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Tuesday 1:10 pm
There is a pain in my side I can’t ignore. It is sharp and acute; reminding me of the time I fell off my horse during barrel racing for the first time. The pain ebbs when I shift to the left at a stoplight. I feel like crying but I can’t. Everyone has the feeling that their car is the center of the universe when they’re upset; like the people beside you will point, laugh and follow you so they can watch you cry more. So I hold it in. I can’t be healthy to be in so much pain and hold yourself together.
I manage to haul myself into my house; ignoring my jumping dog and the pungent smell of urine from his over-excited puppy bladder. The cramps have me doubled over as I call my mom to complain. She says to lie down and take some Advil. I do (slipping in some NiQuil to aid in sleep). I fell on my bed and reach for the phone but grasp the stereo remote instead. Nick Lachey’s whiney voice passes through the speakers; I had forgotten I was sulking the day before. The pain/NiQuil/Advil/Ritalin is making my stomach churn and my head feel like it’s on a carnival ride from hell. The posters on my ceiling stare down at me intently; the Caribbean sea blue of Ian Somerhalder’s eyes and the drab darkness of My Chemical Romance in gas masks is making me sicker and sicker. I pull into a fetal position as the myriad of celebrity eyes bore into me from all angles; the ceiling, the walls, the doors. All at once everything is all too real.
They need to find a vein. Mine are hiding like criminals under my skin. I make a fist when I’m instructed and on the 7th go my IV is in.
“I’m gonna give you morphine for the pain.” My nurse says.
I like morphine. Morphine is good. This burning sensation tingling from my head to my feet rocketing around in my skull making me forget where I am. The doctor talks to me directly but my mom intercedes for me regularly. I don’t mind. I like being in the arms of Morpheus where my soul is outside of my body playing baseball with vampires.
“On a scale of one to ten what’s your pain level?” the nurse asks.
A few minutes pass, my vampires are gone and I taste the contrast medium shake I had to drink in order to get a CT Scan.
“This hospital is quiet like the ones in Denmark.” Mom muses as we watch CSI on TV.
“Can I have something to eat?” I ask.
“Then can I have morphine?”
At the mention of morphine the nurse returns. The pain becomes more prevalent the less lucid I get. There’s a kid screaming in the next room. I’m so tired but I can’t sleep. Her wailing and my pain make the perfect insomnia cocktail. What I wouldn’t give to have my vampires snap her neck so I can sleep. The doctor has been in a few times to check on me, making sure I’m ready for my CT Scan.
“Mom I’m hurting.” I say, curling my legs closer to my body.
“It’s all right, baby.” The nurse says, “I’m giving you Dilaudid. It’s stronger and lasts longer than morphine.”
Dilaudid is something I can really get behind. It’s like firecrackers full of tranquilizers have been injected into my veins. The vampires are back more tangible than before. Three brothers; one tall and brawny with rich brown eyes, the other slim and catlike, his blue eyes framed by a shock of dark hair. The last is lanky, beautiful but average; the one with unruly brown hair and stormy grey eyes. He is my favorite. I remember them, I’ve met them before. Stephen, Pietro, and Cedric, how could I ever forget? How could I forget Stephen’s brilliant smile, Pietro’s graceful movements or Cedric’s worrisome eyes? They walk beside me as I’m wheeled to the X-Ray room, whispering small kind words to me. Saying I’m going to be okay. The pain is all but forgotten as I wobble into the X-Ray machine. The machine speaks to me in a British accent, telling me to hold my breath and remain motionless.
I had no idea I’d been asleep for hours. They’ve moved me from the ER to my own private room on the hospital’s 2nd floor. I thought I was awake the whole time talking to my vampires. I blink quickly; assessing that mom is the only one in the room with me.
“You were talking in your sleep.” Mom says, “You really need to stop watching those movies.”
The TV is on, switched to Spike, just the way I like it. My night nurse, Rolawn, comes in to take more blood from my arm. She’s really good at that.
“Is it okay if I leave?”
“Yeah,” I yawn, “I’ll just go back to sleep.”
Mom smiles at me, “I’ll be back in the morning around 8.”
“Okay. See you later.”
My new doctor is amazing. He diagnosed me just by feeling my abdomen. I’ve got Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, meaning my ovaries have grown to gargantuan proportions. He says one is the size of a grapefruit and the other the size of a softball. Wonderful. I’m not crazy. My surgery is scheduled for 5pm. I smile when I see Rowlan and a syringe of Dilaudid, my new best friend.
“You just call me if you need anything.” She says.
Mom nods “Thank you.”
I smile again as I receive my tingling syringe salvation. Familiar grey eyes look down on me. Cedric smiles.
“We missed you.”
I haven’t eaten in two days. The day before I didn’t eat breakfast and I threw up lunch. I’m not allowed to eat before my surgery. My stomach feels like it’s eating itself. The day has been a revolving door of family; aunts in the morning, cousins in the afternoon, grandparents all day long. The only constants are my mother and my vampires. They left my side only once; my mom to get lunch and my vampires when the Dilaudid faded.
“This is nothing like House.” Melissa groans, flipping the channel to BET.
My lucky day it’s the Sucker Free Countdown.
“Make her stop.” I cry.
My vampires are still in the room. They stand around me with concern clearly written on their faces. I feel Stephen place his large pale hand on my arm to calm me.
“Dude who are you talking to?” she says, looking around, “I’m the only one here. Mom went to pickup Granny remember?”
I had forgotten I was the only one able to see the others in the room. Cedric says something unintelligible to Pietro. I see his pale pink lips move but can’t hear his melodious voice. It’s being drowned out by Gucci Mane slurring his way through a mix tape.
“Please I’m sick!” I plead to my sister, “Do the words cruel and unusual punishment mean anything to you?”
She huffs, “Fine. I can’t wait until I can punch you in the stomach again.”
The anesthesiologist talks to me in a calm voice. The pain is back but I can’t have any Dilauded this close to surgery. My vampires left around four. I have to go it alone. Mom stares at me unblinking as they wheel me away. I take a deep breath. The room is painted lilac and the baseboards are trimmed with flowers. Not what I was really expecting. The team of doctors moves me onto the table and position two huge flat screen monitors into place.
“I want you to take deep breaths.” Someone says, placing a mask over my face, “Can you count back from 100 for me?”
The vampires are back suddenly, looking down at me with their sad gem-like eyes. Our time together is coming to an end.
We say our goodbyes, knowing this will be the last time I’ll ever see them this clearly again. They will be locked away in the confines of my mind for all eternity. The hallucinogens were the key to their prison but after this they’ll be gone. Stephen gives my nose a playful tap, sporting the grin that took me a month to come up with. Pietro presses his cold lips to my cheek and I remembered that he was still kind under his stone-faced mask. Lastly Cedric, my Cedric, my favorite since he’d come to me in 8th grade, smiles sadly at me.
“See you in your dreams…”