I awoke in a quiet beige and white sanitized room. I could barely hear movement and muffled conversations beyond the door. My memory came back slowly. Obviously, I survived. I moved my arm and leg, and the numbness was gone. That was a good sign. I tried to sit up and decided it really wasn’t worth the effort. Still a bit weak. I closed my eyes again and was soon fast asleep.
“Mr. Tomlinson… Mr. Tomlinson?” A woman’s voice woke me from my sleep. “Good morning, Mr. Tomlinson,” she added when my eyes opened. It was a nurse, dressed in a blue set of smocks. “You’re in St. Vincent’s. You experienced a sudden cardiac arrest.” No shit, I thought. Even the naked lady on the beach knew that. “Dr. Heller wanted me to wake you up before he began his rounds.” She checked an IV bag that was attached to my arm. “Would you like to sit up?”
“Yes.” I said a bit hoarsely. I was feeling a bit vulnerable fully on my back. She adjusted the bed a bit and then helped me raise my shoulders.
“I’ll get you some fresh water.” She grabbed a pitcher that was next to the bed and headed out the door. At least I had a private room. The walls seemed thick enough so I didn’t feel crushed by the number of people who were obviously in the building. All in all, it could have been a lot worse.
She returned with a full pitcher and a cup with a built-in lid and straw. It looked a little juvenile, but I was pretty thirsty. She filled the cup and place it in my hand. For a second there, I thought she was going to hold the cup to my lips so I kind of fumbled the handoff. Good thing it had a lid. I took a few sips and relieved my dry throat.
“Do you have any questions?” She looked at me quizzically. I wasn’t sure what to ask. I felt kind of like I had to ask something.
“Yes! How did I get here?” It was simple enough and showed I wasn’t completely without my wits.
“I wasn’t here last night, but I understand you were brought in by helicopter.” She said pointing to the roof. “You were very lucky. I understand you flat-lined in transit, but the paramedics were able to revive you. Dr. Heller will have to explain the treatment you received once you arrived. He should be here in a few minutes.” Fuck, I died in a helicopter. As if on cue, the doctor wearing the same color smocks as the nurse walked in with a clipboard.
“Good morning Mr. Tomlinson.” This was getting a bit repetitive. “It’s good to see you awake.” I felt the need to respond.
“Good morning.” I said. A lot of my hoarseness was gone.
“I’m Dr. Heller, and I was the attending physician when you came in last night.” He looked up from the clipboard. “You had a very close call. Luckily you had some good first aid.” He went over to a terminal on the wall that was wired to a clip on my left finger. After playing with the settings a bit he returned his face to mine again. “We were unable to locate a next of kin so I had to accept that Monica…” he looked at his clipboard “Rose was acting in your interest.”
“Yes, she always does.” I said carefully.
“You were stung on the foot by a jellyfish.” He was looking at me closely. “You had a rather strong allergic reaction and your heart stopped. Usually these things are just uncomfortable, but reactions like yours are not completely uncommon.”
“I don’t remember going in the water.” I tried hard to think back.
“Actually, the animal can remain quite potent a few days after death. You could have just step on one on the beach.” He leaned over the bed and disconnected the clip on my finger. I remembered the sting when I was adjusting that damn umbrella.
“Are there any lasting effects?” I wiggled my toes again to make sure they were still working right.
“No.” He chuckled. “At least not normally. Some Benadryl for the symptoms. The toxin flushes itself out in a few days. Believe it or not, we’re only going to keep you overnight. Once we make sure you won’t relapse, we’ll release you.” He was pretty cheerful sounding. “You should be able to continue on with your life as normal, but I would recommend you see a cardiologist in a week so just to make sure there is no permanent damage.” Wow, drive-through medicine.
“Thanks, Doctor.” I wasn’t sure if there was a protocol for what to say to someone who saved your life. I was afraid to add any embellishments that might sound fake. He just patted my on the shoulder.
“I’ll see you before you leave tomorrow.” He walked out to continue his rounds.
“Monica Rose is waiting outside to see you. Do you feel up to a visitor?” The nurse smiled like it was a good thing. I wasn’t excited about seeing her in my weakened state, but I am sure she was instrumental in my survival.
“Yes, of course.” I tried to smile because I felt the nurse expected me too. I hated dealing with people. Everything felt uncomfortable. Good thing I was going home tomorrow. She opened the door and waved Monica in on her way out.
“I understand you’re going home tomorrow.” Monica didn’t say hello. God she was easy to talk to.
“Yes. I guess I have you to thank for the helicopter and private room.” I almost died. I have to thank someone or they might just let me go next time.
“Actually, it is Mia Perez you need to thank. You will get the bill for my services.” She wasn’t smiling just all business.
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