Chapter 2 - Lunch and after
Two hours later, I was back on Zoe's floor, looking for ward to lunch. My own patients had her breathing exercises and I cleaned and got the equipment ready for sterilizing, thinking, at the same time, how Zoe's morning had gone. I soon found out.
"Hey there, Nurse Zoe. ready for lunch?" I asked as I approached the nursing station where Zoe was writing on a patient chart.
"Jack, I am glad you came," she responded. "A few more minutes in this loony bin, and I would be on a bad, probably in restraints." She put the chart back in the chart rack, and walked over to me. "Ready for lunch yourself?"
"Sure. let's go see what the cafeteria has in store today." They started to walk through the patient unit, with Zoe stopping to speak briefly with another nurse, then we pushed through the doors into the main corridor and down toward the cafeteria entrance at the very end on the right.
"We how did the rest of your morning go?" I asked.
"Horrible comes to mind," she answered, looking a bit down. "Seems like every patient today had some kind of personal problem, beyond what they were here for to begin with. The guy I was about to work with when you arrived, the guy who needed the enema, was so pushy, I even considered throwing a bit of dish-washing soap in the bag to teach him to be nice."
"That is a bit harsh," I offered.
"I know, and I would never do it, but sometimes people can be really demanding and obstinate, especially men. Sorry Jack, bit it's true. Sometimes they just need to know their place in the care chain."
"Boy, you really did have a bad morning. Hope I never get on your bad side." Jack laughed and soon they were both chuckling about their morning.
Finding two seats in the corner in the cafeteria, after going through the line, they sat and simply looked at each other for a moment before speaking.
"I love nursing," said Zoe, "but sometimes I think about doing something else, just to preserve my sanity. That's pretty harsh for a person who is only eight years out of nursing school."
"Do you think this way often?" asked Jack.
"No, just on days like this. It started out badly, as you saw. That patient fought getting an enema every step, and that was after the search ended when you arrived. He had every possible complaint; the water was too hot, too much soap, and too much pressure from the bag being too high. When it was over, and I told him to hold it for a few minutes to let it work, he literally pushed me out of the way to get to the bathroom. Later, after his procedure, I caught hell from the Surgical people that he made a mess in the recovery room. Bad day, and the rest of the patients all had their similar problems."
"Well, now you can sit and enjoy lunch. Doesn't look too bad today."
"Thanks Jack. It gives me time to breathe before going back into the lion's den." They both started to eat their food, mostly in silence, occasionally looking over at each other.
Jack saw Zoe as an amazing woman, someone he wanted to get to know better, and made it a goal to get her out to dinner, outside the hospital and see if there was a relationship that might bloom.
Zoe thought much the same of Jack. she had dated several people on the staff, and was really looking for doctor to marry, but they were few, and most already married. Now, along comes Jack, and she saw at once he was different from many of those she had dated over the past years. She wanted to get to know him better, and hoped he would ask her out for a real date--somewhere other than the cafeteria.
Suddenly, her face reddened as she realized she was seeing Jack in the patient bed, and she was giving him the enema, slapping him on the butt, telling him to stop fussing. The moment passed quickly, but not before Jack noticed.
"Everything all right Zoe?"
"Sure Jack," she replied, sounding a bit apologetic. "Everything is fine. I, just remembered something I forgot to do before I left he ward. I'll do it later." She smiled, and they went back to eating and having an occasional short conversation. After they finished, and took their trays to the window, Jack took her back to the unit. he asked if she might be free later in the week, and they set a date for Friday evening, two days hence.