“You’re doing really well. I’ll be transferring you to another room today, but I won’t know which one, or at what time? The nurses will arrange it. If you have any questions you can write them down, if that’s easier. Give it some thought. I’ll come and see you tomorrow,” Doctor Gilmore said. His comments he directed to Katherine, not her parents.
JM rose from the chair and followed him to the corridor. “How long before she can go home?”
“It’s hard to say. Her injuries are healing quicker than I thought they would, but if that was all I was worried about I’d give her about a week before she could go home. I’m concerned about her not wanting to speak. The psychologist came to see her, so I need to consult with her. She should have made her diagnosis by now.”
After Doctor Gilmore withdrew, JM gave more thought to what Barbara had said regarding the removal of everything. He discreetly called her from the room.
“How soon can you make a list of what you want to keep? What we dispose of will need replacing. I’ll organize for the apartment to be emptied, painted, and re-carpeted, but it’ll have to be done before Katherine and Mrs. K come home.” He was determined to be on top of anything that would help with everyone’s recovery. Changing the furniture is the easy part, he thought. “I’m going to see Mrs. K, and hopefully catch up with Doctor Schneider. Time has escaped me, so I haven’t had a chance to speak with him. I think I should. I’ll be back later.”
Sophia was sitting in bed, and although her cranium was still covered, her jaw was bandage free. It allowed him a better view of her near-closed mouth. The bruising around her eye sockets definitely appear more pronounced. “Excuse me, has Doctor Schneider seen Mrs. Kowalski yet?” he asked the nurse, who was recording Sophia’s temperature.
“Would you know if he’s written any comments on her chart?”
“I’m not at liberty to discuss his remarks. You’ll have to ask him.”
“That’s fine. Do you know if he is still at the hospital? I’d like to speak to him.”
“I’ll be finished here soon. I can ask the head nurse to make some enquiries, if that’s of any help?”
“I’d appreciate it.” To wait, he sat on a chair. As soon as she vacated the room, he said, “I can’t stay long. I am hoping to see Doctor Schneider. I want to know how you are, officially. However, by your appearance you appear to be coming along just fine. Do you feel like answering some questions, or would you rather ask me something?”
She gave a single nod and pointed to him.
“I’ll go first. How do you feel? Are you in any pain?”
NO PAIN HOW IS KAT WHAT DOES DOC SAY
“She’s improving every day. He’s happy with her recovery, but she’s still refusing to speak, and that’s concerns all of us.”
SHE NOT TALKING BECAUSE OF INJURIES
“The doctor’s not sure. He thinks it’s psychosomatic. It could be a defensive mechanism on her behalf.”
IS SHE ANGRY AT ME
JM placed his hand on her arm. “I can’t say for sure. She is still a child, and has been hurt physically and mentally. We protected her, as you know, and what happened is incomprehensible to her and us. We need to give her as much love and affection as we can, but other than not speaking, my worry right now is what happens when I take her home? I don’t know how she will react. Barbara wants me to dispose of everything in the apartment. My plan is to have the removalists come and take everything. If you want me to change anything in your apartment, just ask.”
She shook her head slightly.
“The nurse hasn’t returned. I will go and see if I can locate Doctor Schneider. If he has anything new to tell me I’ll fill you in.”
JM waited at the empty nurses’ station.
“Can I help you?” one asked, as she appeared from a room opposite the desk.
“Yes, if you don’t mind. I would like to see Doctor Schneider regarding Mrs. Kowalski. I was wondering if he’s still in the hospital and, if he is, could I speak to him?”
“I’ll see if I can find him.”
She made a couple of phone calls and discovered he was in the cafeteria with two colleagues.
“I’m happy with her so far. I’m having her moved her to another room. She’ll be in with other women, so I hope it’ll brighten her up. She’s definitely getting over her operations, but how long will it be before she’s allowed to go home, I’m not sure?”
The news lifted JM’s spirit.
“Is Sophia living with you and your family?”
“When I discharge her I don’t want her to be without some supervision.”
“She lives with us. We’ll take good care of her, and anything needed in the way of medication, doctors, and hospital follow-ups . . . anything at all, I’ll see to it.”
“I’m pleased to hear it.”
As he walked back to be with Barbara, he began to think of the apartment. I will stay at the hotel, and go there every day until it is finished. I’ll try and start on it first thing tomorrow.”
He gave Barbara’s shoulders a brief massage before walking to the opposite side of the bed, to be near her his daughter. Why won’t she speak? I need to hear her voice. “How are you? Are you up to saying something today? Or do we have to guess what you might want to say, but won’t?” There was just a hint of sarcasm in his voice, but no intended malice.
“That’s not necessary!” Barbara’s rebuke had a sting in it.
“You’re right. I’m sorry. Do you have a moment? I want to discuss and idea with you.”
“Sure. What do you want to talk about?”
“In the corridor would be better.”
She followed him, but stood close to the door.
He began to tell of his plan, but it was only as he neared its end did he leave the best news for last. “When the apartment’s finished we can take Katherine and Mrs. K home. The doctors may have given them the all clear to leave the hospital by then. What do think?”
“Sounds like a good idea, but when it’s finished I want to inspect it before we come home.”
“That’s fine. However, you have to accept my decisions on what I choose regarding colours, furniture, and just about everything else. You can see them beforehand, but if you don’t like anything, we can change it. Is that okay with you?”
“Keep in mind I only have about a week or two at most.”
He put his hands on her shoulders, and looked into her eyes. “I’m happy as long as you and Katherine are, but I can’t turn back time. I want to make a terrible situation better than what it is. We have to do what is positive for us as a family and changing everything materially is the easiest part, but you have to leave it to me. How about you go to the hotel and I’ll stay here until you return?”
“I could do with a shower.”
“Away you go. When you come back I’ll go.”
JM waited until she had collected her coat and handbag, before re-entering the room. He began to make a list of items he thought were in need of permanent removal, while another list named items for storage, until their return. He took it as given that Barbara would not allow for any clothing or personal items belonging to Katherine or her to be disposed of.
When it is time to move back in she can decide what to keep. I will move Katherine into the spare bedroom, next to the bathroom, and Sophia will go into her old room. If I have the walls painted white, it will give the apartment a clinical feel, clean looking. The carpet’s colour will need careful consideration. Nothing new can remind Katherine of her trauma. She has to feel comfortable when she comes home.
It looks like he’s making a list of some type, Katherine thought, as she watched her father do the stop-start writing on a sheet of paper.
At the time of collecting the key from the hotel reception, Barbara ordered room service.
Immediately on entering her room, she flopped onto the bed, to await her meal. “Doing nothing is tiring.”