Dr. Andrews enterred Christine's room to find her in street clothes standing by the window. When she turned to look at him, she looked worn and even a bit sad. "Good morning, Christine. The nurse told you that you would be discharged today?"
Christine nodded. When Dr. Evoch had come by at 7am, she had pretended to be asleep so that she would not have to answer any more questions. Then the nurse had come in at 9am with breakfast, checking her wounds and telling her that she would be discharged as soon as she met with Dr. Andrews.
"Ok, your stitches are healing nicely. I have some paperwork for you to take home with instructions on how to take care of the wound. You need to continue to wear that neck brace. When you take a shower, take it off but be very careful not to turn your head. You have a checkup with your primary tomorrow morning to check on everything. Here is a chart on what kinds and how much over the counter medicines you can take for pain but try to take as little as possible. The only other thing we need to talk about is your meeting with Dr. Evoch last night." He paused as he clicked his screen a few times to move to a different chart, then looked up at her to make sure she was still following him. "She said that the conversation did not clear up nor continue as she had hoped. But she believes that you are willing to open up and talk to someone. So I need you to continue to come in to see her. Is that something you will do?"
Christine nodded again while she pulled at the end of her sleeves on her hands. She just wanted to get out of there. "Do I just come back here?"
"Yes, here is the information with your appointment and location. Do you have any other questions?"
She shook her head 'no'.
"Christine, it was very nice to meet you. I hope that you continue to recover speedily. Goodbye." Seeing that she was just ready to leave, and not wanting to intrude any longer, despite his instinct, he just walked out of the room, convincing himself that she would be alright and he needed to move on and concentrate on the next patient. As he continued down the hall, however, he heard his name. Turning around, he realized that he had passed the young man whom he had seen in Christine's room the day before.
"Yes, how can I help you?"
"Dr. Andrrews, I am Christine's fiancee. We are very worried about her, and i was just wondering if you have any suggestions to help us help her heal. She seems to be having a hard time coping."
The doctor hesitated, thinking about the boundaries he could not cross because of patient confidentiality. "What Christine needs most right now is support. Keep her smiling, keep her talking. Make sure she has her follow up appoinments and that she takes care of herself. You are right that she is facing a difficult matter right now, and I can only encourage you to be supportive above all else."
"Ok. Thank you for everything, doctor. We really appreciate it." They shook hands and turned away from each other, each feeling just a little bit better and even hoepdul about the rest of the day.
Enterring Christine's room, he found her sitting on the bed, dressed and staring out the window. She looked much younger with the neck brace and the nervousness that seemed to permeate the room. Usually she was more of the sweet and smily type of person, but he had seen very little of that person this week.
"Hey, Babe, are you ready to go?"
She turned to him and stood up. Running her hands down her jeans, she replied, "Yes. I sure am. Is Michael with you?"
Chad gave her a funny look. "No, honey, he is at school right now. It is only 11 a.m." He leaned down to pick up the bag next to her feet. "Was there anything else?"
"No, I have these papers to take with me, but everything else is in the bag."
"Ok, let us go, then." He started to go toward the door, then stopped, turned to her, and reached for her free hand. "I love you, Christine."
As he turned back and continued to the door with her hand still in his, she felt a lightening sensation along with the surprise of his spontaneity. He was usually such a serious person, and she felt relieved to have a little bit of unexpected affection come from him in this unassuming place. She had a smile on her face as they left the hospital.