HER middle finger came into motion. Twice. The tall brunette nurse in the green scrub, scribbling something on a notepad noticed the movement in her hand and paused for a moment to observe the patient in bed before going back to the notepad.
Then her index finger where the pulse oximeter was placed came into motion. It tapped the bed twice and went back to being zilch in a matter of seconds. No sooner did both her index and middle finger move simultaneously, but the nurse failed to notice any of this as she was arranging the pet bottles containing her tablets, a jug half filled with water and a mini pill crusher in the small cart she had her colleague wheel in earlier.
Then there was movement in her eyes as she blinked compulsively on opening them; slightly, but enough to track the retreating figure in the room. It shuddered close almost immediately as the brightness of the well lit room hit her.
When they came open again, the room was dim. The lights had been turned off.
The nurse was just by the door rolling away the cart. She glanced over her right shoulder to take a good look at the woman in the bed before exiting the room. This was when she noticed her eyes.
Quickly, she rushed over to the bed side, crouching down beside it while she allowed her eyes do a thorough examination of the woman's face; she was blinking, her fingers were moving and did she just make a sound?
A wide grin appeared on her face and she exclaimed incredulously. "You're awake!?"
Almost like she could not believe her own statement. More affirmatively this time she cried out, "You're awake!"
The next thing, her long legs were sprinting out of the room, down the hall and into the elevator. She continuously tapped the button for the fifth floor until the elevator doors jammed closed. When it flew open again, she dashed through the hallway in search of the doctor whom she found outside his office conversing with a man. He gave her an eerie look when she halted right in front of him just before the man walked away. Her hands were placed on her knee with her head down as she panted heavily. Though she managed to find her words.
"She is awake!" she whisper yelled in between breaths.
"Adelina Delgado is awake!"
Manuel and Lupe Delgado fared into the office in fret, although Manuel did well to conceal it. Lupe's on the other hand was glaring. Both of them took the seats across the desk while they awaited Tony, who was speaking with the interim nurse that had been checking Adelina's vitals before her awakening.
Lupe was visibly agitated at the thought of their daughter awake and just as much, dreaded the news the doctor might reveal. She had been in her kitchen, making dinner when Manuel rang her from the office to inform her of Dr. Tony's urgent request for a meet up today.
Fear gripped her.
The name Dr. Tony and the word urgent seemed to create quite a scene in her head about her daughter. What could be the reason for this?
Without thinking any further, she raced out of the kitchen, into her room, threw on a long black gown with a similar black scarf she placed over her uncombed hair and in no time, had the driver speeding them towards the hospital.
Manuel arrived just in time to see her alight from the car and together, they proceeded to Tony's office to hear the news that will either make their hearts dance in joy or leave it broken forever.
Lupe was becoming impatient with waiting for the doctor to attend to them and the million and one questions she wanted to ask. Noticing her restlessness, Manuel covered his palm in hers soothingly, and with the other hand, rubbed the small of her back softly.
"Be calm, miel. I am sure our daughter is fine."
Her shoulders fell reluctantly. She did not want to hear what the doctor had to say. Although, her curiosity took over the better part of her, while she prayed silently that it would be good news.
Just then, Tony walked into the office with a smile on his face which gave the Delgado's a bit of hope.
"I am sorry for keeping you waiting," he apologized before taking his seat in front of them.
He leaned forward with both hands placed on his desk. That smile was still plastered on his face.
"So. . .?" Lupe jeered impatiently. "How is my daughter? Can we see her?"
Tony emitted a soft chuckle.
"In time, Mrs. Delgado. As we speak, she is being transferred to another room," he tried to mollify the anxiety of the woman.
"As for how Adelina is doing," he halted, looking for the right words to sum up the explanation, which earned him a frown from both Lupe and Manuel.
"She is fine," he decided to go with that as he could not have described her situation any better.
"Recall that about a couple of years ago, she entered a minimal conscious state after her four months in a coma?"
To this, Manuel and Lupe nodded in affirmation.
Four months after Adelina had slipped into a coma, the doctor informed them that her condition had changed. She was now conscious but only to minimal level which meant she could reach for objects, smile and even track person's in the room but she was not fully awake as this was characterized by the inconsistency in her environmental awareness. So, he had urged them to visit her every day with family photos, for up to six hours which could be very receptive on her route to recovery.
Tony continued. "When the nurse told me she had woken up, I thought it was just one of the usual, but we still had to observe her for a few hours. Within that couple of years, she had undergone a deep brain surgery and about a week ago, we administered Zolpidem to her. Reasons why her state has progressed."
They both looked confused as neither of them seemed to comprehend what the doctor was saying. Sensing, their confusion, he proceeded to reveal what they were presuming in clearer terms.
"Adelina has regained full consciousness."
Lupe sprang to her feet, squealing in excitement like an eight year old who had just been handed a pack of candy. In that moment, she could not care less about any other thing other than the fact that her daughter was awake. Her baby girl was finally awake after three years in a coma, or whatever the doctor called it.
"S–so, you are saying she can talk now, eat on her own, walk–" she was sputtering when Tony cut her off.
"Hold on, Mrs. Delgado," he started with a laugh. "As at now, these things might be a problem for her. She has a case of atrophy, as is normal in every comatose patient. Which means she will have to undergo physiotherapy, psychological assessments, occupational therapy, speech therapy. Basically, a rehabilitation program for a while. It will take months, but there is a ninety-five percent chance she will walk again."
Chance? Ninety-five percent chance? That didn't sit right with Manuel and his countenance changed. But not Lupe. Adelina being awake was all that mattered.
"Good news is, she does not have amnesia. We have run some diagnostics and an MRI scan to ascertain this."
"And the bad news?" Manuel asked assuming there was one since almost every person who started a sentence with that phrase always had a not so positive information lingering somewhere.
"Well Mr. Delgado, there really isn't any bad news. Adelina may have trouble recalling a few events but that is just it. To be frank, she is a very lucky woman. To have survived after such a long period without any damage to the brain. It really is a rare case."
Lupe was relieved. About three years back when Tony confirmed that Adelina had suffered a traumatic brain injury which was the reason for her comatose state, he also informed them that most likely, when she wakes, as it is in most of the cases he had treated, she might suffer from a brain damage which could lead to her loss of memory. But as he said now, she is a lucky woman.
"For now, she will remain in the hospital for her rehabilitation program. And yes," he immediately added noticing the look on Lupe's face. "She will be allowed visitors during the hours. But, she mustn't be exposed to overwhelming emotions, films or anything along that line. It could be traumatic for her."
They nodded in understanding, all smiles and thankful for the blissful news they have just received.
"Can we see her now?" Manuel was the one to ask this time.
Tony rose a finger. "Just a second."
He dialed a number on the landline. After a few seconds on the call, he informed them. "You can see her now. She has been transferred to another room. He got up from his seat. "I will take you to her."
Nicolás had been in the hallway, pacing outside the doctor's office. He was leaning into the wall just beside Tony's office while his feet tapped nervously on the floor when the door flew open. He exchanged looks with the doctor, scrutinizing his face briefly as if trying to detect any solemn expression that will confirm all that has been going through his head in the past half hour. Not having much success in this, he quickly pulled his mother to his side to ask.
"What happened Mamá?"
By now, a bead of tears had escaped Lupe's eyes and she revealed the news with a gladdened heart.
"Adelina has regained full consciousness."
Nicolás' eyes widened in surprise which was followed by a wide grin that formed on his face. When he had come by the house earlier to see his mother, he was greeted with news that she left for the hospital about an hour ago. He fretted and without thinking followed suit. He had almost bust into the room when he was told that his parents were in the doctors office but on second thought this time, he resigned to remain at the door.
"Gracias a dios Mamá! I thought it was something else," he exclaimed in relief. "Have you seen her?"
She shook her head in refutation. "We are going there right now. Come on." She tugged at his hands gently, practically dragging a quite stoned Nicolás behind her.
All together, they rode the elevator to the fifth floor and to the right; room 23B precisely. Two nurses were just making their way out of the room Adelina had been transferred into when they came upon them.
"Is she awake?" Tony asked the women and they nodded in affirmation before disappearing down the hallway.
The doctor was the first to go in. Manuel followed behind him, and so did Lupe and Nicolás.
Immediately Lupe saw her daughter, her bags dropped to the floor and she brushed past Tony across the room, to the bed side. She crouched down beside her, kissing her all over; her eyes, her hands, her cheek before encircling her in a tight hug as all the tears of joy she had been holding back fell freely from her eyes.
"Mijá," she whispered in between sobs.
Both Manuel and Nicolás had tears in their eyes as well. It might not have brimmed as Lupe's but it was very evident.
All Adelina could do was smile at them as her mouth could not muster all the words of love she wanted to sing to her family. It was now she really felt alive, not two hours ago when she had awoken. But now. Seeing her family again.