FIFTY EXHAUSTED PEOPLE gathered in the Logger’s Ridge Mountain Resort conference room for a celebratory dinner. They had a right to be exhausted. Three generations of the Ferguson clan, the family who owned the construction company building the hospital’s new clinic for women and children, with their significant others, were the largest group in attendance. Three generations of the Marcus Medical Group family, who anchored the new clinic, were the second-largest group. Hospital staff and friends of both families involved with the parallel “@RealKidMedics” video studio project made up the remainder of the people at the dinner.
Sean Ferguson, youngest of the second generation of the Ferguson clan, stood at the podium. “Twenty-eight days, less than a month ago, Ferguson Construction was issued a challenge. I took the challenge even though I didn’t think we do it. I should have had more faith in the strength of the people here with us tonight. I think the lion’s share of the credit goes to my father. Grandpa Ferguson saw the obstacles before most of us did, and by the time we saw them, he had solved them. He convinced my three brothers to put their projects on hold for two weeks to run three shifts on the hospital project. He negotiated with their clients to make it all work. I think the first round of applause goes to Grandpa. Please stand and be recognized.”
Grandpa Ferguson stood, bowed, and sat.
When the applause ended, Sean continued. “Clodagh and Sinead are next in line. I have never seen two people work as well together as these two ladies. They make it look fun. Next year, Clodagh will be in architecture school, and Sinead will be building another hospital somewhere. In the meantime, we will enjoy their presence for as long as we can. They have worked twelve- and fourteen-hour days and they deserve a few days off, which I understand, the doctors have ordered.”
All three of the Marcus doctors smiled and nodded.
Sean continued, “Not only have we completed the fourth-floor offices, third-floor patient rooms, and the second-floor public areas in the hospital’s new annex, but we have also built and are operating a video studio in which we are producing educational videos for school children under the brand name of ‘@RealKidMedics.’ The video studio project has been done with minimum adult supervision. The fact that our children could successfully tackle such a project with only Grandpa’s steady hand and with content monitoring from the medical team is a remarkable accomplishment. Please stand and be recognized.”
When the children had settled back into their chairs, Sean said, “Tomorrow will be a long day. We are moving patients from the old hospital building to the new one. Dr. Marcus, would you please walk us through the process?”
Dr. Arthur Marcus, the Marcus Medical Group’s senior member, came to the podium as Sean sat. “Thank you. Sean does not give himself enough credit. Please, let us recognize him for his tireless efforts on our behalf. Sean’s team has completed every phase of this project on or ahead of schedule and on or under budget. That is no small accomplishment. Having said that, the contributions of the rest of the team cannot be overstated. After our clinic was torched, you came to our rescue. You recovered what could be recovered from our old building. You expeditated the construction of our new offices, which we love, by the way. You gave us a new home. You lifted us out of our darkest hour as if this was another day in the office. Perhaps that calm, deliberate action made this unsettled time bearable. For all of this, I will be forever grateful. Thank you. As to the plans for tomorrow, Lenny has those details.”
Dr. Lenny Marcus, the youngest member of the Marcus Medical Group, came to the podium. “Please let me echo our gratitude for your work on our behalf. I was in the meeting twenty-eight days ago when Sean took the challenge. I remember the fleeting look of panic on his face. I watched as he shifted from panic through anger to determination. It was a sight to see. Much has happened since then. I am confident that under the Ferguson family’s care, the hospital annex will soon be operating at full capacity and serving the people of this area.”
Lenny paused, “So, for tomorrow. The goal is to reduce the stress on our young patients. We will move the pediatric patients, including the cancer patients, tomorrow. We will not move the nursery or the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit tomorrow. New patients who come in tomorrow will go to the new nursery, and those in the current nursery will stay until discharged. In like fashion, patients who are healthy enough to move out of the NICU will move to the new nursery. We will make a judgment starting the day after tomorrow as to which patients are safe to move either to the new NICU or the new nursery and which are not. We will make daily assessments as required. I do not see closing the existing NICU until we establish the birthing suites in the new building. I have prepared a list of assignments. Coach Latham has graciously volunteered the boys’ and girls’ summer league soccer teams to assist, so there will be no shortage of happy faces along the way. In a nutshell, the older teens will meet the patients in their current rooms, get them excited about the move, answer their questions, and do everything they can to reduce their stress. Once the attending physician approves the move, the teens will accompany them as the hospital’s orderlies bring them to the new building. The goal is to make the transfer as stress-free as possible. We will match the team to the child. Some of the patients are excited about the move. Others are apprehensive. We will move the patients most excited about the move first, followed by the more apprehensive. All our younger team members will be on the reception committee. Natalie and Priscilla will oversee this group since they have recently been released from the hospital. Many of the children know them and will be happy to see them. Your scrubs are in the back of the room. Do not put them on until you reach the hospital. You’ll be given a room in which to change.”
Grandpa Ferguson asked, “When did you decide to move the cancer patients? I thought we were leaving them in the old hospital.”
Lenny replied, “Ah, yes, that was a huge fight. We had to decide whether these were children with cancer or cancer patients who were children.”
Arthur answered, “Infectious diseases won. They convinced management that they needed the space more than anyone else. They have a point, and we are happy to care for the children. Anyone under the age of sixteen and mothers of newborns, if appropriate, is ours regardless of why they are in the hospital except for those with infectious diseases.”
After the speeches and planning for the next day’s project had finished, Sabrina Ferguson slid out to use the restroom. Casey Marcus caught her on the way back. “Hey, Sabrina, got a moment to talk?”
“Sure, what’s up?”
“Are you okay with me dating your brother?”
Sabrina laughed so hard that tears came to her eyes. “As hard as I worked to convince Grandma to talk Grandpa into setting you up, YEAH!”
Casey looked down. “Oh, I didn’t know.”
“Was I wrong?”
“No, I really like him. I don’t know if he likes me.”
Sabrina huffed. “Both of you are so smart and so dumb. You’re as bad as he is. Yes, he likes you.”
“I’m not like any of the girls he dated before. I’m not athletic. I’m kind of a nerd.”
“That’s what makes it work.”
“What’s what makes what work?” Sandy Marcus asked, seeing the conversation in progress.
“Tell your brainiac sister how much Dylan likes her.”
“Oh my God, yes. Dylan lights up when he sees you. Have you noticed how quickly he rushes to help you with something in the studio?”
“No, not really.”
Sabrina and Sandy sighed. Sandy said, “You’re hopeless.”