Distance runner Maggie Murano spends her first night in rehab after knee surgery.

And quotes from a book I finished reading this week. Welcome back to Mannequin Monday. Draping the blank form with the beauty of words.

What I’m Writing

Another story bite, this one a first night in a rehab facility. Enjoy a moment with Maggie.

Help Me

Bob Gillen

“Help me, please….someone help me.” A man’s voice.  Loud. Wailing. 

Maggie Murano startled awake. Lying on her back in the lumpy bed, only a dim lamp lighting the room, she could barely twist to see the door. Her first night in a skilled nursing facility, rehabbing after knee surgery. Maggie was a distance runner. Mobile. Agile. Flexible. The surgeon told her she needed rehab for a week before she could go home. “I want you to get physical therapy. More than you can get from a home health agency.” She had fought him. Hard. Finally gave up and picked a facility near home. 

“Someone help me. Please.” 

The voice seemed to come from a room across the hall. 

Maggie felt pain from the surgery kicking in. She pressed the call button. Waited. And waited. 

Credit: Forbes

“Help me. Help me, please. I need to get up. Please help.”

No one responded to the voice. The staff must be busy with other patients, she thought.

Twenty minutes later no one had responded to her call button. And the man was still calling out, “Help me. Please, someone help me.”

“Shit, I’ll never get any sleep here. How is this therapy?” Maggie muttered aloud.

“He never stops.” A voice from the doorway.

Maggie turned as best she could. A woman in a wheelchair rolled into the room. She pointed a gnarled finger toward the hall.

“Every night. He does this every night. When his son is here wheeling him around in the daytime, he never says a word. As soon as it’s bedtime, he starts shouting.”

“Can’t they quiet him?” Maggie wondered why the woman was still up and roaming the halls.

“Nothing works. If they fuss over him, they’re neglecting other patients who need their attention.”

The woman wheeled closer to Maggie’s bed.

“Sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. Everyone here calls me grandma. Mostly because I know everybody’s business.”

“Hi. I’m Maggie.”

“Yes. I saw you come in this afternoon. I was too busy to say hello till now.”

Again the voice, “Someone help me. Please.”

Maggie nodded toward the hall. “What about meds? A sedative?”

“They say they can only give it for pain.”

“He’s a pain!” Maggie said.

The woman huffed. “At least you’re only here for rehab. Most of us are never going home.” 

Maggie tried to shift in the bed. Ended up wincing from pain. 

“I saw your call light on. You need meds. Let me find a nurse for you.”

“Can you close the door on your way out?”

“Sorry, honey. Rules are, door stays open if you’re alone in the room.” Grandma wheeled out into the hall.

“Help me. Please help me.”

Maggie let her head fall back on the thin pillow. I go home in a week. Grandma’s here till she dies.


What I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Henry Beston’s The Outermost House. I mentioned it a few weeks ago. I set the book aside to read two bestsellers that came through on Libby, the library’s digital service. Beston spent a full year living in a small beach shack on Cape Cod back in the late 1920s.

I want to share a few quotes that touched me as I read. I hope you enjoy them too. Kick back, picture yourself alone in the dunes as the surf roars only a few feet away.

In his year on the beach, Beston saw countless birds come and go with the seasons. He says, “…no one really knows a bird until he has seen it in flight.”

…exorcise this ghost of cold.

Elsewhere, describing the emerging spring, he says, “The sand has entirely resumed its looseness, its fluidity, but its colour still tells of winter in a faintest hint of grey. The golden warmth is there and is emerging; the climbing sun will soon exorcise this ghost of cold.”

Credit: Thrillist

Have you ever been on the beach at night? “The beach at night has a voice all its own, a sound in fullest harmony with its spirit and mood – with its little dry noise of sand forever moving, with its solemn, overspilling, rhythmic seas, with its eternity of stars that sometimes seem to hang down like lamps from the high heavens – and that sound the piping of a bird.”

Hear his closing words, “Do no dishonour to the earth lest you dishonour the spirit of man.”

Take a deep breath. Imagine a moment on an empty beach.


My books are on Amazon.