The Most Important Thing (Niki makes a decision)

Chapter 16 Corey put his arms around me, holding me close. My face nestles in the warm triangle where shoulder meets neck, and I can feel his carotid pulse beating against my cheek. He smells like soap and water, clean and nice. I place tiny kisses against his smooth neck, tears welling in my eyes. […]

Continue Reading →

Comments Off

Two Separate Worlds (Corey tells Niki how he feels)

Chapter 15 Corey’s hand is warm, and dry, its nails clipped and clean. I left my hand on the diner table under his longer than I should. “Hey Niki,” he said. I withdrew my hand. “Um, we should go. Thanks for the bacon, Corey.” I put a ten on the table as Corey flagged the […]

Continue Reading →

Comments Off

It’s Not Like You Work Five Days a Week (Twelve-hour night shifts are hard on marriages)

Chapter 14  For the third night in a row, I returned to the PICU. Shortly after shift report, the father of the child I told how to ask for pain meds for his kid walks in carrying three large boxes of pizzas. He sets them in front of me, on top of the nurses’ desk. […]

Continue Reading →

Comments Off

Collusion (Niki coaches a parent on talking to doctors)

Chapter 13 The next night I returned to the PICU, and found that the eleven year-old transferred to the regular pediatric unit on schedule. As predicted, Dr. Eubanks not only discontinued the Fentanyl infusion before the transfer, but the puny IV morphine pushes too. It was out of my hands now. Or so I thought. Later […]

Continue Reading →

Comments Off

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 […]

Continue Reading →

Comments Off

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 […]

Continue Reading →

Comments Off

Call 911 (Niki comes to the aid of a family in distress at the grocery store)

Chapter 4 The rest of that shift was uneventful. Once dayshift arrived, I gave report on the new admission, and my other patient too. I wash my hands, use the restroom, and wash my hands again. Never get into a car with a full bladder. I leave the hospital by the ER exit on my […]

Continue Reading →

Comments Off

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 […]

Continue Reading →

4 Comments

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 […]

Continue Reading →

5 Comments