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yRing for the Nurse

By:Marjorie Moore

yRing for the Nurse
Marjorie Moore

       CHAPTER ONE



It was just one of those days! Everything had gone wrong since the  moment Felicity Dene had set foot that morning in John Mason ward. Even  Sister Robinson, usually so affable, was suffering from one of her rare  moods of irritability and Felicity, as Staff Nurse, had been constrained  to bear the brunt of it. To add to the general chaos, two probationers  had chosen that particular day to report sick and three emergency  admissions had thrown the ward into confusion just at the very time that  Matron decided to pay a visit of inspection. Now, to cap it all,  someone had left Sister Robinson's office window wide open and a playful  March wind had scattered every paper and document from the desk until  the small room looked like a nightmare paperchase. Felicity Dene  smothered a sigh as she stooped to retrieve the muddled papers, and with  the maddening knowledge that she was already behindhand with her  routine jobs she began to sort them out and replace them in their  correct order. As she straightened up to answer the sharp ring of the  telephone, her voice betrayed her annoyance. "Yes ... yes, John Mason  ward. Who is it?"



"Theatre here. Hullo, is that you, Felicity?" Nurse Weste's tone was  calm and laconic. Perhaps her day hadn't been so upsetting, Felicity  mused as she waited for Diana Weste to continue, not that anything ever  perturbed Diana. From the day they had both started at St. Edwin's  Hospital as probationers, Diana had remained completely unruffled  through all their early difficulties. The very difference in their  temperaments had drawn them together and they had become fast friends.  Diana Weste had also risen to be a Staff Nurse and although she was now  attached to the Theatre while Felicity worked in the Orthopaedic Ward,  their work on occasions brought them together.



"Hullo, are you still there? I thought the line had gone dead."

Diana's voice came clearly through the receiver. "What's up with you, is old Robinson' in the room?"



"No ... I'm just feeling browned off. I didn't know it was you or I  wouldn't have snapped but I've had an awful day. I'm longing to go off  but I'm not nearly ready; it's no use for you to wait supper for me, I'm  bound to be late, and since a disastrous visit from Matron this morning  old Robinson, as you call her, has been in a flat spin."

"You think you're going to be late ... I know you are!" There was  suppressed laughter in Diana Weste's tone. "Theatre Sister told me to  ring you and say you'll have to do a fracture reduction tonight, with  your own nurses too, as we haven't anyone to spare. Brenton's doing it  and he'll be ready in ten minutes ... you'd better get a move on! You  know how he loves being kept waiting!"

For a stunned second Felicity was bereft of speech. Then as the full  significance of her friend's information dawned on her, she burst out,  "It can't be true, I believe you're making it up."

"Of course I'm not!" Diana replied indignantly. "And what's more, the  case has got to be warded in John Mason. Brenton insists on that and I  can assure you he's in no mood to be queried as to the sweet  reasonableness of that arrangement. You wouldn't expect our dear Guy  Brenton to consider such a trifling inconvenience, would you?" Diana  mocked. "He'd have a bed fixed on the roof if he felt like it, yes, and  expect the nurses to perch on a chimney while they changed the  dressings," she ended laughingly.

"Don't be such an idiot!" Felicity found herself joining in her friend's  infectious laughter. "Now you're wasting my time with all your  nonsense! I must get along to break the news to Sister ... bye-bye, see  you some time!" Felicity replaced the receiver and bundling the rest of  the scattered papers back on the desk, hurried to the ward.

It was typical of hospital life that things managed to get done in the  end however impossible and difficult the situation appeared to be. As  Felicity had fully expected, Sister Robinson was only too thankful to  delegate the task of assisting the surgeon to her staff nurse with the  instruction that Nurse Jones was to attend as well. Sister Robinson was  not only shrewd enough to recognize Felicity's ability and efficiency in  any emergency but she tacitly acknowledged that Felicity had an uncanny  knack of handling the orthopaedic surgeon even in his most recalcitrant  moods. Guy Brenton was attractive, all the nurses admitted that; abrupt  and a bit sarcastic at times, a real tyrant where work was concerned  and intolerant of mistakes. Felicity supposed she'd been fairly lucky in  her dealings with him, anyway he'd always been quite reasonable with  her and she liked him. Some of the staff had been up against him she  knew and, no doubt like a fool, she'd been too inclined to speak up in  Guy Brenton's favour against her fellow nurses and although the chaff  was always well meant and free from malice, she had made herself  conspicuous by committing the unforgivable sin of openly defending him.  With the large staff of physicians and surgeons attached to St. Edwin's  it was only natural that greater preference should be shown by the  nurses for some than for others, a few were general favourites while  others were simply accepted as a necessary part of hospital life. Guy  Brenton belonged to neither category; his physical attraction every  female on the staff readily admitted, but generally speaking he was  considered the most exacting and difficult person to work for. Felicity  had always been intrigued by his personality but even her feelings for  him had not been untinged with awe, his aloof manner was anything but  encouraging and his caustic tongue, should anything displease him, was  sufficiently terrifying to keep the most intrepid nurse at a distance.  Felicity, even when a probationer and throughout her training, had  always managed to steer clear of trouble, perhaps because she had the  happy knack of smiling disarmingly at the propitious moment, or more  possibly because, however intimidated she might feel, at least she  managed to conceal it. Some of the nurses were foolish enough to show  how much they minded and were the perfect butt for a man of Guy  Brenton's type. They just asked for trouble and grumbled when it  submerged them. Of course it was quite absurd how the few casual remarks  she had made in his favour had immediately caused her particular circle  of friends to jump to the ridiculous conclusion that she harboured some  secret passion for the man!                       
       
           



       

As Felicity superintended the preparation of the patient who had now  been brought up from the casualty department, Nurse Jones addressed her  in a tone of utter dejection. "Theatre has just rung through, everything  is ready. Must I go down with you, wouldn't somebody else do? I can't  bear Theatre Sister and as for Mr. Brenton..." She broke off with a look  of dismay more expressive than any words.

"I'm afraid you'll have to." Felicity spoke kindly, fully understanding  the girl's reluctance. "We shall be late off duty, but you'll be able to  have the extra time tomorrow," she ended with an attempt at  consolation.

"Always assuming I survive this ordeal," Nurse Jones replied gloomily.  "I suppose then, we'd better get along, shall I ring for the stretcher?"

Felicity paused to adjust her starched cap and smooth out her apron  before presenting herself in the theatre. She need not have worried  about her appearance for nature had endowed her with a beautifully  proportioned figure which even the shapelessness of her uniform could  not conceal. Exertion had heightened the soft colour in her cheeks and  served to enhance the azure blue of her dark-fringed eyes, while the  stiff white band of her cap, constricting the golden waves of her hair,  formed a perfect frame to the oval contour of her face. The group of  students gathered in the doorway of the theatre stepped back to make way  for the stretcher and at Theatre Sister's nod, Felicity helped the  porters to lay the recumbent figure on the operating table.

"I rang John Mason at least ten minutes ago to say we were ready for  your case!" The Sister's annoyance showed only too clearly in her words  and her frowning expression.

"I'm sorry, Sister," Felicity apologized. "There was some delay in getting a porter."

"It's lucky for you Mr. Brenton hasn't arrived yet," Sister retorted  unappeased, as she whipped the blanket with a brusque gesture from the  patient's inert form.

Although Felicity's back was turned to the door, she sensed Guy  Brenton's appearance from the sudden hush which silenced the students'  chatter while Nurse Jones with a quick intake of breath, came to stand  close beside her as if for support.

"Everything ready?" Guy Brenton queried tersely.

As Felicity nodded assent, she found herself covertly studying the  surgeon's expression, that formidable tightness about the firm line of  his jaw which she knew so well and which so many others feared. It was  hard to believe sometimes that he ever smiled and that when he did, his  feature was amazingly transformed.

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