Disclaimer: See Chapter 1
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Nydia walked into work the next day with a cup of Starbuck's tea in hand. She hoped the beverage would get her caffeinated enough to function. Sleep had eluded her for most of the night. Thoughts of her family and Jo that came to her kept her mind too busy to sleep.
She understood why her family invaded her thoughts. They always did after she had any significant run in with the police. Growing up in that household would turn anyone against police in general. What she couldn't figure out is why she kept thinking of the beautiful woman from the day before. It was like she haunted her thoughts, refusing to leave Nydia in peace. She had resorted to having a glass of warm milk to help her fall asleep. It worked but by then it was half past two in the morning. Nydia woke to her alarm going off at twenty minutes after five. Now she was on her third cup of dark tea and just starting to feel human.
She walked up to the main desk and greeted the clerk on duty. “Hi Pam, how are you. You got any messages or disasters, I should know about?”
“Hi, Dr. Gilman. I'm good. There's one from Dr. Stevenson. The rest aren't so pressing. I put that one on top. As for disasters, nothing yet that I know of.”
“Okay, thanks Pam.” With that Nydia took her messages and her other belongings, and headed towards her office.
Before she could make it to her little sanctuary, she heard her name called.
There was only one person on the unit who would dare address her that way. “Good morning, Dr. Goddard,” she said, emphasizing the title he failed to use. “What can I do for you this morning?”
“I want you to talk to that nurse about her insubordinate attitude.”
Nydia took a big sigh and let it out quietly, “Come into my office.”
“No, I want this dealt with immediately.”
“Dr. Goddard, I don't think this is the place for this type of discussion.”
“I come to you with a problem I expect you to deal with me and it immediately.”
Nydia, stepped behind one of the curtains, not truly caring if her colleague followed her. At this point she was too frustrated and tired to care about what she was sure was a petty grievance Dr. Goddard was famous for them as far as Nydia cared.
“Which nurse and what did she do?” She asked, turning to face him.
“That Nurse Robinski. She dared to question an order I wrote for a patient.”
“What was the order?”
“That has nothing to do with anything? It was a valid order which came from a doctor. The nurses have no right to question that.”
“Dr. Goddard, what was the order for?” Nydia asked with impatience.
“It was for 5 mg of Compazine for a twelve year old presenting with fever, vomiting and lower abdominal pain on right side.”
“Did you check his white counts and rule out appendicitis?”
“There was no need for that. It was a simple case of gastroenteritis. I resent being questioned on my diagnostics.”
“So you prescribed the maximum dosage possible of a drug that should be used only as a last resort for children, and, you didn't even check for appendicitis? Well, I'll talk to Trudy about her tone of voice, but she had every right to question that order, especially, if you hadn't yet ruled out the appendicitis. Is the patient still here?” Nydia's voice betrayed her frustration with the man.
“No. I sent him home,” Dr. Goddard replied indignantly.
Now Nydia was furious. Her face flushed red trying to hold it in as she was being forced to deal with the man's incompetence. This was not the first incident. Last week the doctor had a patient admitted for what was a routine case of an upper respiratory infection, and Nydia had to turn around and have the staff social worker explain to the poor man why he didn't need to be in the hospital and he was being discharged because he had a simple cold.
Through gritted teeth, she said, “I suggest. . . Doctor. . . that you call his family and get him back in here. If he does have appendicitis and it ruptures, then you and this hospital are at a huge risk.”
Dr. Goddard was flabbergasted. “How dare you?” He spit out with a touch of venom.
Before he could finish, Nydia cut him off before he could go any further. “How dare I?” She asked in low voice. Nydia felt her teeth grind as she spoke through a clenched jaw. “I'll tell you how I dare. I dare because I'm your supervisor and responsible for the running of this ER on this shift. So you'd damn well better make that phone call.” She told him, as she restrained herself from shaking some common sense into him. With that, she turned her back and stormed off in the direction of her office before the doctor had a chance to recover.
Once inside the quietness of her office, Nydia took a large swig of tea and let out a deep breath. Leaning back into her chair for a moment, she let her anger dissipate.
Ready to face her work life again, she grabbed the messages Pam had given her. Sure enough, right on top was one from Dr. Stephenson, the Chief of the Emergency Department. The note specifically read that she was to report to his office as soon as she received it.
Nydia knew she couldn't put it off, she finished off her tea, and put the cup down on a pile of folders sitting on the desk, and stood to face whatever crisis was at hand now. With her job, it never seemed to end. Something always came up to make her life an interesting one. Nydia squared her shoulders and tried to recover from her little ordeal with Dr. Goddard enough to face her boss.
“Go right in, he's expecting you Dr. Gilman,” Sara, said with a bit of cheer. Nydia liked Dr. Stephenson's secretary as she often had a quick smile to give.
“Thanks.” Nydia opened the door into an office that was larger than her own by twice the size. Dark cherry wood furniture set the tone of the space. Deep burgundy carpeting added to the stuffiness of it all. Nydia knew it was no reflection on the man sitting behind the large dark desk. Dr. James Stephenson was anything but stuffy. He was a kind, jovial man, and the type of doctor that gave medicine its good name. He started out in the county hospital working in the ER and came to Riverview Hospital , when he was asked to come clean up the ER's sullied reputation. Now, not only was it one of the better emergency rooms in the area, but it had climbed up to being a Level II Trauma unit. Not many men of his generation would hire a woman to head up a trauma unit that was just starting out. She would always be grateful that he saw past her sex and hired her anyway.
“Good morning, Dr. Stephenson.”
“Good Morning, Nydia. I see you got my message.”
“Yes, I did. What can I do for you, Sir?”
“Well you can start by calling me Jim, like I've asked you, on numerous occasions.”
“Okay Jim. Sir,” Nydia said with a slight grin.
Jim smiled at the humor. “I was hoping you would be willing to take on an extra duty for me. I need someone I trust to be responsible in handling this matter.”
“Sure Jim. Anything you need.”
“Good, I was hoping you would say that.”
“So what is it I'll be doing?” Nydia asked her curiosity now piqued.
“The police have asked me to assign one doctor from each shift to act as liaison for their Intimate Partner Violence Unit.”
She tried not to let her repulsion show at the mention of the police and the realization that he was about to ask her to work with them directly. “So, what does that assignment entail?”
“If they bring in a victim, you and a team will do the examination and treat the patient. After that you'll be asked to gather any evidence the police need, coordinate with them and the social worker on duty, and anything else they might need help with. It's all pretty straightforward. I don't think it should add to your caseload too much, but if it does let me know. If that's the case we can assign extra staff.”
“Sounds like an excellent idea Jim. I'll get right on it.” She cringed at the thought.
“Fine Nydia, fine. Thanks for cooperating with this. It means a lot.”
“Anything for you Jim. You know that.”
“Okay, well I'll let you get on with your day, although, I've already heard Dr. Goddard started your morning off well. Any particular reason it's in the grapevine already?”
“Yes, well I tried handling it quietly, but he insisted on making a spectacle of himself, as usual.”
“I trust your judgment.” He said.
“Thank you, Jim. Next time I'll try a little harder to keep it private.” Nydia said. “I'll keep you informed about how the project is going along.”
At the thought of the new position, Nydia stood up and left before her stomach revolted on her. As soon as she was clear of his office, she took several deep, calming breaths. She had no idea how she was going to function in this new position without losing it altogether.
Making her way down to the ER, she found Trudy sitting at her spot on the main desk.
Trudy looked up as Nydia approached. When her friend got closer Trudy immediately asked, “You okay, Nydia? Are you sick? You don't look so good.”
“No, but I will be. I just need to get a handle on this.”
“A handle on what? Why, what's up?” Trudy asked with concern for her friend. It was very rare that she saw Nydia this upset.
“Dr. Stephenson has a new pet project he assigned me to.”
“Yeah? And?” Trudy asked. “There has to be more to it than just another assignment.”
“You're looking at the new police liaison for the Intimate Partners Violence Unit.” Nydia told her, her shoulders slumping at the statement.
“Oh my God, Nydia, what are you going to do?” Trudy asked. “I know how much you dislike the police. You have a hard enough time dealing with them now.”
“Nothing I can do. I'll deal with it as best I can. I'm a professional for crying out loud. I can very well act like one,” she said, in an attempt to convince herself of that thought.
“If you need any help, let me know.” Trudy placed a hand lightly on Nydia's forearm.
“I will and I do. I may need a nurse to assist me when the police need an exam done. You're the one I trust the most.”
“Thanks for the confidence. I'd love to help.”
“Good because I may need all the help I can get,” Nydia said resignedly as she pulled out the first chart of her day.
“Oh, by the way, Dr. Goddard had a talk with me about you.”
“And what did the esteemed Dr. Goddard have to say.” Trudy asked in a hushed tone, but with a look of defiance.
“I would keep away from him for a bit if I were you. He wasn't too happy with either of us when I got done with him. So keep an eye out for him.”
“I'll do that,” Trudy said. “But for now how about we try to get the board cleared. The last shift left us with some overflow.”“Okay, then we'd better get to it.” Nydia said with a bit of resolve in her voice that she wasn't so sure of. She tried her best to put it in the back of her mind as she stepped into the first examination area.
To Be Continued
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