Lord Andrei continued to glare at Ruby as if he was about to leap from the wheelchair and wring her neck. Instead, he said—with a not so romantic—Romanian accent, “I don’t need a nurse.”
“She’s here to help you with the IV medicine and the wound on your foot,” Mrs. Reinhardt said, now touching her throat as her voice cracked.
“People like her are not allowed in the house, you know that,” Lord Andrei said defiantly.
Ruby looked at Mrs. Reinhardt, who was apparently shocked by the old man’s behavior. Then she looked back at Lord Andrei, who now had his back to them as he whizzed around in his wheelchair to look out a window. Lady Beth had said that he sometimes was confused, but this behavior would make it rather difficult for her to work with him. Ruby decided to reason with him, even though she knew that reasoning does not always work when someone is confused. “Lord Andrei, I am here to assist Lady Beth and Mrs. Reinhardt in your care. As soon as you no longer need IV antibiotics and your wound is healed, I will leave.”
Lord Andrei said nothing as he continued to look out the window toward Castle Moldovan.
“We will leave you in peace, my lord,” Mrs. Reinhardt said, motioning for Ruby to exit the room. “I will return shortly.”
Ruby walked out of the bedroom as the housemaid gently closed the door after them.
“Let’s go to your bedchamber for a moment,” Mrs. Reinhardt said, leading the way back to Ruby’s room.
When they were inside, Ruby said, “Did he know I was coming?”
“Yes, both Lady Beth and I informed him of the plans to acquire a nurse and a nurse’s aide to assist in his care and to relieve us from the extra work he required. He did seem a little resistant at first, but he finally did agree to have you and Ms. Anderson come here and help for a short period. Other than the initial opposition to strangers in the house, he seemed happy . . . well, maybe not happy, but agreeable . . . and allowed Lady Beth to hire professionals. I am rather shocked by his violent outburst.”
“Any idea why he would be so angry with me already?”
Mrs. Reinhardt shook her head. Her tone seemed less authoritarian than it did during the tour. “None whatsoever.”
“Has he met Patty yet? Did he react the same way to her?”
“Ms. Anderson is settling into the cottage and has not been to the manor house, yet. I wanted our lord to meet you, the nurse, first and after that, I would have her come in later today and assist him before the evening meal.”
“I’m sorry this happened,” Ruby said, walking to the window. “I hope it is temporary and I can get to work.”
“I am sure his behavior will be short-lived. I will have Lady Beth speak with him and when he is calmed down, I will come back here and get you.”
“That sounds fine.”
Mrs. Reinhardt walked to the door. “I will be back momentarily.”
Ruby turned and watched Mrs. Reinhardt close the door behind her. Then she walked to the desk and opened Lord Andrei’s chart. Inside were the discharge instructions, doctor’s orders, and progress notes. While she waited for Mrs. Reinhardt to return, she reviewed the information and began writing a nursing care plan in the notebook.
The infected diabetic foot ulcer was debrided in the hospital and a fourteen-day course of intravenous Levaquin was prescribed by Dr. Booker. His progress note stated that there was a risk of Lord Andrei developing osteomyelitis and that it could lead to a foot amputation. The doctor would make a house call in four days to assess the wound.
Ruby opened the work computer and began admitting Lord Andrei into the system. Hopefully, he would allow her to do a thorough physical assessment and not make things difficult. Fortunately, she could get some of the information she needed from the chart and Lady Beth.
At two o’clock, Mrs. Reinhardt returned. “Lady Beth has spoken with our lord and she has persuaded him to allow you to go back to his room. Basically, all she had to say was, ‘You don’t want your foot chopped off, do you?’ After a few moments of thought, he relented.”
“I’m glad,” Ruby said. She closed the computer, slid it into a pocket of her nursing bag, and then slung the lot over her shoulder.
Both she and the maid walked back to Lord Andrei’s room. This time, due to the severity of the wound, she decided to get the assessment done immediately before he changed his mind again. When they walked into the room, Lady Beth was sitting in a chair next to the table loaded with supplies.
“I am sorry for my outburst, Ms. Rush,” Lord Andrei said with a voice as gruff as a Carpathian mountain goat. “I had a terrible time at the hospital with people poking and prodding and waking me up at all hours of the night. I did not get much sleep, please accept my apology.”
Ruby was relieved that Lord Andrei was in a better mood. She accepted his apology and completed her admission assessment with the help of Lady Beth and Mrs. Reinhardt, both of whom stayed in the room, seeming to make their own assessment of Ruby’s nursing care.
“Is there a fax machine in the house?” Ruby asked as she finished organizing the infusion supplies. “I’d like to fax Doctor Booker daily progress notes. If there isn’t, I can send it from my computer.”
“There is one in the study,” Lady Beth said, standing. “When you are ready to fax, please let one of us know and we will send the note for you.”
“Thank you,” Ruby said, picking up her nursing bag, preparing to leave the room. “Lord Andrei, your assessment is complete and I will be back in the morning to do your wound care and administer your antibiotic. Patty will probably be in before me and I assume she’ll assist you in bathing since you are not to walk on that foot without your off-loading boot.”
Lord Andrei grunted with annoyance.
Ruby smiled and then looked at the call button hanging from a cord around his neck. “Be sure to buzz me if you need anything.”
“It also buzz’s downstairs and in the kitchen,” Mrs. Reinhardt said. “We’ll be able to hear when you answer or are not around to answer his call.”
Ruby nodded, and then said, “It may be better for Patty to work seven to seven or eight to eight so that she can help prepare Lord Andrei for the night.” She paused, and then continued, “I wouldn’t mind speaking with Patty tonight. Would that be all right?”
“That would be fine,” Lady Beth said before kissing her husband on the forehead. “She is in the first cottage.”
“Also, if you don’t mind, since Lord Andrei is set for now, is it okay if I go into Maryville and attend Mass? I saw a church as I drove through town. It’s better if I go later this afternoon rather than Sunday morning, that way it doesn’t interfere with his care.”
“I understand,” Lady Beth said, walking to the door. “Please, do not stay out late.”
Everyone left the bedroom and went their separate ways.
Feeling like a teenager who had asked for permission to drive the family car, Ruby freshened up and grabbed her purse, repeating to herself, “I can do this. It will help me find Alan. It’ll help me find Alan.”