A Trip to The Mall

Chapter 44 I get home from work and fall into bed without showering first. Troubled about Corey, and tired from a long nightshift, I toss and turn through fragments of terrible dreams I can’t remember. After several hours I give up all hope of restful sleep, and lie awake in the darkened room. The extra […]

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For Whom the Phone Rings (Niki does ‘wine by phone’)

Chapter 10 After working a night shift, my soundest sleep occurs between 10 am and noon. At 11 am the ringing of our landline phone wakes me. Drowsily, I pick up thinking it could be the school calling about Maddie. What if she’s sick, or hurt? But I forgot, the school only has Simon’s and […]

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (Niki gets a speeding ticket)

Chapter 9 After charting on the fourteen-year-old boy with the AVM, I left the PICU to the well wishes of my coworkers: “Get some sleep, Niki. Good job.” As usual, I leave through the Emergency Department exit, glancing around before remembering that it’s after eight-thirty; Corey went home over an hour ago, and I stood him up […]

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Something Goes Wrong (Nice families always have the sickest kids)

Chapter 8 Besides my fourteen year-old head trauma there is only one other patient in the PICU.  Because that one is stable and expected to transfer to the regular pediatric unit in the morning, staffing for our night shift dropped down to two nurses, Kathy, and myself. The fourteen year old’s parents had been at the bedside […]

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The Center of This Body’s Universe (Niki needs caffeine and meets a nice family in the PICU)

Chapter 7 I can’t tell if my headache is caused by too much sleep or not enough. Without coffee my night shift tuned body doesn’t know whether to wake up, or go to bed, since neither daylight nor darkness have circadian relevance anymore. Caffeine, not the sun,  is the center of this body’s Universe. I […]

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It Should be Magical (Niki contemplates her marriage)

Chapter 6 At dinnertime Simon pops the macaroni and cheese into the oven to bake. I helped Maddie finish her homework, and then she helped me set the table. Simon reentered the kitchen briefly to sauté the broccoli lightly in olive oil. Transferring it to a platter, he sprinkles the broccoli with a couple of […]

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Little Earthquakes (Niki has a stress dream and learns about earthquake kits)

Chapter 5 I pulled into the driveway of our rented house. Simon’s left, so I park in the garage, closing the door. I removed the groceries from the backseat and set them on the washing machine before sliding off my scrubs, dumping them into the laundry hamper. I’m always worried about bringing home germs from […]

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A Good Shift (Niki introduces two coworkers)

Chapter 2 One good thing about working twelve-hour night shifts in a Southern California hospital is driving against traffic for the commute. Californians don’t measure commutes in miles, but by how long it takes them to get there. Everyone knows to stay off the freeways, and take surface streets. I pull into the hospital staff […]

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Make Sure You Spell It Right (Introduction)

Chapter 1  He was practically screaming at me over the phone at the nurses’ desk. I wondered how anyone could summon so much energy at 2 am on short notice. “I want you to give that digoxin now, young lady!” “If I give the digoxin, the kid’s heart is going to stop. He’s bradycardic; his […]

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