Travis jogged through the Emergency Room entrance at City General, looking frantically for the reception area. A combat veteran, it took a lot to shake him up, but he'd never contemplated anything happening to his mother. Sure, she got on his last nerve sometimes, but she was also his number one supporter and best friend. He had taken her for granted. Someone laid a hand on Travis's back.
"Jesus, Gordy. You scared me. Where is she? Is she alright?"
"They took her to cat scan," he motioned for Travis to sit with him on a hard row of plastic chairs.
"I wanted to go with her, but they wouldn't let me. They're lucky they had her drugged up, or Yvonne'd have given them hell."
Drugged up? "What happened, Gordy? She was fine this morning. Well, pissed off at me, but that's nothing new. I had only left her a few hours before you called."
The older man ran a calloused hand over his eyes. Travis saw that he had engine grease under his nails, and still wore his coveralls. When he spoke, he was choked up.
"I was workin' on Jimmy's late model and I stopped to grab my coffee. I called her like I al'ays do, but she wadn't answerin'. Then I tried her cell phone and she didn't answer that, neither. I just knew somethin' wadn't right. I jumped in the jeep and ran over to the house, and I found her on the floor in the laundry room. The washer was open, looked like she had started loadin' it. Her eyes was open, and she was makin' sounds, but couldn't talk. She reached for me; then she tried gettin' up, and I saw she wadn't movin' her right side. There was blood all over. I guess she cut the back of her head pretty bad when she fell..." he started to cry, and pulled a dirty rag from his pocket.
"I'm sorry, Buddy. I should have been there. What did you do?" Travis couldn't imagine.
"I called nine-eleven and laid down beside her 'til the volunteer rescue come. They were there pretty quick, but I'm tellin' you, it felt like forever before they got there. She got real frustrated because she couldn't talk, and I had to try and calm her down. They got her on a stretcher and headed here with lights n' sirens, and I followed behind. I don't even remember drivin' here."
Travis had always liked Gordy. The guy adored Yvonne and treated her like a queen. He'd been there for her while Travis was away; keeping up the house, fixing her car, making her laugh, and loving her.Tough as she was, Yvonne had a soft spot for Gordy. He and Travis were two of the only people to ever claim her heart in that way. The couple hadn't gotten married because they both had been there done that, and couldn't see any reason for it. Gordy liked to say "I don't need no piece of paper to make you mine, Love," and Yvonne felt the same way.
The swinging doors opened and a tired-looking young woman in scrubs came out. She recognized Gordy and approached the two men. Gordy stood. "Dr. Brown, this here is Travis. He's Mrs. Richard's son. Travis, Dr. Brown. How is she? Can we see her?"
"She's heavily sedated right now. She ran into breathing problems in CT, and we had to place her on a respirator to breathe for her. You can see her, but she's not conscious. I'm sorry."
Travis was upset. "Life support? Don't you need to let someone know when that is happening? I thought you had to have consent!"
"That's not an issue in an emergency. Your mother was crashing, she couldn't give us consent, and the only other person here," she looked at Gordy, "was not a relative, or her Health Care Proxy. When we don't know how a person feels about life support, and there's nothing in writing, we have to treat. Again, I apologize, but I came to tell you as soon as I could."
Gordy looked down at his boots. "Is she a vegetable, then?"
Travis gaped at him in shock.
"It's too early to tell," she said calmly. "Her CT showed a brain hemmorrhage. We won't know how much permanent damage is done until the bleeding stops and her condition stablizes.."
Travis couldn't sit any more. "How can you tell what her condition is if you've got her gorked on drugs?"
"At this point, it's more important to let her rest, and to keep her from struggling against the breathing machine. Being restless and frustrated right now could extend the bleed. We'll know more tomorrow, when we back off on the meds and let her lighten up a little bit. I wish I had something more reassuring for you, but we just don't know anything for sure tonight." She stood and checked her beeper. "I'm needed back in the ER," she told them. "Mrs. Richards is in ICU, on the third floor. You can take that elevator there."
"I'll take them up, Cheryl," Shelly offered. She'd been standing behind him, and Travis couldn't remember when he'd been happier to see anyone, ever. She took a hand from each man after she pushed the "3" button.
"This is my old stomping grounds," she reassured them. "Yvonne will be in good hands."