It took a great deal of maneuvering but, eventually, Chief Grady managed to get Sylvia Farmington into the passenger seat with her seatbelt securely fastened. Barely conscious, her head lolled to the side and the chief was forced to recline the seatback so that she wouldn’t slam her head on the dashboard.
“Sylvia? I need you to stay awake, okay?”
Her unintelligible slur made Grady nervous so he hit the lights and siren before speeding across town to the hospital. Knowing her situation needed to be handled delicately; he made a couple of phone calls. By the time he reached the hospital there were two nurses waiting outside to meet him. The three of them unloaded the Mayor’s wife and situated her on a gurney. To avoid busybodies, they covered their patient from head to toe with a sheet and brought her in through a back door.
“We’ll meet you in room eight, Chief,” one of the nurses whispered.
Grady parked his car and casually strolled in through the Emergency Department until he found room eight, smiling and waving to neighbors as he went. Not a soul suspected that he had just smuggled in the Mayor’s wife after rescuing her from a suicide attempt and if Grady had his way; they never would. The nurses had already dressed her in a hospital gown and started an IV by the time he caught up with them but he held Sylvia’s hand as they pumped her stomach. Dr. Garrett was called in for a consultation and arrangements were made to admit her to a private room on the ninth floor.
“How long until they get her in a room?” He whispered to the nurse. “Last time we had to get someone admitted to the ninth floor it was an all-night affair.”
The nurse smiled sympathetically and shrugged. The admission process was always a gamble.
“Ma’am,” the nurse whispered to Sylvia while gently tapping her shoulder. “Can you hear me? Is there anything I can get you? Would you care for a drink or perhaps some ice chips? I’m sure your throat must feel a little raw.”
Sylvia Farmington’s eyelids fluttered drowsily for a moment before she squeaked out a hoarse, “yes”. She struggled but managed to sit up on her own, cautiously eyeing her surroundings.
“Where am I?”
“Right now, you’re in the Emergency Department but you’re going to be moved upstairs into a private room,” Grady answered.
“How did I get here?”
“Your husband called me and told me where you were. So, I picked you up. Don’t worry, Sylvia, we brought you in through the back door. With the exception of two nurses, Dr. Garrett and myself; no one else knows you’re here.”
“Not even Dale?”
“Crap! I forget to call him and let him know you’re okay,” the Chief groaned as he reached for his phone.
“No,” Sylvia insisted, catching his hand. “He didn’t even care enough to come down and get me himself so to hell with him. He seriously called you and made you come get me? What an ass.”
“Dale didn’t make me do anything. I wanted to come get you. Sharon would never forgive me if I didn’t do everything in my power to protect one of her dear friends.”
Sylvia snorted derisively and instantly regretted it once she saw the chief’s face.
“I’m sorry.” Sylvia’s voice quavered and her eyes welled with tears. “I…I forgot that there really are some genuine people in this world. You and Sharon truly are the heart and soul of this community. I guess living all these years with a man who only cares about his image has jaded me. If it wouldn’t be too much of an embarrassment, would you ask Sharon to stop by sometime and visit with me?”
“I can assure you, it won’t be an embarrassment. In fact, I can bet she’ll be here tomorrow, Sylvia. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and talk to the doctors and therapists here. They’re really good and they’ll help you, if you’ll let them. Don’t give up and don’t rush out of here. When the time is right, you’ll know and our door will always be open for you if you aren’t ready to face Dale, okay?”
Sylvia Farmington wept freely as she clung to Chief Grady’s frame. Confused and little uncomfortable, Grady tried to comfort her. He was relieved when Dr. Garrett and his nurse entered.
“We’ve got your room all ready now, Sylvia. We just need you to sign a few consent forms and we’ll get you settled in.”
Summoning all of her courage, Sylvia let go of the chief. She smoothed her hair and nodded, hoping against hope that this was going to be her second chance.
****Please return Monday, May 5th for the next installment of Ocean****