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After Adam left his office, Jerome finished his business on the telephone, tidied the file on his desk, and told the woman who had been waiting outside to come in. The woman was thirty something, and had her blonde hair neatly pulled back from her face. She sat down in a chair facing Jerome's desk, nervously tugging at the zipper on her purse.

"What can I do for you?" Jerome asked in a clinical voice.

"I would like to transfer my mother from another nursing home to this one as soon as possible," said the woman, urgently.

"I'm afraid that's impossible. We have a lengthy waiting line, in fact," proudly stated Jerome.

"But, it's an emergency!" said the woman, nearing hysterics. "The current nursing home my mother is at right now took over a week to find out that she had a broken hand! The nursing aid thought mother had sprained it or something and never did anything about it, even though mother told her repeatedly, that she was in great pain! But then, as if that wasn't enough, mother wound up in the hospital two weeks later because someone at the nursing home administered glucose to her, sending mother's blood sugar out of control!"

"Your mother is a diabetic, I assume?" asked Jerome, dryly.

"I've put over eight hundred miles on my car to find a good place like this for mother," said the woman wearily, too disturbed to take notice of Jerome's rude manners, "because mother has been in nursing homes so long that she relies almost entirely on Medicaid to pay her bills."

"Patients in that situation are usually the lowest paying," stated Jerome, not caring to get into the differences of MediCal, and Medicare with her.

"You will take her, won't you? I spoke with a friend and she said that you took her mother, that's why I'm just sure you'll admit mine." The frantic logic of the desperate woman escaped Jerome. He only saw someone who had ignorantly assumed something before asking about it beforehand.

"I suggest you get your facts straight, and keep looking," advised Jerome, coldly showing her the door. All his beds were filled. The waiting list was long. He felt no monetary need to involve himself with her problems. Dazed, the woman left. Jerome sat back down in his chair. For just a flickering moment, he regretted the way in which he treated the woman. But, alas, his regrets left him almost as soon as they came.

Mike Garner, not wanting to disturb his grandmother's sleep, tiptoed quietly into Room 2. Ruth smiled out loud.

"I'm awake, Michael," she said, motioning the young man to her bedside. "Where is Chad?" she asked. "I thought Adam was going to send your little brother over with my breakfast. I see you were enlisted instead," she laughed, pointing to the brown bag in Mike's left hand.

"Uncle Adam forgot that Chad is in school at eight," said Mike, handing his grandmother the bag. Inside, Ruth found two blueberry muffins and two warm slices of buttered toast all wrapped together into one saran ball.

"You know Uncle Adam and the kitchen never did mix," chuckled Mike, when Ruth showed him the buttery mess. Mike Garner was twenty-five, had his mother's brown hair, and was generally considered by the townspeople of Twin Yucca to be the most handsome man in Southern California-- if not the whole of the entire state. It was a title that Mike shrugged off with little regard. His girlfriend liked the way he looked, and Mike felt that hers was the only opinion that counted.

"Don't you have to hurry back to the store?" asked Ruth, upon seeing Mike's readiness to talk.
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