Read Coma Girl: part 2 Online

Authors: Stephanie Bond

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Coma Girl: part 2

BOOK: Coma Girl: part 2
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Table of Contents

Title Page


August 1, Monday

August 2, Tuesday

August 3, Wednesday

August 4, Thursday

August 5, Friday

August 6, Saturday

August 7, Sunday

August 8, Monday

August 9, Tuesday

August 10, Wednesday

August 11, Thursday

August 12, Friday

August 13, Saturday

August 14, Sunday

August 15, Monday

August 16, Tuesday

August 17, Wednesday

August 18, Thursday

August 19, Friday

August 20, Saturday

August 21, Sunday

August 22, Monday

August 23, Tuesday

August 24, Wednesday

August 25, Thursday

August 26, Friday

August 27, Saturday

August 28, Sunday

August 29, Monday

August 30, Tuesday

August 31, Wednesday

A note from the author

Other works by Stephanie Bond

About the Author

Copyright information




(Part 2)


Stephanie Bond


You can learn a lot when people think you aren’t listening...







For as long as I can remember, I’ve had insomnia.  I’ve always been a night owl and a morning person, surviving on five, maybe six, hours of sleep cobbled together in restless bouts.  In hindsight, I realize all my life I sort of resented having to sleep.  I suppose I was afraid on some subconscious level I’d miss something important or exciting or unrepeatable.  Which makes my current predicament all the more ironic.

I am in a deep vegetative state… better known as a coma.

Other people refer to my situation as “sad,” “heartbreaking”... even “tragic.”  I find all the attention rather strange considering before I landed in Bed 3 in the long-term care ward of Brady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, I was the girl no one paid much attention to.  I was the middle child—middling pretty, middling smart, a middling achiever with a middling personality in a middling job at a middling company.  My name is Marigold Kemp, but these days I’m more commonly referred to as Coma Girl.  Apparently, I have a bit of a following.  I’ve trended on social media.  I have my own hashtag.

Since it appears I’m going to be here for a while, I thought I might as well start telling my story; there have been a few twists and turns as to how I got here, and doubtless more to come.  The list of pluses of being in a coma is pretty darn short, but if I had to name the best thing, it’s that you can learn a lot when people think you aren’t listening.  I am the ultimate eavesdropper, and friend, if I ever wake up, I’m going to write a tell-all.

Meanwhile, I’ll tell you.



August 1, Monday



“BLOOD PRESSURE is normal,” Dr. Tyson said.

Dr. Tyson is giving me a maintenance checkup, but I can’t stop thinking about Roberta’s revelation that I was talking to her on my phone when the accident happened.

“Pulse rate, normal.”

I mean, I have the public’s sympathy… Coma Girl has become a cottage industry… Sidney is looking into having me incorporated.

“Temperature is ninety-nine,” Nurse Gina said.

“A little high, but not unexpected. Still, I want her monitored every four hours for a change.”

Was that my hot shame registering on the thermometer? Because what would my adoring fans think when they found out I’d been a distracted driver when my Ford Escort hit Keith Young’s yellow Jaguar head on?

“Her cheeks do look pink,” Gina said.

Dr. Tyson made a frustrated noise. “It’s
. Gina, explain to me why my coma patient is wearing makeup.”

“Her sister occasionally puts makeup on her.”

“I didn’t ask who, I asked why.”

“To cheer her up, I guess.”

“To cheer up the patient, or the sister?”

Ooh, good one, Dr. Tyson.

“It’s not hurting anything, is it? I think it’s kind of nice.”

“Skin color can be an indication of something abnormal, such as too little oxygen in the blood. Or a sudden bruise that could indicate a blood clot. Please arrange to have Ms. Kemp’s face cleaned.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

Just to clarify, in Georgia, driving a car while holding a cell phone, eating a burrito, or putting on mascara isn’t against the law. But the District Attorney might see my multitask chatting as a mitigating circumstance. At least I hadn’t been texting while driving—which
against the law in the peach state, by the way. But I don’t have Bluetooth, so it wasn’t as if I’d had my hands on the steering wheel at two and ten o’clock position.

“What’s this?”

“It looks like an iPod, Dr. Tyson.”

“I know what it is, who put it on the bed?”

“I… don’t know.”

I was pretty sure Gina knew Dr. Jarvis had put it there, but she was protecting him. Good girl. Don’t get me wrong—I am sick to death of his playlist of classical music, but it had taken on a certain painful familiarity... like Google Ads.

“Pupils are—” Dr. Tyson stopped. “Hm… pupils are dilating. That’s… different.”

“But that’s good, isn’t it?” the nurse asked.

It has to be good!

“Not so fast, Gina. You and Dr. Jarvis want so much for Ms. Kemp to wake up, you read too much into small things. The pupils are dilating, but they’re sluggish, which is better than fixed, but far from good.”

I was going to start calling her Dr. Downer.

“Respiratory rate, normal,” Dr. Tyson continued, her voice crisp. “What’s her weight?”

“Plus a half pound.”

Not getting much cardio in the coma unit. Audrey, Karen, Jill and I could all use a Zumba class.

“So the feeding tube is functioning well,” Dr. Tyson said. “Bowel movements?”

“Chart says every three or four days.”

You were wondering, weren’t you? Now you know. When you enter a coma, you say goodbye to every last shred of modesty.

“I.V. looks good. And urine looks clear, but let’s test it for traces of blood to make sure the catheter is comfortable. We don’t need a U.T.I. flare-up.”

No, we do not. For those of you who’ve never had a urinary tract infection, it’s like giving birth to a briar bush. Through your pee hole. I would be happy to coma through that.

“Make a note to change the urine bag more often, Gina. I have Ms. Kemp on diuretics to help with the swelling in her brain, and it’s not good for her bladder to get too full.”

“Will do, Doctor. How is the swelling?”

“No change, so let’s keep her fluids flowing.”

“I don’t suppose the insurance company changed their mind about paying for the experimental drug cocktail?”


“What a shame.”

“There’s no guarantee it would work,” the doctor chided. “Not every patient can be saved. Just look at Ms. Kemp’s roommates.”

“I know,” Gina said. “But it’s so sad. Especially since Ms. Kemp is in this bed through no fault of her own.”

“We’ll do all we can to get her out of here,” Dr. Tyson said.

But after they left I wondered if word got out that I might have contributed to the accident, would the staff treat me differently?





August 2, Tuesday



“I HAD TO MAKE A DELIVERY right near here, so I figured I’d pull off and say howdy.”

My boss, Percy Palmer, was standing near the foot of my bed. I could visualize him dressed in blue coveralls, wringing his favorite Mohawk Carpet bill cap in his big, hairy hands. And I could tell from the sound of his voice he was on the verge of bolting.

Poor thing. He’s gruff and single and baffled by the fairer sex. Any time a woman at the carpet company needs off for “lady reasons” he lifts his paw and says, “No details, just go.” So seeing me lying there in a hospital gown in a veritable garden of pale, lifeless women must be hard for him. Especially since he’s accustomed to seeing me with a bullhorn barking orders at the truck drivers.

“I hired somebody to fill in until you come back,” he said. “But they’re not as good as you at keeping everybody in line.”

From our five years together, I’d learned Mr. Palmer was not good at dealing with change. I had replaced a woman named Tatiana, a factoid I know because he called me Tatiana for the first year I worked there. And God bless the unwitting temp he’d hired who is now having to respond to “Marigold.” I dearly hope it’s a woman.

“Everybody at the warehouse misses you,” he blurted.

And I miss my job. Miss the sharp tang of carpet adhesive in the air that keeps everyone on a slight buzz. Miss going home every evening covered in a light fuzz of carpet fibers like an enormous piece of Velcro. Miss the ninety-minute commute there and back…

On second thought—

“We passed a hat for you at work, everyone feels so bad for you and your family.”

The faces of my coworkers flashed through my mind. Unbeknownst to most, Mr. Palmer often hires ex-cons looking for a second chance because he’d done a stint in lockup himself when he was younger. And not to be stereotypical, but if you’re conjuring up images of some rough looking dudes, you’d be right. But their loyalty to Mr. Palmer is evident, and the workers have been nothing but respectful to me. Still, as touched as I am by their donations, knowing what I know now about the accident, I wish they had kept their hard-earned money.

“When I brought the envelope by, I was surprised to meet your mother. A right proper lady. But I thought your mom was dead.”

Oh, God, I hope he hadn’t told her that.

“She seemed a little taken back when I told her that.”

Inside I’m wincing.

“Not that you’d ever said she was dead,” he rambled on. “It’s just you only ever talked about your dad, so I just thought, well, you know….”

That she was dead?

“That she was dead.”

My mother had omitted that little topic of discussion when she’d mentioned meeting Mr. Palmer. Her feelings must’ve been terribly hurt. She and I were good at finding each other’s soft tissue.

“Anyway, she seemed really nice.” He cleared his throat. “I thought you’d like to know I ordered a whole truckload of that silk blend carpet you told me to get. I had my doubts, but the salesmen said you were right, it’s awesome carpet and it’s already our number one seller.”

That’s good news.

“You really know rugs, Marigold.”

…aside from sounding a tiny bit X-rated, that is maybe the nicest compliment I’ve ever received, because Mr. Palmer is hard to impress.

“The carpet in the waiting room could sure use an upgrade. Commercial contractors put in the cheapest carpet on the cheapest pad, and in a high traffic area. What were they thinking? It’s people like that who give carpet a bad name. It’s why we’re losing ground to hardwood, you know.”

If Mr. Palmer had his way, every surface indoors and out would be carpeted. The man was evangelical when it came to fiber density, weight, and stain resistance.

“A nice wall-to-wall remnant would make it a lot nicer in here,” he said. “I hate to see you like this.”

I suspect all the vinyl tile is making him nervous.

“Well, I’d better go. I have the truck double-parked. We’re all pulling for you, Marigold.”

His voice cracked on my name, bending my heart.

His footsteps sounded and I sensed he’d come closer. “And don’t worry,” he said, his voice lower, “that football player is going to get what he deserves for what he did to you, one way or another.”

BOOK: Coma Girl: part 2
3.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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