Tom Harris is injured in a high school football game and ends up in the hospital.
Tanner Knox says he’ll make sure Tom receives reparation for what happened.
Monday Morning, 10/1/2018
Tanner saw the scanner room door open. An orderly wheeled Tom into the waiting room, then parked the gurney and returned to the scanner room.
Tom saw Tanner. “Hey!” he called out.
“You’re back,” Tanner said as he walked over and grinned at Tom. “How are you doing? How was it getting the scan?”
“It seemed to take a lot of time getting me positioned so I couldn’t move. Then they gave me an injection. It was the contrast medium so they can see the details of my bladder. It stung at first, but then that went away. After that it was boring. They’d put headphones on me, and there was music. But even that got boring during the positioning. No way to change the station!”
“They’re going to move you to a room now. Room 482.”
“That’s not the number Carl told us.”
“Yeah. You got moved to the psych ward.”
Tanner couldn’t keep a straight face, and he laughed. So did Tom. Tanner saw Jenny grin and shake her head.
“Do you know why they changed my room?”
“Jenny, she’s the one at the registration desk, said maybe the other room wasn’t ready.”
“I guess it doesn’t make any difference. I wonder if my room has a view? And a TV? Magazines to read? A menu with real food I can eat?”
Tanner interrupted. “We’ll find out when they wheel you in. But don’t count on a menu with real food. You’ll probably be on a restricted liquid diet.” He wasn’t grinning; Tanner was serious.
“I know,” Tom said. “That was wishful thinking.”
Two orderlies came in and asked Tom, “Are you Thomas Harris?”
“We’re going to take you to your room.”
“Can I follow along?” Tanner asked. “I’m Tom’s friend. My mom is Danielle Knox. She’s a nursing manager here.”
“No, sorry. Visitors can’t use the staff elevator. You can take the regular elevator to the fourth floor. He’ll be in room 482.”
“Okay,” Tanner said. “Tom, I’ll see you in your room.”
“By the way,” one of the orderlies said, “you’ll need to wait outside his room while we move him in and transfer him from the gurney to the bed and remove the gurney. Then a nurse will have to set him up on the monitors and an I-V if his doctor ordered it. This will take a few minutes. The nurse will tell you when you can go in his room.”
Tanner touched Tom’s left shoulder. “I’ll see in your room as soon as you’re set up to have visitors. If you need anything until then, I’ll be right outside of the door, and if you call my name, I’ll stick my head in and ask what you’d like me to do for you.”
“Thanks, Tanner. I don’t know what I would have done without your help today. You’re a really good friend.”
“And you’re a really good friend, Tom. Let’s stick together from now on.”
“Like best friends, maybe?” Tom asked.
“Maybe just like best friends,” Tanner said, then he grinned and squeezed Tom’s shoulder.
The orderlies released the breaks on the gurney. “We’re on our way now. It will take us about five minutes to arrive at his room.” They took him out a different door that had a sign, Staff Only.
Tanner asked Jenny how to get to the fourth floor, and she gave him directions. He took the main elevator to the fourth floor. Exiting, he saw direction signs pointing to the left and right; room 482 was to his left, so he headed in that direction.
Tom was already in his room. Tanner peeked in and watched as they moved him from the gurney to the hospital bed.
A nurse walked up to him. “Please wait until we’re finished setting up the monitors and an I-V. There’s seating just past the nurses’ station.”
“Okay. Tom asked me if I’d be nearby if there were something he needed me to do for him. Like, make a phone call to let someone know where he is.”
“Alright. You won’t be in the way here after they move the gurney out. So, it would be best if you have a seat and watch for the gurney when it’s wheeled out. Then you can wait by the door until I’ve finished getting him set up. If he asks for you, I’ll let you know. What’s your name?”
“Knox? Are you Danielle Knox’s son?”
“She left a message for us to let her know when Tom Harris was in his room. She mentioned that you’d be visiting him.”
“She helped Tom get registered when he came into the ER,” Tanner told her. “He was injured Friday night in our football game.”
Tanner retreated to the waiting area and sat down. He watched for the gurney to be wheeled out. That only took two or three minutes. He decided there was no use standing in the hall when the door to Tom’s room was closed. After about ten minutes the door to Tom’s room opened, and the nurse walked out.
“You can go in now, Tanner. I let your mother know that Tom is in his room. She said she’d visit him in about ten minutes.”
Tanner walked in, and Tom smiled.
“Hi, Tom. How you feeling?”
“About the same. The one thing that’s different is I don’t feel like I have to pee.”
“Did they give you anything for that?”
“No, but Carl, the scanner tech, said the contrast medium can temporarily stop the urge to pee. He said the effect would fade over the next couple hours.”
“What about the results of the scan? When will you find out about that?”
“Carl said it should be available for the doctor to look at sometime this afternoon. Then I have to wait for him to come and tell me what it shows.”
“Well, it’s almost one-thirty now,” Tanner said, “so it shouldn’t be too long. Or maybe I’m optimistic. Hospital time, remember?” He grinned.
“Well, it’s good you’re optimistic.” They looked at the door where Doctor Hamilton, the urologist, was standing. He came into Tom’s room and brought one of the side chairs over so he could sit.
“Tom, is it okay with you if Tanner listens to what we’re going to discuss?”
“That’s fine with me. We’re good friends.”
“We’ve determined that what you have are two contusions in your bladder caused by blunt trauma to your abdominal wall. That is consistent with how you describe the way your injury occurred by having an opposing player jump on you with his knees. That’s also what the X-ray showed.
“Your contusions are internal tears which means there are no holes in your bladder, so urine is not passing from your bladder into your abdominal cavity. That’s also confirmed because your temperature isn’t above the normal range. That means you didn’t have a fever or any other symptoms of a tear in the bladder wall. So you won’t need surgery.”
“That’s great! What’ll you do to stop the bleeding?”
“What we do in a case like yours is allow the contusions to heal on their own. We’ll watch you for a few days in the hospital to make sure that approach is appropriate. Also, if there is restricted urine flow, we might insert a catheter through your urethra into your bladder so you can urinate.”
Tom’s expression showed he didn’t like that option at all. “So, when can I return to school?”
“I’d say once there’s no blood showing in your urine. Perhaps a week after you return home from the hospital.”
“That’s a problem,” Tom said. “I’m in the foster system, and I don’t know where I’m going to be. I was in sort of group home, but it’s been closed now. My original foster family might take me back, and for me, that would be best. But I’m not sure about that. And I don’t know who to talk to at CPS to find out.”
Tanner’s mom arrived to check on Tom. She turned to where the doctor was sitting next to Tom’s bed. “Hello, Doctor Hamilton.”
“Hello, Danielle. How are you today?”
“Good. So, how is Tom?”
The doctor told her what he’d told Tom and Tanner but with a lot more medical details.
“So, Tom, how are you feeling?” Danielle asked.
“Better now that I know I don’t need surgery. Thing is, I don’t know where I’m going to go when they release me from the hospital. I can’t go back to where I was, and I wouldn’t go, anyway. I’d like to go back to the Jackson’s if they’d have me.”
Danielle smiled. “Catherine Parsons from CPS will come by to see you later today. Ask her what she can work out for you.”
“Will she talk to Mr. and Mrs. Jackson? They are the ones who were fostering me.”
“You can ask her when she sees you.”
As the doctor stood up, Tom had a question for him. “Doctor Hamilton, I’m hungry. When will I be able to get something to eat?”
“Well, let’s see. You’ve missed the regular lunch, but let me see what I can have the staff work out for you.”
“Will I be on a liquid diet?”
“You’re on a regular soft diet. The soft means low sodium and no caffeine, and only soft foods and liquids. We don’t want you to strain when you have a bowel movement.”
“No caffeine isn’t a problem because I don’t drink coffee. But low sodium sounds like the food’s going to be tasteless.”
“It’s low sodium, not no sodium. And no caffeine also means no sodas with caffeine like colas.”
“Can I have ginger ale and root beer? Those are my favorites.”
“Those are fine. Assuming the root beer doesn’t have caffeine. Some do.”
“What about the blood in my urine? How soon’s that going to stop?”
“It depends on your progress. We’ll collect your urine every time you urinate; that’s very important, and we’ll use it to track your recovery.”
“How long will I have to stay in the hospital?”
“At least three days, perhaps as long as a week. It depends on how soon the contusions in your bladder heal.”
“Come on, Tom,” Danielle said. “Most of it is good news. You might have required surgery, and that’s not necessary.”
“Looking at it that way, I guess I’m lucky.”
“That you are, Mr. Harris. Now it’s time for me to see my other patients,” Doctor Hamilton said. “On my way out I’ll arrange for you to get some lunch.”
“It’s time for me to get back to work, too,” Danielle said.
“Hi, Mom. I’m fine. Thanks for asking,” Tanner said. Then he and Tom laughed.
“You’re a visitor, Tanner. It’s my job to be concerned with the patient. But, since you asked, how are you?”
“I’m fine. As usual,” he replied, with a grin.
“My work here is done. For now. So, Tanner, I’ll be back when it’s time for us to go home.”
“Okay. Bye for now, Mom.”
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