Dr. Drayson smiled. “She’s very sick. The allergic reaction went through her body. They’re working to keep her body from getting too hot — kind of like a bad fever. She’s responding well and seems very healthy. They gave her steroids to fight the allergic reaction. It will be a while before we know for sure. For now, they’re cautious but very hopeful.”
Jill nodded her head. “Is she in pain?”
“The doctor put her to sleep in her car seat. She won’t remember any of this,” Dr. Drayson said. “She’s well-loved and strong, the kind of strong that comes from great mothering. You got her here quickly. These doctors are the very best. She has every chance.”
“John?” A doctor stuck his head in the waiting room. “I heard you were here. Do you mind …?”
“One minute,” John said to the doctor. Returning to Jill, he said, “If it’s all right with you, I’ll remain as your liaison. At this point, there isn’t anything for you to do. You can stay here with your family. I’ll let you know when I know anything.”
Jill nodded. “Thanks.”
“It’s my pleasure. Jacob has helped us with a number of quandaries. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to return a favor,” Dr. Drayson said. He and the other doctor walked from the room.
At the same moment, Jill’s sister Candy came into the room. Candy hugged Jill. The two sisters joined Mike and Megan near the back of the waiting room.
Jacob stood near the door watching the siblings all talk at once. Overwhelmed by the sound of everyone talking, he was grateful when a hospital staff clerk came to the door. He tried to flag Jill, but she was absorbed in her family. Slipping out of the waiting room, Jacob followed the clerk to a cubical where he began filling out Katy’s admission forms.
Yes, he would be responsible. No, Katy didn’t have insurance. Of course, he understood that the bill might be thousands of dollars. The woman sneered at him when he said he would pay cash. Of course, feel free to run my credit.
The clerk ran his social security number, and then it was “Thank you, Mr. Marlowe. Credit card is fine. Is there anything else I can do for you?” He was just about to leave when she asked him to autograph her copy of 5280. He shook his head as if he didn’t understand what she had asked and left the cubicle.
Standing near the door of the waiting room, Jacob watched Jill and her family interact. Their voices would get loud, as if they were arguing, then someone would laugh. Once one sibling laughed the rest of them followed.
Intimidated, Jacob convinced himself that he should probably just go home.
Jill could call him if she wanted to see him again. He was passing through the outer door when Steve, Jill’s middle brother came walking in.
“Hey,” Steve said. “Running away?”
Trying to come up with a lie, Jacob stalled for time with a smile.
“Megan and Mike are at it, huh?” Steve said. “God, they drive me crazy. I thought they would be over their bossy brigade by now. Not yet?”
Jacob shook his head.
“Yeah, well. That guy’s looking for you.”
Jacob turned to see Dr. Drayson flagging him.
“How’s Katy?” Jacob asked.
“She’s improving. Are you leaving?”
“Nah,” Steve said. “We’re going to get a beer.”
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1 continues tomorrow…
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