The doctor walked in. Things were still tense. It was palpable and I imagine hard to ignore.
“Everything okay?” he inquired.
I quickly reined in my emotions. I was getting better at it, having so much practice lately.
“Thank you for coming so quickly,” I said giving him my full attention.
He nodded and walked over to Tina. “Happy to see those eyes open,” he told her.
“I’m numb, on this whole side.” I hated seeing how frightened Tina looked as she spoke.
The doctor reached over and removed the bandage from the side of her head. He inspected the incision. Tina’s hair was shaved in that area.
He pulled out a flashlight and checked out her pupils. “What’s your name?”
I smiled at her as she added that last part in and she tried to smile back.
“Braggin? So, you two are related.”
“I’m his sister. Adopted.”
“That explains a lot. Where do you live?"
"4222 Fuller Street. I have an apartment there. Why are you asking me all of these questions?”
“Just checking your memory. What month were you born?”
“Why aren’t you answering my question?”
“In due time, Tina. Can you move your fingers for me?”
I watch as her fingers moved and Tina's eyes lit up with surprise.
“And your toes?”
Again, she could move them.
“There is a very good chance the numbness that you feel will subside in a few days.”
“And if it doesn’t?” Tina asked being ever practical.
“Then we’ll deal with it then. Do you have any pain?”
“I have a headache and my throat is sore.”
“I’ll have the nurse give you some medicine for the pain. Your throat is sore from the breathing tube used during surgery. I’ll have them give you some ice chips. It’ll help with the discomfort.”
“How long will she be here?” I asked.
“Depends on her recovery. Most often times it's 24 hours. Since she’s experiencing numbness, we may need to hold her longer.”
Tina I could tell had a ton more questions, she wasn’t asking. I guess she figured it could all wait until they figure out the first problem. Then something occurred to her, I could see it written on her face.
“The funeral? The viewing?!”
The doctor looked at me for an explanation.
“Our father has passed recently. He is to be buried this Saturday.”
“You really have been through a lot,” he said smiling at me sympathetically.
“I know this may be difficult for you but your health must come first. We’ll have to play it by ear,” the doctor informed Tina.
Tina’s eyes filled up with tears. “You mean I may not be able to attend?”
I took Tina’s hand in mine. “He’s right, Tina. You have to put yourself first. You know my… our father would totally agree with that.”
I wiped a tear away from her cheek. “You were right there when he died, Tina. You’re the only one who truly got to say goodbye. He’ll understand. You have to focus on getting better. You have to put yourself first.”
Tina nodded slowly, “Okay.”
“I’ll have the nurse get you that pain medicine and ice chips,” the doctor said.
“Are they going to rebandage her head?” I asked, surprised this is all the doctor had to offer.
“No, it will be left uncovered from here on out. No showering for at least 5 days. The sutures will be removed in about 7 to 10 days during your follow-up visit. This is not a quick process, Tina. It’s going to take time, about 6 weeks before you’re fully healed. You have to patient.”
“I guess that’s why you call us that?”
“Patients. Because you’re always telling us to wait for something.”
The doctor chuckled. “There’s no healer like time.”
“Thank you,” I said to the doctor. I shook his hand and he left. A few minutes, later Tina was set up with some ice chips and her medicine.
"We'll see how you do with that, and if you hold it down. You and order a liquid diet for tonight's dinner," the nurse informed her. "In fact, it may be best if you call before the kitchen closes to put in your order."
"Thank you, I will," Tina told her and the nurse was on her way.
“I can’t believe I won’t be there?”
Tina looked so forlorn.
“You don’t know that, yet? One thing at a time. At least you know the numbness doesn’t affect you using your body, right?”
“I guess that is something,” Tina conceded.
“We’re going to let you rest, okay? We’ll back later to check on you.”
“Okay,” Tina agreed.
“Do you want me to call you fiancé?”
“No, I don’t want to worry him. He’s so far away, and there’s little he can do for me.”
“Can I offer you some brotherly advice?”
Tina shrugged. “Can I stop you?”
I smirked. “No.”
“Then what have you got for me?”
“If I was Brian. I’d want to know. I would be pretty pissed off if I found out later that you kept something so important from me. It may even be seen like you don’t trust me.”
Tina bit her lower lip as she thought this over. “I’ll give it more thought.”
“I’m glad,” I kissed the top of her head. “Try and get some sleep. I promise to be back later.”
Tina nodded and I held my hand out to Cat who had been sitting quietly in the corner. She took it.
When we left the room. I asked, “Did you drive here?”
“Let’s go home.”
“Tina will pull through,” Cat said squeezing my hand.
“I have to hope that she will. But right now, I'd like some time to focus on us.”
“Us?” Cat looked up at me confused.
“You thought I was cheating on you.”
“Not really, I knew if anything happened between you and Tina it was while we were apart.”
I frowned down at her knowing that wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference. Not to Cat.