Lisa went to visit her mother at the institution where she was being admitted.
“How are you feeling, mother?”
“I don’t like this place, Liz. Please take me away from here.”
“Why, do they mistreat you?”
“No; not that. I want to be at home…where I belong.”
“I understand but they seem to be taking good care of you here.”
“But I’ll be better if I get home. That man shouldn’t have brought me here. He just left me here!”
“It wasn’t like that, mum. I wasn’t around and he’s a busy man.”
“Are you neglecting me, Lisa?”
“No, mum; I’d never do that.”
“Then get me out of here!” she demanded. Lisa unconsciously flinched.
“Fine; I’ll have to talk to my husband first.”
“What? Do you have to seek permission from him before getting your mother released?” Anne asked, shocked.
“No, not that; I need to get something from him that would help with the processing. That’s all. I’ll get you out mum, I assure you.”
“Thanks, my dear.” Lisa hugged her mum and for a moment, a rush of emotions filled her. Tears filled her eyes. She held onto her mother tightly. Anne rocked her gently.
“Are you okay, my child? It looks like you want to cry.”
“Yes mum; there are a lot of things to cry about. But I’m fine now….now that I’m in your arms.” Anne smiled. “I’m always here for you, baby.”
Lisa entered Ethan’s office to find it empty. She put her bag on the desk and took her phone out. She dialed his number. Ethan picked up.
“Where are you?” Lisa asked.
“I’m in my office,” he replied as he opened the door. Their eyes met.
“You’re looking radiant,” he complimented. Lisa canceled the call. He entered and closed the door. He approached her to kiss her but she avoided him.
“I want the slip you were given when you got my mother admitted,” she said flatly.
“Why, you want to get her out?”
“Why? Isn’t she getting help there?”
“You talk like she has a mental problem.”
“Sorry…I didn’t mean that.”
“Well, since you’ve rendered me almost unemployed, I must find something to keep me busy for the meantime, right?”
“So you choose to babysit Annie?”
“What else should I do? Jer’s not much of a problem now.”
“I think it’s better…”
“You’re not going to tell me what to do with my mother, Ethan!”
“Doctor Richards,” someone called out as the door opened. The couple both turned their heads. It was Betty. Lisa gaped and looked at Ethan in shock.
“You’re being summoned to the director’s office,” Betty announced.
“Sure; I’ll be right there.”
“Good day, Mrs. Richards,” she greeted and closed the door. Lisa pointed to the door.
“I can explain…”
“You lied to me about her leaving so you can spend jolly time with her?”
“Of course not; I thought she was going to be transferred but I found out yesterday that that wasn’t going to happen because apparently she’s a useful asset to this hospital.”
“Apparently? I’d say surely. You sicken me, Ethan,” Lisa said with disdain as she took her bag from the desk and turned to leave.
“Lisa, please…” Ethan held her arm.
“I’d never lie to you.”
“So why didn’t you tell me she was staying?”
“Because you were not in a good mood last night…”
“With good reason,” Lisa interjected.
“So I couldn’t bring it up.”
“Whatever…just give me the slip so I can leave.”
“Let’s talk about this first.”
“Don’t you have to be at the director’s office?” Lisa reminded him.
“Oh yeah…I’ve a bad feeling.”
“What happened to the patient you operated on yesterday?”
“That’s what I’m going to find out at the director’s. Could you please wait up for me? I really need you by my side at a time like this,” Ethan pleaded.
“Is that why you got me dropped from my case so I can act the supportive doctor’s wife role?” Lisa asked sarcastically.
“Lisa….fine, you go. I’ll see you at home then we can trash this out.”
“There’s nothing to trash out because all this is trash itself.” Ethan opened a drawer and pulled out the slip. He handed it to her. She looked at it.
“Thanks,” she said and walked out.
As she approached the main exit, Michael called her. She stopped and turned.
“Hey…you came! That’s good. Ethan needs you right now.”
“What do you mean?”
“You mean he didn’t tell you what happened in the operating room yesterday?”
“Yeah he did…”
“He’s being called to the hot seat right now. He could end up in hot waters…”
“Ah… So where you are off to?”
“I’m headed to the office.”
“Okay; I’ll stick around.”
“Thanks, Lisa. I’ll see you then.” He walked off. Lisa got into her car and sighed.
“Could you please wait up for me? I really need you by my side at a time like this,” Ethan’s words echoed in her ears. She placed her head on the steering wheel and groaned. She opened the car door and stepped out. She locked the door and walked back inside.
“Doctor Richards, I’m sorry to say I’ve bad news.”
“What happened to the young man?”
“He’s brain-dead, Ethan.”
“What? That’s not possible.”
“Everything’s possible on the operating table, Ethan especially when you’re distracted.”
“A witness in the operating room yesterday said you were distracted.”
“Not even for a second?”
“Maybe I was…”
“And that’s all it takes to mess up one’s head and one’s life forever, Ethan.”
“So what’s going to happen now?” Mike asked.
“Well, first of all, we have to break this unfortunate news to the family and no one has to tell you that you have to be the one, Doctor Richards.” Ethan nodded.
“And Ethan?” Mike inquired.
“If this goes away peacefully, you could be put on at least 2 weeks’ probation.”
“And if it doesn’t?” Ethan asked.
“Well let’s hope it doesn’t,” the director said. Mike and Ethan left the office.
Ethan opened the door feeling dejected to find his wife seated with her legs crossed on the table, playing with her phone.
“Lisa…” he said, breathless. Lisa got alarmed at his facial expression.
“Ethan, what happened?” She asked as she got up and walked to him. They hugged. Mike tapped his shoulder.
“I’ll excuse you two,” he said and left the office.
“I thought you had left.”
“Trust me I was going to; Michael stopped me.”
“Thanks for staying.”
“Don’t mention it, honey; I’m always here for you.” He held her tighter.
“I killed someone, Lisa.”
“What, the patient died?”
“He’s brain-dead so yeah, he’s practically dead. And I’ve to be the one to break the news. I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think I’m strong enough.”
“I’ll be by your side, honey,” she assured him as she kissed his cheek.
“Do you want to take the rest of the day off?” Lisa asked.
“I can’t for now; I’ve to talk to the family first. They’ll be here any minute.”
“Okay.” Lisa sat down on the couch and made him lie on her thigh. She touched his face.
“It will be okay; it will pass.”
“I doubt it, Lisa. I ended someone’s life! How can I ever get pass that?”
“We will, Ethan; we will.” She kissed his forehead. “Just close your eyes and try to relax.” He obeyed.
Some minutes later, the solemn silence in the office was broken when the door opened. Ethan startled.
“The family just arrived, Ethan,” Michael announced.
“Okay; thanks,” Ethan said as he sat up.
“Do you want me to go with you?” he offered.
“No thanks; Lisa will be with me,” he answered, holding his wife’s hand. Lisa smiled encouragingly.
“Okay; if you need me, let me know.”
“Sure.” Mike left.
“Ready to do this?” Lisa asked.
“I am if you are.”
“Let’s do this.” They got up and left the office.
“Mummy!” Little Jer screamed when he saw his parents enter.
“Hi honey,” Lisa responded as she bent down to take the young lad in her arms as he ran to her. She kissed him.
“How are you, sweetie?”
“Hi buddy,” Ethan responded as he carried him onto his bosom. Sandra came in.
“You’re back early,” she remarked.
“Yeah, something came up,” Lisa said, standing up.
“So do you still need me to stick around or…?”
“Oh no; thank you. I think we need some family time right now.”
“Okay; I’ll go and get my bag,” Sandra said and walked out. She came back.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Jer,” she said as she playfully pulled his cheeks.
“Bye, Sandra,” Jer waved at her.
“Thanks Sandra,” Ethan said.
“You’re welcome, Dr. Richards.”
“See you, Lisa.”
“Sure.” She left. Ethan sat down with Jeremy on his lap.
“Want a drink?”
“Milk!” Jeremy cried out.
“Okay…what about you, honey?”
“Water is fine,” Ethan replied. Lisa went to the kitchen and returned with two glasses and a feeding bottle full of skimmed milk. Jeremy squirmed with excitement as his mother gave him the bottle. Ethan took the glass and gulped it down. Lisa dropped herself beside him and sighed.
“So what are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know…maybe, use the week off to de-stress myself. I do need it very much.”
“And I’ll be with you every step of the way,” Lisa said reassuringly as she brushed her palm across his arm.
“Thanks, Lisa. I think I need to take a nap.” He kissed Jeremy on the head and handed him to Lisa.
“I’ll see you later, love,” he said and got up. He went upstairs. Jeremy slapped his mother playfully on both cheeks.
“Ouch, Jer!” He giggled.
“Want to go for a stroll, huh? Yeah you do.” She got up and walked out of the door.
Later in the evening, Ethan came downstairs and found his wife standing at the balcony, holding a glass of wine and in deep thought. He hugged her from behind and kissed her neck.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing and everything. You had a good rest?”
“Yeah; I was expecting to see you beside me when I awoke.”
“Jeremy and I went for a stroll. He’s sleeping now. I suddenly have a need for lots of fresh air,” Lisa said.
“Don’t we both? Since we are both free this week, why not take a little break?” he suggested. She looked at him.
“We could spend the time at a beach resort…just you and me.”
“Oh I’m sure your mum and Sandra can take care of that.”
Lisa beamed at the thought. “Really?”
“What do you think? Can we just run away just for a little while?”
“Sure; I’m all in!” She turned around and hugged him.
“Thanks for being here with me at a time like this, Liz. It means more than you know.”
“Yeah…that’s what I signed up for when I said ‘I do’ to a surgeon,” Lisa said lightly. He kissed her.
“You are an angel, Lisa.”
“Then you must be an archangel, Ethan.” They both smiled.