“Flanagan, Patrick.” The nurse's surprisingly soft voice only catches Patrick's attention. She turns and leads him into the examining rooms, almost tripping over her own feet as she realizes he towers at six foot five over her five foot petite frame. “In here, sit and we'll get your vitals.”
Patrick sits on the crinkly paper, holding a now pink towel next to his right eye. Blood has dried on his hand and on his shirt and his dirty blond hair is matted to his forehead. She puts on her gloves and gently puts her hand on the towel, lifting it slightly off his face before blood trickles down.
She presses the still damp towel back to his face. She removes her gloves and then her cold hand takes his left wrist and locates a pulse. She smiles cordially before shoving a thermometer in his mouth. “Any other complaints besides your eye?”
He tries to talk and not drop or bite the thermometer, “No, jus' my ...”
“Don't talk. Your arm please.” She takes the thermometer, glancing at it before putting the blood pressure cuff around his arm. He sighs as the throbbing next to his eye becomes less tolerable and she releases the air in the cuff.
“Perfect health. The other nurse will be in to stitch you up.” With that she leaves Patrick in the sterile room.
He looks around at the slightly worn walls and listens to the constant hum outside the room. Footsteps, coughing, beeping, and laughing mingle into a white noise. He hears muffled talking and footsteps getting closer. Two voices continue down the hall while footsteps stop outside of his door.
“Mr. Flanagan?” A dark-haired, fair skinned woman enters the room complete with what could be called a tackle kit of torture. Needles, scissors, pins, tape, gauze and gloves packed neatly away.
“No, I meant Doctor, Flanagan. I’m Dr. Flanagan. You said mister.” He mumbles off
“I apologize. Can I see your eye?” She snaps on gloves and eyes him from head to toe.
Patrick moves his hand away from his face. Again, the blood starts to ooze.
Rose takes the towel from his hand and throws it into a hazardous materials pail. “I hope that wasn’t a sentimental towel, Doctor Flanagan.” She grabs some clean white gauze and pats where the blood is seeping from. “A few stiches and you’ll be fine. Looks like you’ve been through this before.”
Patrick’s face has a few other warrior scars, healed and forgotten until now.
“Run into other Penguin fans with that silly Ranger shirt one before, have we?” Rose begins to clean the dried blood off Patrick’s face. “Let me know if this hurts too much.” Just as the two make direct eye contact for an extended duration of three second, a commotion can be heard down the hall.
“Stay put. And here.” She places some fresh gauze into Patrick’s hand. Rose exits the room, leaving the door ajar, and enters into the hallway where a now empty bedpan has been thrown out of another exam room and towards the nurse that examined Patrick.
“Kelsea, you okay?” Rose approaches the door where there is an obviously unhappy patient.
“We’re doing okay, Rose. Mr. Williams is little upset.”
“Upset? Upset? I knew I shouldn’t have come in here. No one ever listens to me.”
Rose peeks her head around the corner of the door. “Hey, Mr. Williams.” Inside a man in his sixties is pacing back and forth. He’s skinny, with graying long hair, and treasure trove of tattoos on his arms. “Any reason why you threw the bedpan at your nurse?” Rose stands squarely in the doorway now. She watches as the man stops pacing and turns to her.
“No one understands. They think I’m crazy.”
“Why don’t you tell me what’s going.”
“Helicopters. They won’t go away.” He runs his hands threw his thinning hair. “I can’t take it anymore.”
Rose’s eyes focus on Mr. Williams but she doesn’t say anything.
“Well? What have you got to say to me?”
“When did you serve in Vietnam Mr. Williams?”
He leans against the exam room table as Rose slowly enters the room. “How did you know?” He crosses his arms.
“You’ve got the survivor tattoo from the Tet Offensive, your Airborne tattoo…Hueys?”
“Goddamn. Your father in the war young lady?” He rubs his face like he’s coming out of a long dream.
Rose inches closer to him. “Nah, I hear ‘em too.” She hold out her hand to him.
As they shake hands he asks, “What unit?”
Back in the exam room, Pat strains to hear anything. He takes the gauze off his face. Still bright red. He stands and makes his way to the partially closed door stands and stands behind it. He puts his head closer as the voices become quiet. And without warning…
“Jesus. I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” Asks a shocked Rose right after she realized that she’s hit her patient in the nose with the door. “Why were you standing behind the door?”
Momentarily forgetting about the blood dripping down his face from his eye, Patrick hold his nose as he walks back to the exam table. “Totally my fault.”
Rose grabs a pair of gloves from her purple scrubs and immediately begins checking the patient...