“It’s the damnedest thing,” chirped the young, happy-go-lucky intern at Strangetown Memorial Hospital, “but General Buzz Grunt isn’t the first disgustingly healthy guy to keel over from a massive coronary for no apparent reason, and he won’t be the last.” “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” “Nah, it was all right.” Lazlo grinned. “It was the universe giving me a chance to go into the medical profession, which was something I’d always wanted to do.” I felt a little awkward, Lazlo being a professional and all, but it was likely he was this way with all his patients and patients’ families. Just part of the bedside manner, I was sure. Lazlo was Buzz’s doctor, and that was all.
Poison's Bend: Chapter 12
“So, my father-in-law... is dead?” I could hardly say the words.
“Afraid so, ma’am,” was the reply. “You might want to speak with the resident on call. I’ll let him know you’re waiting...” He made a note on the chart he was holding, clicked the ballpoint pen shut with a flourish, and walked away, whistling.
Damn night shift emergency room interns!
I glared down the hall in which the man had disappeared, shaking my head with disbelief and fully intending on reporting his cavalier attitude to his chief resident... but within moments, thoughts of Buzz invaded my mind and caused a freshet of new tears.
I could not believe he was gone... just that quickly. Yes he had been a mature man, but still he was in his prime of life... and in such good physical condition...
I loved him. Oui, truly I did.
Such a shame.
And oh, my poor Catherine! My little girl! How sad she will be when she learns of this!
How she will miss her grandpere!
I sobbed quietly, my face hidden. I could not let it be known exactly what Buzz was to me. As far as anyone knew, I was simply the mother of his granddaughter, and the only family he had in Strangetown since his youngest son had left for college.
I gulped down my tears and sighed.
Footsteps approached down the corridor, and I looked up to see a dark-haired, bearded doctor who looked vaguely familiar.
“Yes!” He gregariously pulled me into a hug. “Man, it’s good to see you! I’ve been telling Vidcund we need to visit...”
“What are you doing working at the hospital?” I interrupted in a confused voice as we sat on one of the benches in the emergency room waiting area. “I thought you worked at the same research laboratory that Pascal did.”
“Well,” he replied, "sometimes when you take a chance at work, you end up losing your job.”
“Do you enjoy being a doctor?”
“Yeah,” he said, then he sobered. “...except on days like this. Then it sucks.” He reached across my lap and pulled several tissues from a box on a side table, giving them to me. “I want you to know that we did everything we could for him, Aerin, but it was too late. His heart just stopped.”
Tears spilled from my eyes and ran swiftly down my cheeks. Hastily, I wiped them away with the proffered tissues.
“I knew him, you know,” Lazlo said quietly. “We went to high school together. We were never friends, but still...” He shook his head. “It’s terrible when things like this happen.”
“What caused it?” I asked, sniffing.
“No way to tell,” Lazlo replied. “Heart failure isn’t uncommon in a man Buzz’s age, although you’d think his state of physical fitness would have prevented...” He shrugged slowly. “It was just one of those things, Aerin.”
I nodded, and we sat quietly for several moments.
“I really am sorry that Vidcund and I haven’t been around to visit you after Pascal passed on,” Lazlo said softly. “I mentioned it a few times... that we shouldn’t be leaving you there alone, but....” He smiled ruefully. “I’m afraid we aren’t very good brothers-in-law.”
“It’s understandable,” I said, crumpling the tissues in my hands. “It would have been difficult for you to have been reminded of your brother’s death, and neither of you knew me very well.”
“It’s no excuse,” he insisted. “I talk to Gideon all the time and he has nothing but great things to say about you. He told us you’d gotten remarried...?”
“Yes, I did,” I replied. “To Ripp Grunt.”
A slight look of surprise crossed his swarthy, handsome face. “Oh? Well, that would explain why you’re here for Buzz. But is Ripp here? Because he would be closer kin than you, and it really...”
Tears welled again. “No, he...” My breath hitched in my chest. “Ripp... died in an accident. Just a few months after our wedding.”
“Gods, that’s terrible!” Lazlo exclaimed, his brown eyes wide with shock. “I didn't know. Gods, I’m so sorry, Aerin! You’ve really been through a lot.” Unexpectedly, he pulled me into a one-armed hug, which surprised me... but then I remembered that he had been the more outgoing of the three brothers.
It was comforting all the same.
A pager went off somewhere near Lazlo’s middle. “Damn,” he said. “I’m the only resident on call tonight, too. Listen, Aerin... we have to get together soon. I’ll call you, all right?”
I gave him a tired smile. “Sure, Lazlo. Anytime.”
>>Dr. Curious to OR Four. Dr. Curious, you are needed in OR Four... <<
“All right, I’m coming!” Lazlo yelled at the loudspeaker. “Don’t get in a wad!”
“Goodbye, Lazlo. Thank you.”
“No problem.” He patted my shoulder, then walked swiftly down the corridor toward the operating rooms, peeling off his lab coat as he went and shouting for fresh scrubs.
I watched him for a while, until he rounded a corner and disappeared from my view.
I did not believe him when he said he would call.
He was only being polite.
That’s too bad.
What was I thinking?
Sighing, I headed toward the head nurses’ desk. I was not looking forward to it, but I needed to let the hospital staff know what to do as far as arrangements for Buzz’s body.
I also wanted to get Dr. Lazlo Curious’ office hours and phone number...
...just in case.
To Be Continued.
“It’s the damnedest thing,” chirped the young, happy-go-lucky intern at Strangetown Memorial Hospital, “but General Buzz Grunt isn’t the first disgustingly healthy guy to keel over from a massive coronary for no apparent reason, and he won’t be the last.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Nah, it was all right.” Lazlo grinned. “It was the universe giving me a chance to go into the medical profession, which was something I’d always wanted to do.”
I felt a little awkward, Lazlo being a professional and all, but it was likely he was this way with all his patients and patients’ families. Just part of the bedside manner, I was sure.
Lazlo was Buzz’s doctor, and that was all.