Edward Whitney, MD advised Hank it would be best for Marion to stay the night for observation. It was Ned’s opinion (Hank refused to address anyone as Doctor, he preferred a level playing field where the stakes were clear) that Marion was simply intoxicated but he felt given her history that it would be wise to keep her overnight to be sure. Hank stayed until they got her settled in for the night. He leaned over her, kissed her forehead, while he held her small hand in his big one. He went home alone to their bed. He knew he’d just toss and turn in worry. In his parallel mind he began drawings for hospital rooms that could accommodate heartsick husbands as well as their genuinely ill wives.
Ned, still wet behind the ears at 40, had asked Hank to come into his office first thing in the morning, not to worry about an appointment. Ned didn’t seem to think Marion would be discharged before rounds in the morning. Rounds used to mean that doctors stopped at each patient’s bedside for a moment. Hank suspected they all sat ’round a table looking at charts and medical records now, which was an inferior substitute for an actual live patient.
Marion had been graced by good fortune twice. Hank hoped it would happen a third time. When she took that nasty fall in the kitchen, up on that old ladder that he’d told her to stay the hell off of, she’d hit her head hard on the old fashioned enamel sink she’d salvaged from the dump when they’d built the house. He’d had her shipped to University of Pennsylvania Hospital for care in the Neuro ICU. He stayed at her bedside until they made him leave for the day. He was in cahoots with a couple of the staff who’d let him stay as long as he liked. He was afraid she’d die and he wouldn’t be there. He was there when she woke up disoriented and angry because she was confused.
They’d had some wild fights. Marion had a temper. He didn’t like to fight with her but sometimes it couldn’t be helped. Both of them had said things they shouldn’t have, things they’d regretted. They always made up. One person did not blame the other for those vicious disagreements. They said they were sorry, sometimes they both cried, then they lay down and held on tight. If she was drunk out of her mind in the middle of the day, he wouldn’t be impressed but it wasn’t the end of the world and he wasn’t mad. He wished she was home next to him so he could hold on tight.