The sounds of the hospital rang in the nurse's ears as she hurried through the corridors, just making it to her station as the clock signalled the beginning of her shift. Straightening her skirt, she sat down on her chair and looked over at the long white passages that lead to the depths of her workplace.
"Maternity ward please, Nurse Davis, they've requested an extra nurse."
A quick smile was directed at the doctor who had delivered the message before the nurse stood, heading down toward her requested assignment. The maternity ward was one of the friendlier places in the hospital; Anna Davis generally enjoyed working there. She turned a right corner and briskly strode in, pausing for a few seconds before heading towards one of the beds near the far wall at a doctor's beckoning. Despite having no experience delivering babies herself, she never ceased to be amazed as she stood by with a wet towel and a glass of water, watching as the woman strained, the doctor urged, and the world was greeted by another little miracle. As the child's wails and the mother's harsh breathing pierced the air, a wide smile broke out across the nurse's face. She handed the glass of water to the exhausted woman and reached down to wipe her face, before looking over at her newborn son.
And he really was, Nurse Davis couldn't help but lean down to pat the pale pink cheek, stroke the thin brown hair, and gaze into the light blue eyes which shone brighter than the sun on a clear spring morning.
The day wasn't particularly busy, a patient coded once over in east wing, but he was brought back without too much trouble and stabilised quickly. It was just approaching lunch time when a call was placed to deliver a set of pills to the paediatrics ward. Nurse Davis didn't mind paediatrics too much, it always pleased her to bring a smile to some of those young faces, but she still couldn't help but find the idea of sick children a bit too depressing. It was a colourful ward, with posters decorating the walls and toys littering the floor, she walked in with a smile and a wave to all the kids and made her way over to bed three. On it lay a young girl, in her early teens by the looks of it, identified by her chart as a pneumonia patient.
"It's all clearing up nicely. Just take one of these twice a day and you'll be better in no time," she said, placing the pills on the small metal table beside the narrow bed.
The girl opened her mouth to speak, but was taken over by a fit of coughing. After several seconds of heaving, she cleared her throat and looked up at the kind nurse, giving a weak thanks and a summery smile.
Lunch was a quiet affair, a nice plate of curry and a large cappuccino in the cafeteria. The nurse ate quickly, then deposited her empty plate on the washing stack and walked back out to her station, pausing a few times to greet her passing colleagues. Back at work, she was called into the room of one of their most regular patients. After an accident several years ago, mother of three Selena Grae had been constantly in and out of hospital for various issues relating to her donated organs and replaced joints. Every time the doctors fixed her up she would be back again a few weeks later as yet another of her foreign or artificial body parts played up. Nurse Davis quite liked Selena, the nice but unfortunate lady was always equipped with tales and jibes about her three daughters, and she entered the room with a warm greeting. She picked up the woman's chart, jotting down a few things and recording a couple of readings while listening to the patient talk about her youngest daughter's most recent escapade.
"I managed to finally get her cleaned up, but she insisted on keeping the leaves caught in her hair, funny girl. Pressed them in a book, she did, in fact I've got them here now."
The nurse chuckled as she filled in the last line and replaced the charts, walking out of the room with a short comment about pesky kids and an appreciative glance at the orange-red daintily pressed autumn leaves.
The day was coming to a close, she was just beginning to revel in having avoided her one hated place when she received the call she always dreaded. Despite having worked in the hospital for over ten years, she just couldn't get used to the fact that none of the patients that entered the terminal ward would ever come out alive. The harsh white walls, the bare bright room, the stark sterile smell, all the things that she had associated over the years with death greeted her as she reluctantly stepped onto the premises. Her gaze wandered briefly before settling on the centre bed and the man who lay there. His skin was wrinkled and his hair pure white, but what drew her attention most was the equally aged woman that sat by his side. A veil of sadness clouded Nurse Davis's heart at the sight; she knew the man had fought long and hard, but as always the cancer won out in the end. There was such a tenderness in his companion's gaze, such an understanding that spanned from decades of love and devotion, but even as they lay and sat and stood, the machines began to slow and the monitors began to drop. Nurse Davis could only look on, helpless as the old man's eyes slipped closed and his heart fell still forever.
"No. No! Please, you have to do something!"
The nurse shook her head as the old woman cried over the bleak tone of the flatline.
And at that moment, despite the cloying hospital warmth, she could have sworn that she felt the cold touch of death in the room, and the kiss of an icy winter breeze.
At the four o'clock signal, Nurse Davis packed up her station, changed out of her uniform, and signed herself out. She smoothed over her outfit and picked up her bag before walking out of the tall glass sliding doors and heading home. Her shift was ended, her work was finished, her day was done.
A day, a season, a lifetime.