Tom Harris is injured in a high school football game and ends up in the hospital.
Tanner Knox says he’ll make sure Tom receives reparation for what happened.
Monday Morning, 10/1/2018
Tanner’s mom stood just inside the emergency department entrance as she had promised. She had a wheelchair, and she and Tanner helped Tom into the chair. Tanner wheeled Tom inside and up to the admissions desk.
“Tom, I’m Danielle Knox, Tanner’s mother. I’m also a nursing manager here at the hospital. Tanner told me you’re being fostered, so you should have a Medi-Cal card. Do you have it with you?”
“Uh-huh.” Tom pulled out his wallet and gave his card to Danielle.
The admissions clerk swiped the card, returned it to him, and gave him an identification band which Danielle put around his left wrist. She handed Tanner a visitor’s ID sticker that he put on his shirt.
“Okay, let’s get you into the examination room,” Danielle told him. The guard at the security station scanned the bar code on Tom’s wristband, and his scanner beeped. He scanned the bar code on Tanner’s ID sticker, and the scanner beeped. The guard pressed a button and the doors to the hallway that led to the examination rooms opened. “Room fourteen,” he told Danielle.
She led them down the hall and to the examination room.
“Tom, I’ll wait until the emergency physician gets here, so I know who’ll be examining you. I also want to make sure he knows that Tanner can stay with you. You might need an X-ray or a CT scan. Tanner, you’ll have to leave the examination room when they do the X-ray. Afterward, you can come back here. If he has a CT scan, there’s a waiting room where you can wait until they finish his scan. Okay?”
“Sure,” Tanner replied.
“Tom, how are you feeling? Are you nauseous?” she asked.
“My stomach and abdomen don’t feel good, but I don’t feel like I’ll throw up. I’m hungry and thirsty because I didn’t get any dinner last night or breakfast this morning. I’m feeling tired and kinda weak, too. And I feel like I have to take a leak.”
“Knowing that you had nothing to eat or drink means you shouldn’t get sick when the doctor’s examining you.”
“What sort of thing would cause blood to be in my urine?”
“Let’s wait until the doctor gets here. He’ll figure out what is causing that. He’ll have you urinate into a sample bottle. They’ll test it, and that will help them figure out what’s wrong.”
Tom looked scared. Tanner knew if he was in a hospital and had blood in his urine he’d be scared, too.
An orderly came in with a hospital gown. Danielle stepped out of the examination room and pulled the curtain closed. Tanner helped Tom get undressed and put on the gown. Tom felt so out of it that he didn’t even get embarrassed when he was naked. The orderly had left a bag tagged with Tom’s name for his clothes and shoes.
A doctor entered the examination room. His name badge read Armand Kapoor, MD, EMD. When he saw Danielle enter the room, he smiled.
“Mrs. Knox! Am I here to see one of your sons?”
“Yes and no.” She put her hand on Tanner’s shoulder. “This is my son, Tanner.” She turned and put her hand on Tom’s shoulder. “The boy with the problem is Tom Harris. He’s Tanner’s friend and teammate on the Edison High School football team. He was injured in their game Friday night. Tom, tell Doctor Kapoor what happened and when you first noticed blood in your urine.”
“This guy from Ealington came over and jumped on me, his knees into my abdomen, and then got up and jumped on me again. It hurt like hell. They pulled me out of the game, and I had trouble walking. The team doctor checked me out, and I started to feel okay, except for being sore all over. But I’m always sore all over after a game. Anyway, he wouldn’t let me return to the game.
“On Saturday I couldn’t pee, uh, I mean urinate. Yesterday afternoon I finally was able to urinate, but there was blood in my urine. There was a lot more blood last night and this morning, and I feel tired and weak. I needed to pee a lot this morning. It was all bloody.”
“Okay,” Doctor Kapoor said, “let’s get a urine sample right now. Do you think you can urinate?”
“Yeah, it feels like I need to.”
The doctor went to a cabinet and removed a plastic bottle. He pulled out a sheet of labels that had Tom’s name and medical ID number on them and peeled one off and affixed it to the bottle. He handed the bottle to Tom. “Urinate into this bottle. I’ll take you to the bathroom. Deposit all your urine into this bottle, none in the toilet. When you’re finished, close the top and come out and bring me the bottle. I’ll be waiting for you outside the bathroom. If you feel dizzy or weak, press the red call button next to the toilet, and I’ll come in to assist you.”
The doctor led Tom to a bathroom.
“I need to get back to work,” Tanner’s mom told him. “If there’s any problem call me on my work cellphone number.”
“Okay, Mom. Do you think Tom will be okay?”
“He should be. The doctor will make an initial diagnosis. Taking a blow to the lower abdomen can cause a rupture of the bladder. It’s serious but not life-threatening as long as it’s repaired soon after it’s discovered. However, other injuries could cause blood in the urine. So, don’t discuss my speculations with Tom, all right?”
“Sure thing. I’ll let the doctor tell him what’s going on. Uh, there is one thing. I didn’t call the school admission office to tell them I’ll be out today. And that Tom won’t be there either. Could you call and let them know?”
“Okay. Let me do it now. Tom’s last name is…?”
“His name is Thomas Harris. He’s a sophomore. I don’t know the address of the place where he lives. After you’ve made the call, there’s something else I’d like to tell you about Tom.”
Danielle called Edison High School and asked for Beatrice McClain, a friend of hers who was in the Admissions Office. She told her a brief description of what happened to Tom and that both boys insisted that Tanner should stay with him and that she agreed. She said Tanner would return to school on Tuesday, and she’d let the school know about Tom as soon as the doctor decided what needed to be done and when he could return.
When she finished, she asked Tanner what he wanted to tell her about Tom. He told her the details Tom had told him about his situation with the foster family where he’d been moved.
Danielle shook her head. “That isn’t right. I’ll phone a friend at the CPS office and see what they can do. Then I have to get back to work.”
Tanner waited about five minutes for Tom and the doctor to return. When Tom walked in, he looked even paler than when they had arrived at the hospital.
“You okay, Tom?” Tanner asked.
“No. I peed a lot of blood. The doctor took my urine sample to the lab. They will take an X-ray then some sort of scan to see what’s wrong with me.”
“Did the doctor have any ideas about that?”
“No. He’s not very talkative. He’s waiting to see the results of the blood test, the X-ray, and the scan. That’s what he told me.”
“That makes sense. I think you should sit down. Maybe it’s better if you lie down on the examination table. Here, I’ll give you a hand.”
Tanner helped Tom get on the table. He found a pillow and put it under Tom’s head.
“I’m scared, Tanner,” Tom said. “I don’t want to die!”
“You won’t die. This hospital has the best doctors working here. They’ll figure out what’s wrong and take care of it.”
“For sure?” Tom asked. He hoped what Tanner had said would come true.
“Absolutely for sure,” Tanner replied. “My mom will keep checking on you, too.”
Doctor Kapoor overheard what Tanner had said about Tom not dying. To relax Tom and help keep him from becoming even more agitated, he decided to lighten the mood. He entered the examination room.
“I think I heard someone say, ‘Absolutely for sure.’ Am I right that it was you, Mr. Knox?”
“Yes, that’s what I said. And my name is Tanner. The only time anyone calls me Mr. Knox is when I’m late getting to one of my classes at school.”
“Well, Tanner, I’m glad I’m not the only one around here who’s sure about something.”
“What are you sure about?” Tom asked.
“Well, first I’m sure you will have an X-ray as soon as the equipment rolls in here.”
As if he’d planned it, the technician rolled the portable X-ray unit into the examination room.
“Second,” Doctor Kapoor continued, “I’m sure that Tanner is about to be sent back to the reception area because there isn’t enough room for him, the X-ray equipment, the imaging technician, you, Mr. Harris, and me all at the same time.
“Third, I’m sure that hospital regulations say no visitors are allowed when X-rays are being taken. In fact, Tom will be the only one in this examination room when the the X-rays are being taken. So Tanner, please go out to the reception area now. I’ll send for you as soon as the X-rays have been taken and the equipment is powered down and removed from this examination room.”
“Can I wait in the hall outside the room?”
“No, hospital regulations also say that visitors can’t wait in the hall. Gurneys and equipment like this X-ray unit must be able to be moved quickly, with no one in the way.
“As soon as we finish taking Tom’s X-rays, I’ll contact the guard, he’ll call your name, and you can return to this examination room.”
“Okay. I’ll see you later, Tom.”
Tom’s response was a soft, “Okay.”
For Tanner, it seemed like it took forever for the guard to call his name to return to the examination room to be with Tom. Finally, after more than twenty minutes, the guard called his name.
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