I tend to agree with Dad when he says, “Things will only get worse in this place,” but the last thing I expect is that his premonition will take effect immediately.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Winters,” says Dr. Patel, marching into the room. “So, how’s our patient doing?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Pa says. “I noticed that she’s on a lot of meds, including Morphine. Call me old-fashioned, but is that really necessary?”
“We want to keep her as comfortable as can be,” says Dr. Patel.
“For how long?”
“As long as necessary.”
Pa takes a deep breath, and his voice trembles. “I’m afraid she’ll become addicted—”
Dr. Patel sounds patient, at first. “Look, you must understand. We had to fix several broken bones, and after the surgery, several places needed to be stitched.”
Dad says nothing, so he adds, “Healing takes time.”
I know what my dad must be thinking. He was the one who took my high-school friend, Betty, to a drug rehab facility a few years back, when she first experimented with drugs. And when she was released, he let her live in our home for a few weeks, because her own father would not. Pa and I, we know one thing: when people saw her addiction, they stopped seeing her.
In my case, I think Dr. Patel is paying no attention to who I am, anyway.
Pa asks, “When do you expect Ash to wake up?”
“We can’t make any promises,” says Dr. Patel, this time in a non-committal tone. “Morphine is a short-acting opioid, now available also in a long-acting formulation. So, with once or twice a day dosing, steady-state blood levels can be achieved, and patients can sleep through the night.”
I suppose he’s just administered my daily dose, because in a blink, his voice fades away and so does Pa’s. Only echoes remain. From this point on, I can barely guess the border between reality and hallucination.
Ash finds herself in the ER diagnosed with coma. She has no memory of what has happened to her, but what she can do--despite what everyone around her might think--is listen to the conversations of her visitors. Will she survive the power outage in the hospital and then, being kidnapped out of it?