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“Somebody get me Jamie. Quick. I need help with Mr. Jenson in twelve-B,” Nurse Betty yelled, trying to hold on to the large man who’d just managed to slide off the shower seat as he was attempting to get up. He didn’t appear to be hurt, since he was laughing at his predicament, but they both knew that she wouldn’t be able to lift him. He’d been in the centre for weeks and was due to leave soon but was still a little unsteady on his new knee.
A tinny voice came over the speaker on her waist. “I’ll send for him right away, Betty. Hold on.”
“Mr. Jenson, we’ll have help in minutes. Jamie’s great. He’ll—”
“Don’t worry. I know Jamie. I’m fine. It was my fault. I should have held on better.” He chuckled and added, “I’m trying really hard not to be embarrassed. I’m sure I look ridiculous.”
“Not at all,” Betty started but had to stop and chuckle herself. He was wedged down between the seat and the side of the tub. He did look a little like a beached whale. He’d done so well lately that he’d been moved into the apartment area where there were tubs instead of walk in showers.
She heard Jamie coming in the door of the apartment and smiled gratefully.
“Hi, guys. Somebody said you needed help in here.” Jamie smiled as he took quick stock of the situation.
“This looks like being caught between the rock and the hard place.”
“It is pretty silly, huh?” Mr. Jenson smiled back at him. “Wanna help me up so I can get a little dignity back?”
“I can help you up, but I’m not sure about the dignity part.” Jamie couldn’t help teasing the man. They’d built up a nice joking relationship since Mr. Jenson had been here so he knew he wasn’t gonna piss him off.
“Fine, Smarty. Just get me up so I can get dressed,” Mr. Jenson muttered, red-faced, but still smiling.
“Betty, you can go on. I’ll handle this from here. No problem.” Jamie sent Betty away so he could get Mr. Jenson up from his current position, which couldn’t be comfortable. He made sure that Mr. Jenson’s knee was at the right angle so he wouldn’t hurt it on the way up and he put his arms under the man’s armpits and bent his knees and lifted. Mr. Jenson put his arms over Jamie’s shoulders, and when he got part way up, he used his other leg to help, and soon, he was out of the tub onto the mat beside it. Jamie held onto him for a few seconds while he got his bearings.
Jamie turned Mr. Jenson to the toilet seat and eased him down, then handed him a bath towel. He checked to make sure that the man’s clothes were nearby then stepped out of the small bathroom and waited for Mr. Jenson to call if he needed help. His cane was the bathroom with him so Jamie felt sure he would be okay.
In minutes, Mr. Jenson came out, fully dressed and only limping a little as he manoeuvred with the cane.
“Thanks, Jamie. I appreciate it. My hand slipped on the rail and down I went. When I pulled the cord, I was hoping you’d be the one to come, but poor Nurse Betty got the eyeful instead. Bless her heart. I’ll be more careful in the future, believe me,” he ended ruefully. He blushed again, obviously thinking of the picture he’d made.
“Hey, no problem. Betty’s totally professional and capable. And as for me, well, it’s what I’m here for. You good now? Need anything?”
“Nah, I’m good. I’m supposed to be making a bowl of soup and a sandwich for lunch in the little kitchenette thing over there. I’ll try not to burn the place down.” Mr. Jenson headed over to his next task, and Jamie headed back to Four Hall.
He’d been working with Miss Wilhemina when he’d been called away. Now, he hurried back to her room. He loved working with the dear old lady. She was ninety-eight years young. She was the oldest person he’d worked with to date, and he liked her immensely. She’d fallen in the assisted living home where she lived and broken her hip so she was here for some therapy and training before she went back.
“Is that you back already, dear boy?” she said, in that quiet voice of hers.
“Yes, ma’am. A patient fell and needed help getting up. He’s fine, though.”
“Well, that’s good. Are you sure you have time to take me down to therapy?” she asked in a voice that told him she was afraid she was being a bother. Not.
“You’re my number one priority right now, Miss Wilhemina, don’t you worry. I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Here now, let me help you into the chair. How’s the hip today?”
“Tolerable, dear. I expect it to hurt, so I guess it’s doing right what it’s supposed to.” She had a way of looking at things.
“Not hurting too badly is it, though?” Jamie asked. She wasn’t one to complain, but he wanted her pain managed if she needed it.
“Oh, shush. I’m fine. Now after I get back from the torture session, I may be singin’ a different tune.”
“Honey, I’ve told you that you should get a little something for pain before you go so it won’t be so bad for you.” It was a common practice to give patients something light to help ease them through the painful motions they would have to endure to heal the joint. Most patients wanted it, demanded it even. Miss Wilhemina was somewhat of a stoic. She could handle it, she always said.
“If I need something when I come back, I’ll ask, okay?” She looked up at him as he unlocked the wheels on her wheelchair then rolled her out the door to the gym.
“Okay, darlin’. I just don’t want you to hurt any more than you have to.” “You’re a sweetheart. Hey, speakin’ of...you got a sweetheart?” she asked, as they passed the cafeteria.
“No, ma’am. I’m too busy here and taking classes to think about anything else.” Jamie was going to night school to get certified in physical therapy. He worked as a tech now, just to make ends meet, and it was the best training he could get.
“Well, don’t let too much time go by. Enjoy love while you’re still young,” Miss Wilhemina advised.
Jamie didn’t feel it necessary to inform her that if he did have a sweetheart it wouldn’t be the sweet young girl she imagined. No, he was definitely for guys, but if anyone here knew about it, Jamie wasn’t aware of it. He’d certainly never said anything, preferring to keep that part of his life totally separate. Not that there was much going on in that part of his life, for sure. He couldn’t remember the last date he’d gone on. He hadn’t even been to a bar or out with friends in...way too long, come to think of it.
The only other gay person he knew here was Donnie Wilkins, and he avoided Donnie like the plague. Donnie was the son of the man who owned this rehab facility. Jamie just didn’t like him. Donnie had latched onto Jamie right after he’d started working here a couple of years ago and he acted like there was something between them, but there so wasn’t.