Home > A Curve in the Road(6)

A Curve in the Road(6)
Author: Julianne MacLean

“Why are you calling?” I ask.

“Oh . . .” She seems lost for words. “I’m just looking for Alan because he ordered something from the store. He was supposed to pick it up today.”

“The hardware store . . . ?”

“Yes. My husband and I own Handy Hardware in Lunenburg. Your husband comes in sometimes to get things, usually on Sundays.”

Ah. Now I understand. He’s always helping my mother with handiwork around the house. I glance up at Mom, and she’s watching me curiously.

“He was supposed to pick up a . . .” Paula hesitates. “Let me see . . . a power washer.”

My stomach turns over as I struggle to figure out how to respond. “I’m sorry—he won’t be coming in.” Does she not realize there’s an ice storm out there? “Are you even open?” I ask, checking my watch.

“Oh, we closed at six. I’m just here taking care of a few courtesy calls.”

Neither of us says anything for a few seconds.

“Could you let him know that I’ll hold the power washer here for him?” Paula finally asks. “He can come by anytime.”

I sense that she’s ready to say “Thank you and goodbye,” but I don’t want to end the call just yet.

“Wait a second, Paula. Did he say specifically that he was going to pick it up today?”


“When did he say that?”

She pauses again. “Earlier today, when he called.”

“I see.” I don’t know why I suddenly want to divulge something personal to a woman I haven’t spoken to in years, but I can’t help myself. She’s someone I used to know, someone from my hometown, and I really need a friend right now. The words come spilling out.

“Actually, Paula . . . something terrible happened. He had a car accident. We both did. We crashed into each other, believe it or not. I’m at the hospital in Lunenburg, and we’re waiting for Alan to be airlifted to Halifax.”

Paula is silent before speaking in a halting, disbelieving voice. “My God. I heard there was an accident on the 103. It was Alan? Is he okay?”

I begin to pick at a loose thread on my hospital gown while I struggle to keep my emotions in check. “I don’t know. He’s in a coma.”

Suddenly I’m forced to press my fingertips to my mouth to keep from weeping into the phone. I hold the phone away while I fight to pull myself together. Then I bring it back against my cheek. “We’re very worried.”

“Of course you are. My goodness.” She pauses again. “Is there anything I can do? Are you by yourself in the hospital? I could come down there if you need help.”

I sniffle and wipe the back of my hand under my nose. “No, you don’t have to do that. My mom’s here, but thanks for asking.” Then I think of something. “Actually, if you could keep your ear to the ground about our dog? He was in my car when we had the accident, but he ran off at the scene, and we haven’t seen him since. The fire department is looking for him, but if you could spread the word in town . . . he’s a golden retriever, and his name is Winston. He might be injured.”

“I’ll do that.”

“Thank you.”

I’m about to end the call when Nurse June sweeps the curtain aside. “The chopper is five minutes away. We’re getting your husband prepped for the flight. I assume you’ll want to go along?”

I nod and say to Paula, “I have to go now. The chopper’s almost here.”

I end the call without saying goodbye.

“Mom,” I say as I slide off the bed onto throbbing, unsteady legs. “Can you tell Carrie, the paramedic, that I have to go to Halifax? And can you take care of Winston if . . .” I stop myself. “When they find him?”

“Of course I will,” she replies. “I’ll stay on top of it. Don’t worry about a thing. Just stay focused on Alan.”

I reach for my jacket but freeze when someone shouts from the trauma room.

“Code blue! We need some help in here!”

I drop my jacket and immediately start running.


I hear alarms going off in the trauma room. Dr. Sanders is standing over my husband, listening to his chest with a stethoscope. There are two nurses present, and a third enters behind me.

“What’s happening?” I ask, hobbling into the room, wanting to help.

Dr. Sanders speaks as he scrambles for defibrillator pads. “He just had some short runs of VT, and then he went into V-fib.”

Nurse June has her finger on Alan’s carotid artery. She shakes her head. “No pulse.”

“Start chest compressions.”

My stomach explodes with heat, which isn’t the usual adrenaline I feel in a medical emergency. This isn’t the same, because it’s Alan and I’m terrified that he’s going to die.

I want to step in, but my heart is racing, I’m petrified, and I can’t move. All I can do is watch Dr. Sanders place the pads on Alan’s bare chest, then plug the cord into the crash cart.

“Stop chest compressions,” he says. “It’s still V-fib. Set to two hundred kilojoules.”

Nurse June says, “Charging.”

The machine makes a whirring sound.

Dr. Sanders glances around the table. “I’m clear. You’re clear. Everyone’s clear!”

Shock! We all watch in focused silence as my husband’s body lurches, then settles.

“Resume compressions,” Dr. Sanders says. He designates one of the other nurses as timer and notetaker. “Let me know when two minutes are up. We’ll do a pulse check. Get epinephrine ready, and have amiodarone on standby. Keep up with chest compressions.”

I snap out of my trance and move to help out, but I don’t have hospital privileges here. Besides, I’m the patient’s wife, and I know I should be standing back and letting the others do their jobs.

Dr. Sanders begins to think out loud. “Why is he arresting? Trauma patient . . . most likely cause is blood loss and hypovolemia . . .”

He looks at me sharply, and I know he wants help. I immediately step forward. “Other possibilities—he could have tension pneumothorax. Could be cardiac tamponade.”

“Yes.” Dr. Sanders addresses the younger nurse. “Give him a liter bolus of Ringer’s lactate.” Then he picks up the stethoscope and listens to Alan’s lungs. Next he checks his neck veins, looking for jugular venous distention. “Veins are flat. He’s dry, losing blood somewhere.”

“Bruising on left lower ribs,” I offer.

“Could be a ruptured spleen. He’s losing blood. Abdomen is distended. He needs to get to an OR. Is the helicopter here yet?”

“It just landed,” the younger nurse says.

June is still doing chest compressions, and I see that she’s perspiring.

The other nurse speaks loudly. “Two minutes almost up.”

I circle around the bed. “Move aside, June. I’ll take over.”

June steps back, and I lean over the table and begin chest compressions. I’m counting in my head, but I’m also praying at the same time. Come on, baby, come on . . .

I feel an almost manic energy as I push on my husband’s heart with the heels of my hands—one, two, three—willing it to start beating properly on its own. My own heart is racing, and I, too, begin to perspire.

Dr. Sanders says, “Stop compressions.” He checks for a rhythm. “Let’s shock again. Still in V-fib. Three hundred kilojoules.”

We go through the process again, and I watch vigilantly, impatiently. I’m distressed and frightened, but I’m focused.

Come on. Come on!


I resume chest compressions.

It goes on and on. Everyone is stressed, but no one gives up.

The chopper paramedics come running in, and my eyes connect with one of them. He understands the look on my face. He sees the exhaustion, and without a word, he takes over for me.

I step back in a daze, weak and dizzy. My emotions explode and shoot to the surface, and my knees buckle beneath me. It’s as if my legs have turned to Jell-O. I collapse like a house of cards and hit the floor hard but quickly scramble to my feet before anyone can see that I’ve fallen, because there can be no distractions. I need this team to save my husband’s life, not to be concerned with me.

They continue to make every effort. They do everything possible to bring him back, but the internal bleeding is extensive. I recognize what is happening. All his organs are shutting down.

I recognize it, but I can’t accept it. He’s my husband.

Surely there’s still hope . . .

Dr. Sanders prepares to shock Alan again. He places the pads on his chest and shouts, “All clear!”

Alan’s body heaves, but the results are the same, and the adrenaline in my veins becomes a thick, oppressive dread that pours through me slowly and agonizingly. I can barely move. I feel like I’m going to pass out.

The second paramedic takes over chest compressions.

Feeling nauseated with despair, I back into a corner, hold my forearm up to my eyes, and cover them while I weep. Then I turn my back on the table, unable to watch any more of this unbearable scene, because I know where it’s heading. I see it on everyone’s face, even though they’re still trying.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» A Curve in the Road
» One Day in December
» Verity
» Bite Of Winter (Fae's Captive #3)
» Road To Winter (Fae's Captive #2)
» Fae's Captive (Fae's Captive #1)
» Secrets Never Die (Morgan Dane #5)
» What I've Done (Morgan Dane #4)