Time to Stay

The strong smell of antiseptic assailed Jane's senses while she treated her patient's oozing wounds. A nurse rushed into the treatment room with another patient in a wheelchair.

"May I leave Mrs. Ackerman with you for now, Doctor? The Emergency room is full, and she shouldn't be left alone in case she takes another seizure. The ambulances are all backed up, with new patients from the target zones. The evacuation ambulances can't get through. The chief of staff is out there now trying to sort them out." The nurse didn't wait for a reply  as she set the wheelchair's brake, and ran out the door.

"Yes of course you can leave Mrs. Ackerman here, thanks so much for asking," Jane called sourly at the nurse's retreating back. The patient in question chuckled.

"I don't think she means to be rude, Doctor. She's just being run off her feet, that's all. The emergency loading bay is a living nightmare. "

Jane heaved a tired sigh. "Yes, I know. This is one of the few treatment rooms that isn't filled to the ceiling with incoming or outgoing patients. I'll give you some Gabapentin. That should calm the spasms for a bit. It was formulated specifically for Epilepsy."

Jane went to the locked wall cabinet and took a tablet from a half full bottle of Gabapentin. She poured a small paper cup of water at the sink, then handed it to Mrs. Ackerman, who downed pill and water in one gulp. Jane headed back to her sedated patient with the oozing wounds, when her cell phone buzzed insistently in her scrub pants pocket. She checked the ID - It was John, at home. She went over to a chair in the corner away from her patients, so she could have a private conversation. She hit the Answer button. John's agitated voice came through loud and clear.

"Jane, the city is being hit with missiles now! The office building two blocks away was hit. I've bundled up Anna. I don't think this building is safe anymore."

"Yes I know, I can hear the whine overhead. You're probably right about our building. I don't imagine any high structure will be safe now that missiles are on the move. Get Anna out of there. See if there's still a train running out to the country. Mum said yesterday that only the cities are being hit for now. It has something to do with saving the farms and crops for food. The conquering army, whoever they may be, will need to be fed. I still don't understand what's going on. How can the world have deteriorated to the point that everybody wants to kill everybody else?"

"I don't know, I really don't. I just know we have to get out of the city. I'm headed to the train station now. I'll wait for you to meet us there."

"I can't leave here, John. We're trying to evacuate, but the outgoing ambulances can't get through. We talked about this at breakfast, when I was called in on my day off. The situation has only gotten worse since then. It'll take several hours before we can even start getting patients out of here. I'll have to stay here. I'll meet you at my parents' place as soon as I can get there."

"Can't you just leave? "

"No I can't, you know that. I'll meet you at Mum and Dad's. Give Anna hugs and kisses for me. I love you John. Always remember that, no matter what happens."

"I love you too, darling. I'll meet you in the country. 'bye."

John hung up, and Jane stood there listening to the dial tone. Several tears broke loose and left a track as they made their way down her cheek.

The End

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