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    Wombat Bill
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  • 1,256 Words

The Covids - 42. The Girl from Ipanema

Steve and Kevin both had the week free for study, while the foreign language exams were held. On Monday morning they worked out a joint timetable that included solo study time, shared study time and free time together. Instead of being a distraction, their new relationship worked in their favour when it came to preparing for their exams because they had the shared goals of doing well in their exams, supporting each other and exploring the intimate side of their relationship. Their timetable scheduled sleepovers only on weekends until the exams were finished.

Daniel’s daily check on his mother’s condition continued throughout the week with no change until his Thursday call. “Good morning nurse, it’s Daniel Covid calling to check on my mother, Beryl Covid.”

“Good morning Mr. Covid, just give me a moment to check her records.”

Daniel was put on hold and listened to ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ then an instrumental version of ABBA’s ‘Mamma Mia’ and felt he was about to scream when the nurse finally came back onto the line. “Sorry to keep you Mr. Covid. Your mother’s doctor would like to speak to you. Would you like to hold the line, or I can have the doctor call you?”

“A call-back would be preferred thank you. I am not really in the mood for any more elevator music.”

“I’m sorry Mr. Covid, I don’t understand.”

“Oh it doesn’t matter, I’ll wait for the doctor to call me, thanks for your help.” When he hung up Jenny asked from across the room “How is she today Dan?”

“I don’t know, the doctor’s going to call me back, to me that’s not a good sign.”

“You don’t know that, just wait and see what he has to say.”

“Do you know they still play The Girl from Ipanema as on-hold music.”

“Really, is that a problem?”


As the minutes ticked by and approached 25, Daniel realised he was wise to have asked for a call-back. In his fragile state, any more of that music would have had him climbing the walls. Finally his phone rang, a call from a blocked number, so he knew it would be the doctor.

“Daniel Covid.”

“It’s Samuel Barnett, the infectious diseases registrar. I’m afraid I don’t have any good news for you today. Mrs. Covid’s condition is not improving. Her lungs are failing, and blood tests show that her kidney and liver functions are deteriorating. The signs are not encouraging Mr. Covid. Our major concern now is her heart.”

“Is there nothing else you can do doctor.”

“We have run out of options Mr. Covid. We have increased her medication in the hope that her antibodies can be modified to work for, instead of against her body. All we can do now is keep her comfortable and monitor for signs of change. This virus is new to science and we are all on a learning curve when it comes to treatment. Patients react differently to the medications and of course each patient has their own medical history which influences the outcome.”

“Well, thank you for your honesty Samuel, I appreciate that. I don’t suppose there’s any chance of seeing my mother.”

“Sorry, there’s no change in hospital policy and as you know she is in an induced coma, so it is unlikely she would be aware of your presence.”

“I understand, I’ll call again tomorrow.”

“And we’ll call you if there is any significant change in the meantime.”

Daniel ended the call, looked across to Jenny and just shook his head from side to side.

“Not good news Dan?”

“Definitely not.”

“What are we going to tell the kids? I don’t want Kevin to be distracted from his exams, so I think we just say, no change, for now. It won’t do him any good to add to his stress levels at present. As far as Chris and Jason are concerned, we should tell them the truth but ask that they not tell Kevin.”

“I think that’s a wise plan.”

“Now what details did the doctor give you?”


The rest of the week went as planned for Kevin and Steve, while Daniel continued to monitor Beryl’s condition which did not improve. Jenny went back to work part-time and Christine spent more of her time talking about Lucas, than concentrating on her studies. Initially her friends were interested in her new romance but as the week wore on, the constant talk of him, his bike, how friendly his mother was and how he was going to be a big time film director tested the patience of even her closest of her friends. When she tried to arrange a weekend outing to introduce Lucas to her friends, they all seemed to be too busy.

“I don’t understand Emily, why no one wants to meet for drinks. I’ve offered Friday, Saturday and even Sunday afternoon. I really want you all to meet Lucas, why am I being blown off by everyone.”

“We tried to spare your feelings, but since you ask, I’ll tell you. All this week every conversation you have had was about nothing other than Lucas. It’s been Lucas does this, Lucas thinks that, Lucas is going to be such and such. Lucas, Lucas, Lucas; frankly we’ve all had enough.”

“Do you want to hear what he does is in bed?”

“NO, for the sake of my sanity no, Chris; I’m all Lucased out. Don’t you get it?”

“So, if I promise not to talk about him, do you think you could convince them to come out with us?”

“Christine, listen to yourself. How can we have a meet Lucas day and not talk about Lucas.”

“I’ll just let him talk for himself. Yes that’s it, that’s what I’ll do.”

“And what is he likely to talk about, you or himself?”

“That’s unfair Emily. It’s just a simple drinks and a chance for me to introduce Lucas to you all. Everyone has done that at some time.”

“I know you’re right it’s just that this week you’ve gone over the top.”

“But when you meet him you’ll see for yourself how great he is.”


“Ok, I get it, so what can I do to fix this?”

“How about we make it just you and Lucas with me and David this weekend, then if that goes well I might be able to convince the others to give you another chance next week.”

“Oh Em, I knew you’d come through for me. Thanks, I won’t disappoint you.”

“All right, I’ll call David, see when he’s free and we can sort it out from there. But you’ve got to let up on talking so much about Lucas from now on, or they’ll all refuse again.”

“Thanks Em, you’re a true friend.”

“I just hope you won’t be my only friend after this.”

“What do you mean?”

“Doesn’t matter, we better get back into hall now; you know how old Bates hates late arrivals to his lectures.”


Saturday morning brought some good news from the hospital. Beryl’s condition was improving. The doctor believed the increased dosage of medication was helping and her prospects for recovery were looking better. He advised Daniel that if they continued to see this rate of improvement, he may be able to remove her from the ventilator and the induced coma in about a week. He added that a full recovery was still a way off and she would need a long rehabilitation program. He asked for the family to be patient.

Copyright © 2020 Wombat Bill; All Rights Reserved.
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Interesting chapter Bill. The news about Gran finally seems to be a little better. (despite Dan having to endure aural Prozac while on hold). My own recent trip to an ER also had decades old 'elevator music'.

Now if only Christine would stop going on and on about her favourite 'bikie'.


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Interesting chapter. Beryl seems to improving slowly. Christine has annoyed her friends by talking about Lucas all the time. Steve and Kevin are using there time wisely, study first then the playtime.

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