Cassie woke with a renewed excitement; on one hand she didn’t have a muscle cramp but on the other, her foot itched!
I never thought I would be so happy for these bodily annoyances!
She had to fight really hard to keep from trying to wiggle her foot in an effort to somehow appease the itch Gods. She knew she wasn’t allowed to move, but what if she could? What if she did and then it all went away because she screwed her recovery up?
She mentally shook her head and gave up on the idea and was just getting ready to hit the ‘call nurse’ button when the door opened and the nurse walked in.
“Providence!” Cassie declared.
“What?” Charles, her nurse asked.
Cassie giggled and said, “My foot itches, I need help!”
“Well, how about that, huh? Which one?”
“The left one, right on the arch. It’s driving me crazy. I know I shouldn’t complain, but it’s frustrating not being able to scratch the darn thing!” She sighed with pleasure as she felt Charles scratch the offending itch.
“There, is that better?” he asked, watching the cat-like satisfied smile creep across her face.
“Oh yeah…better than, er, chocolate?” she chuckled.
“What is better than chocolate? Surely nothing can be better than chocolate?” Georgio asked, coming into the room. Dr. Miller was with him again this morning, looking very serious and very, very young Cassie decided.
“Having an itchy foot scratched! Yeah, right now it is definitely better than chocolate. But ask me later when nothing itches and I’ll tell you a different tale,” she promised.
“Nothing, hm?” Georgio murmured quietly. He quirked an eyebrow up as his head was bent but Cassie caught the whole thing since she was down so low. Georgio spied her watching him and realized that she had saw and heard his comment and mentally chastised himself for not being a bit more circumspect.
He cleared his throat, hoping that it would clear his mind at the same time and said, “How are you feeling this morning Cassie?”
“Great. Thought I might take a stroll later!” She then looked at Georgio sincerely and said, “Like down to Sarah’s room, please? This bed does move you know!”
“Well Cassie, it does move but it isn’t meant to be portable, like a wheel chair, you know. I’m afraid that isn’t a possibility right now.” He saw her eyes quickly fill with tears and hated that he had had to tell her no. “But maybe she’ll be able to come and see you.”
Cassie nodded, trying hard to blink away the stinging tears. She did understand, but she wanted, needed to see for herself that Sarah was alright. She swallowed a huge lump and felt the pain that made her throat ache. She needed to think of something else to change her focus so she said, “So, is the itch this morning another part of my recovery?”
Georgio nodded, glad to move on to another subject. “Yes it is. It demonstrated nerve recovery. I hate to say it but you can probably expect more of that type of reaction.”
“It’s going to drive me crazy isn’t it?” she asked.
He smiled and sort of shrugged his broad shoulders, which looked fantastic in his scrubs Cass thought.
Focus girl, focus!
“Will it be painful?”
“Not so painful as intense at times, possibly. Like, well you know how it feels when your legs go to sleep and then you stand up? Sort of like that at times, but you should remember that everyone is different Cassie. You may feel that to some greater or lesser extent.”
“But it’s a good thing, right?”
“It’s a great thing. It means you’re healing!”
“I think I need a margarita!” she told him, only half joking.
“Maybe Lissa will smuggle one in for you?” he teased, making notes on her chart.
“Really? She could?” Cass asked hopefully.
“NO! I’m joking, no tequila.” He saw her face fall and he quickly added, “For now, okay?”
“You just wait until I blow this Popsicle stand. Tequila here I come! Gallons of it! You can watch!”
He shook his head, laughing as he made one final note in the chart and handed it to Charles, who had been watching this whole exchange with interest.
“I think I would be picking you up off of the floor, if there really is going to be gallons of it!”
“It’s a date!” Cassie exclaimed and then turned bright red as she realized what she had just said. She heard Charles clear his throat in the background, which only made it all worse.
“Uh, Dr. Gorman, if you are through in here I need to get to 613 to check on the patient there,” Charles said, looking from Cassie to Georgio.
Great, he thinks there is something going on here, Georgio thought.
Dr. Miller hadn’t said a thing in this exchange and was slightly amused to see his mentor so disconcerted. It wasn’t like him at all. Dr. Miller didn’t necessarily think it was a bad thing either; Dr. Ice seems to have met his match he thought with a grin .
“Well, Cassie,” Georgio said, ready to flee the room, “do you have any other questions this morning?”
Cassie couldn’t quite meet his eyes and so she just shook her head and murmured “No!”
“Okay then. If you need anything be sure and let us know. We’ll see you later today.”
Cassie watched as all three of them left the room and she let out a sigh of relief.
Way to go Cassie, you made a fool out of yourself!
The rest of the morning took its usual course – breakfast, a bath and a visit from her parents. Her dad had checked in with Janine at An Affair to Remember and things were going well there, nothing for Cassie to worry about he had reported. Janine was planning on visiting her soon with an update on new projects and Cassie eagerly looked forward to it; it would help take her mind off of things.
After lunch Cassie was bored to death and trying to decide if she wanted to watch a DVD or take a nap. There was a knock on the door and she looked up expectantly, eager for a visitor.
“Holy shit, look who you got to push you around? Just your luck, Sarah! Totally inexperienced, but I guess he was the best you could get on short notice, huh?”
Cassie wore a smile a mile wide but Sarah noticed tears gathering in the corners of her eyes and asked Adam to push her over close to Cassie so she could hold her hand.
Sarah clasped Cassie’s hand, afraid it might hurt her and they both started crying in earnest then, talking at the same time.
“Sarah, I’m so sorry I got us into this!”
“Cass, I’m so sorry you have been so badly hurt because of me!”
They looked at each other, surprised at what they had each said and simultaneously said, “Huh?”
“Cassie, you didn’t get us into this, you were only driving me home in the horrible storm. We should have waited it out!”
“But I was driving, Sarah. If I had been paying better attention, maybe we wouldn’t have crashed!”
Adam had disappeared into the bathroom and came out carrying a handful of tissues and gave each of the women several.
“He’s handy too?”
“Yes, he is,” Sarah answered, smiling at Cassie and then looking at Adam, who was leaning back against the wall, arms and feet crossed, watching them both. He was giving them his dimple grin and Sarah looked at Cassie and saw that she was responding to it, knowing that you can’t help it there was no way to resist it. That grin is infectious! Her face was full of excitement and orneriness!
“You better hang onto him you know,” she said, a very serious look in her eye. She looked at Adam and he was still smiling. Sarah was happy because she knew that this is the smile that he only gives to people he cares about. The public never sees this one and she was thankful for that.
“So you two met already, huh?” Sarah said, completely happy about that fact.
“Yes, Lissa brought me up here yesterday. I had to meet her; had it not been for you Cassie, well, my reception might not have gone quite so smoothly.”
“You mean that Derek might have tried to kick your ass?” Cassie said, an impish grin on her face.
Adam laughed out loud and remarked, “He may still! It’s going to take a while to uh, win him over, I’m afraid!” He pulled up another chair and sat down, looking very much at ease.
Cassie watched how Sarah watched Adam as he talked; she was completely taken with him; she did love him Cassie knew. But Adam was still going to have a hard time going the distance, if Cassie knew Sarah at all.
“Adam, Sarah told me that you live in California and have a couple of boys. How old are they?”
“Geoff is 6 and Tristan is 5. They are great boys and I miss them a good deal. I hope to take Sarah to California to meet them as soon as she is recovered enough.”
Cassie saw Sarah catch her breath when Adam said that, but she didn’t say anything.
Oh boy Adam, you better take these things slow for our girl so she doesn’t panic!
They chatted for a short while longer and then there was a brief knock on the door. At Cassie’s “Come in”, Georgio walked in. He was wearing a pristine white coat over an azure blue shirt, which exactly matched the color of his eyes. Eyes that Sarah thought wore the most beautiful long and luxurious lashes she had ever seen outside of a Revlon mascara ad. He had short, thick dark hair that was graying beautifully. He looked very dignified, in a totally cute way. This had to be Dr. Gorgeous, Sarah thought.
Cassie was amazed to see Georgio in anything other than his usual scrubs. She liked seeing him in the scrubs, they showed off his body quite well and they always sent a tingle up her arms to see him. But as she admired him in the deep blue shirt she realized that maybe it wasn’t the scrubs that caused the tingles so much, it was just him.
Big surprise there she thought. She found herself licking her lips before introducing him to Sarah.
“They haven’t smuggled in anything I should know about have they?” Georgio teased and he watched with pleasure as a beautiful pink blush colored Cassie’s face.
“Search me!” she said, batting her eyes in an exaggerating way.
Sarah could see that she was crazy about this guy. He was teasing her and she adored every minute of it. A minute or so later, some young doctors came in and they prepared to examine Cassie.
Sarah grabbed Cassie’s hand and gave it a light squeeze before bending to kiss her cheek. She and Adam told her goodbye and left then. Sarah didn’t even think she realized it; she was so involved with her doctor!
As the door closed Georgio said, “Cassie, this is my team of interns that I teach. They are here to observe today, is that okay?”
“Sure.” Cassie looked at them all and tried not to be nervous. She was determined to behave and not embarrass Georgio in front of them.
She lay there quietly while Georgio filled them in on the facts about her case and shared the amazing results they were having with her treatment. The doctors seemed to have many questions for Georgio and he answered them all patiently.
They looked at Cassie’s legs and moved them around a bit, examining her reactions. It occurred to her to ask how they liked her hairy legs, but she kept her mouth shut for once. Inside she was giggling; why did she think of these stupid things?
Five minutes later they were heading out the door to the next patient and Georgio paused briefly at the door, smiling at Cassie. Then he was gone and the door closed behind him.
Cassie thought briefly of one of her favorite songs, Every Time You Go Away, by Hall and Oates.
Every time you go away,
You take a piece of me with you…
She groaned and rolled her eyes at her thoughts!
Chocolate! I need chocolate…
The next week flew past quickly. Sarah went home from the hospital with her dashing movie star staying with her in Wichita, for the time being. They came to visit several times until Sarah was well enough to travel and then they shared their plans that Sarah was going to go to California with him. Cassie couldn’t have been happier for her, but she knew she would miss Sarah so much. But it was only for a brief visit, Sarah would be home soon and Adam would be going to Dallas to finish work on the movie he was making.
Each day Cassie grew a little better, felt stronger. Georgio told her that they were going to remove the wedge in a week’s time and that she would be able to start sitting up for brief periods of time. Cassie couldn’t wait for this development and everything she did was with a mind toward that goal. She ate tasteless hospital food to regain her strength, she endured cramping muscles and itches and sheer boredom with as much grace as she could because of her goal.
Georgio watched her everyday and admired her sheer stubborn determination to follow orders and get better. Rarely had he had a patient this determined in fact. And with each examination and each conversation with her he fell a little bit more in love with this amazing woman.
Georgio had taken to bringing Cassie small treats occasionally now that Lissa was back in Lawrence. He had checked with a friend of his up at the med school and found out that Melissa Marcus was doing great and was on the track to being an excellent doctor.
He found out that Cassie loved anything chocolate and usually his treats involved small bits of chocolate that he bought for her from various specialty shops around town. He would never admit to himself or anyone else that the reason he was suddenly interested in high quality Swiss chocolate was because of Cassie, but together they tried many varieties, of Swiss, German, Dutch and even Italian chocolate. Some they liked and some they didn’t but the one thing they both loved were those few minutes of connection while they shared the treat.
Their conversation never strayed very far into personal territory, but they did share various bits of information about their lives. She told him about her business and he laughed, understanding so much better her aversion to the hospital food that she usually had to eat. One day he brought her a plate of Greek specialties that his mom had made and she almost cried with excitement. She also swore that she needed to hire his mother!
Yes, their relationship managed to stay on an impersonal level but grow at the same time. Georgio knew that would be changing soon, when she moved to a rehabilitation hospital and he couldn’t wait.
He wouldn’t be her doctor then and everything would change.
Copyright 2010 by Cynthia Hope Hodge
All rights reserved. You may not reproduce, or retransmit by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any other means without permission by the author.