The official site of author Ruth McLeod-Kearns

Ruth McLeod-Kearns is an advocate for opiate/heroin overdose, author, creator of the I'll Bring the Coffee blog series and a contributing writer for Things Women Want Freedom of Expression magazines.

Here, you can connect with the author, follow her social media accounts and download the thought-provoking novelettes. As always, she'll bring the coffee.

My Friend

She was more scared than sick, but her symptoms of slight dizziness, with some shortness of breath will buy a heart workup every time. She had a companion. Both women looked like they were ready for a good hard day of church going. A very slight hint of violet darkened their white hair with an even soft touch.

After they were told we were just awaiting labs, but her EKG didn’t look different from her last visit, the mood settled. Her breathing was easier, I heard little giggles as I would pass by. They knew each other through and through. I asked if they were sisters, but no, just two widows that found one another. They roomed together, and it showed. One could finish the other sentences. The other knew exactly the medical history of them both I would presume.

The shift wore on, my patient napped as her friend turned down the lights and sat quietly in the chair. She graciously accepted the day old sandwich and a fresh cup of coffee. She sat like a mouse in the corner and ate while her friend rested.

“Has she had problems with anxiety ever?” I asked as I prepared her admission to rule out heart damage.

“Oh yes. Right after Henry her husband passed about 5 years back. It started around that time. I didn’t know her as well then. But I know she suffers.”

“How long have you two lived together?” We whispered as not to awaken our subject matter.

“Oh, I would guess about three months or so afterwards. I was lonely, she needed help. It just worked out.”

We looked at her as she shuffled a little in the bed. Her brow bent down as a mother would bend to kiss her child. She was having a bad dream. “See that? She will wake up here in just a second and be scared.” As if on cue, she snapped to life and looked wildly around. Her friend went to her side and took her hand. “Rosie, it’s alright.”

“It is?” The voice crackled and a tear wove through each soft wrinkle on her face. Her friend took the one free hand and touched the tear dry. Her skin had age marks and sun stamps that told me she had worked hard in her life without sunscreen. Yet even with the obvious arthritis, her hands were the most beautiful thing. Her touch was so soft and welcoming, I was almost envious to have such love to calm the fear away.

“It sure is. Just a little longer.”

“I love you.” Was the whisper before her heavy lids closed again.

“I love you too Rose.” Her friend whispered to ears that wouldn’t hear the reply. Yet I am sure her heart felt it. 

The transporter walked in and took away our silent reprieve, bringing me right back to my shift. “Are you coming with her?” He asked the companion.

“Yes. She is my friend.”

*Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "Understanding the Epidemic: Drug overdose deaths continued to increase in 2015", 12/16/16