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Margaret’s Garden Creation

by Casey Quinn

“It won’t stop growing. It won’t stop growing. IT WON’T STOP GROWING!

Each time she said it, her voice grew louder. A tear formed in the corner of her eye as she began to rock back and forth in her chair. The thoughts of the vine crept back into her mind.

“What dear? What won’t stop growing?” Nurse Rona asked the elderly patient. “It will be okay Margaret, nothing’s growing here at all, just hardwood floors.”

“Let go of me! Stop!”

“But dear I am not even touching you, see?” The nurse raised her hands in front of Margaret, but that did not bring comfort to the elderly patient.

Scratching at her arms and legs she yelled, “Release me, please! Release me from your grips!”

The scratching at her arms and legs had caused Margaret’s frail skin to break, and now she was bleeding.

Nurse Rona knew what she had to do. She wasn’t supposed to, not for Margaret, but who was Doctor Thomas to tell her how to do her job? She had been the top nurse for over twenty years. Tell her what to do? Nurse Rona was going to follow textbook protocol. She immediately called for orderlies.

“Tom, David, come quick! Margaret needs to be restrained. She’s acting up!”

“Rona, I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to do that, not for Margaret. You know the whole vine thing?” Tom said as he reached Rona in the hallway. “Margaret, honey, we need you to calm down, please.”

“Off of me! Die! Die!”

Shocked at the outburst, Tom and David hesitantly followed Nurse Rona’s orders and restrained the elderly lady until the nurse could sedate her. Once asleep, the orderlies looked at each other in confusion and awe.

Nurse Rona stood confident in her decision. “Help me get Margaret in her bed. She should rest,” Nurse Rona said as she began to push the wheelchair down the hallway.

* * *

Once in the room, the three worked to get Margaret in her bed.

“Don’t you think that was a little overboard, Rona?” Dave asked, shaking his head. “I mean, Margaret has always been such a sweet lady. This doesn’t feel right.”

“She acted up. She hurt herself. She needed to be restrained. It is that simple. I have been here for over twenty years and have forgotten more about patient care then you will ever know, so don’t try to tell me I made a mistake. Don’t you have other patients you need to work on? I know I do! “

Nurse Rona leaned in to place the restraints on Margaret. The old lady was not going to hurt herself again, not on her watch. As she secured the restraint she whispered “You crazy old lady. I wish we didn’t have to do this, but you left us no choice.”

Disgusted at the treatment of the sweet elderly lady, Dave and Tom looked at each other and shook their heads.

“All right, now: get out of here and get to work. You know we have other patients here, right?” Rona said as she stormed out of the room.

Tom followed her, but Dave stayed behind. Margaret had always reminded him of his mother, and he felt a strong emotion toward her. Walking to the table in the corner of the room, Tom picked up the different flower arrangements that had been left by her family and moved them to her night stand by the bed. “Sorry for all of this. I hope the flowers bring a smile to your face when you wake.”

Tom left the room and closed the door behind him. He usually left the door open in case someone called, but he did not want Nurse Rona to notice that he had moved the flowers. She would no doubt give him grief about it.

* * *

The sun was shining down as she felt her fingers in the dirt. She loved the feeling of working with the earth and had grown a large garden to help pass her retirement years.

“Hey, Grandma, whatcha planting this year?”

“Evening, Tommy. Well, I planted some new rose vines called Lady Banks. They should be coming up soon. Supposed to be real pretty.”

Margaret walked around her garden with a small watering can and cared for each one of her delicate flowers. She bent down, took a deep breath of nature’s perfume and watered each of her plants. Upon completion, she carefully pruned them so that they could thrive around her.

Margaret loved her garden. It made her feel safe and at home around it. She felt so at peace that she would even lie down on the grass and fall asleep some afternoons and enjoy the fragrance of her creation.

* * *

“Doctor Thomas, do you have a second? I want to discuss Margaret. She really had a fit earlier, I know you said something about restraints, but to be honest, I don’t remember what you said.”

“Margaret is not to have restraints applied. She had a terrible experience one day and was just never the same. Such a sad story... It makes you realize how quickly life can change.”

“An experience? What kind of experience could cause a person to go from sweetheart one second to yelling at us and telling us to die? We had to restrain her! She was starting to hurt herself!”

“You did what?” Doctor Thomas’s face had a look of concern come over it.

“I restrained her. I thought she was a threat to herself. She cut herself and everyone knows you see that then you need to restrain.”

“Nurse Rona, your ego has gone too far! When I give you an order it is for a reason! One summer she fell in her garden. During the fall she bumped her head and injured her knee and hip, leaving her unable to move. In fact, she fell so hard she knocked herself out cold.

“When she awoke, she was entangled in one of her plants, a vine. She was in great pain from the fall and tried to move but couldn’t. She felt trapped. Her fall had made her confused and in a great pain.

“Somehow she got it into her mind that the vine had restrained her and she just snapped mentally. We need to lift her restraints now! This will set her back years of therapy!”

As the two ran down the hall to room 486, Nurse Rona’s pager began to ring, a second later, so did Doctor Thomas’s pager. Only seconds away from the room they noticed a strange commotion in the hallway but could not imagine the cause.

As they reached room 486 they saw the root of the chaos.

* * *

Slowly awakening from her forced sleep, Margaret took a deep breath. She caught the familiar scent of flowers. Laying there with her eyes closed, surrounded by the scent of her garden, she was reminded of a time far in the past. She tensed.

Dazed, she tried to move her hand to rub her eyes and clear the sleep that had formed. As she tried to move, she felt resistance. She tried to tug her arms again to bring them to her face but with no success.

“No! You will not take me! Damn you, vine!”

Margaret’s heart began to beat faster. Trying to swing her arms and kick her feet to freedom, Margaret started to hear a loud beeping noise coming from the machines around her.

As the beeping sound from the machines grew louder, the vine’s grasp became tighter and tighter. It moved slowly and expanded its restraint. She felt it crawl into her body and move from her arm up into her chest.

Pushing her heart to the limit, she continued to struggle but the vine was too strong for her aged muscles. She could not keep up her fight as the vine slowly tightened around her heart.

Copyright © 2009 by Casey Quinn

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