I never sleep during the day, but those first couple of days after surgery, I didn't do more than put some relaxing music on the TV and crash until the hospital staff came and woke me to take my vitals or get me up to move around.
Now every day when I lay down to work out my leg on the CPM machine, I go right to sleep. If I'm going to get any writing done, this is a habit I have to break immediately. Charles and Adanna are waiting for their happy ending. Here's another short, unedited excerpt:
The hospital staff and their guests settled under a white canopy covering two tables laden with bowls and platters. Nurse Okoro introduced their servers, three women from the village dressed in colorful traditional clothing and head wraps. Dr. Ijalana asked the women to serve the assistants first and instructed them to take turns checking on the patients. Charles bowed his head and silently offered a prayer over the food. Even though it smelled wonderful, most likely it contained ingredients he would never have eaten. The facilitator at the briefing mentioned the necessity of being careful not to insult the locals in any way, and one of those ways was by refusing food they had prepared. When he raised his head and opened his eyes, Nurse Okoro was studying him with a hint of a smile.
The new combined staff got to know each other while they ate. Charles took a few minutes talking with the two local doctors and the other nurse then settled in the seat next to Nurse Okoro.
“Can you tell me what all of this is," he nodded toward his plate.
"We asked the three best cooks in the village to prepare your first meal, and requested they fixed only chicken and vegetable dishes." He listened intently while she described the assortment of rice dishes, fruits and vegetables in detail.
"Thank you. Everything is delicious. You have a British accent. You weren’t born here in Nigeria?”
She smiled and her cheeks rose like apples on her high cheekbones. “I was born here, but my family moved to London when I was twelve, and we lived there until I graduated from nursing school.”
“Why did your family decide to return?”
“They didn’t. My parents still live in London, but my brother and I always wanted to come back.”
“That’s interesting. I’ve recently moved away from my family too. Have you ever visited the United States?”
“No, but it’s on my bucket list.” She laughed and her obsidian eyes danced. “Is this your first visit to our continent, Dr. Stafford?”
“Please, call me Charles. Yes, it is, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of Nigeria.”
“We have our problems, but Nigeria also has its own unique beauty both in the villages and in the cities. Are you staying in Lagos?”
As she spoke, Charles admired the slant of her eyes and the tempting pout of her full lips. “Yes, the organization put us up in apartments in Surelere.”
"Really? That's not far from where I live. Are you satisfied with your accommodations?"
"So far. We only had time to unpack before the car arrived to bring us here."
Charles tore his gaze from her face when Dr. Pategi said, “Doctor Stafford, you will find our nurses to be invaluable to you,” he said with a wide smile. “Because our funding and staffing are limited, Nurse Okoro and Nurse Bankole have often had to handle patient care and perform procedures normally dealt with by physicians. Likewise, our nursing assistants have stepped in to take care of traditional nursing duties. We all pitch in whenever and wherever necessary.”
The way Dr. Pategi suddenly interrupted him, Charles wondered if he’d been ogling her. He gathered his senses and concentrated on her words rather than her face.