October Bloom: "Home Health TREETMENT"
Many thanks to Sandy R. for inspiring this month’s Blooming Good flash fiction story titled Home Health TREETMENT. She told me about her parents’ life, love, and labor on behalf of improving the human condition.
"Home Health TREETMENT"
“You’re saying Mathilda actually woke up and demanded that you drill holes through the floor to plant trees next to her bed?,” Susan said through the land line reserved for calls from families of her homebound patients.
“Yes, that’s right,” said Mathilda’s eighty-three-year-old husband.
He’d been caring for the love of his life for five months, which was four more than the doctors had expected out of the mostly comatose and bedridden patient.
“I’ll visit in the morning, it will be alright,” then Susan hung up and nudged her husband.
“Manny, you’ve won’t believe this.” She recounted the call. “Come with me. Manny.”
Susan had met him in college and married him five days after donning a gown and tossing her tasseled cap toward the sky. After grad school, she landed her dream job in her native Western North Carolina town. He followed her. For thirty-seven years she’d served as a visiting public health nurse, traversing miles of rocky roads treating homebound patients. Manny had been deploying his forestry degree knowledge to nurture the region’s varied tree species by fostering their growth and fighting their diseases.
At sunrise, they drove off. They knocked loudly on the elder couple’s door and followed Mathilda’s husband to the bedroom. They found Mathilda sitting wide awake and alert.
“The scents from those flowering dogwoods out there woke me up. Move them closer, right next to me,” Mathilda said, pointing at the floorboards below.
“Okay, darling, we’ll try, with Susan’s help,” said Mathilda’s husband. He retreated and returned with shovels and drills. Manny got to work on putting a planting hole in the floor while Susan made recordings and notes about Mathilda’s miraculous awakening.
Word of Mathilda’s recovery spread across the region. Susan received more requests for in-home tree plantings and she worked with Manny to build a new business venture that merged their shared public service commitments. They created a perfect name.
“You misspelled the word ‘treatment’,” said the printing company’s service representative as he handed over brochure proofs.
“No, it’s correct,” and in unison Susan and Manny spelled out the letters, ‘TREETMENT.’
“Okay, if that’s what you want.”
The following week, Susan and Manny solicited potential clients. TREETMENT got contracts with home health care agencies and nursing homes seeking innovative services to promote human healing and protect trees under one roof.
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