But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. Psalm 37:15.
“You’re getting a roommate in a few minutes,” Hannah, the nurse on this shift, said briskly as she tugged on the privacy curtain between the two beds. It billowed toward me before swooshing to a stop on the end of its track. “You’re just about due for more meds. I’ll be back.”
I eased back against the pillows. I had just been wheeled back to the room after another test. My temperature went down with the meds, but would go back up when they wore off. All Dr. Marsh could tell me was I had an infection of some kind, and he’d confined me to my room. I hadn’t seen Apryl since I’d held her right after she’d been born. The nurses from the nursery kindly came down to give me a report on how she was doing at least once a day. She was still in the incubator, but doing well, they said. When Tommy came in the evenings he would see her. But, it was hard to know she was just down the hall.
“Let’s get you settled in, Heather.” The nurse’s voice drifted through the curtain. “We’ll get your vitals.”
“You all take good care of patients here. I surely do feel fine.” A soft voice with a southern accent answered. “When will the doctor allow me to put on my brace? I know not to lace it too tight right at first, but it sure helped me after my first baby was born. In no time at all I was back into shape.”
A brace? My imagination went to a knee or a leg brace
Hannah hesitated before she answered. “I can ask your doctor, but it would cover the surgical incision and provide extra pressure on your abdomen. You just had a caesarean section not two hours ago. Let’s just wait until I hear from the doctor.”
“Oh, I guess that’s okay. Do I have a roommate? Could you open the curtain before you leave? I like to visit.”
Shortly after, I was not just praying for Apryl, the doctors and medical staff, and a diagnosis, but lofting urgent pleas for patience as Heather talked incessantly. To my relief she checked herself out of the hospital the next morning against doctor’s advice.
On the third morning, a lady with long brunette hair was nursing her newborn in the other bed when I was wheeled back into the room from yet another test. She looked up and said, “Hi, I’m Sheri and this is Aubrey. I guess I’m to be your roommate for the next day or so.”
I nodded and spoke on the way to my bed. My head was pounding and all I wanted was to burrow under the covers. I crawled in and with shaky hands I pulled the covers up as far as they’d go to try to get warm. The bed shook with my chills.
“Are you sick?” Sheri asked with alarm. She shifted her baby as far away from me as she could. “Do you need me to call the nurse?”
Hannah stepped into the room before Sheri could hit the call button. “It looks like you’re past time for your meds. Let me take your vitals and I’ll get them.” She popped the thermometer in my mouth, whisked the blood pressure cuff around my arm, and jotted down the readings on a slip of paper. “You’re back up to 101 and your blood pressure’s up a little too. I’ll be right back.” She drew the privacy curtain partway closed before pausing by Sheri’s bed on her way out the door. “Is the baby asleep? I’ll take her back to the nursery after I give Lin her meds.”
With the medicine on board, I closed my eyes and lay still, willing the meds to take hold and the chills to ease off.
I was almost asleep when Sheri’s soft voice asked, “What is your fever from? Is it something you can give me and my baby?”
“They are still doing tests.” I admitted wearily. “All they know or all they’re telling me it’s from infection of some kind. My baby was born five weeks early and she’s in an incubator in the nursery. My family’s been around and they’ve let them come in, so they don’t think it’s contagious.”
“Okay.” She turned on the television set and began to watch a morning soap opera.
About mid-morning a group of visitors swarmed in. I turned toward the window to give them some privacy. My eyes drooped closed.
“That’s a beautiful baby, Sheri,” a man’s deep voice said.
“She’s got lots of dark hair.”
“I think she’s a toss-up between you and Matt.”
Someone cranked the volume of the television up and switched channels to The Price is Right.
“Are there any more chairs in this place?” Footsteps moved closer to my bed. My eyes popped open and I swiveled around to see a dark haired man in his twenties stride around the privacy curtain. “Sorry. Do you mind if I borrow this for a little while?” He gestured to the chair against the wall at the end of my bed.
“No, that’s fine.”
He walked back around the curtain with the chair in hand. “I see you have a roommate, Sis.”
Sheri said, “She’s pretty sick, I think. She had temperature a little bit ago. Supposedly she has an infection of some kind.”
“Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to request another room, honey. You don’t want to get sick or your baby to get sick.” A woman’s voice said.
“It’s okay, Mom. Don’t worry. She said she wasn’t contagious.”
My heart pounded in my chest and I began to shiver as the chills struck again. Was I contagious? I didn’t want to hurt the lady or her baby. The sunlight streamed in the window and made a patch of brightness on the side of the bed. I curled around it and finally fell asleep.
The rattle of the lunch trays on the cart in the hall woke me. Sheri’s bed was empty. Maybe she was lucky enough to go see her daughter. Tears welled up in my eyes. Was I ever going to get to see Apryl again? I wasn’t getting any better.
“Hey, are those tears?” Hannah walked into the room with my lunch tray and sat it down on the table. “Does your head hurt again?”
“I’m okay. Just a little pity party going on. I’m just not getting any better. I have temperature again before it’s time for more meds. I can’t even hold my daughter.”
Hannah patted the back of my hand. “I think the doctors are done with the testing. You should know something by the end of the day.”
“Am I contagious, Hannah?” I searched her eyes to check for any doubt. “I don’t want to hurt Sheri and her baby.”