~ On the Night Shift ~

It was no great hardship to comply with Dr. Ford's request three weeks earlier that she join the night shift of General Hospital. The more she'd thought about it, the more beneficial the move had become for her, Dr. Lainey Winters realized. By all accounts from the staff at Rose Lawn Nursing Home, the morning hours were when her Alzheimer's-stricken father was most like himself - aware, insightful, full of biting wit. Joining the hospital's night shift would provide her ample opportunity to see this for herself. And if their reports were true, Lainey could spend those precious moments reconnecting with the father of her childhood.

Today had provided just such an opportunity. From the moment Lainey walked into that now-familiar room at Rose Lawn, she instantly sensed a difference in the air. Her father had greeted her warmly and teased her about the ponytail she'd pulled her hair into. It made her look nine years old, Roger Winters had said.

The time spent with him had been wonderful. It had been difficult to pull herself away and head for General Hospital and another night of work.

Lainey smiled. Despite the hectic pace of the night shift, the move had turned out to be nothing but positive for her. During the daylight hours she got to interact with a father more like the one she remembered. And then when night fell she got to help a lot more patients in need of emotional support than she ever experienced during her other schedule.

That was perhaps the most eye-opening thing about the change to night shift, Lainey reflected. It hadn't taken her long to discover that the darkness of night seemed to trigger a release of people's emotional demons. Loneliness, thoughts of suicide, addictions... they were all common complaints from those who visited General Hospital's emergency room at night.

Her current patient, Cody Paul, was a prime example. Tall, bald and imposing, Cody was a former combat veteran who'd spent most of his sessions with her trying to score pills. He was at times charming, angry, and once or twice, threatening. Tonight he was trying something new. Earnestness.

It wasn't working.

"I think we're done for the day," Lainey announced suddenly. "Good session."

"How would you know?" Paul growled. "You could barely hear it." He referred to the deliberate way that Lainey had put as much physical distance between them as she could.

Lainey gazed evenly at him. "I heard enough to know that you didn't raise your voice, not even to threaten me," she added pointedly. "And you even looked me in the eye once or twice. Anything for pills, huh?"

The young psychiatrist's words angered her patient. Lainey saw his expression change and quickly went on guard. She grabbed her clipboard and dashed off a couple of lines. "I think this might help."

Cody Paul looked at the paper she'd handed him. "This isn't a prescription."

"No. It's a number to the VA hospital."

"It's a joke," Cody snarled. He stepped toward Lainey.

The beeping of Lainey's cellphone stopped the burly ex-soldier in his tracks. "I have an emergency," Lainey announced. She hoped her voice didn't reveal the discomfort she'd felt with him only moments ago. "We're done."

"No," Cody gave the doctor a twisted smile. "I think we're just getting started."

Lainey exhaled as he walked past her. She took a moment to get her breathing under control and then answered her phone. "Hi, this is Doctor Winters." As she listened, her knees buckled slightly. "I'll get an ambulance right over there. And can you, um..." she swallowed, "can you please tell him I'll be waiting for him."

*dialogue between Lainey and Cody taken from episode #4 of GeneralHospital: The Night Shift