Time is muscle


I ran to the camp office and pulled out the crumpled piece of paper with Dr Holmes’ numbers and reached for the phone. I dialed his cell phone number in hopes that I could get a hold of him directly. He picked up after the second ring.

“Dr. Holmes.”

“Hey Dr Holmes. It’s Anne, the camp nurse at Acorn.”

“HI Anne! Are you calling to check in on our young charge?”

“No actually! I’ve got a new set of problems that I wanted to bounce off you!”

“Fire away.” Dr Holmes responded.

“Bill came to me this morning complaining of chest pain and dyspnea that he says has been coming and going for about a week. He’s tachycardic, tachypnic, diaphoretic and looks as pasty as hell.”

“You mean Bill, the director Bill?”

“The same.”

“What’s his blood pressure?”

“We don’t have a cuff here.” I reminded him, somewhat embarrassed.

“Oh ya, I forgot. Well here’s what I am thinking.” Dr Holmes lowered his voice in a conspiratorial manner. “An ambulance will take forever to get to your remote location. I want you to put him in a car and turn up the AC and bring him in NOW. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer but insist that he come in to be evaluated.”

“I think that I have managed to convince him.”

“Good. Now drive safely and I will be here when you arrive.”

“Surely your shift will be over by the time we get there?” I asked.

“I will stay over. We need to look after Bill. Now hurry up but drive carefully.”

“Thanks Dr Holmes. See you soon.”

“Wait! Anne! You are bringing him in, right?”

“Yes. I thought that would be best.”

“Agreed. We can’t send him in by himself or with a teenaged counselor whose never done CPR.” Dr Holmes said curtly.

“Oh God…” I whispered. Dr Holmes laughed.

“I’m pretty sure that you will be fine. See you soon,” and with that he hung up.

Pretty sure…

I ran down the stairs and through the dining hall, and out onto the kitchen deck. Bill was sitting across from Lydia. He was deep into delegating some of his responsibilities to her. Lydia was quickly jotting notes onto her ever present clipboard and nodding her head. I quietly sat down beside Bill and waited while he finished.

“Make sure the clean up crew covers the mass area thoroughly for visitors day. Oh and last thing. Can you please run through the kitchen cleaning check list with Shawn? We have the health inspector doing a visit sometime next week, so we need the refrigerator cleaned out from top to bottom. That is a good activity for the LITs to work on.” Lydia wrote that down too.

“Can someone cover my morning meds for me please Lydia?” I asked sheepishly.

“You are going too, Anne?” Lydia asked sounding surprised and looked at me.

“What me? Nervous?!”

“I thought it might be a good idea for me to take Bill.” I responded nonchalantly as I sat back a little, tilted my head ever so slightly towards Bill and grimaced without Bill noticing. Lydia caught my expression and I saw as her eyes quickly darted back to Bill, taking in his clammy appearance.

“OK Anne. No problem. I can cover medications this morning.” Lydia nodded with understanding. We were ‘on the same page’ as they say. I looked at Bill and smiled.

“We ready to go?”

“Let’s do this!” Bill responded as he pushed himself up from the table. I felt a small stab of guilt as I had insisted on him going into town. Either way I was screwed. If it was bad, we would be out of a director for some time. If I was wrong, I was a crap nurse. Ugh. No win.

“Thanks Lydia.” I said as I got out the key to the van and Bill and I started towards it.

As soon as we got in, I cranked up the air conditioning. We drove down the main road to the director’s cottage. I put it in park and Bill stepped out of the van.

“I can get your wallet for you.” I offered Bill in hopes of keeping him from exerting himself anymore.

“Nope. Nope. Will only be a second. Besides, I need to tell Barb what we are up to.” Bill said as he closed the door.

As I watched him walk away I turned all the air vents on full blast and aimed them towards the passenger seat. I watched Bill slowly climb the steps to the cottage, saying a prayer that he wouldn’t go into cardiac arrest! He only took a couple of minutes but I tapped my foot in agitation as I waited.

“Time is muscle…time is muscle…time is muscle,” kept going through my head.

I looked up and saw Barb and Bill embracing. I put the car in drive and watched as Bill carefully descended the steps. I gazed back at Barb and took in her pained expression as she watched him struggle down the steps. Barb turned to look at me. I gave her a small smile and a wave. She mouthed the words ‘thank you’ and clasped her hands together in prayer.

Oh Lord.


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