This is the second part of a fiction serial, in 790 words.
The doctor had a serious face. “I think it’s your heart, Rebecca. I am going to call an ambulance to take you into hospital for some tests, but I suspect you have Angina. Don’t get too concerned, there are tablets and other treatments that can help you”. Gillian went and packed a small case for her mum while they waited for the ambulance.
They were at the hospital for hours until all the tests were completed. Eventually, a young doctor came to see her in the waiting area. “We are going to keep your mum in overnight for observation. You can go and say goodbye to her in the cubicle, no point waiting until she goes to the ward, as it is getting very late”. After trying to look cheerful in front of her mum, she went to reception and asked them to phone her a taxi.
It was too late to get anything to eat from the fish and chip shop or Chinese takeaway, so when Gillian got home she ate four slices of cheese on toast and a family-size bag of crisps before going to bed. The house felt strange without her mum there, and it took her ages to get to sleep, despite being exhausted.
When she woke up the next morning, she realised she had overslept. Throwing on some clothes without even bothering to have a proper wash, she grabbed her handbag and keys. At the front door, she hesitated. Why bother to go to work all flustered? Her mum was in hospital and she was worn out. Mister Bell would understand. Giving it fifteen minutes to make sure someone was in the office, she phoned in.
“Can you tell Mister Bell that Rebecca Baxter is in hospital with heart trouble, and wont be in. Also that I can’t come in today. I’m Gillian Baxter”. The clerk read the names back, then she said something nice about hoping mum got better soon.
Hanging up the phone, Gillian got undressed and went back to bed.
Late that afternoon, she was woken up by the phone ringing. It was the hospital, one of the nurses. “Miss Baxter? I wanted to let you know your mum is coming home soon. She has responded well to treatment, and we have given her some tablets to take home. I can order an ambulance for her but she has no keys, so I need to know someone will be home when she gets there”. Gillian assured her that she would be home to let mum in.
Mum looked a lot better, and walked from the ambulance into the house. “I have some tablets to take when I get those pains, love. They have to dissolve under my tongue, and they give me a shocking headache. But they work. They said I should have two weeks away from work, and make an appointment with the doctor to get a certificate. Then I have to wait for a letter to go for an out-patient appointment. Cardiology, they said. meanwhile, I have to avoid over-exerting myself”.
She wasn’t too pleased to hear that Gillian hadn’t gone to work. “Why didn’t you go in? It was me that was in hospital?” To avoid an argument, Gillian went into the kitchen and cooked sausages, eggs, and chips for dinner. She put the telly on for mum, and brought her a cup of tea. During the commercial break in Coronation Street, she turned to her mum.
“I think I shoud stay home and look after you, mum. I’m sure they wil give me some time off to do that. If not, I’ll just take some holiday leave. It’s not as if we are going away anywhere, and they owe me four weeks”. Her mum was too tired to argue. “Okay love, whatever you think is best”.
Mister Bell was very nice about it when she rang in the next morning. “Take a week, Gillian, and give my best wishes to your mum for a speedy recovery. But if you want more than a week, it will have to be holiday time, I’m afraid”. She told him she would ring back in a week, and arrange to take time off using her holiday entitlement.
Being at home and looking after her mum suited Gillian nicely. They could watch telly all day without bothering to get dressed, and she could pop to the corner shop for food, just wearing a raincoat over her pyjamas.
On the Thursday, she had to walk to the doctor’s and collect mum’s certificate, then post it into work from the box on the corner.
Stopping at the corner shop on the way home, she bought two microwave lasagnas. They would be easy to do for dinner.