Chapter TwoI woke up the next morning and looked around, confused. There were nurses running around the room and Luke and Dr. Garner were looking at me with concern in their eyes.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“You coded last night.” Luke said.
I frowned. “Coded?”
Dr. Garner nodded. “That means your heart stopped beating and we had to shock it to get it pumping again.”
I gasped and looked at myself. “I… died?”
Luke nodded with a deep frown on his face. “Apparently there was more bleeding then we originally thought. It’s coming from your pancreas. We are taking you to the OR for an emergency surgery.”
I closed my eyes and shook my head. “I thought you said I was fine internally.”
Luke took my hand and I pulled my eyelids back to see his face. “We thought you were. But nobody’s perfect, remember?”
I nodded. “Will you pray with me?” I whispered. Fear was crawling up my spine and the last thing I needed was to panic.
He smiled reassuringly and took my other hand. They felt so small in his big, strong ones. He bowed his head and I did the same. “Dear Lord,” He began, “please be with Grace in this surgery. Keep my hands steady and guide them so I can get rid of this bleeding and she can be healthy again.” I opened one eye and saw that his face was rigged with determination. “And bring her loved ones to her. And her memory. In Jesus’ name we ask it, Amen.”
“Amen.” I breathed. I could see that Dr. Garner was looking at us as if we’d lost our minds. I looked back at Luke and winked. “All things happen for the good to those who love the Lord.”
“Amen sister.” He said with a smirk.
The nurses and doctors wheeled my bed to the OR and lifted me onto the surgical table. I had a strange sense of peace about the surgery and I thanked God for this.
Luke walked in wearing a mask, but I could see the smile in his eyes as a nurse put on his rubber gloves. “Good night, Grace. Go ahead and put her under, Kyle.” He said to the anesthesiologist.
“Night, night, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” I said quietly. Kyle put the mask over my mouth.
“Can you count to ten for me, Grace?” Kyle asked.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… eight…. Nine…. te-” I took one last blurry look at Luke and drifted into unconsciousness.
I felt cold fingers touch my hand and stirred. I looked up into the blue eyes and found comfort there. He was stroking my hand and I smiled.
“Well, hey there.” Luke said quietly.
I stretched and ignored the pain in my rib. “Hi.” I raked my fingers through my soft hair and fell back against the pillow. “You look tired.” I said with a smile.
He shrugged. “I stayed here all night. I couldn’t sleep.”
“How did the surgery go?”
“We fixed the hole in your pancreas. Everything looks in tip top shape; this time, I’m sure of it.” He lay back in the chair he was sitting in.
I nodded. “Good. I like to hear when my surgeon is positive about my surgery.” I laughed and then winced. “When is this pain in my rib going to get better?”
He had his eyes closed and he shrugged. “It depends on the person.” He yawned. After a moment of staring at him, I realized he’d fallen asleep. He looked so peaceful and child-like in sleep, but there was strength there too. I grabbed the blanket at the foot of my bed and lay it on him. “Good night, Luke.” I whispered.
I stared up at the ceiling and realized I wasn’t tired. I’d been so tired lately, always needing to sleep because I was so exhausted. Perhaps it was because my heart was pumping so much blood to my pancreas which in turn was just leaking out that it was tiring itself out, making me feel like I’d just run a race.
I noticed a Bible on my lamp stand. I smiled; Luke brought a Bible to read. I picked it up and flipped to my favorite story- the one about Job and his faithfulness to God. I wished I could be so faithful. I may have put on a good face for Luke and everyone else, but I had my doubtful moments.
How could this have happened to me? What was I doing, driving in the middle of night in a snowstorm through Colorado? I racked my brain for some memory of that night or anything before that, but nothing came. The only thing I remembered was waking up in a strange hospital.
I was sitting in a hospital during Christmas. How ridiculous was that?
I felt a tear escape my eye and looked over at Luke who was still fast asleep. I figured now would be the best time to get the crying over with.
The sobs were all bottled up inside of me and I let them out as quietly as possible. Soon my face was covered in salty tears. I decided the reason I hadn’t cried yet was because I had been so determined to fix my leg and get my rib healed that I never had any time to recover from my loss. And truly that was what it was… a loss- a loss of my memory and my family and my life.
I put the Bible down and tried to think of everything I was thankful for. I had a nice hospital to stay in. My body was regaining health. I had Luke to keep me company. I had his face to bring me comfort.
I looked over at him and felt something strange in the depths of my being that seemed to radiate from my heart and squeeze my lungs and keep me from breathing. What was this feeling? It was slightly familiar, but in a fuzzy, vague sort of way.
A few hours later, the early morning sunlight shone through my window and Luke stirred and sat up. “Good morning.” I said quietly.
He smiled, “For me or you?”
I laughed. “You; I’m not tired anymore.”
Luke wiped his hand over his eyes. “Your heart isn’t doing as much work anymore since your pancreas is healed.”
With a fist pump in the air, I made a victory cry. “I totally guessed that!” I yelled, ignoring the pain in my rib as I did so.
He smiled and shook his head amusingly. “You should be a doctor. Have you ever…” He stopped.
I smiled. “Have I ever thought about being a doctor? I’m not sure, obviously, but recently it seems very intriguing. I could do it, I think.”
He smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes. There was sorrow there. “I know you could do it.”
I sighed. “What if no one comes? What do I do?”
Luke ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t know. I guess you could make a life for yourself. You’d have to do a ton of paperwork, though, to be an eligible citizen and get your name changed and everything. So instead, how about we hope your family comes for you?”
I lay back on my pillow and closed my eyes. Taking a huge breath, I finally turned to him again. “I’m scared.” It took a lot for me to admit it, but after I did it felt good, like a load had been taken off my shoulders.
Luke grabbed my hands. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside cool waters, and he restores my soul. His rod and his staff, they comfort me.”
I smiled and stared into his eyes. They seemed to be endless. “You’re eyes are the color of the ocean.” I said, surprised at my forwardness.
He laughed. “Only sometimes. On rainy days they’re gray.”
“I’ll bet they’re pretty even then.” I said with a silly smile.
He checked his watch. “Ah, I have a surgery in twenty minutes. I’d better go prep my patient.” I nodded and blushed when he kissed my forehead.
As he walked out of the room, I surprised myself by missing him. I missed his face, his voice, his deep, ocean blue eyes.
And I wasn’t sure why, but I felt like I was betraying someone.
“Luke.” I said when he visited me later that day. “I think I’m in love with somebody.”
He was checking my charts at the moment, but then he looked at me with wide eyes. I thought I saw a bit of fire burning in his blue eyes. Jealous fire, maybe? No, that’s ridiculous. “Really?” he asked, curiosity dripping from that one word.
I nodded. “Maybe I had a boyfriend.”
He smiled, completely recovered from his shock. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a husband and three kids.” He put his fingers to his lips. “David, Mary, and Jacob.”
I laughed. “You are quite the name-giver aren’t you? What makes you think I’d have three kids named David, Mary, and Joseph?”
He shrugged. “They’re biblical names. You strike me as the kind of girl who would name your children after people in the Bible.” He looked around him and then leaned forwards to whisper secretly. “I’d probably do the same thing.”
“I’m surprised you don’t have any kids of your own.” I said hesitantly.
He put my charts down and sat on my bed. “I’ve had a few girlfriends, but none were very serious. I’m waiting for the one, you know?” I just smiled. “Yeah, it sounds mushy, but I’m completely serious.”
I shook my head. “No, it’s very sweet. And honorable, I might add.”
He bowed. “Why thank you.”
I giggled. And then sighed. “I hope whoever it is comes for me soon. I’d hate to stay in a hospital over Christmas.”
He put his finger to his mouth in thought. “I’ll bet I can get you discharged for one night so you can come and have Christmas dinner with me and my folks.”
I opened my mouth and my eyes in shock and then hugged him fiercely, ignoring my rib’s screams of pain. “Thank you so much, Luke.”
He cleared his throat and for a moment I was embarrassed, but then I saw his amusement in his eyes and I smiled. “I’ll talk to the chief of surgery about it.”
“When’s Christmas?” I asked timidly.
He laughed. “Wednesday.”
I groaned. “What am I going to wear?”
“We’ll buy you something nice before dinner. I’m thinking a black dress? Or maybe red.” He said with a twinkle in his eye.
“No, any clothes without blood all over them will be fine. A t-shirt and jeans is all I want.”
“Consider it a Christmas present.” I gave him a look, but he just smiled.
I smiled back. “I’d get you a present if I had any money.”
He touched my cheek with one finger. “All I want for Christmas is you to get better. That’s what you can get me.”
I laughed. “Sounds easy enough.” Then I frowned. “I’m gonna look so ugly with my cast.”
He smiled, still touching my cheek. “You’ll look pretty anyway.”
I blushed under his scrutiny and looked down. I tried to breathe normal, but I was afraid he could hear the frantic beating of my heart.
He took a deep, slightly shuddering breath and checked his watch. “I have to check on some of my other patients, but I’ll talk to the chief before the day is over. I’ll have my mom go shopping tomorrow for something for you to wear, and you can just stay at my house if you want instead of coming back here.”
I smiled. “Thank you so much, Luke, for everything.”
He kissed my cheek and then left to check his patients. I started to notice that every time he kissed me it got closer and closer to my lips. First it was my hand, then my forehead, now my cheek. What was I going to do if it ever became my lips?