“I took no drugs, Dr. Denardo.”
“Well, let’s leave it at that,” he said, finally smiling. “Whether you did or didn’t doesn’t change the situation now. You’ll remain in the hospital for about four or five days. The baby will be here much longer.”
“Does Señor Bovio think such a thing about me?” I asked, but Dr. Denardo didn’t answer. “He must hate me,” I said.
“He’s all right. Nervous and concerned, but he’s doing fine. You get stronger fast,” he added. “I’m giving you medications for the pain. C-sections are really in the category of serious abdominal operations. It could take weeks, months, before you’re back to any semblance of normalcy. Just listen to your nurses here and to your nurse when you’re back at the Bovio estate.”
“Mrs. Newell? She’s staying with us?”
“I think we all agree. You guys need her more than ever now,” he said, patted my hand, and walked away.
I closed my eyes.
The ojo malvado had struck again. Would I never be rid of the evil eye?
Whatever pain medication Dr. Denardo was giving me kicked in, and I dozed off. Each time I fell asleep, it felt as if I slept a whole day, when it was really only ten or fifteen minutes at a time. When the nurses tried to get me to stand and move, I folded in their arms, and they gave up. I realized I slept on and off for twenty-four hours. Once again, an attempt was made to get me up to take some steps. This time, I succeeded, with great difficulty, and everyone seemed happy about it. A few hours later, I was taken out of the recovery room and brought to what they called step-down. There were two beds in my room, but for now, no
one was in the second.
Of course, I inquired about my baby’s health whenever Dr. Denardo came to see me.
“When can I see him?”
“In a day or so,” he said.
Although he was still as concerned about me as ever, I sensed a more formal air between us.
“I should be able to release you in two more days,” he told me before leaving. “You’ll be on some antibiotics, and I’ll want to see you in my office in a week to check your incision.”
I was going to ask if that meant he wouldn’t be treating me at the hacienda anymore, but I held back the question. I thought it would make me sound spoiled or even sarcastic and ungrateful for all he had done.
It surprised me that Señor Bovio had not yet come by to see how I was doing. I even expected Mrs. Newell, but neither appeared. The next morning, however, I did have a visitor. I was shocked but very happy to see Fani Cordova come prancing into my room dressed in a pair of low-slung, stretchy, flare-legged jeans and a bright yellow sleeveless blouse cut so it showed her midsection. The blouse had a zipper opened to the top of her cleavage. She wore a pair of high-heeled shoes. With her hair flowing and her perfectly tanned complexion, she looked as if she had slipped off a magazine cover.
I was sitting up in bed with my legs over the side, considering demanding to be taken to see my baby. No one had yet offered to wheel me to the NICU, and Dr. Denardo had said I could see him in a day or so. When I asked the nurse, she said she would check as soon as she had a chance. Everyone seemed far too busy to care.
“Well,” Fani said, laughing, “I guess you weren’t lying about being pregnant after all.”
“Does Señor Bovio know you’ve come to visit?” I asked quickly.
“He’s the one who called and told me about all this.”
“How else would I have found out? Nurse Diablo wouldn’t have called me. You look pretty bad,” she added. “My mother has a friend who delivered her two children both ways, one normally and one C-section. She claims the old-fashioned way is better.”
“I’m sure she’s right.”
“Have you seen your baby?”
“No, not yet. He’s in the NICU. I’m trying to go now, but everyone’s too busy. I can’t walk that well yet since my crash C-section.”
“Crash C-section? Aren’t you the little doctor? Okay, what is that NICU thing?” she asked, taking a stick of gum out of her purse.
I explained it as well as I could. I had forgotten all of the machinery and technology the nurses had rattled off when I had asked about it myself.
“I don’t know much about babies, period, much less premature ones,” Fani said.
“He weighed less than four pounds when he was born.”