone to heal. There’d be no way for the man to tear any stitches or grafts, and no way for him to move and scratch at the healing skin if he was unconscious.

But she wasn’t his doctor. Bailey retreated to the door and stepped out into the corridor, closing it behind her.

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