Uncanny Love Tales – (05) Nurse Jenny and the Fates
Staff Nurse Jenny Humphreys was in the lady’s locker room making the final adjustments to her uniform in fact she was at the mirror pinning her hat in place.
She had already tied her straight honey blonde hair in a bun at the back, but as was her presence she wore a fringe.
On the ward she often wore gold rimmed half-moon spectacles, but they were only for reading and most of the time she just peered over the top of them rather than keep taking them off.
But as she stood before the mirror there was nothing obscuring her pretty pleasant unblemished face, a face that turned to beautiful when she smiled.
Jenny stepped backwards so she could get a better look at the rest of her.
The Blue pinstriped uniform with white relief was tailored to fit and defined her figure exquisitely even without the belt.
She turned sideways to get another view and scanned herself from top to bottom and she was not unhappy with the overall appearance, she was a little broader in the beam than she would have liked, her legs were good, she liked her legs even in regulation black tights and sensible shoes they were nice.
“Not a bad looking bird for 36” Jenny said and nodded at her reflection to acknowledge she had passed muster.
“No, not a bad looking woman for 36 indeed” Jenny was thinking as she walked to the ward, with a half-smile playing about her lips, which was soon replaced by a frown as she asked herself
“So why do you still live alone?”
She often wondered that, the problem was when you worked shifts it was difficult to have a social life and meet new people.
But though she wondered why she was alone she wasn’t unhappy and didn’t feel diminished by her circumstances.
Jenny had two sisters, who she adored, and a lot of friends and all of them took turns at throwing single men in her direction, but she managed to evade most of them and of the ones she didn’t sidestep, she found the none of them were “keepers”.
Doctors always tried their luck of course, but news and reviews of Doctors travelled fast along the nurse’s grapevine, so they generally knew who to avoid and for Jenny, who worked on a children’s ward, it meant that patients weren’t an option.
Jenny though was a great believer in fate and thought if it was meant to be it was meant to be.
But she didn’t stop living a good and happy life just because she was single.
Jenny did think at one point that she had found her life mate and she and John were together for 8 years, and she did think they would marry one day, but he turned out to have feet of clay and that had been more than five years ago.
But working on the children’s ward and witnessing the wonder of familial love on a daily basis, which she thought was a beautiful thing to witness, but it was also a constant reminder that her biological clock was ticking.
She had woken that morning in a particularly broody frame of mind, so she said to herself
“Well fate if you’re going to do something, can you do it soon?”
As she entered the ward Sister Ganly called her into her office with a gesture, she liked Rose Ganly.
“Morning Sister” she said
“Hi Jenny” she said and handed her a folder
“You have a new surgical admission today,
George Micklethwaite, 4 years old necrotic kidney removal”
“One of Mr Khans?” Jenny asked
“Yes, booking in at four and he’s first on the list tomorrow morning” the sister said
“Ok I’ll get a room prepared” said Jenny
“Oh Jenny, tread carefully around them, Georges mother died in a car accident” Sister informed her
“Recently?” Jenny asked
“In the last year” Sister Ganly replied
“Ok” Jenny said and thought that forewarned was forearmed.
It had been a very good day on the ward, there were no significant dramas, everyone was making good progress and it was a good day to be a nurse.
The side ward had been prepared for the new patient and right on time admissions nurse Samantha Elliott brought the Micklethwaite’s onto the ward.
Sam caught Jenny’s eye and she said
“Room 6 Sam”
“Ok” she said and led them into a side ward.
Mr Micklethwaite was a tall upright man with slightly greying hair and the beginnings of a paunch, and he walked with a stick.
Jenny assessed he was around 40 and, in his arms, he carried his little son, George.
Jenny had already been headed in their direction and picked up the pace to join them.
Sam was just putting little George’s overnight bag on the bed as she entered
“Hello” Jenny said brightly
“I’m Nurse Humphreys”
“Hi” Mr Micklethwaite said
“But you” she said tickling the back of George’s knee
“Can call me Nurse Jenny”
George buried his face in his father’s neck, but he was giggling.
Sam Elliott handed Jenny the admission notes and said goodbye.
Once the Micklethwaite’s were settled Jenny sat down with Dad and went through the forms.
“Ok Mr Micklethwaite” she began
“Just call me Mick” he interrupted, and Jenny looked a little confused and checked her forms.
“It says here your initial is P”
“That’s right” he said “my name is Paul, but everyone calls me Mick”
“Oh, I see” Jenny said and then they spent the best part of an hour talking about everything apart from George’s op, while George played with Thomas the Tank engine on the floor.
When Jenny looked down at the watch hanging on her uniform, she said
“Cripes! I need to go and check on my other patients. I’ll come back shortly, and we can complete the forms”
As Jenny was leaving Dr Poppy Jones, the paediatric registrar was on the way in and within half an hour she was back and they duly completed the paper work and finally got “Mick” to sign the consent forms and as he did so she noticed the scarring on his hand and forearm.
Obviously as a result of the accident, but she didn’t feel she should broach the subject just yet.
“Ok” she said “So George is first on the list in the morning which means he can eat his tea at 6 o’clock but then he can only have fluids until afterwards”
Jenny went off duty at 10 o’clock but she always looked in on all her patients before she left which could sometimes take an hour.
When she got to the Micklethwaite’s George was asleep and Mick was in the corner reading
“I’m going off duty now and I won’t be back on duty until after it’s all-over” she said quietly, and Mick smiled and gave her a wave.
The next day she was starting work 2 hours early because sister Ganly had to attend a meeting and she needed her most experience staff nurse to take the reins in her absence.
As it was such a nice day Jenny decided to walk through the hospital grounds and enjoy the sunshine.
When she was about halfway to the hospital, she saw Paul Micklethwaite pacing up and down the same bit of path.
She glanced at her watch and was instantly worried, the operation should have finished, and George should have been back on the ward and so should his Dad.
“Something must have happened”, she thought to herself and diverted her course and increased the pace.
“Is everything Ok Mick?” she asked when she was in earshot.
He was startled and turned around sharply and almost fell when he put all his wait on his bad leg.
“Come and sit” Jenny said “Take the weight off your leg”
Jenny guided him to a bench and sat him down.
“What’s happened?” she asked
“They were late taking him in to theatre” he replied
“Good” she said with a sigh “I thought it was something serious”
“I just couldn’t stand it in there another minute” Mick said
“Do you want to talk about it?” Jenny asked
He was silent for a moment and then he said
“Apart from Georgie’s birth I hadn’t been in a hospital for 10 years and for the last year I seem to have done little else” he said bitterly and then unburdened himself with the tale about the accident.
They had been for a pleasant family day out by the sea in Sharpington and were on the way home.
The accident happened just as the sun was setting behind them and a car came around the bend on the wrong side of the road and hit them head on.
The car rolled several times and ended up on its side in a ditch.
“That’s awful” she said
“I don't remember it” he said “the crash at any rate, all I know of it is was what the witnesses told the police”
He paused before adding
“The other driver died instantly”
“And your wife?” Jenny asked
“I watched her die” he said “mercifully Emma never regained consciousness and all I could do was hold her hand”
“And George?” Jenny asked
“Miraculously he didn’t have a scratch, and he’d been asleep when it happened” he said “But what was terrible was that he was crying for his mum, and I couldn’t get to him”
He paused briefly as he fought back the tears.
“I tried to comfort him, but I couldn’t”
There was a longer pause before he continued
“I blame myself of course”
“That’s silly” Jenny said
“Is it?” Contradicted Mick
“You feel guilty because you lived, but that isn’t the same thing as being responsible” Jenny insisted
“Is it just guilt about surviving?” Mick asked
“Yes” Jenny said “and that’s in the past, you have your son and he is the present and the future”
“What kind of future with this leg and this stick?” he said bitterly
“The future has infinite possibilities, but the past is only ever the past” Jenny said
“That’s very profound” he said
“What for a nurse you mean?” she retorted
“No, I mean it, it was very profound” he said and gave the weakest of smiles
“Well I’m very deep” she said
“Does he remember anything?”
“Not the accident, thank God” he replied
“But he remembers his mum?” Jenny asked and Mick nodded
“Yes, it is” he responded positively
“Now come with me and we’ll see how the little man is doing”
“You’re a very positive person Jenny, is it aright if I call you Jenny?” he asked
“Of course, you can” she replied “And I do always look for a positive in any situation”
Mick thought for a moment and said
“Well if it hadn’t been for the accident and all the resulting scans, his malformed kidney wouldn’t have come to light so that’s something of a positive”
“There you are then” Jenny said
When they got to the ward, George’s bed was being wheeled into room 6, he looked so small in that big hospital bed.
“Go and sit with him” Jenny said “I have to change but I’ll be in as soon as I can”
The operation all went according to plan, but George picked up a post-operative infection and had to stay in the hospital for a few days.
When the day came for him to be discharged Jenny pushed George in the wheelchair while Mick carried the bag in one hand and his stick in the other and a newspaper tucked under his arm.
When they reached the reception, she left father and son together and went to the desk to ask them to call a cab before re-joining them.
They waited together and chatted idly and entertained George until the cab arrived.
She wheeled the chair out to the waiting taxi and was poised to say goodbye.
“I’m sure you get asked this a lot” he said and paused briefly “but could I call you some time?”
“Yes, I would like that” she replied and wrote her number on the margin of his newspaper
“Great” he said as he got into the cab “I will call you then”
She stood and waved them off
On her was back to the ward she said out loud
“Thank you fate, better late than never”