CHAPTER 2: Home
Twenty-four hours later, a short blond woman came to the hospital. “Hello, I understand you have my husband here.” She told the front desk attendant. The front desk clerk alerted Doctor Fields since he gave strict instructions to be notified if anyone came in asking for the patient.
Through the rental car agency, the sheriff was able to get a name. But before they could track down the lead and contact family the patient’s family contacted them.
“Hello, I am Doctor Fields,” he said extending his hand in greeting. He thought of the sheriff’s description of the women’s clothes found in the luggage at the wreck. According to the sheriff, the woman should be taller. Much taller. Like the mysterious woman who vanished the previous day. Not this short woman who came to get the patient. Figures, he thought.
“I am Cara Weatherly,” she said warmly. He instantly noted the difference in demeanor between her and her husband. Ever since her husband arrived, he had been sour and complained incessantly. “I am here to pick up my husband Mike.”
The doctor tilted his head to the left. “Mrs. Weatherly, there are some things we need to discuss first.”
“Is he all right?” she asked.
“Please, have a seat,” he said ushering her into his office and motioning to a chair. She sat on the edge. He sat down in his chair behind his desk.
“I’m afraid your husband has been in an accident,” he said slowly. “Now, he’s okay,” he spoke quickly, “for the most part.”
She narrowed her eyes. “For the most part?”
“He has a few scratches and some minor bruising.”
“But he has some brain trauma. He currently suffers from amnesia.”
“Amnesia?” she repeated.
“He currently can’t remember his name.”
She nodded. “Oh dear, is it permanent?”
He shook his head. “I believe it is only temporary. The most important thing is to get him back into his routine and it will all come back to him.”
“All come back to him,” she repeated.
“Well, the brain is an intricate organ. I would never second guess it or make promises.”
“But I am fairly certain this will be the case. Just get him back to his routine and he will be back to normal.” He waved his fist in a fighting motion to give emphasis to his words. Truth be told, he just wanted the patient out of his hospital.
She snorted. “Well, if there is anyone that can help him with routine it is me.”
He nodded and thought a moment. “We were still tracking down his information from the rental car agency. How did you find him?”
“Oh, well, you know, I knew where he was traveling so I knew where to look.”
She didn’t make eye contact until the end and then nodded her head.
“Oh, I see,” the doctor nodded his head. “He was late to arrive home?”
“No,” she said slowly and drawn out. “He wasn’t coming home. Yet.”
He processed her explanation the best he could. But decided he didn’t care. He just wanted the patient gone. “Okay, good. I suppose you want to see him?”
She nodded her head. “That is why I am here.”
He led her out of his office and down the hall. Just as they were approaching a room with an open door they heard a loud voice.
“You can’t expect me to eat that?”
She stopped walking before she rounded the corner. “This is his room then?” she asked.
The doctor nodded.
The voice continued, “I can’t eat that. That doesn’t even pass for food. And when am I going to get my own room? Why does it have to be kept so cold? Are you keeping us cold to get us ready for the morgue?”
She took a deep breath and rounded the corner stepping into the room.
He looked at her up and down. “And who are you?” he asked.
The doctor’s shoulders dropped a little. He was hoping when the man saw his wife of all people some kind of memory would come back.
“Are you another nurse?” Mike asked.
“No, Mike,” she said walking to the bedside. “I’m your wife.”
He looked her up and down again this time slowly. “No, you’re not.”
“Baby, don’t you remember me?” she asked stepping even closer.
He studied her face. “No,” he laughed derisively. “I assure you that is not possible.”
She blinked a couple times and didn’t say anything.
“Am I married? Mike, Mike. Hello, I am Mike,” he muttered. “That doesn’t feel right.”
“What part?” asked the doctor.
“All of it. I am not a Mike. Shouldn’t I recognize my own name?”
“Well, it might take a few days for your brain to reboot. The best thing is to go home, away from this hospital and town,” the doctor mumbled his own wish, “and get back into routine.”
Mike looked at Cara again. “You must have some proof that I am this Mike person,” his tone was condescending.
Cara took a deep breath. “What? You want me to bring our wedding pictures? We were married before photo albums were all on phones. Our photos are old school. At home. In an album.”
“A wallet?” he asked.
“You took your wallet.”
“Fine. Some kind of paperwork? A bill perhaps?”
“I didn’t bring a picture, do you really think I grabbed a bill?” she reached for his arm and he pulled it away.
“Our wedding photos may not be on your phone but surely there are some pictures of us on your phone?”
She looked at him and then the doctor.
“Any kind of proof,” the doctor said. Unfortunately, the patient was right. Although he couldn’t think of a single reason why anyone would claim Mike if there wasn’t a connection. “Any connection at all.”
“All right,” she nodded and dug out her phone. “For the record, here you are in my contacts.” She showed the phone to Mike and then the doctor. It simply said Mike and a number.
“I don’t know if that is my number or not,” he said.
“Oh, let’s find out.” She pushed the button and the phone dialed the number. She turned the speaker on.
After the second ring, a deep familiar voice said, “Thank you for calling. Obviously, I’m not answering.”
“Are you saying that is me?” Mike asked.
The doctor was trying to compare. “It did sound like you.” Or was that wishful thinking? The message sounded like something he would say.
“How about this?” she asked and showed a photo. It was definitely a picture of Mike. It was a profile shot of him driving a vehicle. He wasn’t looking at the camera but it looked like he was talking with a small grin relaxing his face.
So, the man can smile, the doctor thought.
Mike studied the picture. He wasn’t convinced.
“May I?” the doctor asked and took the phone. He zoomed into the picture past Mike to the windshield. “The sheriff showed me some pictures of the wreck. That air freshener is the same one that was on the rental we found you in.” He looked at Cara. “Were you there?”
She looked at both men. “I was in the car at one time. We went and picked it up from the rental place together. But I wasn’t in the car at the time of the accident.” Her words slowed.
Neither of the men spoke or interrupted her which prompted her to continue. “We were supposed to be together. We finally had a weekend to getaway. Together. No kids. Right after Thanksgiving. But then Patrick, our youngest,” she explained, “got sick. I stayed home with him and you went ahead to our hotel.”
The doctor looked at Mike. Figures.
Cara explained quickly. “I stayed behind until my parents could get there to watch the kids then I was supposed to join you. That’s how I found you so quickly here. In the middle of nowhere.” She looked at the doctor. “No offense.”
He held out his hand. “None taken. We rather like being in the middle of nowhere. Keeps the riffraff out.” He looked at Mike. “Usually.”
Mike didn’t say a word. “I’m sorry, did you say I have a kid?”
“No, I said kids,” Cara said smiling. “Plural. More than one.”
Mike looked like he wanted to slip into a coma. “How many do I have?” he asked hoarsely.
“Three. Two boys and a girl,” Cara beamed and grabbed her phone back. She flipped through the photos until she found one with all three children together. “Your pride and joy.”
Mike looked at the picture. “That can’t be right.”
“I’m sure when you see them you’ll think differently. They are, after all, your flesh and blood.”
He swallowed hard. “Any more ice chips?”
“Look,” the doctor said sensing this could go on for a while, “why don’t you two go home. If your memory doesn’t come back after a few days in your normal routine you can contact your primary physician. But I really do think the best thing is for you to leave,” he caught himself, “leave and get back into routine.”
Cara looked at Mike and smiled warmly. “I know your precise routine. Down to the details.”
Mike wasn’t convinced but he was willing to try anything to get his memory back. The brain blur was increasingly frustrating. How bad could his routine be? It couldn’t be worse than this hospital. “Fine,” he said slowly.
The doctor turned and clenched his fist in victory.
Cara smiled and patted Mike on the arm. “I just happen to have a copy of your routine.”
“That you brought?” Mike asked looking down at the list she handed him. “And have it so readily available?”
She waved him off. “I just want my baby back to normal.” Her voice became sickeningly sweet.
Mike nodded. He didn’t believe her but he wanted out of the hospital. “Let me see,” he grabbed the list from her and looked over it. “This can’t be right.”
“It’s not,” she said looking for his clothes so he could change. “It’s modified today because of all the time in the hospital. I will give you your full schedule when we get home tonight.”
The doctor smiled. He had no idea what this woman was up to but whatever it was he wholeheartedly approved.
“Wait, you expect me to do the laundry, fix dinner, pick up…” he looked at the list closer, “Andrew from basketball practice, get the kids to bed, and then go to work?”
“I told you, it’s an easy day today because of all the time spent here. But yes, I am studying for my real estate exam so you are stepping up and helping out. I appreciate that by the way,” she bent down and gave him a kiss while dropping his clothes on his stomach. “Now, get dressed, you have a lot of work to do.”
He looked at the doctor for help but the doctor smiled and waved as he walked out of the room. “Good luck to both of you.”