Reparation by Colin Kelly

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.

Chapter 6

Monday Morning, 10/1/2018

Tanner looked at Tom for a few seconds, then said, “You know, something needs to be done about Nick Poulter and the coach of the Ealington football team. They played dirty, and it looks like their coach is training them to play that way.”

“I agree. But what can we do about it?”

“We can get a copy of our video of the game.”

“Someone takes videos of our games?” Tom asked.

“Yeah, all of our home games for sure. Maybe even some away games. So there will be a video of the Ealington game because it was a home game. If I can find it, it might show Poulter slamming into you and knocking off your helmet, then jumping onto your abdomen with his knees and doing it a second time.

“Tom, I watched Poulter do it to you. So did coaches Reynolds and Oldham. I was on the sidelines with them because our offense was in the game. Our coaches were really mad at Poulter, the Ealington coach, and the officials. One of the officials, the fat one, saw what Poulter did to you. Including knocking your helmet off. That was targeting and should have been a fifteen-yard penalty. Then Poulter should have been kicked out of the game.”

“Except Jake scored a touchdown so we would have declined the penalty.”

“The penalty for targeting can’t be declined. And it definitely was targeting. The touchdown would have been good, and Ealington would have been penalized fifteen yards on the kickoff for targeting.”

“Yeah, but the official probably didn’t see what Poulter was doing to me.”

“Bullshit. I was watching what was going on and that official, the fat one, was right there watching Poulter clock you by leading with his helmet to your head, and then when you tried to get up, he jumped you with his knee right in the lower part of your abdomen, then got up and did it again. Poulter and that official even looked at each other as he was walking off the field.”

“Really? You know, we should talk to Coach Reynolds about this,” Tom said.

“I agree,” Tanner said. “I’ll write up what I saw and that you’re in the hospital peeing blood and waiting for the result from your CT scan. Then I’ll see Coach Reynolds tomorrow during seventh period. Maybe we can do something so Nick Poulter can’t hurt any other guy in a high school football game. And maybe do something about the Ealington football coach, whatever his name is. He didn’t stop or discipline Poulter. Nothing. In fact, he high-fived him when Poulter got back to the Ealington sideline after attacking you. That’s got to be stopped, and I’m….”

He didn’t continue his rant. Tom stared at Tanner, wondering why he’d stopped. So he looked around. Others in the waiting room were also staring at Tanner. He’d raised his voice and had been overheard, probably by everyone in the waiting room.

A man stood up and walked over. Tanner wasn’t sure what he was planning to do.

He stood next to Tom’s gurney. “Say, you’re the boy who was jumped on by that big kid from Ealington High, aren’t you? I was at the game. I’m Mike Eiland. My son is Bill Eiland. He’s on the Edison varsity.”

“I’m Tom Harris. Yes, I was the one who got jumped on. I know Bill,” Tom said. “This is Tanner Knox. He plays on our defense. He knows Bill, too.”

“Tom, if you need one, I’ll be glad to be a witness. I was using my binoculars and saw what happened to you. I’ll be willing to talk to your coaches, or if there’s a trial I’ll go to court, or I’ll do anything else that’s needed. Here are two of my business cards, one for each of you. Contact me anytime you need my help.”

“Thank you, Mr. Eiland,” Tom said.

“Yes, thanks a lot,” Tanner added.

“Is Bill here having a CT scan?” Tom asked.

“No. My daughter, Cynthia, fell and broke her arm and she’s getting a CT scan for that. She’s in there getting scanned now.”

“Oh. I’m sorry she was injured,” Tom said.

“Thanks. It’ll teach her that it’s a bad idea to get on a skateboard without first learning how to do it correctly. If she had, she wouldn’t have been injured.” Mike Eiland shrugged his shoulders then returned to where he’d been sitting.

“Tanner, what you want to do is what you and I would do together if I wasn’t stuck in the hospital. Someone needs to take action against that coach and Nick Poulter. If you get started, then once I’m out of the hospital I’ll get involved, too. I don’t need Mr. Eiland’s business card. Take it and give it to Coach Reynolds when you talk to him.”

“Okay, that’s a good idea.”

“Can you see me on your way to school tomorrow?” Tom asked.

“That would be tough,” Tanner said. “I have a major test in Chemistry first period that I can’t miss, and I need time before class to review the material. Then I have a test in Spanish 3 second period. Besides, visiting hours don’t start until nine in the morning. We have PE seventh period, so I’ll get together with Coach Reynolds and tell him what we want to do and see what he says. I’ll also find out about getting the video of the game. Then I’ll see you right after school and let you know what he said.”

“How will you get to the hospital tomorrow afternoon?”

“There’s a bus I can take from school that goes down Ygnacio Valley Road. I can get off at a bus stop that’s near the hospital. After our visit I’ll go home with my mom.”

“Will Coach Reynolds be okay with you skipping out on practice?”

“There’s only one day of practice this week, on Thursday. This is our bye week; we don’t have a game Friday night.

“When I go home tonight, I’ll talk to my dad and tell him what we want to do and what Coach Reynolds said. My uncle is an attorney in Sacramento. I’ll ask my dad if I should talk to him about everything that happened.”

“Thomas Harris?” It was a guy in green scrubs. Tanner got up and stood next to Tom’s gurney.

“That’s me,” Tom said. “I prefer to be called Tom.”

“I’m Carl Hillard. I’m the medical imaging tech, and I’ll be setting you up for your CT scan. CT means computed tomography. A simplified explanation is that it takes a series of two-dimension images of the target — sort of like very thin slices — and puts them together to give a three-dimension picture of what your doctor needs to see. In your case, we’ll take a scan of your bladder.”

“How long will it take?” Tanner asked.

“In total it will take about forty-five minutes. Thirty minutes for prep, which is spent positioning you on the table in such a way that you won’t move during the scan. Moving during the scan means we’d have to retake the entire scan after repositioning you again, so it’s very important that you stay still. Then I’ll take a short test scan and take a look to make sure you’re positioned correctly.

“I’ll take your scan using a contrast medium which will provide details of the ecchymosis and will show if there’s any other damage. I will inject the medium in the vein in your antecubital fossa — that’s the inside of the bend of your elbow. Most people use the common term, the crook of your arm.

“The scan itself will take about five minutes, maybe a little longer. Then five minutes to review the scan and then we’ll be finished and you’ll be free to go. I see you’ll be moved to a room on the fourth floor.

“Do you have any questions?”

“Yes. What’s eki… whatever?” Tom asked.

“Ecchymosis is when blood escapes from ruptured blood vessels, like those in a contusion,” Carl said. “You can have a contusion that doesn’t bleed externally, like if you fall and get a bruise. You can have a contusion like yours that is bleeding. In your case, the bleeding is in the interior wall of your bladder.”

“I have a question,” Tanner said. “Do you know the room number where Tom will be moved?”

“His file says it will be room 485,” Carl said. “But, that’s preliminary. It depends on room availability and status. If room 485 isn’t ready and there’s another room that is when Tom’s scan has completed, he’d be moved to the room that’s ready. After the scan, if you check at the desk in the waiting room, they can give you the room number.”

“I assume Tanner can’t be with me when I go into the room with the scanner?” Tom asked.

“That’s correct, and I can’t be in the room when the scan is underway, either. However, if you have a problem there’s a microphone in the CT scanner so you can lay there and talk and I’ll be able to hear what you say.

“Now, I have a question. Do you need to use the bathroom before we start the process?”

“I guess I should go to the bathroom,” Tom replied.

“I’ll call the nurse,” Carl said.

Tom was taken to the bathroom and returned in less than five minutes. “Okay, I guess I’m ready. Let’s do it,” he said.

“I’m going to the cafeteria and grab something to eat,” Tanner said. “I’ll be back in about a half-hour, more or less. Have fun!”

That made Tom laugh. “Easy for you to say!” he retorted.

Tanner watched as Carl rolled the gurney through a double-wide door into a room that contained some very large equipment most of which was blocked from view by a wall. After the door closed, Tanner stepped up to the reception desk.

“Excuse me, where’s the cafeteria?” He noticed the name on her badge: Jenny.

“Go out to the hall and turn to your left. When you get to the rotunda, go to your right clockwise a quarter-turn around the rotunda, turn right and walk down the hall until you see the overhead sign that has the name of the cafeteria, Café Muir. Turn left; at the end of the hall you’ll be in the café. Today they have Mexican food, and it’s always very good.”

“Thanks for the directions and for the recommendation, Jenny.”

“If you have a cellphone, I can call you when your friend’s scan is finished.”

“That would be great.” He told her his number.

“Enjoy your lunch,” she said as he walked through the exit door, so he turned and gave her a wave. She was cute but older than his sixteen years.

The Mexican food in the hospital cafeteria was, as Jenny said, very good. In fact, it was better than any Mexican fast-food place, and even some fancy Mexican restaurants, too. After he finished eating, there was still no call that Tom’s scan was finished. Tanner went to the coffee stand and got a medium-size latte with an extra shot of espresso. The caffeine, he hoped, would help him stay awake until he got a ride home with his mom.

After he finished his coffee, Tanner returned to the Medical Imaging department waiting room. Jenny was still there, so he stopped at her desk.

“You were right, the Mexican food in the cafeteria was great.”

“I’m glad you liked it. Don’t expect the food on other days to be as good. Especially the hamburgers.” She scowled as she said that.

“Thanks for the tip. I assume Tom Harris isn’t finished with his scan?”

She looked at her screen. “His scan just finished. Now they’ll do the post-scan verification. Then they’ll bring him out.” She checked her screen again. “He’ll be moved to his room, number 482.”

“We were told it would be room 485.”

“They must have made a change. 485 might not be ready yet. So now Tom will be in room 482.”

“Is that a private room?”

“All the rooms in the hospital, except some on the children’s floor, are private rooms.”

“Why are some children’s rooms not private?”

“A lot of kids don’t want to be alone when they’re in the hospital. So we let them decide if they want to be in a room shared with one other kid. There are some kids that don’t want to be in a room with a stranger, or because of why they’re here they need a private room. All the rooms in the hospital have a pull-out bed that parents or friends can use to stay overnight if that’s allowed, based on why the patient is here.”

“That’s sure different than how I think about what it’s like being in a hospital.”

“Your friend is lucky. He’s in one of the best hospitals in the state.”

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