Brenda and Sharon threw open the door to his room and Fritz sighed guiltily.
“Thank god you’re okay.” Brenda snapped.
“I asked Mike not to call you.” He said sheepishly.
“And he didn’t.” Sharon folded her arms. “Though he should have.”
Brenda pursed her lips. “The hospital called to ask about insurance.”
“It’s nothing. I’m fine.”
Sharon sat on the bed and laid her hand gently over his chest. “You had a heart attack. That’s not nothing.”
He put his hand over hers. “I didn’t want to worry you. It was a ‘mild cardiac episode.’”
“Honey.” Sharon laughed humorlessly. “That’s a euphemism for a heart attack.”
“We’re concerned.” Brenda admitted. “We don’t want to lose you.”
“You’re not going to.” He insisted. “I feel a lot better already and I’d just like to go home.”
“I’ll see if I can track someone down.” Sharon put a hand on Brenda’s arm.
“Should I go with you?”
Sharon laughed. “I want to get information, not alienate the hospital staff.”
“Please take her with you.” Fritz smiled, “she’s going to yell at me.”
“Suck it up.” Sharon winked as she slipped out of the room.
Brenda sat on the edge of the bed, laid on her side and rested her head on his chest. “I am so mad at you right now.”
“I’m sorry.” He said softly, running his fingers through her hair.
“You’d better be sorry.”
He stroked her hair. “I really didn’t want to worry you or Sharon.”
Brenda lifted her head, “these rings,” she pointed to the the wedding band on her finger, “that you and I exchanged at our wedding and the one that we gave to Sharon two months ago - they mean for better or worse. You don’t get to decide what you do and don’t let us in on.”
“I’m sorry, Brenda.”
She pursed her lips a little. “I do forgive you because I’m happy you’re okay. You better apologize to Sharon too, I’m not the only one you’ve upset.”
“I’ll make it up to both of you, I promise.”
Sharon slipped back into the room. “The nurse that I spoke with said they’re keeping him overnight just to make sure everything’s okay and we’re being kicked out in five.”
“That’s so unnecessary,” Fritz protested. “I feel fine now.”
Sharon sat on the other side of the bed and Fritz took her hand. “I’m sorry.”
“I know.” She nodded.
The three of them sat there in silence for several minutes until the announcement came on that visiting hours had ended.The women kissed Fritz and they professed how much they’d miss each other.
Fritz watched them go and sighed as soon as they were out of sight. Since there were three of them it was very rare for any of them to go to bed alone. On occasion one of them wouldn’t get back to the house until late but they would climb into bed with their sleeping, cuddly spouses and join them in contented slumber. Brenda spent a long weekend in Georgia the year before, Fritz spent a night in San Bernadino for a case once and Sharon flew to New York to see her daughter’s performance and slept on the plane ride back. But, apart from those isolated cases, they almost never slept apart. Letting them leave, knowing that they were only twenty minutes away made Fritz very sad.
When he was finally able to fall asleep in the cold, impersonal hospital room he slept fitfully. In the morning his neck, shoulder and arm hurt again but this time the culprit was a very uncomfortable mattress.
The doctor removed the blood pressure cuff from Fritz’s arm. “You are doing very well this morning, how do you feel?”
“I feel fine.”
“I have no problem discharging you this morning.” He scrawled something down on the chart. “We’re going to give you some literature about diet and exercise and little things you can do to lower your risk of repeating yesterday’s events. Do you have any questions before I go?”
“When you say exercise you mean jumping jacks, push ups, that sort of thing?”
“Typically.” He nodded.
“What about, um, sexual activity?”
The doctor smiled knowingly. “The general rule of thumb after heart issues is that if you can climb a flight of stairs you can have sex. It shouldn’t be more than a couple of days until you’re ready.”
Fritz nodded. “Okay. Thank you.”
“Do you have someone to pick you up?”
“My wife will.” One of them, anyway, he thought to himself.
“That reminds me, I need you to settle something. The admitting nurse says your wife is blonde and the floor nurse says your wife is brunette. So which is it?” The doctor laughed, “or does she have a penchant for wigs?”
Fritz chuckled a little. “No… no, it’s two different women. Um, the three of us have kind of an uncommon situation.”
The doctor’s eyebrows went up. “No wonder you wanna get back in the game. You’ve got two women to keep happy.”
He shrugged a little, “they can keep each happy, I just don’t want to be left out for longer than I have to.” He laughed.
The doctor laughed again, “well stick to your diet and your prescription and you’ll be ready to rejoin your lady friends before you know it.”