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Real coma victims don’t always recline with that kind of dignity, of course. Every other day, Somerset and somebody else (usually Caillie) go through the ward and flip them like pancakes. Somerset does the flipping; Caillie negotiates the IVs.

“What do you when I’m on vacation?” he grunts, wedging an arm under Ms. Whenzel.

“Wait until you get back,” she smiles. “We can’t all be big strong male nurses.”

“And if I ever move to another ward?”

“We’ll just leave them,” she says dismissively, “until their bones burrow all the way down and out, and they float away like big jellyfish.”