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My Not-So-Great Escape

I've been planning it for a while, looking for holes in the system and plotting which options had the greatest chance of success. I just want to go outside; 10 minutes is all I need. A quick dash out to the small courtyard in front of the building to get some sun and see some life would sustain me for at least two more days, I believe. (Once you're an admitted patient, you're not allowed outside under any circumstances — for liability reasons — and the hospital doesn't have a patient deck or outside facilities.)

But security here is tight. I'm confined to a single hallway on one side of the Labor and Delivery floor. The doors are manned by nurses who screen every visitor before buzzing them in and out. I'd need to wait for a time when the particular nurse at the entryway desk was one who wouldn't recognize me. But after more than a week of being here, that's pretty rare; at least a dozen or so nurses have gotten to know me (and my veins!). So I've been watching carefully for my opportunity.

Finally, today after lunch, I noticed someone new at the security post. I hustled back to my room and changed into civilian clothes. I threw a sweater over my forearm to cover my IV, replaced my slippers with flip-flops, and grabbed my purse. Perhaps I would be mistaken for a family member or friend who was just visiting. I peeked out the door of my room and looked up and down the hallway for any of the other nurses on duty. All clear. I quickly tip-toed down the hallway. The Pink Panther theme song should have been playing in the background. When I got to the nurses' desk, I tried to casually float by. Don't make eye contact. Don't make eye contact. Eyeballs straight ahead. I was almost there! The doors, and the promise of the elevators just beyond them, were a mere few feet away.

"You ready to leave, sweetie?" the nurse asked. The Pink Panther song screeched to a stop.

"Ummm, yes," I replied. Don't make eye contact.

"You've been discharged?" she asked.

Fuck, how did she know I was a patient?! Should I lie and tell her that, yes, I've been discharged?? What kind of trouble could I get in? I'm an adult, for goddsakes, why can't I go outside if I want to? Even inmates at the highest security prisons are allowed outside for an hour a day!

"No," I said, hesitantly, "I'm just going to get some air for 10 minutes."

The nurse started laughing. "No, no, sweetie, you can't do that." More laughing. "We can't let you off the floor. But too bad, it's beautiful out!" Wonderful.

I gave her a smile that I hope said, "Thanks so much for nothing, you cold-hearted witch!" and turned around to walk back to my room, defeated.