After the orderly came back to push his gurney out of the way, his nurse crossed over. She locked her gaze on his and spoke in a low tone. “Derek, the lower lobe of your right lung has collapsed. Dr. Allen needs to put a small catheter in between your ribs to re-inflate your lung.”
“Can he do that right here? Or do I have to go to the operating room?” he asked, dreading the answer.
“He can do that right here, but it’s going to hurt.” Her large chocolate-brown eyes held sympathy.
“Let’s get it done fast, then, before Lexi is out of the scanner.”
“That’s what I thought, too,” she confessed. When she leaned closer, her nametag came into focus. Julie. He remembered now, her name was Julie. The pretty name somehow fit her dainty frame and cheerful personality. “I need to prep the side of your chest, first, okay?”
“Go for it,” he said. “Just hurry.”
She hadn’t been kidding about the pain, but surprisingly, once the procedure was over, the fire in his chest felt better. The pain wasn’t gone, not by a long shot, but breathing was certainly was easier.
“Now just a quick X-ray of your arm and your chest to make sure your lung has re-inflated, and you’ll be set for a while,” Julie informed him.
“No other internal bleeding?” he asked. Even though he had no plans of staying, he wanted to know exactly what he was dealing with.
“You have a hard head, but luckily, no sign of intracranial bleeding, although you do have a small concussion. You also have two cracked ribs and a bruised spleen, but no other internal bleeding was found. And Lexi’s scan is complete too. Rick, our orderly, is bringing her back here momentarily. Her scan was completely clear. You and your daughter are very lucky to have escaped serious injury.”
“Great.” The relief was nearly overwhelming. Once he would have thanked God, but not anymore. Not that he thought God would listen to him anyway, considering the way he’d taken Lexi and bolted out of St. Louis in the dead of night. But no matter what, he wasn’t going to take Lexi back.
The urge to keep moving was strong. They couldn’t afford to stay in one place for too long.
He focused his gaze on Julie. “We are lucky, but we’re finished here. I suggest you get our discharge paperwork started, because we’re leaving as soon as possible.