for some great excerpts. Mine is from Choices and deals with romance and hospital politics
JOHANNA GORDON RAKED HER fingers
through her short curls and glanced at the clock centered on the wall between
her diplomas. Seven-thirty. No wonder her shoulders ached. She’d been hunched
over the desk since four.
a sigh, she closed a folder and added it to the neat stack on a corner of the
desk. She pursed her lips. For two weeks, the budget for the nursing department
at the hospital had consumed her time. Unfortunately, money would remain her
focus until she found areas to cut costs without compromising patient care or
breaking the current contract with the nurses. Not that Hudson Community’s CEO
cared about either option. She stretched to ease the tension between her
couldn’t I...” An idea occurred and she smiled.
Something to consider. Richard Jamison didn’t
care which programs were dropped as long as his pet
projects remained intact.
Just this morning he’d reminded her she belonged to administration and to
remember where her loyalties lay. Not with him. She’d risen through the ranks
and saw more than the profits and losses he tossed around.
loudspeaker on the wall crackled. “Dr. Red to the Emergency Room.” In staccato
fashion, the operator repeated the message three times.
a well-honed response, Johanna rose, grabbed her briefcase and, in three
strides, reached the door.
The call for any surgeon meant an emergency
requiring immediate surgery. Her body quivered with excitement.
through the empty outer office, crossed the hall and hit the call button for
like an old fire horse, she thought. The alarm clangs and I’m off running. She
stepped into the empty car. What was her hurry? How much help would she be?
She’d been away from the bedside for ten years.
she exited on the first floor, she nearly collided with Rachel Hill. Her
friend’s dark hair had slipped from
the neat bun at her nape. Like a sail,
Rachel’s lab coat flew behind her. She carried two units of blood.
frowned. Rachel usually worked the day shift. “Bad accident?” Johanna asked.
worst. A six-year-old hit by a car. And to think I volunteered to switch.”
Johanna matched strides with her friend’s half-running gait, the soft leather
briefcase slapped against her thigh. “Need an extra pair of hands?”
If there was another body in the room, they’d be standing on the patient. Be
glad you’re out of the
zoo. Not that I blame people for caring about a child,
but if the patient was old, indigent or dying... Don’t let me get started.”
to talk?” Together they dashed up the five steps to the emergency room level.
straight-armed the door. “Maybe I do. Dinner on—” The door closed and cut off
the rest of her words.
frowned. By the time they found an evening to fit Rachel’s schedule, she would
have forgotten the incident that had triggered her anger. Instead of talking
about the hospital, she would discuss her children. Despite their closeness,
this topic always added to Johanna’s aching knowledge that she had no one.
continued to the exit. For the past few months, she’d wondered if the climb up
the administrative ladder had been the right choice. Ten years ago, she’d been
an ER nurse, meeting challenges and solving a dozen crises every day. The
decision to leave the ER had been made for financial reasons. The higher salary
had paid for her sister’s and her
parents’, home health aides. Six months ago, the family obligations had ended,
with an empty social life.
a moment, she stared at the red brick building. The hospital’s center section
was five stories, while the angled wings were four. The sight always made her
think of a bird in flight. Lately, her office here had seemed more like home
than the house eight blocks away.
reluctance to move held her prisoner. Spray from the lawn sprinklers misted on
her face and arms. She studied the bank of peonies along the walk leading to
the hospital’s front entrance. Their sweet scent mingled with
the aroma of wet
earth. With a sigh, she overcame the inertia and crossed the street.
carried her down the hill. In the distance, the Hudson
reflected the colors of the setting
sun. At the bottom of
the hill, she turned the corner. She hurried past houses dating from colonial
days to a turn-of-the-century Victorian that towered over two houses built in
the last ten years. Each house had a unique
paused beside the yew hedge surrounding the yard of the house where she’d lived
all her life. As she strode up the walk, her hand brushed the clipped edges.
The scent of roses reached her. Red, pink and white
blooms covered the
trellises at either end of the porch.
climbed the steps, turned and paused. With arms crossed on her chest, she
stared at the street. As though trying to erase a chill, her hands moved along
her arms. A soft sigh escaped. The ice of loneliness couldn’t
be rubbed away
like frost from windows on a winter morning.
hands dropped to her side, but she made no move to go inside where shadows of
the past gathered.
She had no desire to face memories of the years when she’d
been a devoted sister and a dutiful daughter.
looked at the darkening sky. Sometimes, she felt her entire life had been lived
in the moments between day and night—with every instant tinged with gray, and
every action controlled by duty and responsibility. Were they virtues or walls
she’d erected to keep from reaching for life?