Emergency!

Emergency! by MD Mark Brown Read Free Book Online

Book: Emergency! by MD Mark Brown Read Free Book Online
Authors: MD Mark Brown
it back to Chehalis alive, she would never leave again without her parents’ permission.
    â€œAll I need is twenty-seven dollars for a bus ticket back home. You can even walk me to the station and watch me buy the ticket.” Her eyes darted back and forth between my face and the Nordstrom’s bag.
    She thought that I had stopped in deference to her vulnerability. In fact, it was a five-centimeter red crescent above her left eye that had caught my attention. In the crescent were eighteen size 6-0 Prolene sutures. I knew that below the Prolene were four more of Vicryl. I had stopped to admire my suturing handiwork. Not bad for a third-year student, I thought.
    â€œAs soon as I get back to Chehalis, I’ll mail you your money,” she continued. “I can even wire it to you if you want. I’ll pay you back. Honest. I promise.”
    Sometime during a blur of bad coffee and late nights, the surgery intern and I had been called down to the ER to help sew up drunks with head lacerations. When I showed up, the trauma doc had grunted and pointed down the hall at a gurney holding a restrained figure with a pillowcase for a head. She had been spitting blood at the staff. The chart had listed her name as Krystal, and she had been delivered by a police unit returning from a domestic violence call. Her medical history read: “None of your fucking business, you donkey-faced homo.” As I cleaned the blood from her hair and face, she spewed forth with a continuous diatribe about my supposed sexual orientation toward animal species and humans of both sexes. Givingher a local anesthetic was a tough battle despite my advantages of height and weight.
    Suturing of the wound would have been dangerous to us both were it not for a passing nurse who procured a mirror and appealed to Krystal’s vanity. “If you don’t hold still and let the boy do a good job of stitching that up, you’re going to look like you chase parked cars in your spare time.”
    Krystal lay still and silent for the forty-five minutes it took me to close her wound. As I finished, the intern returned to chide me for using too many sutures and to take me back upstairs. I had not been responsible for her discharge instructions, but looking at the ten-day-old wound, I knew that she had not kept her follow-up appointment for suture removal.
    â€œEven if you could just give me a ten or a twenty, I’d be that much closer to home,” she implored sweetly.
    â€œOK,” I distractedly mumbled, “let’s go to the bus station.” Again she thanked God. The walk to the Greyhound terminal was short. I preferred her previous obscenities to her current saccharine effluence. As we neared the window, she held out a hand for money to buy the ticket. When I pulled out a credit card, she became suddenly tense.
    â€œThey don’t take credit cards here.”
    â€œThe little sign says they do.”
    â€œWell, maybe they do, but they don’t like it,” she warned.
    â€œThey’ll get over it.”
    â€œThere’s a bank machine around the corner; you could just get the cash and wouldn’t have to use your card.”
    The apathetic woman in the window ignored our dialogue and asked, “Where are you folks going today?”
    I turned to the girl, “Well, where do you want to go, since you know you can’t cash the ticket the moment I walk out?”
    â€œBastard!” She pivoted and stormed out.
    â€œSorry.” I shrugged to the cashier, and left.
    She was walking slowly back up the sidewalk. I matched her gait. “Get the fuck away from me or I’ll scream.”
    â€œWhen was the last time you ate?”
    â€œWhat do you care?”
    â€œI care. Why don’t you let me buy you lunch and take the stitches out of your face?” Her hand came up and her ring finger worried one of the tiny blue filaments at her brow. She stared at me. “Can you do

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