The third floor was surprisingly calm. It appeared to be staging and recovery rooms for surgeries and other procedures. Exam room 3 was around the corner from the elevator, seemingly hidden away from the other rooms. As I walked in, I heard the nurse's voice say, "go into the bathroom, take off your shirt, I'll be there in in a minute." I rolled my eyes and thought little of her command. We needed to have a conversation, not a weird restroom encounter. "I don't go that far on the first date, can we just talk first?" She didn't respond. The bathroom seemed creepy so I stayed in the corner next to the faded red reclining chair so as not to be seen from the hallway. She appeared, in shadow, pushing an exam cart. "Fine, but I need to examine you, having your shirt off would help," she insisted. Extending my hand and faking a big smile, I replied, "Hi, I'm Caleb. I understand you met my, uh, friend I guess, yesterday. She's a lot to take the first time. Maybe you and I can be less confrontational."
With green eyes, a hard face of no makeup or expression, and graying red hair pulled back into an air tight bun, the nurse looked cliche. Breann calling her a battleax was spot on. "I'm not willing to give my livelihood or my life for you or your sister. I am offering to examine you and tell you what to expect over the next few weeks or months," she deadpanned. Why would she lose her life helping me? She called Breann my sister, there's obvious something to all this, I thought. This nurse appeared to have seen it all and not liked it much. "If I show you mine, will you tell me how to find the others?" I asked. She shook her head in agreeance and pointed at my t-shirt. I pulled it off as well as my hat and leaned against the exam table.
She took my blood pressure, checked my temperature, then investigated my chest, neck, and head. Finally she stated, "you have a temperature of 100. Your heartbeat is faster than normal, and you've likely had a cardiac arrest in the last 24 hours. You need to find those doctors. If they don't make some adjustments, you and the others won't live long." Every ex I'd known possessed better bedside manner. Won't live long? After a 5 minute checkup? She could see the bewilderment building, and said, "I didn't deliver you. I was there for babies 1-3." That meant she oversaw the births of Bruce, Clare, and Lucas. Before I could ask a question she dropped, "all six of you were stillborn or in heart failure when you were taken from your mothers. Each of you were implanted with a robotic heart, and that means you have artificial synapses to your nervous system, brain stem, and different metals throughout your valves, and respiratory lines. Those metals are like poison. As your heart wears down, the poison becomes more pronounced. That's all I know from a medical view."
Putting my shirt on slowly, my exasperation was matched only by my stammering, "wha, how, ok, well, I, no nurses are on the charts. Neither are Bulas or Cluber. In fact, I can't find anything on them." She rubs her mouth. I can see the nicotine stains on her fingers and the tops of her teeth, when she grimaces and says, "you were an experiment. Doctors Bulas and Cluber weren't residents here. They were around this hospital for a month or two doing research and some surgeries. I was working doubles the first few days of September. I was off when you and the other two were born. There's a clinic at New York University that will have records from the 1970s when Connor Bulas was running it. You need to look up Los Angeles, California heart specialists associated with cedars Sinai Hospital. The last I heard, four years ago, Anson Cluber was privileged through there. He's well known in the cardiologist community. Also, I know you are dying slowly. It's a scientific wonder that you all lasted 40 years. Those hearts are like batteries. Inside of you is a red light that will die out. Chest pains, breathing problems, headaches, dizziness and fever are what you all should watch for. You need to tell the other five of their conditions. If you feel fever, it's a warning. I have to go."
I followed her outside into the hall but she refuses to even acknowledge me. I reached for her arm but see two nurses coming our way. I turned around and walked towards the elevator. I'm in enough trouble. This woman, irascible she may be; helped me. I took the elevator down to the lobby, exited the automatic doors, walked into the parking lot, and called Breann. She answered on the first ring, and I acerbically said, "Dead man walking, we need to drink, talk, then drink some more."
*blogger's note* This is another story entry of a book I'm writing. I used the one word prompt RED from the cool writer's den known as @Studio30Plus / http://www.studio30plus.com/ . Check them out. They do a really good job of spotlighting writer's and there are some impressive compositions there.
Here are the other episodes:
2) personality crisis
3) serendipity 6
4) Hot Dog Harbinger
5) Goodbye Stranger
6) House of Irony
8) Dead Man's Party
Today's song is the what was playing in my head the entire time I wrote this, Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party.