Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chapter 6 - Walter makes it to the hospital

The boy in Walters’s arms sat motionless, no longer screaming or crying. The black and red flesh turned and bubbled at the surface from where the boy’s nylon shirt had succumbed, melting into the skin from the heat of the overturned grill. The air stood in vacuum, no sound, no wind as the man grabbed his son up from the car, having slid to a stop, ripping the gear shift on the console into park. Walter held the boy gently, his arms like two muscular poles as the boy lay across him. No noise, no whimper or moan, only the boy’s shallow breath disclosed the boy’s nightmarish pain. Walter felt the sticky wet of his son’s clothes as they pressed against his arms. He kicked the door as he attempted to enter the emergency room but the automatic door only served to slow his ingress. The hard thud of his food hitting the door shook the glass sending ripples throughout the face of the building. Occupants swiveled in their seats, necks and heads all turned to see Walter moving the building from his way. No one spoke as Walter pressed through the otherwise ailing but non-emergency hospital patrons in line at the triage desk. A young woman sat casually eating a donut in one hand, a pen, a clipboard and a large computer screen the size of a console television sat on the desk as she casually, absently handed out forms and orders to take a seat. “What seems to be the problem today, sir?” she said as her eyes rolled to greet him. Walter grabbed her attention from the screen by kicking the outside wall of her counter, worn from arms and stomachs leaning on it day in and day out. The sound of Walter’s foot smashing against the side of the desk released a startling, base like ‘THWAM.” The loudness caused the attendant to jump back and let a small bark of fear escape her lips. 


“Listen. My son is hurt. He is in a great deal of pain and I need some help, NOW. I want you to put down that donut, get up off of your ass and get a doctor and a gurney. Do you understand or will I have to kick down that Goddamn door and find my own doctor?” His voice was calm. No inflection. Walter’s eyes were wide and severe. His anger and fear pierced here and she could tell that he meant what he was saying. She did not argue.


“She reached over to the side of the desk and picked up a microphone on a silver, bendable pole. She pressed a red light on the counter and said into the microphone, “Emergency, code 19. Emergency, code 19. Repeat. Emergency, code 19. All available medical personnel and security to the triage desk as soon as possible.” Her voice too was demanding as she articulated each word precisely, never moving her eyes from his gaze.


Almost immediately, the doors leading to the hidden labyrinth of curtains, white waxed tile, bags of fluid and medical staff barely moving, swung open as two tall, men in white coats burst out, their arms swung back to their waists as they approached Walter. The Man on the left said, “My name is Dr. Bimson. This is Doctor Reeve. What has happened?”


Walter recounted the events as he remembered them. The last few minutes a fog to him, he could not recount how long it had truly been so he guessed at less than 15 minutes had passed. As accurate as any guess, the Doctors moved away as a white sheet covered mattress gurney burst out of the door behind the men. A woman was wielding an oxygen mask and tank followed while several other staff members came forth bearing various devices, supplies and implements. They swung around and pulled the gurney back at great speed. The doors smacked the rubber stoppers and gave a shutter as they stood aside while the heard move past. Walter went back into the back. The doctors told the man that he could stay and watch but not to speak or interfere if he wanted the boy to survive. The people buzzed around the boy as Walter watched on. The curtain room filled with shouts and commands for instruments that had appeared from a tray. Monitors were being attached to the boys head, feet and neck while IVs were placed into both arms. He did not move. He stood there like a statue, cold, unblinking as they conducted the affairs of saving the boy’s life. The blood was draining from the man’s face, his soul shrinking back from his eyes, staring. Walter could feel his insides shattering.


The floor was dripping with charcoal laden fluid, bits of skin and streams of cloudy saline. The boy’s screams were deafening as the doctors began to pick and scrub and the wounds. Three men held the boy to the gurney as he tried to break free from the tormenting, the picking, and the scraping of his bleeding, tender flesh. The doctors worked the wounds for a very long time. No one could be sure how long exactly. After some time, the boy’s screams subsided as the trauma gave way to numb distance. The boys breathing was shallow but steady as he laid there, eyes open like a gasping fish being scaled. Occasionally, his face twitched or his arm jerked in reaction to new pain. Walter could now hear his wife’s wailing and lamenting in the lobby as they’d managed to arrive. Walter turned, his stony face looking on his wife. Her face sagged – her eyes like red slits. The green hollows in there center were the color fear and grief. As the contrast their background, Walter could feel how they cut through him, into him, searching, stabbing him.


This was really the moment, the true moment when Walter died.