The Pearl Giver Ch3
By lisa h
On my way home I mused over the oddity that was Amy. When I first saw her, I’d thought she was a teenager and couldn’t figure out why she was on the adult day ward instead of the teen ward, wherever that was. Alder Hey in Liverpool, maybe? And where was her mother, was she all alone in the world? After the evidence of all the texts and the neighbour, I didn’t think Amy would ever have the chance to be alone, but as she’d said, family is so important. Where was hers?
I got home and hugged my kids, Jimmy at thirteen amazingly still loved his hugs, while his big sister was even happier to get a random cuddle. Dinner was leftovers, thank goodness. I put the oven on, got the last of the stew out of the fridge and set about reheating it.
My mind kept wondering to Amy, seeing her alone at home, with her chemo sickness and all those random side effects we all got from the meds. Somehow in the few hours I’d known her, my protective mother instincts had kicked in and she’d become one of mine. I resisted the urge to return to Birkenhead, gather Amy up and bring her home. She’d been getting chemo long enough to lose her hair, she knew what she was doing, and I was simply the last new friend addition in what seemed to be a long line of very protective people. Amy would be fine. I tried to put her to the back of my mind and concentrate on my own brood.
As the days went by, with me in my own chemo fug, Amy and I exchanged texts, and the following fortnight I arrived at her house at nine a.m. to pick her up. She was ready at the door, gossamer wings on the stairs as if she’d only just taken them off. I grinned at the sight of them.
“Ready?” I asked.
“As I’ll ever be. This cancer malarkey is a real sod, isn’t it?”
Amy followed me out to the car, and for the first time I saw her being hesitant, her everlasting smile doubtful. I wondered how tough her side effects were and exactly how well she was coping all on her own in that little terraced house.
“How’s your mum?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“She’s fine. Still in bed.”
“That’s a shame. Maybe I’ll get to meet her when I bring you back.” I glanced at the upstairs window as I started the car. “I’d love to meet the woman who produced someone as wonderful as you. She must be something else.”
“Oh, she is. Mum would love to hear you say that. I’ll tell her, you know, if she’s not home when we get back.”
I nodded, but already knew from the passing look of concern on her face that her mother wasn’t home and wouldn’t be later either.
We arrived at Clatterbridge to an already over-stuffed carpark. It was always the same, too many people with cancer coming for treatment. The hospital was doing its best dealing with a quiet epidemic. We went upstairs to the day ward where between us we seemed to recognise half the patients in the waiting room. The receptionist didn’t need to ask Amy for her name. She gave Amy a smile and wave of greeting before saying, “Booking you in, honey, you go sit down.”
We found the last two chairs and sat waiting to be called. As usual, with nurses rushed off their feet, this took a while, and the ever exuberant Amy entertained everyone with an outlandish story about a recent trip to Belgium.
It was Lorri who called us through some forty-five minutes later. We were directed to Bay 5 where Amy grabbed the seat that was also my favourite – one of the two patient chairs that are tucked into the corners by the window. Lorri was back a few minutes later with a folder of notes thick enough to rival my own.
“Right, first to the assessment. Your bloods are fine, how have you been over the last couple of weeks?”
While the nurse went through the wellness check and did weight and blood pressure measurements, I settled back feeling good about not being the patient for once.
It was when Lorri and Amy returned from the weigh-in that all hell broke loose. Amy grabbed Lorri’s hand, as I had seen her do before. The shadow passed over her eyes, but didn’t lift. Suddenly Amy went very pale.
“Lorri, you must call your daughter right now!”
Lorri tried to pull away, but Amy had a death grip on the nurse’s hand. “What are you on about?”
“It’s your granddaughter. What’s her name… she’s got an angel name.” Amy held on tighter. “Please, it’s important.”
“You must be talking about Gabriella.” Lorri looked unnerved. I admit to being worried as well. The perma-smile had gone from Amy and I’d not seen her so serious.
“Yes, her. You’ve got to call your daughter and tell her to get Gabriella to the hospital right now.”
Lorri tried to pull away from Amy again, succeeding this time. She got up and took a couple of steps back to the nurse’s station by the entrance to Bay 5. “I can’t do that. Why would she take Gabby to the hospital? You can’t show up with a child that’s not sick and expect A&E to pay attention.”
“It’s her heart. She’s so sick. If she doesn’t get there soon she’ll die!” Amy was on her feet, following Lorri as she tried to escape, grabbing onto the nurse by the arm. “Please, you must call her. Ring her and ask if Gabby is okay. Start there. Ask if her lips are blue and if her baby is coughing. She needs to get to the hospital right now!” Amy’s voice was raised and everyone on the ward was watching. A nurse from the next bay came running over.
“Everything okay?” That was Mark, a young nurse.
Lorri shrugged, “It’s just Amy having one of her moments. Get her back to her chair, Mark.”
“You’ve got to call her! Right now!”
Lorri took her hand and tried to lead her away. “It’s not real, Amy. I know the visions feel real, but it’s just the tumour making you think funny. Everything is okay.”
Amy shouted out then suddenly fell to the floor, her hand slipping from Lorri’s. She sat there a moment, a stunned look on her face and then toppled over onto her side. Her whole body started twitching, her eyes fluttering madly. The nurses sprang into action.
“She’s seizing.” Lorri dropped onto her knees and put Amy in the recovery position while Mark grabbed a pillow as soon as the trembling stopped he put it under her head.
“Amy,” Mark asked. “Are you still with us, Amy?” He patted her on the arm. “Amy, come on, love. Talk to me.”
Her eyes opened slowly. Then suddenly she grabbed onto Mark, trying to get up.
“No, you’re not ready to move, we need to get the doctor to check you out.” Mark tried to hold her in place, barely succeeding.
“Lorri, where’s Lorri? She needs to call her daughter. I’ll stay here if she’ll just call her.”
Lorri put a hand on Amy’s shoulder. “”I’m behind you. If it’s that important, I’ll do it now.”
With the promise made, Amy visibly relaxed. She watched as the nurse stepped over her and went to the desk. She picked up the phone and dialled.
“Hey, Ella, it’s me, Mum. I know this is out of the blue, but how is Gabby today?”
There was a moment’s pause as her daughter spoke. Lorri’s expression was growing increasingly concerned.
“What else have you noticed? Is she coughing?”
“Ask her about the colour of her lips,” Amy said. “You must.”
Lorri glanced down before speaking into the phone. “What colour are her lips?” There was a pause. “Okay, listen to me, love. Take her straight down to A&E. She needs to be seen right now. I’ll phone ahead and make sure they are waiting for you. Go now!”
“Thank you,” Amy said.
The doctor ran into the ward and started to check Amy over. Lorri stood frozen, just staring. In fact the whole ward was silent, the others looking between the nurse and Amy on the floor.
Amy reached up for Lorri and made contact with her fingers. “Gabby will be okay now. Well, not okay. She’s going to need an operation. But she’s not going to die today.”
The doctor, confused, asked, “What is going on?”
“Amy magic,” Mark said. “She’s just doing her thing.”