Storyteller: JANE DOE

jane doe
 Used as a name in legal proceedings to designate an unknown or unidentified woman or girl.

I remember Jane Doe as she sat near the window in her cold and dimly lit hospital room. Her dark hair was matted, possible from resting in the bed, disheveled—suffering from a lack of sleep. Her hospital gown hangs down revealing the bony prominence of her left shoulder. Bruises seemingly in decorated pattern on her back, marred by an imprint of a large hand on her shoulder. The fingers on her left hand gently wrapped her thigh, fingers tapped, in cadence with the IV machine as it beeped. Her right hand and arm newly casted did not move at all. Her face, bruised—both eyes haloed the beginning stages of yellowing—the right eye, nearly swollen shut—and barely revealed the dark marble of her eye that glistened–lips were bruised and her nose, splinted–the bandage enveloped her face like a mask. Her  right upper lip, stitched up, rested partially open, allowing her to breathe freely. She models only a blank expression, as she is still vulnerable, timid, and guarded.

It was time for me to change her IV site. I spoke her name, just as I entered her room, and she jumped at the sound of my voice. Gently, I let her know that I am going to turn on the hall light so that I may get a better view of her IV, allowing me to change the fluids hanging from the pole. She only nodded nervously. I walked towards her and had seen that her eyes were closed. She let out a long, trembling sigh. I told her everything I was going to do for her while in her room.

“I’m disconnecting the IV line.” “I’m going to flush your IV port for you now.” “I want to take a look at you.” “Will this be okay?”

Nodding was her only form of communication to any of the questions I’d asked; had she eaten, has she used the restroom, and more importantly—is she in any pain? To this, she sighed and nodded twice. With my assessment over, I placed the nurse call button gently beneath her left hand, letting her know it was there when she needed it. I rest my hand gently over her own, to let her know that I, too, was there if she needed me. As I left her room, I took care to turn off the single light I was working from. I opened the door to exit onto the busy hospital floor.

As the light poured in from the hallway and into the room, I finally heard her speak–and in a faint and raspy tone, she whispered,

“Thank you.”

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