To read the first 17 chapters of the story 'Cindy Nelson', click HERE
Chapter Eighteen – Hannah
On Monday, Amy Green and I were on clinic duty. My first patient of the day was a 23 year old woman named Hannah Peters. I was doing some paperwork by the central nurse’s station when Tish Green, one of the prep techs at the clinic, pushed Hannah’s wheelchair into examining room 3. Hannah was a thin woman, very pretty, with flaming red hair.
Tish and Hannah were accompanied by a big breasted woman wearing a full arm cast. The woman looked vaguely familiar.
“Samantha Faircloth.” I heard Amy Green whisper in my ear. I turned to look at Dr. Green. She had a huge grin on her face. I recalled that Sam, as Samantha liked to be called, was in 2 or 3 weeks ago with a broken forearm caused by a fall at work. Amy was immediately smitten with Sam and had set and casted Sam’s mangled arm while the woman was bare chested. Sam, who was a lesbian, had taken Amy’s forwardness with good humor.
“You take the red head. I’ll take Sam.” Amy said finishing a text on her phone.
I looked at the computer. “I don’t think Sam is on the schedule. The red head. Hannah. Suspects she broke her foot. I think Sam is just a friend of hers.”
“Sam is on the schedule now.” Amy said sticking her cell phone in her pocket.
Amy walked into the examining room with me in tow. Tish was arranging Hannah’s wheelchair next to the examining table.
“Well, look who’s here.” Amy said extending a hand to Sam. Sam smiled. “How’s the arm?’ Amy asked.
“Much better. Thanks for your help when I was here the last time.”
“Don’t mention it.” Amy examined Sam’s fingers which dangled from the end of the worn cast.
“When are you due in for your cast change?” Amy asked.
Sam wiggled her fingers. “Next week.” Hannah and I live together. She got hurt this morning so I offered to drive her here. I’m off today.”
“Well, while you’re here, let’s get an x-ray and make sure things are healing right.” Sam smiled and looked suspiciously at Amy. I suspected she knew Amy was up to something.
Amy knelt and addressed the wheelchair bound Hannah. “So what happened to you?” Amy asked removing Hannah’s leather sandals and handing them to Tish.
Hannah looked embarrassed. “It’s probably nothing. I was coming down my stairs this morning and stepped on one of the dog’s tennis balls. I was barefoot and felt a pop when I stepped on it. It hurts like crazy. Sam insisted I come in for an x-ray.”
“Sam is a smart girl.” Amy said. She was gently probing Hannah’s slender, pale foot. You have a lot of swelling and obvious tenderness. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have a hairline fracture in one of your metatarsals. Let’s hope it’s nothing worse than that.”
Amy rose, made a few notes on her tablet, and an action plan was suddenly in place. Amy and Sam departed together, while Tish escorted Hannah to the radiology department.
While Tish and Hannah were at radiology, I reviewed the case of a 9 year old girl named Danielle Fort. The third grader had broken her femur. She had broken the same leg four months prior in a 4 wheeler accident. The initial break was to her tibia and fibula. One week after getting her full leg cast removed, Danielle fell in the school gym while showing off to friends by juggling water bottles while still on crutches. Her femur snapped at mid shaft and she had spent several weeks in traction. The traction pin was removed this morning and Danielle was on her way to the cast room to be placed in a spica cast. This was going to be a busy day.
By the time I got back to Hannah’s room, Amy was showing Hannah her x-rays results and discussing treatment options. Hannah was still fully clothed but now laying on the examining table.
“You’ve broken three metatarsals.” Amy pointed to Hannah’s metatarsals on the wall mounted light box. “Two of the breaks are hairline. Those are the little lines here on your second and fourth metatarsal. It’s the third metatarsal that’s the problem.”
Hannah paled slightly and her face clouded with concern.
Amy continued. “You have a displaced fracture in the third metatarsal.” Amy pointed to the light box. The break in question was in the proximal portion of the bone; close to the ankle. “See how the bones ends are slightly separated?”
Hannah nodded. “Will I need surgery?” The gorgeous red head asked.
Amy shrugged. “Probably not. Cindy is going to align the bone as best she can and then put you in a cast. Hopefully, everything stays in place. Six weeks non-weight bearing in a cast and you should be good to go. If, for some reason, it doesn’t heal, then we can discuss surgery.”
Tish began assembling a cast cart while Amy made notes on her tablet.
“Any questions?” Amy asked.
“I’m good.” Hannah replied with a smile. I am not sure the girl understood the concept of ‘aligning the bone.’ She would soon understand.
“Well. I’m off to change Sam’s cast.” Amy said with an overeager exuberance. “I’ll be right next door if you need me. I’ll see you before you go.”
Tish showed Hannah a rope containing a sample of cast colors. Hannah chose lime green. I settled into the rolling chair next to the examining table as Tish finished assembling the cast cart.
“First broken bone?” I asked. Hannah smiled. “Oh no. I’m a veteran bone breaker. I was a tom boy as a kid. I broke both arms when I was in 1st grade in a jungle gym disaster. That was awful. I had both arms in casts from my hand to my armpits. I couldn’t even dress myself for six weeks.” I stared at the woman’s long, thin arms.
“And then in 3rd grade, I broke my thigh. I was climbing a tree and fell 20 feet. Snapped my femur right in half. That was during my Wonder Woman phase.” We all stared at Hanna’s thigh. I noticed two round scars on either side of the woman’s leg.
I pointed to one of the scars. “Traction?” I asked.
Hannah nodded. “Traction for 13 days followed by six quality months in a body cast.” Hannah looked reflective. “And it seems like every year after that I would break something. Wrists. Ankles. You name it. My sister was the one who played with dolls and helped mom make cookies while I was being loaded into an ambulance.”
Tish rolled the cast cart over to the foot of the examining table. I slipped into the corner and grabbed the ‘molly dolly.” The proper name for the ‘molly dolly’ was a Digi Grip traction system. It consisted of a metal pole on wheels with five finger traps tangling from cords. The finger traps could be attached to fingers or toes. With the injured foot or hand held in the air with the finger traps, broken bones can be properly reduced.
“What’s that?” Hannah asked with a concerned look on her face.
“We call it a Molly Dolly.” I said slipping the toe ring off of her middle toe. “Toe rings and swollen toes don’t mix very well.”
Hannah smiled. I squeezed Hanna’s toes lightly. “Now. Here is the game plan.” I said to Hanna.
“We are going to place these finger traps on your middle toes. We’re going to lift your foot in the air so it dangles from the finger traps. That will bring the break in your third metatarsal back into alignment. Then we can put you in your cast.”
“Will it hurt?” Hanna asked. As if on cue, Tish handed me a syringe filled with a milky substance.
“Tish and I are not into pain. So we’re going to numb your foot near the break. You’ll still feel some pressure. But the pain shouldn’t be too bad.”
Hannah nodded and stared at the ceiling as Tish injected Lidocaine in three spots around the break site. We heard laughter coming from the examining room next to us. That would be Amy and Samantha playing a little game of doctor and patient. I imagined Samantha topless while Dr. Amy is giving her a thorough examination.
While we waited for the Lidocaine to take effect, I examined Hanna’s broken foot closely. The woman had world class feet and was obviously proud of them. Her skin was pale; not surprising for a red head. The toes were long like little fingers. Nails were painted a light pink and tipped in white. On the outside of her foot a long tattoo read “For as long as I live I shall testify to love.”
I noticed Hanna wore a crucifix around her neck. She also had a tattoo of the Christian fish symbol ichthys on her upper arm. This must be a very religious woman.
Tish handed me a length of stockinette which I slipped over Hannah’s pale foot. I rolled the Molly Dolly into position I gently raised Hannah’s foot off the bed while Tish attached finger traps to Hannah’s middle three toes.
“The typical human leg weighs over 20 pounds.” I said. “So when we let your foot hang from finger traps, the weight of your leg will bring the broken bones back in place.”
Hannah closed her eyes. We heard more giggles from the adjacent room. Slowly I let Hannah’s foot drop so it was supported by the three toes traps.
Hannah’s reaction was quick and violent.
“Holy Shit!” The woman screamed. “Jesus fucking Christ! Stop. Please Stop. Fuck fuck fuck fuck.”
So much for Hannah the born again Christian. This woman had a mouth on her like a sailor. I pressed my fingers against the top and bottom of the woman’s foot trying to smooth the broken metatarsal into place. The woman had a death grip on the rails of her gurney.
“Fuck me in the ass.” Hannah continued. God Dammit! Stop!” The giggling from the next room stopped. “Son of a bitch! Stop fucking with my foot!”
I pushed hard on the top of Hannah’s foot and felt a small pop. The bone was back in place.
Hannah immediately stopped her tirade and became quiet.
“God that hurt.” Hannah said as Tish began wrapping padding around Hannah’s foot and ankle. Hannah’s foot still dangled from the toe traps.
At that moment, the door flew open and a disheveled looking Amy Green entered. “Everything OK?” She asked. Amy’s hair was a mess. Her lab coat open. Blouse only partially buttoned and her blue skirt was askew.
I almost laughed at the site of Dr. Green. “Everything is fine, Amy. We set Hannah’s foot and Tish is getting her casted up." Tish gave Amy a little wave.I dipped a roll of green fiberglass tape in water, squeezed it, and handed it to Tess.
“So where is Sam?” Hannah asked watching her leg and get covered in pink fiberglass bandages.
Amy paused before answering. “Umm. She’s getting dressed.” Amy suddenly looked like she forgot something. She turned and left the room.
“That was strange.” Hannah said. “Is it normal to undress someone to change an arm cast?”
Tish and I looked at each other and smiled. We heard giggles again from the adjacent examining room.
Hannah shook her head. “Never mind.” She said with a laugh.
Like most characters in my stories, Hanna is based on a real person. Hanna is a 25 year old mother of two who lives in Spartanburg, SC. She did, in fact, break her foot as child. When in sixth grade, she jumped off of a fence barefoot and her right foot landed on a rock. Hanna felt a crack and knew immediately that her foot was broken. She hopped gamely on one leg 50 yards to her house. Dad drove her to the hospital ER where Hanna was placed in a lime green cast for six weeks.
Hannah is married to a police officer and has a stable, almost 'Ozzie and Harriet' like marriage. She bakes cookies and cakes and has a business selling craft items on Pinterest. This is a far cry from her teen years when she was openly gay and in several rocky lesbian relationships. She frequented lesbian clubs in the Spartanburg area. She reached the pinnacle of weirdness, when she had a relationship with a transvestite for six months.
Hanna's police officer husband, of course, has no knowledge of Hanna's bisexuality. This story confirms the adage that truth is stranger than fiction.