Family & Friends Series

Sandy & Dan

By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry

2009 All rights reserved.

Part One

Lakeside Orthopedic Hospital

Doctor Woodruff walked into Sandy Dunnlap's hospital room. He was still dressed in his green hospital scrubs. "Your operation went better than we expected, Sandy," he said. "In six months, with your new hip joint, you'll be walking normally again and without any pain. That limp you had before has been eliminated. After the local anesthetic wears off you will be feeling some discomfort; just push that button next to your right hand and it will dispense a dose of pain killer directly into your bloodstream. Every time you feel pain, push the button, and the pain will disappear within minutes. If it's not doing the job, let your nurse know. Don't be brave; there is no reason you should be in pain. Now, do you have any questions before I leave?"

"Yes," Sandy said. "Why are there two beds in here? I had requested a private room."

"I'm sorry about that, Sandy. Actually, this was to be your private room, but we had several emergencies last night and we were forced to double up. I didn't think you'd want us to turn away a student of your alma mater. He was injured in a soccer game last night when his knee was shattered. I need to replace his knee joint today. We had no choice but to move him in with you. His name is Dan Kelly, and he is a fine, young man. I can assure you he is not a loud-mouthed jock. We will be releasing five patients on Wednesday. That will free up some rooms and allow us to move Dan into another room. He should be up here by three this afternoon. My staff is prepping him for surgery right now. I feel sorry for Dan in a way, because his playing days are over. His coach told me he was one of the key players."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Doc," Sandy said. "I really don't mind sharing this room with the guy."

Sandy didn't remember much for the rest of the day. He floated in and out of sleep and lost all track of time. It seemed as if the nurses were waking him every few minutes to check his vital signs, or changing bags on the IV. When he awoke later that afternoon, Dan had been moved in and was hooked up to the monitoring equipment on the opposite side of the room.

There was a flurry of activity for the next several hours, while the nursing staff checked on them both. Then, peace and quite reigned supreme for a while. When Sandy awoke again, it was dark outside. An attractive woman was seated next to Dan's bed. He learned later that she was Dan's mother, Nora. That's all he remembered before dozing off again. He vaguely recalled drinking his liquid dinner, then he was off to la-la land once again. A restless night was spent by all.

The staff woke them around 5:30 a.m. for their morning ritual of washing and brushing. Sandy would never understand why it had to be so early. From then on, it was a never-ending parade of nurses, doctors, and staff people, poking and prodding and asking questions. Shortly after breakfast, the day staff appeared, with their smiling faces, perky dispositions, and determined attitudes. Both patients were told that they were going to get up out of bed and sit in their bedside chairs for a few hours. That was their first opportunity to chat.

"Hi, I'm Dan Kelley."

"Nice to meet you, Dan, I'm Sandy Dunnlap."

"How long have you been here, Sandy?"

"Since yesterday morning."

"God, I'm so out of it," Dan said. "I can't believe what that Physical Therapist said earlier about having us up and walking today."

Sandy smiled, "If you had told me they'd have me out of bed and sitting in a chair, I'd have said you were crazy. At this point, I'm prepared for anything. Mind you, I'm not looking forward to walking down the hall, but I'll tell you something, my friend, I'll do anything to avoid using one of those terrible bedpans again."

"Oh, you've been hospitalized before?" Dan asked.

"Yes. I was in a bad automobile accident last year and was hospitalized for over a month. This hip replacement operation was the end result of that accident. The patch-up job they did at the time didn't heal properly, and my hip had been giving me a lot of pain. So, this new team of specialists decided that I needed a complete hip replacement, along with a little bone grafting at the same time. Doctor Woodruff assures me that this time everything will be perfect. I understand that you were injured during the game?"

"Yeah, that was a real bummer. My doctor said I should be able to play again next year, if everything goes according to plan. The only trouble with that is, I'll never be able to play on this team again. A year is too long to be out of the game. There are plenty of other good players ready to take my place, right now. I'm going to miss playing'; I really love the game."

"How old are you, Dan?"

"I'll be twenty in two months."

"And how old are you, Sandy?"

"I'll be twenty-six this year."

"God, I thought you were my age."

"Thanks, buddy, you've made my day." Their conversation was cut short by the arrival of their doctors, physical therapists, and the usual visits by the nurse to check on IV's and dressings.

Dan was strapped to a motorized knee exercising unit that he would use several times a day. There was little chance to sleep with all the interruptions.

The second day, the doctor removed Sandy's drain and catheter. They also removed Dan's catheter. Every day was a repeat of the previous day, with the exception of the exercise periods; they were longer and more frequent.

Dan was a popular guy; he received a steady stream of visitors. A teammate dropped by that afternoon and some others in the evening along with his girlfriend. His mom stopped by every evening after work to visit. On the third day, the Doc came by and told Sandy that he was doing well; yet, he didn't sound too optimistic about discharging him that Friday. Sandy had hoped that he would be home by the weekend, but that was not in the cards. He was told that he would be moving to the rehabilitation floor as soon as his temperature returned to normal.

Dan took a turn for the worse, he developed a fever. His temperature shot up to 102 degrees during the night. It turned out that he had a bacterial infection. The room was placed in quarantine with only immediate family allowed to visit. They pumped the medication into him after that. Now, he was able to rest since the flow of visitors was stopped.

Sandy found Dan to be a personable roommate. He had an even disposition and had a smile for everyone. He never heard him complain about anything, and there sure was a lot to complain about. Sandy's biggest complaint was the noise in the corridors in the evenings. He didn't care what other people thought, but a hospital was not the place for children after 7 p.m.. He was awakened the previous two nights by children playing in the hall outside his room after 8 p.m., and he complained to the nursing supervisor on duty.

She apologized for his inconvenience, but explained that this happened quite often, since the hospital administrator had relaxed the rules on visitors and visiting hours. Sandy felt that a hospital is for the sick, and not a place for young children, so the next morning he called the hospital administrator and made a formal complaint, and as added insurance, he also sent emails to his friends on the board. As a result, from that night on, new rules were posted regarding visitors, and a security guard walked the corridors to enforce the new visiting rules. It was very peaceful after that.

Dan was not a happy camper after his doctor told him that he would not be going home as planned. Both patients were going to be stuck in the hospital for at least another week, maybe longer.

Dan confided to Sandy, that he was glad that he would be spending more time in the rehab center, as he was concerned about how he was going to manage at home when he was released. His mother worked full time and there was no way he could safely manage the stairs in his house alone. His home was a typical two story house, with the bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor. He did not think he would be able to use the stairs more than once a day. Once he was down stairs in the morning, he was down for the day, until his mom got home from work.

Dan said, "Another option is a nursing home, but I found out my medical insurance plan only pays half of the fees. Mom can't take the time from her job to take care of me. The doctor feels that it will be at least six weeks before I'll regain the strength in my knee to do stairs without crutches. There's no way my Mom's firm will let her take two months off. She is Director of Human Resources and carries a full work load every day. I certainly wouldn't want her to give up that position for me. Maybe after three weeks of therapy I'll be able to manage better. I understand the physical therapy floor is less structured than this floor. Fortunately, my medical insurance pays for rehab therapy."

"I know the feeling, I'm in the same boat," Sandy said. "Let's see how we feel in two weeks time."

The two remained roommates in the Rehab Center. There were quite a few patients in this section, which was not exclusively for surgical patients. There were some recovering from strokes, in addition to amputees and other disabled patients. It was really a world unto itself. They both had regular exercise programs tailored to their particular needs. Sandy's program was quite tiring for him. The doctor explained that they were still recovering from major surgery and it would take a long time before they could resume a normal life.

Dan proved himself to be the ideal roommate. During the three weeks they spent together they became friends. Sandy met Dan's mother and his girlfriend, his teammates, and friends from the University, of which there was a never-ending parade every day. Dan was not only a popular guy, but he was a handsome one, as well. He was dark complected, just shy of six feet tall, with curly, light brown hair, mixed with strands of gold. He had expressive brown eyes and a warm friendly smile that lit up his whole face.

Their spare time was consumed with work. Dan's classmates brought his class work by ever day, with tape recordings of the lectures that he missed. For Sandy, it was much easier to tend to his office work using a laptop tied into the company's main frame computer, and he was able to stay current with business from his hospital bed.

It wasn't much different from the way he normally conducted his daily workload, generally averaging just two days a week in the office. The rest of the time, he worked out of his home. While in the hospital, his conference calls had to be cut back to three one-hour conferences per day. He arranged with the nursing staff to use one of the empty meeting rooms each day for those calls.

Sandy gave one of his old laptops to Dan for his school work. Dan was so grateful for the gift that you would think he had given him a Rolls Royce.

In spite of their age difference, the friendship flourished. Dan wasn't your typical college junior. He was mature, level headed and highly intelligent. He had it together as far as Sandy was concerned. Sandy enjoyed his company, maybe more so than he should. He had made a promise to himself, after breaking up with his last lover, that he would never become emotionally involved with a younger man again. George, his former lover, cured him of that as it cost him more than a million bucks to be rid of him.

Dan was off limits as far as Sandy was concerned; besides, he was straight. His girlfriend, Margie, was an adorable, intelligent young woman. They were a nice couple and were refreshing to watch. They were not all over each other, like so many couples, but you could sense the strong feelings they had for each other.

Dan's mother was an intelligent, warm and attractive woman. It was easy to see where Dan inherited his good looks and brains. Sandy admired them both, and hoped they could all remain friends after they were discharged from the hospital. He felt strongly about these new people in his life. Dan's mother, Nora, stopped by every night after work to visit, and always brought a special treat for each of them. Nora always inquired as to how their day went, and what they had learned that day in therapy. As much as they tried, and forced themselves to do better, the muscles and bone tissue had their own timetable in the healing process.

After Sandy was discharged, he began working full time at home until such time as the doctor would allow him to return to the office. He stipulated that Sandy could only work half days. Of course, the doctor didn't know that a twelve-hour day was Sandy's normal schedule.

Sandy didn't understand the reasoning behind that admonition. By the second day he was in pain. Even though the mind was willing, the body wasn't. His leg puffed up and he became exhausted by the end of those two days. So, the doctor had him back in bed, on anti-inflammatory medication and ice packs. It took another two months of exercise and therapy before Sandy could put in an eight-hour day at his desk. Even then he had to walk with a cane. Finally, he was able to resume his travel schedule again, as it became increasingly necessary for him to check on his regional offices and to close some of the key accounts that were on hold.

In retrospect, because of the limited use of his leg, he never regretted the decision to buy his own jet aircraft to fly around the country. Naturally, his tax and business advisors preferred him to lease a plane on a monthly basis. But he wanted to have his own plane, designed for his personal comfort. And, he wanted a crew that was gay-friendly. Sometimes he flew into some of the exclusive private clubs that catered to a gay clientele. Sure, it costs a bundle to own and maintain his own aircraft, but his company was doing well and it was his money to spend. After traveling back and forth around the country for three months, he finally returned home.

Sandy tried to call the Kellys a couple of times while he was on the road, but without success. They were one of the few families he knew, that didn't own an answering machine.

He gave up trying and handed the assignment over to his assistant. She tried calling for over a week without any luck either. Sandy finally found Nora's business card and left a message in her mail box. She returned the call an hour later. She was on assignment at her corporate headquarters in New York.

"Sandy," Nora said, "it's so good to hear from you. I've been meaning to call, but I've been out of town for the last two months, sorry about that. Dan promised me he would call you, but I guess he's been going through a tough time lately. Knowing my son as I do, he probably was embarrassed to let you, of all people, know his predicament. Dan had another accident shortly after he returned home from the hospital and now is in a nursing home. He thought you would think he was a loser."

"I'm sorry to hear that, I've been trying to reach you guys for more than two months, but no one answers the telephone."

"Sorry about that," Nora said. "We changed our telephone number to an unlisted number, but kept the number you called for outgoing calls only. I've been transferred to New York and Dan is in a nursing home in Duluth, until he is able to get around on his own. If you want to see him, he's at the Park View Health Care Center in Duluth, Georgia. He doesn't have a telephone in his room. But if you're up to it, why not drop in and see him. Visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., every day, and Dan is in room E-22."

"I'll do that, Nora. Let's do lunch, or dinner the next time you're in Atlanta. I plan to be in town now for at least a couple of months."

"I'd love to," Nora said. "Look, I'm late for a meeting, and I must run. It was good hearing from you again."

Sandy pushed the intercom button for his secretary. "Flo, I'll need the limo at 1 p.m. today. Give the driver the address of Park View Health Care Center so he can look it up. Would you order me a light lunch and reschedule my appointments for this afternoon? I should be back in the office for my four o'clock meeting."

"Yes, sir," Flo said.

"Oh, by the way," Sandy said, "you can stop calling Dan at the numbers I gave you. He's a patient in the Park View Nursing home."

                                 

The Park View buildings look more like an elementary school's buildings than a nursing home. The main entrance and corridor were crowded with patients milling around in wheelchairs. Some of the patients were using walkers, a few using crutches, but the majority of the patients were senior citizens in wheelchairs. Sandy followed the main corridor until he found corridor E, and down the hall to room E-22, the last room on the right. Most of the rooms, as far as he could tell, were three-bed rooms. The rooms at this end of the building were set aside for male patients only. From what he could observe, the majority of the patients at Park View were elderly and this corridor was no exception. To the right side of the door frame of room 22, were name plates marked A, B, and C. Dan Kelly was in bed-C which was the bed next to the window. The older gentleman in the first bed was asleep. The man in the middle bed was seated in his wheelchair watching the large TV screen mounted on the wall. Dan was seated in one of those special reclining chairs typing on his laptop computer.

"What's a young guy like you doing in a place like this?" Sandy asked.

Dan looked startled when he looked up from his computer. Sandy smiled, "You can close your mouth. I'm not a ghost."

Dan quickly recovered and smiled, "It's good to see you again, Sandy. How did you find me?"

"Believe me, it wasn't easy. It's a good thing that I kept your mother's business card, or I would never have found you. I spoke to your Mom this morning and she told me your sad tale of woe. What are you doing here?"

"It's a long sad story."

"Why don't you start from the beginning and tell me about it?"

"I was doing quite well with the walker and gaining the strength back in my knee, until I slipped and fell going out the back door onto our patio. The fall fractured my ankle, and the femur bone just above the point where the prosthesis was implanted in my knee. They had to put a plate on the femur and inserted a pin in my ankle. I ended up in the hospital again and was transferred to this facility after another short stay in Rehab. In the meantime, my Mom got promoted and was transferred to the home office in New York. Since there was no one at home to keep an eye on me, the doctor insisted that I stay in a nursing home until I was able to take care of myself.

Mom wanted me to transfer to New York University, or some other college in New York City, and move in with her. But, this is my last year at Georgia Tech, and I would like to graduate with my class. I have no desire to live in the Northeast at this point. Besides, most of my friends live in Georgia, and I feel the quality of life is better here. I couldn't face the bleak winters with the gray days and the freezing temperatures for months on end."

"Why this place, Dan? Don't you find it depressing living with all these senior citizens?"

"Come on, Sandy. You think I'm here by choice? It's true; I'm the youngest patient here. Even my classmates stopped coming around. Only my good buddies, Bob and Jay, still visit me to bring my course work. They said it reminds them of a mental hospital. Now, they refuse to come back to my room. I have to meet them in the visitor's lounge at the front entrance. I didn't have much of a choice of nursing homes in my price range. I ended up in this place for two compelling reasons. One, because a bed was available, and secondly, it was what my insurance provider would allow. Of course, the better private nursing homes in town are way beyond the rate this facility charges. I'm on a fixed income, Sandy. There is just no wiggle room in the budget. I still have to pay the monthly maintenance costs at home and my tuition at Georgia Tech."

"How long do you think you'll have to stay here?"

"Doc said another six weeks, if I continue to improve."

"How is Margie taking this?"

"She's not. Margie and I have split up. She cut back on her visits shortly after I left the hospital the first time. I felt it coming, yet I wasn't sure. I gave her a way out and she took it. Here I was, under the impression we had a meaningful relationship going on, and would end up at the altar one day. In retrospect, it may have been the best thing for both of us. Margie felt she was missing out on too many of the social events while I was laid up. She wasn't willing to give up six months of fun, since I couldn't do much with my bad knee. It a way I'm glad it happened the way it did. Can you imagine what would have happened if we were married? I'm sure, if we did marry the vows would have to be changed to, for richer and in good health only."

"It's not all her fault. Much of the blame can be placed at her parents' doorstep. Her family wants to be socially prominent in Atlanta; they are also well connected in Virginia. They always felt that Margie could do much better than me. I'm sure they were pressuring her to cultivate some of the young men in their circle. At least someone that was well connected and could afford to maintain her in the style they want her to become accustomed. If that is what Margie wanted, it was better that we went our separate ways."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Dan, she seemed like a charming and pretty young lady."

"Yea, well, I'm sorry it had to end, but that's life in the fast lane. Enough about me, how are you these days? What have you been doing since you recovered from your hip surgery? Is it giving you any problems?"

"I still feel pain if I turn it the wrong direction, and yes, every now and again I feel the nerve twitch. Other than that, I'm fine. I've substituted swimming for tennis until next year. I get in at least an hour of swimming every day. It's really helped my hip more than anything else. I really feel great. After the doctor gave me a clean bill of health, I went back to work on a restricted schedule until my leg healed enough to allow me to put in a full day. Since then I have been traveling around the country checking on my regional offices. That's why I haven't had the time to get together as I promised. I had a lot of things on my plate. I've made a few more acquisitions which have taken more of my time. But, in the long haul, things will improve."

"It's no wonder your wife divorced you," Dan said. "Margie dumped me because I couldn't go anywhere."

"Where did you get the idea I was divorced?" Sandy said. "I was never married."

"I remember you saying that it cost you a bundle to get rid of your ex."

"Oh!" Sandy said. "Dan, I'm sorry you misunderstood me. I thought you understood where I was coming from. I'm gay; the ex I was referring to was my former lover."

Dan looked surprised. "You're kidding? I would have never guessed you were gay, not in a million years!"

"Do you feel uncomfortable about this, now that you know?"

"No, not at all, two of my best friends are gay. They've been a couple since junior high and we are still close friends. You just come across so macho, I just assumed you were straight."

"It bothers me to see you in this place, Dan. You're too young to be stuck in with all these demented seniors citizens. I think I have the solution to your problems; one that will get you out of this place, and can earn a living besides. I'm going to lay it out for you, and you decide if you're interested."

"Go, man," Dan said.

"I want you to come live with me until you are able to return to your own home. I have a large comfortable home, and I know you will be content there. I live alone, and have for the last two years. I need a guy like you around that I can bounce some of my ideas off. Also, it's important that you're not homophobic about living with a gay man. I've had two serious relationships in the past and both have ended up disastrously. I'm not looking for a relationship at this point in my life. I'm too involved with the challenge of building and growing my businesses. This is an exciting time for me at this stage in my career. Frankly, I can't afford the emotional stress and heartache of a relationship right now. What I want is an intelligent house mate like you that is attuned to my business. It would be nice to have someone that I don't feel I have to please, and yet have someone around to talk to. I admit I get lonely at times in that house, but not lonely enough to surround myself with people I find boring. It also helps that you are an Engineer. I never did ask you what your major was in at GT."

Dan said, "I'll be graduating with a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences."

"That's perfect; you should fit in just great. You come to work for me and I'll pay you the same hourly rate as I do my programmers. I'll allow you as many hours as you want. You can debug some of the new software programs I'm developing. If you like, I'll give you a crack at creating some new software programs. Additionally, I'll pay for all your expenses along with your salary and benefits. There will be no strings attached to this arrangement, and you'll have the option of walking away at any time you wish."

"I would expect that you treat my home the same as you do your own. Your family and friends are welcome. I'll also make sure that you have a professional staff to take care of your medical needs. I think that pretty much covers the overall picture, Dan. I'm sure that there are things that will have to be ironed out as we go along, but that's not a problem for me. What do you think of my offer?"

"If you're serious, this is a very tempting offer, Sandy, but why me? We're basically strangers. You don't know that much about me. Why would you do this for me?"

"I'm a good judge of people and I think you and your mom are good people. The other reason is because I like you, and I think we will become good friends. You don't have to give me your answer now. Think it over and talk to your mom about it before you make your decision. If you want to check me out, talk to Doctor Woodruff. He can vouch for me. Sorry, I have to run, Dan, as I have a meeting at four. Here is my card, and my cell phone number is on the back. Keep that to yourself; I'll be waiting to hear from you one way or the other. If you have any questions, please call."

"Thanks, Sandy, I'll let you know tomorrow."

                                 

"Mr. Dunnlap, I have a Mr. Kelly on the telephone," Flo said, "Do you wish to speak with him?"

"Thanks, Flo, put him though." Sandy picked up the telephone. "Hello, Dan, aren't you the early bird. Things must be slow at the happy farm this morning for you to be on the horn at 8 a.m."

"Surely, you jest," Dan said, "I have a busy schedule this morning. I'm running late for my tennis match. I thought I'd ring you up to let you know that I have decided to take you up on your generous offer. So, old boy, as far as I'm concerned, the sooner I'm away from here the better."

"That's great news," Sandy said. "What did your mom say?"

"She was happy for me, but in essence she said I'm a big boy now and I had to make my own decision. Look, I've left a message with Doctor Magnusson's answering service letting him know that you would be calling him to make arrangements to have me moved. I'd do it myself, but I only have access to the pay phone in the lounge. I'd appreciate it if you would speak to the Doctor to handle my release. It's almost impossible for me to speak to the doctor himself."

"Not to worry, Danny, I'll handle everything. I'd better sign off now; I don't want you to be late for that match."

Dan burst out laughing, "Yeah, right. Sandy, you're the best, I owe you big time."

"Hang in there, champ," Sandy said. "Catch you later."

Sandy switched to his private line and dialed Doctor Woodruff's office. "Hi, this is Sandy Dunnlap. I'd like to speak to Dr. Woodruff."

"The doctor is with a patient, would you like to speak to his assistant, Dr. Metcalfe?"

"Yes, please." He waited until he was put through to Dr. Metcalfe. "Doctor, my name is Sandy Dunnlap; I'm calling you regarding a patient of Dr. Woodruff's. His name is Daniel Kelly. I just returned to town and learned that Dan had another accident and is now recovering at Park View Nursing home. Park View is not the right facility for Dan. We discussed this yesterday, and I persuaded him to move into my home. Right now, he is under the care of Dr. Magnusson, who is the one of the staff physicians at Park View. Unfortunately, my internist is on vacation, or I wouldn't bother Dr. Woodruff. But, since Dan is still Dr. Woodruff's patient, I thought he would help me out and make arrangements to have Dan Kelly released and moved to my estate. I'm about to engage the services of a staff to look after Dan. Naturally, I would expect Dr. Woodruff to continue to treat Dan."

"Doctor Woodruff is with a patient at the moment, but I will speak to him as soon as he is free. I'm sure he will have no objections in helping you with the transfer. For future reference, Mr. Dunnlap, Dan does not need the doctor's release to leave Park View, or any other facility. All that is required is for Mr. Kelly to notify Park View that he is discharging himself. They will draw up the release papers and discharge him, providing his bill is paid. Park View will in turn notify Dr. Woodruff and Dr. Magnusson of his departure. I don't see this as a problem at all."

"Thank you, Dr. Metcalfe," Sandy said, and left his home telephone number. His next call was to the Outpatient Professional Service Agency. It was great luck that Nelson Rider was available to take on the case. Nelson was one of the most competent professional people Sandy knew. He was a take-charge person and someone Sandy trusted to handle everything. Nelson called back ten minutes later and said he would make all necessary arrangements, including ordering the hospital equipment that Danny would need. All he awaited were Dr. Woodruff's orders and where and what time to pick up his patient.

Sandy's next call was to Mr. Parker, the Administrator of Park View. He explained the situation and told him that Danny's nurse would be by to pick up Danny at 11 a.m..

"That will be fine, Mr. Dunnlap, I don't see any problem. Mr. Kelly was in here first thing this morning and said you would be calling. Although we hate to loose him, I personally feel that he would be better off in a facility around people of his own age. If you will give me Dan's new address, we will be able to mail him the credit for the rest of this month."

"The address is Dunnlap Manor, Dunnlap, GA 30165. My phone number is 800-555-0165."

"I've never heard of that town before, Mr. Dunnlap. Was the town named after your forefathers?"

"No, it was named after me. The town is two hours northwest of Atlanta and just twenty miles west of Rome, GA. Don't go looking for it, because it's not on any map. We have a population of 3,516 and are growing. I'd like you keep this information confidential, Mr. Parker."

"No problem."

"Thank you for expediting this request."

"You're welcome, sir."

                                 

A tall, strapping, attractive looking man dressed in a green uniform walked into Dan's room pushing a new wheelchair. "Mr. Kelly, I'm Nelson Rider, your nurse. Mr. Dunnlap engaged me to take care of you." He shook hands with Dan. I'm here to help you dress and pack your personal effects. Why don't you tell me what stays and what you want to take with you?"

"Great," Dan said. "You can start with everything in my wardrobe, the books in that little bookcase and the contents of my bedside stand."

Nelson packed the clothes into the three garment bags he brought with him and packed the books and the contents of the bedside stand in the cardboard boxes the orderly brought in. Nelson asked the orderly take the boxes out to the waiting ambulance and to ask one of the drivers to come back to collect the rest of Dan's things. "Well, that does it, Dan," Nelson said. If you can manage the lap top and your brief case, I'll wheel you up to the office to sign your release papers."

Nelson wheeled Dan into Mr. Parker's office to sign the necessary papers and out the front door of Park View and into the waiting ambulance.

"How long a drive is it to Sandy's home?" Dan asked.

"Well, let's see, it's a twenty minute drive to Peachtree-Dekalb Airport, and another twenty-five minute flight to Dunnlap Field," Nelson said. "We'll be home in time to join Sandy for lunch."

"Weren't you the nurse that picked up Sandy from the hospital?" Dan asked."

"Yes, sir, I took care of Sandy for two months after he left the hospital. He is a great guy, let me tell you. He even invited my wife and kids to his place every weekend. I'd never thought I'd be working for him again. After we get you settled in, I'll sit down and explain the treatment plan your doctor wants you to follow. It's a lot different from the one you've had at Park View. You're a lucky guy to be taken under Sandy's wing. Once Mr. Dunnlap takes you on as project, you got it made. You'll see."

                                 
To be continued
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