By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
The young woman watched as the young man got out of his car. He ran quickly to the passenger side of the car… opened the door. She stood at the glass door that opened into the parking lot. She peered closer… to see what he was doing… to see what she needed to be ready for.
He reached in, lifted something from the front seat. He turned around, began walking forward with his load. The car door hung open… forgotten.
The young man began struggling to carry… an older lady he held in his arms. His knees began buckling under the weight.
The young woman opened the glass door leading into the waiting room. She worked in the office as an emergency registration clerk. This was the room everyone waited in for their turn to go into the emergency room to be seen by the doctor.
She always watched out for the emergency waiting room, in case someone was very sick. She didn’t want anyone to die while waiting there, to see the doctor. The clerk was very responsible… she took her job seriously. She paid more attention to the people around her, than most people who worked her job. She cared.
She also, watched on the other side of the locked door she’d walked through to come into the registration area, to enter the door of the waiting room.
She watched, listened for the double doors that would swing open any moment with an emergency patient on a stretcher. Most of the time, she was alerted by a nurse… or the wail of a siren. Sometimes, no one would hear a car come up carrying someone who was deathly ill… until the family member came in to get help.
The clerk worked in a small community hospital. The emergency room was across from the doorway of her office. It was her job to run between the actual emergency room, and the office to register patients.
She would meet the rescue squad when they came in with a patient. It was her job to meet family members as they came through the doors with the patient… guide them through the locked door for them to be seated… get their information for the patient.
The waiting room was empty. She had walked to the door she had to unlock, to enter the registration area… to walk out into the waiting room. She was listening to the news on the tv mounted on the wall. She had walked to the glass door to look out into the parking lot, when she saw the fast-moving car drive in, park.
“What’s wrong with her”? The clerk asked while she motioned for him to follow her. “She’s having bad chest pain; she has a history of congestive heart failure”! The young man could hardly talk, he was breathless from carrying his load.
The clerk led the way through the door she kept locked, closing it behind her. She saw a wheel chair, pointed at it. The young man shook his head, meaning to go on!
She led him through the open doorway of the emergency room. He followed her. The clerk led him to Bed 3… where she had watched… life and death play out more times than she could count. This ‘was’ the bed for heart patients, and patients who were deathly ill, patients who were in a bad way.
Her eyes had paid close attention to the woman… she had the feeling ‘something was going to happen’. She felt the woman was very sick. She knew that it was okay to take the patient directly into the emergency room.
As she passed the nurse, and doctor sitting at the white countertop on stools that rolled them around… she leaned in to tell them the woman was experiencing severe chest pain… she had a history of congestive heart failure.
She hurried on, knowing they would go into action. This doctor, and nurse were very good… she held the highest respect for both. They were a ‘good combination’… anyone would want to be in their hands… if they were fighting for their life. Anyone with chest pain would be seen right away!
Sometimes, the ‘combination of doctor, nurse’ … wasn’t a good one. This time… they were … the best. She felt proud to be working with these two, today. They were her friends, also.
She pulled the curtain back, pointed at the bed. The young man put his mother on the bed. His mother laid back against the pillow. The clerk looked at her, didn’t feel good about her. The elderly woman smiled weakly at her. The clerk ran out to tell the doctor, nurse to come on… briefly wondering ‘why’ they weren’t already there. Still… she ‘knew’ they’d come…
She saw the nurse, doctor still sitting there, engrossed in one another! She walked quickly to them… apologized for interrupting. “That woman is having a heart attack”! How she knew the woman was having a heart attack… she didn’t know. She just ‘knew something was getting ready to happen’!
She kept going until she got to her desk, computer. She put the woman’s name into the computer… found her… printed out all the info. All the son had to do was to sign permission to treat her. She ran back to the emergency room.
As she entered the door, she heard a commotion… it was at Bed 3. Get the crash cart, call Code Blue! The nurse picked up the phone, pressed a couple of buttons on the phone. She began speaking into the phone… that became an instant intercom. “Code Blue, Emergency Room! Code Blue, Emergency Room!”
Medical staff began arriving, each knowing what their task was to save the woman. The clerk stood back to witness the ‘battle between life, death’. She’d seen it many times. She prayed this woman would live.
She was told to lead the son out into the emergency room. She put her hand gently on his shoulder as, he kept turning to look back. She had to keep her emotions in check… she wanted to scream at the doctor, nurse. ‘Why’ didn’t they come on?
The clerk smiled gently at the young man, patted him on the shoulder as she led him to the door. She opened it to let him go in, so… he could be seated in the waiting area. She promised to come back to let him know how his mother was. She closed the door… it locked automatically.
There wasn’t anyone to register… so, the clerk walked back to the emergency room. She stood watching the hospital staff do CPR on the woman. They used the paddles….
She felt terrible anger, shock while she stood there. ‘Why’ didn’t the nurse, doctor come to help the woman at the very beginning? That wasn’t like them at all. She would have bet a thousand dollars on both of them to go to a patient, not waste time… to save their lives. If ‘they’ couldn’t save a patient’s life… no one else could.
Yet… only ‘she knew’ that they didn’t do what they should have. They didn’t come for some reason… they were the reason that woman was dying. The clerk’s eyes filled with tears… her heart felt deep anger. She hated them… God, she hated them! They did wrong! Please God, don’t let that young man’s mother die!
She became aware of Bed 3… the commotion was dying down… she knew the woman had died. She knew it! She’d seen this happen over, and over. Some patients lived… some died. Bed 3 was like a portal to the other side.
Imagine a door …. if you open it… enter… you have died. Imagine being at that door… and it didn’t open… that means you missed death only by inches. BED 3 was the portal to … the other side.
The clerk never spoke to the doctor, nurse that she had always thought highly of, respected with her heart… ever again. Never had she been so disappointed in someone.
The nurse, doctor came to her several times, after the woman died. They came to talk to the clerk… she only turned her head away. She couldn’t bear to even look at them, much less talk to them. She knew that they did wrong… they let a woman die… while they were enjoying each other’s company. She … hated them.
She never told a soul… how could it help anyone. They knew they did wrong. They let that patient die… on Bed 3.