Suzanna sipped the last of the coffee and checked the kitchen to make sure she’d missed nothing. She pulled on her jacket and grasped her shoulder bag and left. On her way to the SUV, she left the keys with the super.
A half hour later, after a frustrating crawl through heavy traffic, she reached the nursing home. She spotted the ambulance and hurried inside. Jon lay on the stretcher near the nurse’ station. His suitcase sat on the foot of the gurney. Though he didn’t smile, she saw a hint of eagerness along with worry in his green eyes.
“All set?” she asked.
He nodded. “I wouldn’t let them take me until you arrived. You were late.”
“Traffic was horrible.” She ruffled his dark hair. The next time we see each other will be at
. My friend, Cate,
is in charge and is waiting for you.” Eastlake Rehabilitation
“I won’t let anyone touch me until you’re there.”
She tapped his nose with her finger. “You’ll be fine. I should arrive first but if not, just do what Cate tells you.” She turned away. His dependency was normal but she hoped the degree would soon lessen.
She walked to the SUV and loaded the transport chair and the walker into the back. Moments later, she followed the ambulance from the parking lot.
She understood his reluctance to ride in any vehicle. Following the accident, he’d been taken to the nearest hospital and had been seen by a parade of doctors and had emergency surgery for internal bleeding all before she’d been located and had arrived. The moment his condition had stabilized, she’d arranged for his transfer to City where she worked. There, she’d chosen the doctors to oversee his care.
Once Suzanna left the city, she hit the gas, hoping to be at the
in time to connect with Cate. She
needed to fill in her friend on Jon’s insecurities. Though she had mentioned
them the one time they’d talked, she’d been hesitant to tell the whole story.
Also, his clinging had become more prominent as the days to the move had
dwindled. Rehab Center
She sucked in a breath. Recently, there’d been so many changes in his life. The responsibility for his younger siblings no longer tied him t the needs of others. She hoped this would be the last move until he came home and he could become a boy again.
Two months ago, she’d been ready to leave
for Eastlake Community. Then there’d been the dreadful accident resulting in
four deaths. Why had her mother and step-father taken their three children on a
drive when they’d been drinking heavily? Would she ever understand? City Hospital
Her plans to relocate had been put on hold. How fortunate she’d been that her friends had stepped in to save the place for her. She had handled the funerals, and the legal problems. And that had been difficult.
For several days after the accident, she had feared Jon wouldn’t survive. Both legs fractured, one arm, broken ribs, internal injuries and a few burns. He had lived. She had called Eric Bradshaw to give up her dream job. She had to remain close to her brother until he healed. Then Cate had called and suggested Jon be transferred to the facility she ran. Suzanna had been grateful for the friendship formed in college with the Grantley Gang. Though the closeness had faded over the years, the bonds remained.
The miles sped by. The scenery had changed from city to suburbs to country. She noted the mileage on the speedometer and saw ten miles would have her in
She gasped. Where there had once been a deserted farm, she saw a large mall.
The sign near the entrance showed a listing of many stories. Less than a mile
from the mall, she read a ship-shaped sign announcing the Pirate’s Cove. How
At the outskirts of town, she slowed to match the speed limit. She neared the place that had been her home for four years. Though she’d returned to the city to work, she had fallen in love with
. The friends she’d made at Eastlake had become closer than her own
family. Why had they drifted apart? If she hadn’t worked in the city, she would
never have returned to school and become a nurse practitioner. Grantley College
Of the seven members of the Gang, only she and Megan Carter were single. She’d missed all the weddings and while sorry, she was also relieved. She believed her unmarried state would last forever. She’d only met one man she’d considered marrying. Caleb Winstone and he’d offered her a much lesser position.
The past is past. Forget him.
As she drove through town, she saw places she remembered as well as some new shops. The Hot Doggery where she’d worked and devoured chili dogs made her want to stop. As she passed Frank’s Place, she remembered cinnamon rolls and juicy burgers.
She drove up the hill and saw the red brick building of the hospital with the town field beyond. She pulled into the visitor’s lot and crossed to the
. Ten minutes
later, the ambulance arrived. She waited in the foyer for her brother. Cate
popped out of her office. After a quick hug and a hello to Jon, they rode the
elevator to the second floor and into Jon’s room. Rehab
“Wow, am I really alone?”
Cate nodded. “Most of our room are private, except for the pediatric rooms.” Cate wrapped a blood pressure cuff around his arm. “Since the children here at present are under ten, I thought this would be better.”
Suzanna looked around the room. Jon’s bed, a dresser, along with two easy chairs furnished the room. A television hung on the wall across from the bed. A window let in light. What a nice set-up, she thought.
Cate finished the exam and turned to Suzanna. “Rick will be in later to do an exam and decide on a treatment plan. The Physical and Occupational Therapists will be in to do the assessments. He’ll see the dietitian and the social therapist. Cate squeezed Jon’s hand. “We’ll have you out of here by Christmas.”
“Walking?” he asked.
“You’ll still need the wheelchair and steps may come later.”
Suzanna pulled a disc from her briefcase. “Here are all his records. What now?”
“Why don’t you head over and check in. I told Eric Bradshaw you were arriving today. Have everything you need?”
Suzanna patted the cordovan briefcase. “When we did the online interview, he gave me a list. Then he emailed it to me.”
Cate laughed. “He loves lists and gadgets. You must call him Eric. Remember, he’s Jenessa’s husband.”
“I will.” She turned to her brother. “I’ll be back as soon as I finish at the hospital.”
"Don’t hurry.” He yawned. “I need a nap. I didn’t sleep much last night. I’m glad we’re here. I like this place.”
“Good.” Suzanna kissed his forehead.
Forty-five minutes alter, she returned. All was set for her to begin on Monday. She entered Jon’s room to find Cate and two strangers at the bedside.
Cate turned. “Suzanna, Mike is Physical Therapy and Grace is Occupational Therapist. They’re part of Jon’s team.”
Suzanna noticed tears in her brother’s eyes. “Are you all right?”
“He’s a brave young man,” Grace said.
Mike shook Jon’s hand. “I know we worked you hard but you did very well. I wish one of the other PTs had a lifeguard certificate Working in the pool would benefit you.” He turned to Cate. “We need one.”
“I’ve advertised far and wide. You could always go for yours. There’s a program at
handed Jon a small paper cup. “For pain. It’s not an opiate.” Eastlake
Suzanna smiled. “That’s good news.” She had feared Jon might become dependant on pain medication. She looked into the cup and aw a capsule and two familiar pulls. She patted Jon’s arm. “Take them and get some sleep. I’ll head to the house and unload the SUV. See you later.” She walked from the room with Cate.
Cate paused. “Dr. Joe or his new partner will be in to check on your brother. One of them will be here around three.”
“I’ll be here.”
“The gang will arrive at your house around five. We’re bringing dinner from the Hot Doggery. Then we’ll give you a hand settling in. Don’t do any unpacking until we arrive.”
“Sounds good.” Suzanna hurried to her car. She would be here when Dr. Joe arrived. She remembered him from her Grantley days. He’d been the newest addition to the staff and had enjoyed teaching the student nurses,
She glanced at her watch. She had time to waste until Dr. Joe arrived. At four thirty, she had to be at the house to meet the friends with a U-Haul. Instead of going home, she drove to the mall and grabbed a chef’s salad at one of the restaurants. Then she found the computer store and bought a laptop for Jon. The tech loaded programs including a word processing program and some games.
She finished at two thirty and drove to Rehab using her key card for the staff lot. She hurried to the entrance, crossed the foyer and used the stairs. When she reached her brother’s room, he was awake. “You okay?”
“Slept for an hour. Food’s pretty good. Better than at the other place. Do hope this new doctor doesn’t want me to perform.
“You can always refuse.” She heard a rap on the door. “Come in. She turned and nearly slid from the chair. He can’t be here. How had this happened? Why hadn’t she heard? “What are you doing here?” A thread of anger made her voice shrill.
A smile froze on his face. “I’m checking on my new patient. Do you have a problem with that?”
She shook her head. Though seeing him and knowing this would be a daily event, she couldn’t question his medical skills. “I was expecting Dr. Joe.”
“I’m his new partner. Do you have Jon’s records?”
“I gave Cate a disc. They should be in his record here.”
He opened a tablet and spent a few minutes scanning the screen. “They’re here. After my assessment, I’ll read them.”
Suzanna ruffled Jon’s dark curls. “Dr. Winstone is a good doctor. I worked with him at City. Listen to him.”
A puzzled expression appeared on Jon’s face. He looked from her to Caleb. “Okay.”
“I’ll be back with your second dinner.” She brushed past Caleb. Her legs felt rubbery and tears blurred her vision. Now she knew where he’d gone. Her new position had become a challenge she wasn’t sure she could master.