“This is the part I hate the most,” Dr. George Gleason stood outside Clyde Phillips’ room. “Even the term, ‘death watch,’ disturbs me.”
As the administrator of Lakeside Rehabilitation Center, Gleason knew every resident and every story, except Clyde Phillips. The 94-year-old Phillips was the oldest and longest resident at Lakeside and was not expected to live much longer.
The elderly patient had out-lasted four other administrators before Gleason took over at the facility.
Carrie Brunel, Gleason’s assistant joined the doctor, a thick manila folder tucked under her arm.
Without looking at Carrie, Gleason held out his hand for the folder.
“What were you able to find out?” he asked as he rifled through the papers in the folder.
“Quite a bit, actually,” she said.
“He’s never had a visitor?” Gleason turned to Carrie, the top page lifted from the pile.
“Only one, and she came the day after he was admitted,” Carrie leaned toward Gleason as if to read from the paper he was scrutinizing. “A young girl, maybe early to mid-teens. It appears that she was a granddaughter.”
“Is this right?” Gleason said, flipping over another page. “He donated the funds to established Lakeside?”
“He did,” Carrie said. “Once the facility was built in the late 1970’s, using state-of-art equipment, he was the original patient. His endowment has also kept the Center continuously up-to-date.”
“And no visitors, other than that first one, ever?” Gleason said, his face awash with disbelief.
“No, but… “ Carrie said, picking a page from the folder, “I was able to track down that singular visitor.”
Gleason gave a rare smile and patted Carrie on the shoulder.
“Well done,” was the closest he came to giving her a compliment.