The hospital was unusually quiet that bleak January evening, quiet and still like the air before a storm.
I stood in the nurses’ station on the seventh floor and glanced at the clock. It was 9 P.M. I threw a stethoscope around my neck and headed for room 712, last room on the hall. Room 712 had a new patient. Mr. Williams. A man all alone. A man strangely silent about his family.
As I entered the room, Mr. Williams looked up eagerly, but drooped his eyes when he saw it was only me, his nurse. I pressed the stethoscope over his chest and listened. Strong, slow, even beating. Just what I wanted to hear. There seemed little indication he had suffered a slight heart attack a few hours earlier.
He looked up from his starched white bed. “Nurse, would you –” He hesitated, tears filling his eyes. Once before…
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