“Good afternoon!” Tracey said as she walked past the nurses station down the hall from Danny’s room at three thirty on Sunday afternoon.
She only knew a few of the nurses by name, because she’d seen them in Danny’s room, but as a regular visitor for the previous few days the nurses got to know Tracey by sight just as she got to know them. Saying hello was little more than a polite passing gesture, the same gesture the nurses no doubt shared with many people, but polite cost nothing.
“Might be good for some!” one of the nurses Tracey didn’t really recognise said.
“Glad it’s you going in there.” Another one who Tracey only knew as Samantha said.
“Girls! Be quiet. That’s no way to be speaking around patients and their families.” The Head nurse Tracey knew as Sandra said, then she turned to Tracey and said. “Excuse them. Danny has not been happy since he got back from rehab.”
“Oh.” Tracey said questionably. “What happened.”
“Maybe you should ask him that question!” Sandra told Tracey, then walked off with some papers in her hands.
Just because it was Sunday Danny’s rehabilitation didn’t take a rest day. He was hoping to get out of hospital by the middle of the week but to do that he had to improve to a standard both the rehab nurse, Ange Du Bois, and Dr. Jamison were happy with.
Dr. Jamison would have the final say on Danny leaving hospital, unless Danny signed himself out against the surgeon’s wishes which he did not plan to do, but the rehab nurse also had her say on things. And by lunch time on Sunday the nurses opinion was that things were going to plan, like Dr. Jamison she would not be pushed to give a definite answer but she was confident of the way things were headed.
That confidence didn’t wane during the afternoon sessions of therapy. Danny hobbled himself down to the rehab gym under his own steam on crutches and he started out exactly as the nurse expected him too. Leg stretches, muscle strengthening, yoga and gentle massage were all going well and moving in the right direction until just past that half way point of his afternoon session.
When Ange was called out of the gym by a white coated man, no doubt another doctor, Danny saw the opportunity to increase his rehab just a little bit by adding an extra weight to the exercise machine. It was only a three kilogram weight, a weight he easily lifted onto the protruding bar that held the other weights without being seen. To Danny’s mind the more weight he could raise as he straightened his leg the stronger his leg would get and the more likely he’d be to get out of hospital, he’d wanted to add five kilos but the five kilo weight was not in easy reach.
Sitting back on the padded platform Danny got himself into position, using both hands gripped under his knee to lift and move his leg into position with one pad under his knee and the other pad resting against his shin bone. With Nurse Ange still standing just outside the door, presumably so that Danny couldn’t hear the discussions of another patient, Danny restarted his exercises.
The first movement was slow and steady, Danny feeling the extra weight immediately in the repairing muscles above his knee.
“One, two, three.” Danny counted quietly to himself as he slowly moved his knee. “Four, five.” But that was as far as he got because on six instead of saying the number he screamed, “ARGH Fuck!”
Immediately hearing the loud scream Nurse Ange turned and stepped in the door to see Danny crouched over holding his knee yelling in pain, both the nurse and the doctor ran to Danny.
“What’s happened Danny?” Nurse Ange asked as she run towards Danny. He didn’t reply and when Ange got to his side, knelt beside him and tried again Danny still said nothing. “Danny, please tell me what happened. I need to know before I can do anything else.”
“Just hurts.” Danny muttered through groans not about to tell the Nurse what he’d done.
For the next ten minutes Nurse Ange and the doctor Danny didn’t know did all they could to comfort him. They asked questions, inspected his leg and tried to figure out what had happened, at the same time Danny said nothing about the extra weight he’d added to the bench.
Fifteen minutes later Danny was sent back to his room, in a wheelchair escorted by two nurses, with his leg throbbing and aching. At the same time as Danny was being led into his room Nurse Ange noticed the extra weight Danny had placed on the bench. It wasn’t the first time Ange had seen such stuff done by patients, especially patients in a hurry to get out of hospital, but that still didn’t make it easier to deal with.
Confronting Danny about what he did was not something Ange particularly liked either, but she knew it had to be done. It didn’t matter how she told a patient that they had done the wrong thing, risked their own health and safety, and would need extra scans and tests to work out if any serious damage was done, it didn’t get easier.
One of the reasons it didn’t get any easier was because of patients like Danny who not only tried to defend himself, defend his actions, but exploded with rage when it was pointed out that rehabilitation was done the way it was for a reason. The verbal tirade Danny offered Nurse Ange in return for giving him the news resembled the sort of verbal attack often seen in an ER department when a drug addled ice user comes in on a Friday night high was a kite and drunk off their head. The only saving grace for any nurse within earshot was that the tirade was not delivered with any violence.
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