CHAPTER TWO: THE YOUNG NURSE
from The Driver, The Nurse and the Writer
The pretty young New Zealand nurse worked in the intensive care ward at the hospital. When the racing driver was brought in with his serious injuries he wasn’t expected to live much longer. Ms Walker didn’t know anything about, nor had the least interest in motor racing, but of course knew of the famous race driver.
For a month or so, the concerned intensive care nurse together with the wonderful doctors and other nurses watched, hovered over the race driver in his deep coma connected to many life-preserving tubes. She had seen much death working hard to preserve that most precious gift of life in the intensive care departments of hospitals in South Africa and here in London on her “OE”. Still she knew that he was extremely fit; so the longer he, “the driver” “hung in there”, day after day, her faith grew… that some day her patient would walk out of the Atkinson Morley Hospital. Then what would happen to her famous patient, she had no idea!
And the fervent prayers of his very concerned parents, as well as those of his numerous friends and fans would perhaps be answered. The neuro-surgeons and doctors stared intently at the prone, deeply unconscious body, plugged by numerous life-giving plastic tubes. At first barely perceptible, the monitors started showing some activity in the patient’s brain … but day by day the waves got stronger. And the coma got less deep and the patient got stronger… even if it was only noticable to the specialists, the neuro-surgeons.
And one bright morning the driver did indeed come out of the coma…to the absolute joy of his most concerned parents and the many well-wishers. Then began the long, slow struggle of (or rather towards) rehabilitation. Learning to speak once again (a few words mumbled at first), to read, talk, then to walk again (very unsteady at first, because the patients, co-ordination had been severely affected by his accident)… through using parallel bars with the assistance of his physiotherapist, Dr Kreft.
However, the driver was extremely persistent and never gave up in his various attempts… which helped a lot in his recuperation, which really was quite extraordinary considering the seriousness of his injuries. And one happy day, after a few months with the press present he was discharged from the hospital in a wheel-chair… together with a newspaper report.
The driver spent the next three to six months at home tended to by his loving parents and gradually regained some strength in his broken body (he had also broken his neck, which wasn’t discovered until he came out of his coma and tried to sit up to excruciating pain). There were numerous visits to the hospital for consultations with the specialists. And that was quite an ordeal learning to walk again… but he persisted (as usual) and was successful in his endeavours.
“It is not necessary to succeed, but to persist.”
– the words of South African author, Alan Paton, author of the classic book ‘Cry the Beloved Country’.
Of course, the driver couldn’t remember the attractive New Zealand nurse from the intensive care ward in J7, who so tenderly attended to his needs. However, during his physiotherapy sessions with another Kiwi, they often spoke of his time under the care of the excellent doctors and nurses in Ward J7. And the physiotherapist, Colleen, told the driver that her sister, Mary had been one of those diligent intensive care nurses looking after him in his long unconscious state.
After doing amazingly well with his recovery, a few months later through the organising efforts of his manager and parents, the driver, invited the medical specialists who had cared for him to a nearby Italian restaurant…as a “small” token for his sincere appreciation to all the medical professionals, who had taken such good care of him – those dedicated and caring people who had saved his life.
And the large group of health professionals included sisters, Mary and Colleen from far-off New Zealand. And one of them who made a particular impression on the stricken driver was intensive care ward nurse Shepherd. By now speaking much better, the driver was impressed with her attractive face, as well as her quiet personality and retiring nature – so far removed from the glamour of motor racing (and the hordes of the “hangers on, the shallow groupies”).
Smitten, and fast getting back to his old “charming self” (and returning self confidence with the fairer sex), some days after his dinner he telephoned nurse Walker to invite her around to his home, as he wanted to show his “small” appreciation to her in the form of a “additional little gift.” When Mary arrived on the weekday morning (it was her day off), they spent hours chatting over coffee and biscuits… and they never once spoke about the subject of motor racing.
There was definitely a spark between the young brown-haired nurse and the blonde driver coming from such different backgrounds… total opposites in looks, personality and character. Coming However, from there on the relationship blossomed, seeing each other regularly and after about six months they became a “real item” (and like most women craved security). After she moved in, Mary looked after the drivers every need being aware of some of his areas of “difficulty” (especially with household chores and other domestic tasks) and soon turned the driver’s rather untidy and unkempt house into a home. Marie knew that the driver would need a lot of looking after, initially at least; but then she was quite prepared for that,
She would help him in his recovery, then soon he would be fine…once more, as her very caring (altruistic) nature liked, rather loved to help others. A “true giver”, Mary didn’t know much about the effects of head injury in intensive care ward – patients either died…or left hospital…and presumably got better!
And some months later the driver proposed on bended knee over a candle-lit dinner in the glow of the fireside hearth and Mary (who was a true romantic… gladly accepted (to the great delight of their many friends and family on opposite sides of the globe). It was a quiet wedding… and the best days of the beaming, attractive couple in the form of security, commitment, health and happiness, no doubt lay ahead…
from The Driver, The Nurse and the Writer