Removing the support that gave him life. I couldn’t do it. If I were in a similar circumstance, would Pops give up on me, stop the machines from giving me that life-sustaining air? Hell would literally turn to ice before that happened. That man would stand over me and pump my chest and give me CPR nonstop if it would keep me alive even for one minute. I had to give him the same chance.
“Good morning, Ms. Saunders,” Dr. McHottie said as he pulled Pops’s chart from the end of the bed and scanned it. For a few minutes, he’d make notes, check some things, flip pages, and repeat.
I stood, stretched my arms above my head, and did a small backbend, trying to relieve the constant ache in the center of my spine, the kind that comes from sitting in a plastic chair for nearly a week. My back protested, and I winced. Dr. McHottie shook his head, staring at me over a pair of black-rimmed glasses. His dark, curly hair was cropped close to his head and almost seemed to shine. It looked wet, and by the fresh scent of Irish Spring, he’d just left the shower. Smelling the soapy goodness reminded me of how ripe I was getting. It had been two days since I’d left the hospital. No amount of deodorant could mask the funk beginning to germinate under my arms.
“Morning, Doc. What’s the prognosis? Any better?” I tried not to sound too hopeful because every day for nearly seven days, he’d frowned and simply shook his head. Today though, there was a moment. One where I knew, I just knew, our luck was changing.
The slick, young doctor met me on my side of the bed and placed a hand on my shoulder. He squeezed, and I tried not to moan at the scant release of tension that small grip provided. I was wound so tight any touch, no matter how brief, felt like a momentous occasion. “According to the readings, at some point in the night, your dad’s lungs started to move against the machines. It’s a slight positive response indicating he might breathe on his own, but I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.
There weren’t words to express my gratitude for this tiny speck of hope. Instead, I plowed into his body and wrapped my arms around his waist. I poured everything I had into that one hug, holding on as if my own life depended on it. He didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he held me. Wrapped his arms around my body, keeping me against his chest. We stood there, a wrecked woman and a man of medicine, a healer. I leaned against that man and prayed God would grant him the ability to save my dad regardless of whether or not he deserved it. I had to believe that everyone deserved a second chance. If he made it, I think Pops would agree. Maybe this would be the wake-up call he needed to realize that life was indeed worth living.
A cell phone ring blasted into the euphoria that was my single positive moment in the better part of a week. I jumped back and looked into the sky-blue gaze of Dr. McHottie. “Sorry. It’s just a lot—” I started but he cut me off.
“Mia, never be sorry for needing a hug. I can tell you’re a very strong young woman, but everyone needs someone to lean on. Let’s keep praying for a miracle. I’ll be back to check on his status in a couple of hours.”
I nodded and turned around to find Maddy with her cell phone crushed against her ear.
“Uh, yeah, she’s right here, Auntie.” Maddy held out her cell phone as she pushed the blond layers of bedhead back off her face. She looked the way I felt, though I’m certain if a mirror were anywhere near me, I’d look like the night of the living dead revived.
Blowing out a long breath, I lifted the phone to my ear. “Hello?”
“What the hell is going on? You haven’t answered my calls, you didn’t show up for your flight, and you certainly didn’t show up in Tucson, Arizona where client number nine was expecting you!”