Ted’s eyes popped open. His heart was beating like he had just woken up from a very bad dream but his mind was blank. It was either he didn’t have a dream or the memories of it vanished the second his eyes opened.
He could hear some murmurings in the hallway but couldn’t pick up anything.
This is the day, he thought. He heard some footsteps entering his room.
“Good morning to you Teddy; I can see you’re awake already. Excited about the surgery?”
“Yeah I think so…who am I speaking to, please?”
“Oh I must say I’m offended, Mr. Bourbon. It is me, Cindy. Are you implying it’s only Lucia’s voice you can recognize around here?”
“I’m sorry, Cindy; it’s just that it is usually Lucia who checks up on me first in the morning.”
“I know; she should be here by now but she isn’t and you’ve to be prepped for your surgery and that’s why I’m here,” Cindy explained.
“Oh okay…have you called to check on her why she’s late?”
“Yes I have; three times already but her phone’s off. Don’t worry, she’ll walk you to the O.R.,” Cindy said with a smile.
“Is she normally late to work?”
“You’ve been here for a while. Has Lucia Baker ever been late on her rounds?”
“So should we be worried?”
“No, Ted. It happens sometimes. She’ll be in any minute. She knows today means a lot to you.”
“Okay.” He closed his eyes and muttered a simple prayer: Please bring her to work safely, God.
Dr. Grant entered.
“The day is finally here, Mr. Bourbon. You must be happy.”
“That’s good. You’ll be wheeled to the O.R. in a few minutes and we’ll start soon after. Would you want to go over the procedure with the surgeon-in-charge?”
“Well, I’d love to have Lucia by my side before I’m taken to the O.R. so if talking to the doctor would help while away the time whiles I wait for Lucia, that will be great.”
The doctor and nurse exchanged a glance.
“Of course, Ted. I’ll get him right away.”
“So are you okay with what I’ve said so far?” the doctor asked.
“Yes I am.”
“Okay then; we’ll meet in the O.R.,” he said and excused himself.
Dr. Grant patted Ted on the shoulder.
“It will be fine. The nurses will wheel you…”
“Wait; is Lucia in yet?”
“Unfortunately no, Ted. We’ve tried her number several times but it is off.”
“Can we wait for her?”
“Ted, we’ve booked the O.R. for this morning. There are two other surgeries booked after yours.”
“So can you just reschedule mine for the afternoon and let one of the two take my place right now?” Ted asked.
“No we can’t. The surgeon who will be working on you has an incredibly tight schedule and it is a miracle we got him on such a short notice.”
“Short notice? I had to wait for 2 weeks!”
“My point exactly; that hardly happens and he has to fly out immediately after your surgery so rescheduling isn’t an option here.”
“Could you please try her number one last time?” Ted pleaded.
Cindy glanced at the doctor who nodded. Cindy stepped out and came back with a telephone. She dialed Lucia’s number and gave the phone to Ted.
Please pick up, Lucia; don’t abandon me now, please, he silently prayed. He put the phone down in despair.
“It is still off.”
“So what happens now?” Dr. Grant asked.
“Why, is there another option here?”
“Well, if you think Lucia’s presence is that important to you, we can cancel the procedure and book for another day and I honestly don’t know exactly when that would be but you’d have to be discharged because apart from your sight, you’re perfectly fine.”
“No; I’m not leaving this place blind. I’ll have the surgery.”
“Wise decision. I’ll let Lucia know where you are the moment she arrives,” Dr. Grant promised.
“Thanks.” He was quickly wheeled away.
“Ready, Mr. Bourbon?” the surgeon asked Ted. He nodded as he swallowed hard. When they put the tube on his nose and the anesthesia began to kick in, the last memory he had in mind were that of Lucia’s voice saying ‘Don’t worry; everything will be all right’. His slowly slipped into unconsciousness.
Midway through the surgery, Dr. Grant came in to the O.R.
“How’s he doing so far?” he inquired.
“Great; I’ll be done soon.” Dr. Grant noticed Ted’s fingers moving.
“Is he moving?”
“What?” His fingers moved again.
“Oh no, the anesthesia is wearing off! Fix it, please!” A syringe was immediately inserted into the tube and the contents emptied into it. A few seconds later, Ted stopped moving. The surgeon sighed in relief.
“Thank you, Dr. Grant.”
“Anytime,” he replied and walked out of the O.R.
Hours later, Ted woke up and felt his head bandaged up. He touched it with his hand and groaned in pain. He heard someone enter.
“Are you okay, Mr. Bourbon?” Cindy asked.
“I have a terrible headache.”
“Sure; I’ll get you some analgesics.”
“Is Lucia around?”
“No…she’s still not in.”
“Is she okay?”
“I wouldn’t know. I’ll ask Dr. Grant and get back to you.”
“I’d appreciate that, thank you.”
“I’ll be right back.”
“How’s my patient of the month doing?” Dr. Grant asked as he entered.
“Well rested, I guess. When are the bandages coming off?” he asked.
“I hope the surgery went well.”
“Yes it did.”
“And Lucia, why isn’t she in yet?” He cleared his throat.
“I received a phone call when you were in surgery. She suffered some sort of accident last night.”
“What, what kind of accident?”
“I’m not very clear on it. So she has been admitted and the doctors are keeping a close eye on her.”
“Has she been admitted here?”
“No, not here.”
“Is it very serious?”
“It seems so but the doctors are hopeful she’ll come out fine.”
“I really wanted her to be the first person I get to see when these bandages come off.”
“I know; but one day, you may get to meet her.”
“May get to? You make it sound like the chance of that happening is slim.”
“Well, life happens but I do hope you do get to meet her. She is indeed a nice person.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Do you want me to call your family so they can be here tomorrow?”
“No…I might as well do this alone. I’ve been in this alone from the beginning…with Lucia and if she’s not here, then it will be just me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Okay; I’ll be back to check up on you, Ted.”
“Okay; thanks for telling me.”
“You’re welcome.” He left the room.
“Oh Lucia…you promised me…you promised you’d be here,” Ted muttered.