Okay, I'm posting this just to post something to show I am working. I've jumped ahead several chapters again. Read at the peril of missing parts of the novel. Eventually, I will get them in here, but I cannot do it now. The three after the ?-mark means it is 3 chapter after the last leap forward. I HAVE WRITTEN the in-between chapters, but they are at my office, and not available to be posted. (NOTE: Crouse Irving is a hospital in Syracuse located on the corner of Crouse and Irving Streets.) Also note that this is a VERY first draft!
Chapter ?-3: Crouse Irving
"Peter, I need you to come immediately," Rune said without preamble. "Yes, I know it's almost three AM. Eliza needs to go to the hospital; she’s been poisoned. Yes, I know you are terribly upset with her, but Peter, I think she was raped. Please come immediately, I can't take her to the hospital on my motorcycle, she’s too weak from barfing. If you’re not here in five minutes, I am calling Jody. Peter, it's life and death, and this is not a joke."
Rune could have called one of the others, but she knew that Peter loved Eliza and deep down would want to help her if he could get past his shock and dismay over what he, what they all, had witnessed a few days ago. She was hoping she was right and wasn't going to make things worse rather than better by meddling.
As soon as she set the phone down, she dialed Elizabeth. Three AM be damned! She hoped Elizabeth kept her cell near the bed and on and would pick up.
It rang about five times, but the voice at the other was not foggy with sleep.
"Elizabeth, it's Rune. Is Dr. McHaggerty okay? He's not? He's sick? He's vomiting? Take him to the hospital. He doesn't want to go? He thinks what? NO! it's not Coprius and alcohol. There's no evidence that Shaggy manes react with alcohol that way. He said so himself. The old beliefs are leaking back because he’s sick. Elizabeth, he's been poisoned, I'm sure of it. Someone's trying to kill him. Take him to the hospital now. If he won't go, call me back and I'll send Carter, Scott and Bart out there to get him. Tell him that! It's urgent. Go now."
Peter flew in through the door and Rune pointed toward the bathroom. He reappeared with Eliza in his arms like a child, and headed out the door with her. Cassie appeared from the hallway, wiping the sleep from her eyes.
"What's . . ."
"No time to explain," Rune said, pausing in the doorway. "I think Eliza has been poisoned. We're taking her to the hospital," and with that, she darted out the door, slamming it behind her and made it to Peter's car as he was pulling away. She leapt in.
Peter looked grim. Eliza was collapsed in the back seat, dry-heaving still, with spittle hanging from the side of her moth. Her eyes were glazed-looking and unfocussed.
Driving like a madman, Peter squealed around corners. They weren't far from the hospital and there was no traffic. Peter carried Eliza into Emergency, and for once, she was taken right in, before a man with a mangled hand who was moaning on the closest bench, a feverish looking child in the arms of her father, and a horde of other late-night injuries and illnesses.
"Mushroom poisoning," Rune calmly and firmly told the RN and then the night resident. Peter laid Eliza on a gurney and drew the curtains around them.
"Do you have any of the mushrooms?"
"Yes, they are in a Ziploc bag in my pocket. Amanita phalloides, the destroying angel."
"Are you sure."
"Yes," Rune said, sounding utterly confident. In truth, she was not. Not 100 percent confident. But in her heart of hearts, she was sure.
"We'll have to call a mushroom expert," the resident said.
"We are mushroom experts,” Rune said, standing tall, indicating Peter and herself. "And Dr. Colin McHaggerty from the College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry is on his way in." Rune didn't know that, either. She hoped it was true, but a peek at her cell phone indicated no signal. Maybe the hospital had some way of blocking cell phones. She'd have to slip out and check on McHaggerty.
"Milk thistle," Rune said. “It will help save the liver. Too late to pump her stomach, the mushrooms have already moved through. She needs to hydrated . . ."
"Let me do my job," the resident said, in a tired, irritated voice. He was young and handsome, dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes, a five o’clock shadow. Rune peered at his nametag.
“I’m sorry,” the resident said, “it’s been a long, trying night already, and it doesn’t look as if it will let up any time soon. But I should have introduced myself. I am Dr. Ibrahim, Aariz Ibrahim. Pleased to me you.”
Rune and Peter introduced themselves and Eliza, who seemed to be feeling a little better. She sat up and shook the residents hand. Her heaving had stopped, at least for the moment.
"What is your relationship to the patient?" The resident asked.
"I am her fiancé," Peter said, speaking up sharply, his first words since he carried her in. Rune had done all the talking. Rune looked at him in surprise and gratitude. She wasn't sure if he was just saying it for the resident’s benefit or if he meant it, but it eased her heart a little.
After questioning Eliza to be sure she had eaten mushrooms, listening to her heart, palpating her stomach, and examining her eyes, Dr. Ibraham left. A few minutes later, a nurse bustled in with a milk-shake size container of charcoal. It was incredibly black. Eliza drank it. She gagged on it a couple of times, but managed to choke it down.
“It tastes like chalk,” she said.
About five minutes later, she clambered down off the gurney looking green around the gills.
“Where are you going?” Peter asked, looking alarmed. Rune grabbed the orange upchuck pan from the bedside stand and Eliza vomited into it.
“It’s possible she may need a liver transplant,” Dr. Ibrahim said, a little while later. “We’re thinking of sending her to Strong Memorial in Rochester. They have really the only well-equipped liver transplant unit around.”
“Milk thistle,” Rune repeated stubbornly.
“She has to hold it down,” Dr. Ibrahim stated. “We can give her massive doses of penicillin, that’s been shown effective in some cases.”
Rune was almost holding her breath. Destroying Angel consumption used to be an out and out automatic death sentence. Now, patients had a chance of surviving if they got in early enough.
Again, after Dr. Ibrahim left, the nurse hurried in with a huge needle—the penicillin. To Rune, Eliza looked so tiny and frail. Peter must have felt that way too. He hovered close to her, and Rune thought he wanted to put his arms around her.
“I gotta go!” Eliza said, half sobbing, grabbing the nurses arm, “”Where the bathroom?”
The nurse pushed us out of the curtained area, and a smell of diarrhea flooded into the area outside. The nurse got another orange pan and washcloths and cleaned her up—and put her in a diaper. She then hooked her up to IV. And took her blood. Rune watched, peering through a crack in the curtains.
“Stay here,” she ordered Peter, “I want to check . . . I need to check on something.” She went to the waiting room and looked for McHaggerty and Elizabeth, but there was no sign of them. She went to the front desk and waited behind a man who was bleeding from the head. Gunshot wound. When he was told to wait and sat on the nearest chair with blood dribbling down his face, she asked if Dr. McHaggerty had been admitted. She said no.
Rune went out to call Elizabeth and ask what was keeping them. Maybe they’d gone to another hospital; she hadn’t thought of that. She got out her iPhone and sat on the curb, feeling suddenly overly exhausted. A car came tearing up the entry way; it looked like Scott’s Subaru. And it was.
As soon as the car stopped, Bart, Carter and Scott leaped out and dragged a protesting Dr. McHaggerty toward the Emergency room. Elizabeth opened the front door, got out, and stood beside Rune, who had stood up and leaped out of the way as Scott had come careening toward her.
“He wouldn’t come and I couldn’t reach you. I called Bart and he woke Scott and Carter. They came in Scott’s car because it was the biggest, newest and safest,” Elizabeth said, somewhat breathlessly, and then turned to follow the others. Rune followed them in and inserted herself at the front of the cue at the reception desk.
“It’s another mushroom poisoning, she said, before anyone spoke, from the same batch of mushrooms.” A gurney appeared and McHaggerty was wheeled away. The others followed and McHaggerty was placed in a curtained area 4 slots down from Eliza’s.
Peter stuck his head out and whispered under his breath to Rune, “I hope he dies.”