(The story until now: Accidents have resulted in two Maderans being taken to the hospital emergency room, where they are joined by ever-busy Father Bob.)
When Father Bob Gianelli of St. Jerome’s Church walked into the waiting room of the hospital emergency ward, where a television mounted on the wall was playing a soap opera, he was greeted as a friend by the admissions clerk on duty, who sat behind a glass window. Father Bob had been there too many times to count to comfort the sick and the dying. And often he found himself comforting the members of the hospital staff, who on some days saw more of suffering than anyone should.
“Go on back,” the clerk said, buzzing open the door to where the beds and treatment rooms were. Walking through the door into the entry port, he noticed through the glass window that the emergency room was having a busy day. People were lying in most of the approximately twenty beds, that were separated by privacy curtains and arranged around three of the four walls. At the rear of the room were two larger, curtained enclaves that were set up as surgical centers, and it was in one of these enclaves that Rogelio Cortez now was lying. Father Bob could see a doctor and a nurse were working over him.
“I’m here with that young man who came in unconscious with the big welt on his head,” Father Bob said to the charge nurse, once he had been buzzed into the emergency room proper. “Any sign of improvement?” ...