P.S.I. Part II -- The Thaw

Chapter 15 -- The Thaw

Home | Chapter 1 -- The Dead Eyes of the Prophet | Chapter 2 -- Rooster & Mundelein | Chapter 3 -- Where's Mike? | Chapter 4 -- The First Visitation | Chapter 5 -- Two Bridegrooms and a Baby | Chapter 6 -- Adding Emeralds to Sapphires | Chapter 7 -- Body Memory | Chapter 8 -- "I Wish You'd Take Better Care of Him!" | Chapter 9 -- Farewell, Big Red | Chapter 10 -- The Real Brin | Chapter 11 -- As Newfangled as Pringles | Chapter 12 -- When the Fat Lady Sings | Chapter 13 -- The Video, The Article and The Interviews | Chapter 14 -- Letters | Chapter 15 -- The Thaw | Chapter 16 -- Where She Walked | Epilogue | Author's Notes | Soundtrack

Dr. Brackett made his way back to Orthopedics.  For once since Betsy's passing, Mike was composed.
"Glad to see you're feeling better," said the doctor.
"Dr. Morton just talked to me.  Made me recognize the messages from the dream.  And by the way, did I ever tell you what happened to Dixie?"
"No, you didn't," said Dr. Brackett with furrowed brow.
"She dropped dead of a heart attack in the ER hallway.  After two hours of trying to bring her back, Dr. Morton told you you were going to have to stop, that she was gone."
Dr. Brackett folded his left arm over his stomach, and rested his right elbow on his arm.  He proceeded to massage his eyes with his right hand.  "Did she have any symptoms?" he asked.
"Just a lot of fatigue."
"Thanks, pal.  I'll take it from here."

Back down in the ER, Dr. Brackett was surprised to see Dixie at the nurses' station.
"What are you doing here?"
"Forgot I had some paperwork to finish."
"Have you been feeling okay lately?"

Dixie shrugged.  "I suppose.  Maybe a little tireder than usual?"
Without a word, Dr. Brackett grabbed Dixie's arm, shouted for Ellen Bart down the hallway, and headed for Treatment Two, which was vacant.  "Miss McCall needs an EKG," he ordered.
Back at the station, he called Cardiology and requested a specialist STAT.  The cardiologist met Dr. Brackett outside the treatment room.
"What's this all about, Kel?" he asked, because he felt things were not the usual in the ER.
"I need you to look at Dixie.  She may be on the verge of an M.I."
"What makes you say that?"
Dr. Brackett didn't want to say, but something forced it out of him.
"Oh, Kel!  Just because some fireman has a dream. . ."
"Tell that to him!  He dreamed his jockey wife was murdered, and now his jockey fiance is six feet under in Kentucky!"
The cardiologist's face softened.  "The Stanley girl?"
"Yes!  The Stanley girl was his fiance."
Ellen Bart yanked open the treatment room door.  "Dr. Brackett!  Miss McCall's getting sick!"

Dr. Brackett noticed the crowd growing around them.  "BACK TO WORK!" he barked.
Both doctors nearly plowed Ellen down as they burst through the door.
"Kel, leave!" said the cardiologist.  "Get another doctor in here!"
Dixie was sweating and having heaves.  Her EKG told the story all too well.  Ellen was trying to tie back Dixie's hair.
Dr. Brackett called for Dr. Morton to take over, and exchanged patients with him.  Fortunately, census was low.  Both were fracture patients, and both awaited x-rays.
Dr. Brackett wasn't sure what to do with himself.  Carol was at the station.  Perhaps a coffee break would help.
"Why don't you go on to the lounge?" she suggested.  "I'll let you know if anything changes--or when we get patients."

Upstairs, Mike and Marco were flipping through the channels on their TV.  Every channel seemed stuck on advertisements.  Mike stopped when he saw Fred Sanford of Sanford and Son, who had his hand over his heart, saying, "I'm comin' to join you, Elizabeth!"
Where have I seen that posture before? he thought as he turned away from the TV, fighting tears.  He still couldn't figure out where half the stuff in the dream had come from.  Didn't matter.  Sanford's outburst used to be funny.  Now, it wasn't.  Not when Mike had his own Elizabeth watching over him.
Marco turned off the TV.  "Sorry about that," he said.
"No problem."
Dr. Brackett entered the room.  "Hey, why the long faces?  You just saved Dixie's life, Mike."
Mike turned to him.  "That's nice."
"I got her onto the EKG just in time."
"Oh, wow," said Marco.
A page rang out for Dr. Brackett.  "Catch you later," he said as he left.

That night, Mike couldn't sleep.  He couldn't get Betsy off his mind, not that she was ever far from his thoughts to begin with.  Fred Sanford's famous line wouldn't leave him, either.  Mike just really wanted to be with Betsy again.  Another cry into his extra pillow.
Marco was snoring, apparently having a pleasant dream, considering the fact that he was chuckling in his sleep.  Must be nice.  Mike was tempted to throw something at him to wake him up, but decided against it.  He shouldn't begrudge his buddy.  Before he knew it, Mike had cried himself to sleep.

He noticed a great light through his closed eyelids.  When he woke up, he saw what looked like a brightly lit hallway just off center to the left of the foot of his bed.
He heard the sound of footfalls--leather soles--and the black silouette of a jockey emerged from the light and continued toward him.
"Betsy?" he breathed.
The silouette came to the side of his bed.  It didn't say anything, but extended its left hand to him.
"Have you come to take me?" he asked.
The silouette shook its head, and did a half-karate chop with its left hand, emphasizing that it wanted Mike to grasp it.
He didn't think he could extend his left hand, but he raised it without pain and grasped the silouette's hand.  He felt a tug forward; hands under his arms; and he stood up.  His entire body was tingling with sensation.
"AUGH!" Marco cried from between his bed and the wall.
The light became a pinpoint, and shot through the window.
Mike's brain took a minute or so to catch up with what had just happened.
Marco, on the other hand, was intrigued at what the underside of a hospital bed looked like.  There was a chair in the corner in front of him. . .
"Marco?  You okay?" Mike asked, still standing next to his bed.
The night nurse burst through the door.  "What's going on in here?" she asked.  "Marco, are you okay?"
She helped him up.  "Did you fall out of bed?  Were you sleepwalking?"
"I don't know," he said as he got up.  "All I know is that I can now see again, and my knees don't hurt!"
The nurse turned to Mike.  "What are you doing, standing there?  Aren't you in pain?"
"No, ma'am," he said.  "Just the opposite.  This is the best I've ever felt in my entire life."

Deja vu?