Phantom Creek
Chapter 5: The recovery

Copyright© 2019 by Wendell Jackson

Monday was slow getting started. Austin and Tom had to make their own breakfasts. Eleanor and Paul were off taking Allen to the veterans hospital in Portland. The call made to the veterans administration, caused some person in charge to discover that Allen should not have been released on any condition. The error in releasing Allen was chalked up to Staff being over worked and heavily burden. It didn’t matter what the reason for his early release, as after he was readmitted, he was bedded down for three days before being operated on for the shrapnel in his back. There would be no early release this time, as the infection that had been draining had closed up. He was moved to another ward, and placed in intensive care.

The food was a disappointment. Having had good home cooking again, he wasn’t ready to except the bland hospital diet. The only good thing about the hospital as far as Allen was concerned was the nurses aids. The medical aids that brought his food and washed his body, were mostly young women. Several of them were highly attractive. A young brunette had caught his eye, she was new he learned from one of the more matronly aids. Having just arrived and was in training. There were several young women that attended morning classes and worked the wards in the afternoons.

Allen looked forward to seeing her on the days she appeared. She assisted in serving the dinner trays to the bedded patients, which Allen was. The frustrating thing about her, was that so far it was always one of the other aids that brought his food tray. He was hoping that at least once she would be the one to bring him his tray. It just didn’t work out that way. Later after everyone had eaten, the aids would read to the patients. She read to the patient in the bed across from him, as he had vision problems. Having lost an eye, and was waiting for an artificial one to arrive. An extensive reconstruction of facial bone was healing, so even his good eye was half covered in gauze wrappings.

She wore a name tag that had Pratt written on it. Allen asked the matronly nurse that gave him his sponge bath, what Miss Pratt’s first name was, but the woman shrugged her shoulders, saying she didn’t know. They all went by last names and never called anyone by their firsts. That evening as they brought the food cart in, Allen watched as they read the names on the trays, and then matched them with the patients. Miss Pratt brought the food tray to the patient in the bed next to his, which prompted Allen to announce to her what his name was.

“Allen Wakefield.” he told her as she nodded and continued to set the tray up for the patient. “That’s my name.” He waited a moment or two while she worked, then spoke again. “What’s your full name, Miss Pratt?” that brought a worried look to her face, and she hurriedly finished setting up the tray and was about to move away. “I know I’m being abrupt, but I ah, I’ve been waiting and hoping that you would bring my food tray, but so far it hasn’t happen.”

Miss Pratt said she was sorry, and started to move away. Allen could tell she was a little frighten of him. “Look, I’m the one that should be sorry. Its just that I was hoping to speak to you, but so far I haven’t had the chance. I’ll probably be released soon, and that will be it. I think your pretty would like to know you better.” He added “You probably hear that a lot!”

Concerned now that Allen might be a section eight, She moved around to the further side of the patients bed. It was plain to everyone on the ward she moved so that another bed was between her and Allen. Even he could under stand it. “I don’t blame you. A pretty girl like you already has a guy. If it doesn’t work out, I mean, if the guy is a four F or something. I’d like it if you’d give me a chance. She was done with the other patients tray and looked across at Allen. He couldn’t help but think to himself that she was beautiful.

Pratt spoke in an off hand manner. “I’ll keep it in mind.”

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