Maddys floor, p.13

Maddy's Floor, page 13

 

Maddy's Floor
 


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  The bag had stayed with Scott at all times. In theory, anyone who came by, treated him or moved him had access to the bag. It had no resale value. It might be considered a curiosity worth lifting though. However, as it was inside the closed bag, no one would know the diary was there. It was only important to Scott – and of course himself.

  MONDAY

  Gerard opened the door to the outer office as quietly as he could. Sandra was at the coffee maker, her back to him. Perfect. Maybe he'd be able to sneak past. His super efficient admin assistant was damn irritating sometimes.

  "Good morning."

  Gerard stiffened. Damn it. She'd heard him.

  "Late, huh?" she said.

  "Yeah, bad morning," he said, walking into his office and slammed the door shut.

  Sandra opened it almost immediately. "Dr. Chandler called."

  "What?" Gerard spun around, his back to the window. Not Chandler again. "What did he want?"

  "He didn't say. He asked for Maddy's number." Sandra dropped several pieces of mail on his desk and turned to leave.

  Instinctively, Gerard flung out his hand. "Wait. Did you give him her number?"

  "Of course. Maddy's a big girl, but even she can't make a decision if she doesn't know the choices."

  "Are you nuts?"

  She turned and the door slammed behind her, leaving Gerard alone, sputtering in shock. Oh God, he didn't dare lose Maddy. The Haven would spin into a major crisis. Dr. Chandler wasn't allowed to steal her away. No way. "I need a new secretary, for Christ's sake, and maybe a new doctor. Damn it, Sandra, what have you done?" he cried.

  From the other side of the door, she called back, "Nothing. Maddy's not likely to leave. As long as you treat her right."

  Right. And he'd just added a patient she hated to her floor, cut her budget and increased her patient roster. He clenched the back of his chair. What should he do? Oh Lord, what should he do?

  "By the way," Sandra's voice came through the door. "Maddy called. She wants to talk to you."

  Oh shit.

  His door shoved open and Sandra walked in again. Raising his gaze, anger and frustration warred inside him. He opened his mouth to blast Sandra when he saw the man behind her. Detective Drew McNeil. Damn it. He quickly schooled his features into a polite welcome while eyeing his visitor carefully. Why was he here? Personal or professional?

  Gerard walked around his desk and shook hands with Drew. "Drew, nice to see you again. Please have a seat." Gerard sat down. His office phone beeped, and he pushed a button, cutting off the caller.

  Catching the detective's questioning look, Gerard grinned sheepishly. "Some idiot did an article on the new wing opening up, now the phones won't quit ringing. People are trying to nab the unclaimed beds."

  Focusing on the man across the desk from him, Gerard stretched out his arms and clasped his hands together. "What can I do for you?"

  "I need to ask a few questions. It won't take a moment." Drew settled back into his chair and studied Gerard's face. "What do you know about Jansen Svaar's death?"

  Raising an eyebrow in surprise, Gerard answered honestly, "Nothing. I only hear if there's a problem."

  "And the bed placements?"

  "The doctors arrange those to suit the needs of the patients. I have nothing to do with it." Gerard didn't know what the detective was getting at. His next question confused him even more, and started his stomach acids bubbling. Six dead kids from thirty years ago? He frowned. "I knew a couple of them. They went to my school. Everyone who lived here back then would remember those kids. I can't remember any details. Only that no one seemed to know what happened. Why are you asking?"

  "Just following up a lead. Now, I understand from Dr. Maddy that, in order to get on her floor, there are stringent requirements in place – a prognosis of greater than six months to live, being one." Drew paused as he searched through his notes, then glanced up, sending Gerard a hard questioning look. "So how did my uncle's application get approved? Apparently, he's been given only three months to live."

  Ice filled Gerard's veins. Managing a weak smile, he shuffled the mail on his desk. "Our criteria aren't always so cut and dry. Many elements are discussed before the administrators and medical teams involved determine who is approved." He looked directly at the detective. "Thankfully, it's not my decision alone, or any one person's determination. The waiting list is long and getting longer by the minute." He grimaced at the flashing lights on his phone. "Especially after today."

  ***

  Gerard had fussed about purchasing more cameras. Maddy had talked him around. Two were being installed as she sat in her office – one to shine on the stairwell and one for the new area. She'd prefer more. This was a place to start though. With the weird energy invading her floor, she wanted to stay here all the time, to move right in so she could watch over everyone. Still, even if she did, she wouldn't be able to watch over everyone all at the same the time.

  She'd love to discuss the black energy issue more with Drew. He needed some adjustment time after their last talk before she nailed him with this mess. Once the floor calmed for the night, she planned to do energy readings. She needed to know how far off balance the energy on her floor had shifted after Jansen's death and the arrival of three new patients.

  Nancy popped her head in the door. "I'm heading home." She sighed. "Don't stay too late. You need your sleep. Especially with the extra workload."

  "How's the newest patient..." Maddy wracked her brain. "John McNeil settling in?"

  "The irascible soul is hell on wheels. He's in bed and is ecstatic about being here."

  "Good. They make for the best patients." So this was the detective's uncle. That meant she could expect to see Drew soon. Hopefully not until tomorrow. He sent her energy flying, which made it hard to do neutral readings.

  Nancy smirked. "This one will be a handful, no matter what."

  "I'll go down and say 'hi' in a couple of minutes."

  "Good luck. Too bad Dr. Cunningham isn't here… again." With that, she closed the door, leaving Maddy alone with her thoughts.

  Dr. Cunningham had popped in briefly. In his early sixties, he spent most of his time working on the hospital side, his first love. She never complained about the workload because bringing another doctor onboard would affect the energy balance of the floor even more. Dr. Cunningham pulled his weight, was there to help when she got overwhelmed, and left her and her project alone the rest of the time. A perfect system until she became overwhelmed…

  Maddy walked down the hallway to check on the cameras. She found the one in the stairway up and functioning. Good. That was one less thing to distract her. She strode down to where the new patient should be. The camera in that area should cover the new wing without affecting the privacy of the patients. Time to welcome John to her floor.

  Arriving at his bedside, she smiled at the sight. He had a small, almost shriveled frame with a huge chest that puffed up at the sight of her.

  "Good evening, John. Welcome to The Haven."

  John's face lit up. For all his apparent joy at the move, it was evident he had found the excitement and the trip arduous. Any move was incredibly stressful on a patient of his age. But what she saw was so much more. Maddy immediately shifted her viewing so she could see his energy more clearly… and frowned. He wasn't just ill and looking for a place for his last year where he could enjoy some quality of life. John was dying – and would soon. Not today, not tomorrow, however, she doubted he'd last more than ten weeks. Her frown deepened. Her floor in The Haven was not a hospice unit, for all the misunderstandings in the public's view. For this floor she only accepted patients much healthier than John. Something had gone wrong in the selection process.

  A second death on the floor wasn't going to be easy on the other patients. She pursed her lips. How had his application been accepted?

  Frowning, she studied his chart. He was in death management stage. She glanced surreptitiously at his chest area, seeing the gray energy hovering.
Yes, his chest was compromised. His shrunken frame wasted. There was some swelling of his hands.

  "How's the swelling in your feet?"

  She glanced at him as she lifted a corner of the blanket. At his nod, she flipped it back. Both ankles and feet had a tight, purple look to them.

  "Is the pain manageable right now? Or do you need something stronger after the move?"

  "No," he gasped, "It's okay. I don't know about sleeping tonight, though."

  Maddy nodded. "We can give you something for that."

  Stepping back, she studied him further. Should she ask or not? "Dr. Cunningham isn't here at this hour, but he'll stop by in the morning. Your transfer came late in the day. I'm sorry. I know that can be hard on individuals. We try to coordinate arrivals to coincide with the doctors' schedules."

  "I wasn't going to wait another day. And I don't need a doctor. They can't even say what's wrong with me," he growled, frowning at her. "I need you."

  Jolted, Maddy stared at him. "Pardon?"

  "I need you and your magic. Don't you go denying it. You're the one responsible for the healing going on around here. I've heard all about it."

  As she opened her mouth, he jumped right in. "Hell, half the world's heard about it."

  "What?"

  "Sure. It's all over the Internet. Checked it out myself." The growl in his voice deepened.

  Maddy didn't know what to think. More to the point, did he really think that she was some kind of witch doctor, a miracle healer? That if he could trick his way onto her floor he would be miraculously healed? She had limited success here, helped by the stringent selection process – one that had obviously gone awry with him. There should have been several rounds of interviews, and medical checks, to start. There had been with Dr. Lenning and she'd actually done the testing and intake for Felicia herself.

  "I'm not too sure what you've read or heard about me. I am a medical intuitive. That does allow me to see a different level, a different view of the body. Yes, I use energy to heal. And yes, we've had some phenomenal successes, where people have gone home because their condition had improved to that extent."

  He nodded with satisfaction. "Right, then. Glad you're not going to give me all the denial bullshit." He settled back into his bed – the pain that had stiffened his face, easing.

  "I'm not into denial, but you have a major misunderstanding going on. First off, the only people accepted into the program are those at a certain health level. Anything below that, the patient doesn't have the required strength or health for the healing required."

  He blinked a couple of times. "What?" Fear slid across his features.

  "I'm saying that your condition has advanced to the point that normally you wouldn't have been accepted here and I'm not sure how you were. Your application should have been declined. I'm sorry."

  "How can you tell my condition?" he blustered, puffing his chest. "You haven't read my file."

  Maddy's face softened. Just because patients had been told about their condition didn't mean they were ready to accept it. John should be managing his death right now. Instead, he was grasping at straws. He hadn't reached the point of acceptance.

  Not unusual, as few people accepted a negative diagnosis easily. She suspected John had held off going to the doctor as long as he could, thereby minimizing treatment options. While Maddy dealt in death every day, she preferred to focus on life.

  "I can see you. That's why I'm slightly different. I can't tell you when you'll die or any other hocus pocus stuff; however, I can see that your bones ache, your chest is compromised and you're having trouble breathing. Your body is suffering from major edema to the point you can't walk. There are energy blockages at several main intersections in your system that have been there for a long time."

  Worry darkened his features. "What does all that mean?"

  "It means getting here to my floor may not help you. I'm not sure there's anything I, or anyone, can do for you at this stage."

  "But you're not sure?"

  He latched onto the one straw she'd inadvertently offered. Maddy could understand the drowning man reaching for a life preserver. As much as she believed in the power of hope and positive thoughts, she also understood there had to be a level of acceptance, peace and belief. She didn't think he had much of those.

  John looked to be rigid and grasping – not as if he were aware and accepting that he was close to the end of his life.

  "No, I'm not a hundred percent sure."

  John glared at her. "I've been to dozens of doctors. Each one says something different. No one can agree as to what's wrong with me because no one knows." He almost shouted the last words as his frustration rose to the boiling point. He coughed violently several times then collapsed back onto his bed, exhausted.

  Using her most soothing voice, Maddy poured a glass of water for him from the carafe on his nightstand and said, "There are miracles in life. Still, you don't understand something here. This isn't just me working on your healing. You have to as well."

  "How can I do anything? I'm sick. That's why I'm here. For you to work your magic."

  He glared at her, using anger to hide the fear lurking in his eyes. Maddy stepped back ready to return to her office. "That's what I'm trying to say. This isn't a floor where you get to lie there and miracles happen. This is where people actively participate in their own healing. If you want to get better, you have to help make it happen."

  She walked away, leaving him to think on that for a bit.

  She wasn't trying to be cruel, but she needed to shake him out of the 'poor me' syndrome – to have him ask what he could do to help. Not that there was much in this case. He had weeks, maybe a few months, to live. The least she could do would be to make those as pain free and as enjoyable as possible.

  On the other hand, she planned to roast Gerard alive – as soon as she found the damn weasel. He couldn't play with everyone's emotions like this. Damn that man. He shouldn't have let John in. Talk about setting up an important selection process, then failing to follow through.

  Maddy walked past the nurses' station to the stairwell, pissed at Gerard, upset for John and disappointed in herself and her limited abilities. She needed to get away – even to another floor for a bit. To forget the machinations going on behind her back that threatened to sink her project, the bureaucratic bullshit that was all about money.

  On the second floor, she walked through the wards, noting dinner had been delivered to most patients.

  Dr. Susan Selsin, her carrot curls making her easily identifiable, stood talking with a colleague as Maddy approached. Her old friend's face lit up at the sight of Maddy. "Fancy that, Dr. Maddy's coming to visit."

  Maddy grinned, feeling better already. "Hi, just thought I'd stop in and see how things are down here."

  For the next hour, Maddy laughed and cheered everyone's progress. Susan concluded the tour when Maddy declared it was time to return to work.

  It was time for her special energy work.

  ***

  Sissy stretched and wiggled. She laughed at the odd sensation circulating through her body. It was as if she were adjusting to a new suit – a new birthday suit. She smirked at the other women in the ward. One glared at her, another shot her a disgusted look before turning away and reaching for her knitting.

  "Don't know about you ladies, but I feel great." She giggled, like the fifteen-year-old she felt like inside.

  "I need your drugs. Mine aren't doing anything for me," the old woman across the room said in disgust.

  Murmurs and assenting groans answered. Agreed.

  Sissy's grin widened. Today, she felt great.

  She looked over at the old woman beside her and couldn't prevent the pleased grin breaking out. That old biddy looked like she was one step away from death. Sad. Too bad for her.

  Sissy knew that had been her future – once. Not now. She had a plan and it was finally working. Those damn doctors. You had to make it clear you weren't going to take their lack o
f care and progress lying down. If your doctor was no good, then get rid of him and get a new one. Like she'd done.

  She didn't plan on living in bed 232 forever. Now she needed to work on the next stage of her healing. Everything was progressing, just like she'd planned.

  She wiggled her toes. Perfect.

  ***

  Back upstairs, the evening lights were on, dimming the fluorescent brightness to a mild soft light that was easier on everyone. Maddy let the nurses know where she was going before closing herself in her office. She turned off her phones, lowered the overhead lights and went to put on calming music. Standing in front of her music selection, she was hard pressed to decide between Zamfir and Yanni. Yanni won out. That man's piano skills were second to none.

 
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