Christine had said goodbye to her mother and sent Chad home for the night so that she could get some relatively good sleep. She had dozed maybe 20 minutes but had awoken with what she assumed to be insomnia. The nurse had given her a new dose of pain killers and checked her wounds again before leaving her alone in the quiet room. The room was pretty tiny, but at least she had it all to herself. Chad had explained that she was at the end of the hall, so it mucst just be part of the structure of the building that she happened to have such a tiny room.
The nurse had left the door open, and when she looked up, there was a shadow over the doorway. With the light behind her, Christine could not tell who the woman was, and wondered if she looked like a deer in the headlights, with her blanket up to her chin, trying to see the intruder's features. Walking closer, the woman asked if she could turn the light on, and did so.
"Hi, are you Christine? I am Dr. Evoch. Dr. Andrews asked me to stop by and talk to you for a few minutes. I am sorry that it is so late, but I got caught up counseling another family in the ICU. Do you mind if I sit and have a chat?"
"Go ahead. I guess you are the Psychologist, then?"
"Yes. Dr. Adrews has some concerns. Tell me a little about you before we get into that, though."
Ok, like what?"
"You know, like an interest survey. What do you do, what do you like, who do you spend time with? Those kinds of things."
"Well... I am 21 years old. I have some college classes under my belt, but I am taking a break so that I can figure out what direction to go in. Ummm I am engaged to Chad, who is 26 and has a son who is six named Michael. I like... um, I like dance. I also like to spend time with Michael. I live alone right now and visit my mom a couple of times a week. My Dad died while I was in high school... I work part time for a real estate office, doing their filing and taking pictures of the houses and things. I also enjoy photography. Ummm, I guess that is pretty much it."
Smiling, Dr. Evoch made a few notes, saying "That is perfect. Thank you. Have you ever had any problems with depression or something similar to that?"
"No. I did pretty well in school. Have a few close friends. My life is pretty good right now, I think."
Nodding her head, Dr. Evoch took a sharp breath and looked at Christine. "Ok, now for the harder stuff. We need to talk about these things to make sure that when you leave the hospital, you can get the follow up care that you need. ok?"
"You were in a car accidnet?"
"Yes. Um, I guess I actually caused an accidnet." She squinted at the Dr, trying to hide a sigh behind her words. Couldn't she just go home already and forget all of this?
"Ok. Now your record says that you do not know why or how you caused this acident. Can you tell me a little about that?"
"Oh. Well, I guess that I just swerved off the road. And instead of the grass being there, there was a guard rail. I remember hitting the rail but I do not remeber falling. It seems like my car flipped over an overpass and then when my car landed, someone pulled me out and called the ambulance. That is all that I remember." Christine looked away, again wondering why she had to keep going over this.
"I see. Christine, let me tell you something. This is what I understand. You were driving down the interstate. Suddenly, as in, without warning, you turned your steering wheel toward the side of the road and went off, crashing to the road below. Now, according to you, there were no other factors involved. No other car bumped you or cut you off, nothing startled you, you did not black out. There seems to be no legitimate reason that you went off the side of the road. The fact is, Christine, that it looks like you tried to end your life. Dr. Andrews wanted me to come and talk to you because we need to figure out if you are a suicide risk. Do you see why it is so importnat for you to be open and honest with me?"
Christine stared at her timidly, as a child does when they are being chastised. And like a child, Christine wondered what would happen if she just did not answer. Then she started to think about what Dr. Evoch was actually saying to her. Could it be true? Was she trying to commit suicide last night on her way home? It had been such a long day, and suddenly she felt exhausted. Dr. Evoch was staring intently at her, waiting for a response. Sighing, she lay her head back and looked tiredly at the doctor.
"I am not sure. But... I am really tired. Maybe I can think about it and you can come back?" Her words were very soft and unemotional.
Gently the doctor replied, "Chritine, you can not be released until all of your doctors sign off. I am now one of those doctors, because I am not satisfied with your responses to me. I am going to try to come by when I start tomorrow. I see thta you are tired and I am sure that you have had an exhausting day. Just promise me something. If you start to feel scared or alone, make sure you call the nurse. Okay? The staff is here to keep you healthy and make sure that you have a full recovery."
Christine nodded, her eyes starting to close. The medicine must be kicking in, because she could not control the exhaustion that was finally falling on her. Doctor Evoch waited until Christine's breathing changed, indicating that she was truly asleep. She got up and left the room, turning off the light and changing charts in her hand as she left.