He sat quietly on the bench, phone in hand, waiting patiently for his train. His eyes flicked up to the top of his screen again and again to check the time even though he knew he had hours yet to wait.
The station remained empty, bereft of all life but his own.
A memory rose to the surface of his mind, a snippet of a forgotten dream from the night before: the shadowy entrance to a massive cave, the baffling runes scratched on its walls, the ebony statue guarding the fracture in the earth. He closed his eyes and shook his head, willing the images away.
A sharp, staccato noise caught his attention, forcing the dream from his mind. He opened his eyes to a bird perched on the rail across the tracks, head cocked and staring at him.
The whistle blew, and he took a deep breath, bracing himself for the hordes of people to come.
Tress looked both ways before she crossed the street, as she had always been taught. This procedure had never failed her before, so she stuck with it. But today was the last day of anything approaching normal in her life.
The van screeched around the corner, out of nowhere. Tress didn’t even have time to register the color before it struck her, and she immediately lost consciousness.
Tress opened her eyes to darkness and silence, aside from the steady drip-drop-drip of a leaky faucet. Her head ached more than anything she could have imagined before now, a steady throbbing like a helmet, along with the occasional sharp ice pick pain in her right temple. The ice pick was so unpredictable; that’s what made it so bad. She couldn’t brace for it.
She began to test her muscles, to see what her body was currently capable of doing. Her fingernails scratched at the rough sheet that she lay on. This seemed to be her limit. Her legs wouldn’t move at all, and her arms remained too heavy to lift. Even her pounding head would turn neither right nor left.
The sweat beading on her face told her that she couldn’t take any more exercise, as feeble as it was. She closed her eyes and tried to breathe slowly through her mouth. Eventually, she fell back asleep.
Eons later, she woke again. Light shone through her eyelids, and before she opened them, all she saw was red. She thought that was fitting. She felt red.
She opened her eyes. A bare lightbulb hung over her, dangling from a chain. Her head was still too heavy and painful to move, and her eyes wouldn’t travel much farther than straight ahead. She tried to move again, and her fingernails still scratched what felt to be the same bedsheet, but nothing else seemed to be in working order.
She felt a wetness building behind her eyes and in the back of her throat, and took some deep breaths to stave off the tears that she knew she hadn’t the strength to wipe away. This wasn’t a hospital. No one who cared about her probably knew a thing about her whereabouts. The deep breaths weren’t helping.
The single lightbulb shimmered behind a layer of tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks, desperate to seek the easiest route to the shells of her ears. Tress struggled to keep her eyes open as long as she could, but eventually, she had to blink, and the twin trails of moisture trekked their way downward.
This time, she managed to stay conscious until the tears dried, much longer than the first time.
The third time Tress woke to motion. Someone was pushing and pulling her body, dressing or undressing her. A brief panic gripped her heart before she realized that this had to have happened at least once before, because she could feel that she wasn’t wearing the long-sleeved blouse that she had left the house in. And it’s not like I could stop them, anyway, she thought. The mysterious person never moved close enough for Tress to see anything but a shock of unruly dark hair.
When whatever was to be done was done, the person left the room without a word. Tress heard the sighing of an old hinge before the click of the door latch. She wondered why tears were so far from her mind at this moment. Wouldn’t a normal person be in a near-constant state of terror?
The tears came as if called. This time not merely a single track per side; this time a measurable volume of tears flowed for minutes on end before she fell asleep again.
This time, voices. She could hear them murmuring in the hallway outside her room. Tress wished desperately that they would open the door so she could hear, even if they were only going to continue to ignore her.
Her wish was answered. She welcomed the sound of the door hinge because it meant company. It meant possibilities.
It meant an injection in the IV in her right arm that she hadn’t been able to feel. As her eyes began to feel heavy, she heard the first voice in her room.
“Don’t worry about cleaning her up after. He’ll just put her in the incinerator with the rest of the biohazard. We’ll find another one; maybe they’ll work out better.”
Today feels like a week. Why can’t the good days feel that way?
I woke up before my alarm this morning with right flank pain. I’ve suffered from kidney stones since I was 21, but almost exclusively in my left kidney. I thought I must have slept wrong, somehow, so I got dressed, kissed Ian goodbye, and went to deliver my papers.
Before I made it to the first shoppette I knew it wasn’t muscular. Ugh. It takes me about an hour to deliver my papers, so I figured I’d suffer through.
Then it got worse, like the one I went to the ER for a little over a year ago. I debated posting on Facebook to see if anyone with a military ID could finish my deliveries, but I only have a small window when all the stores accept deliveries, so I decided against that.
I texted Ian to apologize for not picking up breakfast on my way home and asked him to take me to the ER when I got done.
Finally I finished, probably twenty minutes later than I should have, due to moving slowly and carefully, especially while getting in and out of the car.
Have you ever had kidney stones? I can stand, hunched over, and I can lie down, my body curved, but sitting and bending are the pits.
I got home, and Ian drove me to the hospital. An hour after I signed in, I was triaged by a nurse who thought I was faking. I am a little young and female for kidney stones, but I haven’t had to deal with someone that skeptical since 2001, the first four times I sought treatment. I was really young for them then. But for goodness’ sake, woman, it’s in my chart that you’re looking at on your computer screen! I haven’t been in your ER for years, so how can I be a drug seeker?
We waited. We waited through five ambulances and a helicopter; no one was called back from the packed waiting room. You picked a banner day, kidney. Eventually, things started moving in there.
After over three hours, when everyone who had been there before me had been called back, and some discharged, after several of the people who had shown up after me had been called back, after the stone had at least passed from my kidney and I was in less acute pain, I said screw it, let’s go home.
We went home.
I spent a few hours in bed, and Ian went to work. I took a bit of a nap.
When I got up, I saw that I finally got my judges’ feedback for my first entry in the flash fiction challenge. Guess what’s wrong with my story.
It’s not entirely believable.
No shit. I must have missed that section in the guidelines where it says fiction submissions must be entirely believable.
I’m disgusted with this feedback.
I guess I know not to bother entering my surrealist fiction in their contests again.
But I had beef stew for dinner, and that’s what I wanted. So there’s that.
Oh, and my manager called about thirty minutes ago to see if I could open the other store tomorrow. I declined.
Hopefully, tomorrow I can spend a couple hours catching up on my reading and commenting. And figure out what Ben, Betty, and Shepard have been up to.
Not entirely believable. Jeez.
I just got an email with the rescheduling of my RE appointment that was cancelled December 12th, that was rescheduled from September 6th.
It is October fucking 12th.
Is that, or is that not, the biggest load of bullshit ever?
Or should I just be grateful that it’s this year?
I am absolutely frustrated right now. I know I don’t need to be. I know I’ll be cycling (or pregnant!) until then anyway. I know I have two more drugs to try before I need to go back.
I go back go family practice next Tuesday. Maybe my awesome doctor can do something if my phone call tomorrow is futile.
Wow, I get to post about a real live doctor visit? That’s amazing! It’s been six months since I’ve been able to do that.
First off, things went well when we made the appointment. I was able to change doctors because they were ‘switching over to a new system,’ so I didn’t have to see the touchy-feely creeper again! He was the main reason I haven’t been there in almost two years. The absolute last guy I want playing around in my lady bacon, let me assure you.
So I saw a new doctor, and her name is April too! She was really nice and listened to the looong story I had for her. She even had a tidbit of info for me: the RE retired. So it was not some spur-of-the-moment fit of pique that had him abandon his fricking patients. That jerk knew this was coming! Grr…
So here’s what we did today: we increased my blood pressure meds because the current dosage isn’t cutting it anymore. We did a whole list of bloodwork, including finally checking my thyroid, yay! I start birth control today to hopefully stop the bleeding and go back in two weeks. I have an ultrasound in four weeks, but maybe I’ll be able to get that when I go back in two weeks. I even got a referral to the women’s clinic that wouldn’t see me anymore because I’m a fertility patient, so they can take that and stick it somewhere!
Really, I would take the spotting over the hypertension any day. That’s what’s causing me the most problems right now. I have headaches almost constantly from it. It sucks.
So now, a different kind of two week wait. I would almost welcome something being abnormal, that way I’d find something out sooner. But I’ll just cross my fingers that my blood pressure comes down some before I have a stroke.
The best part of today was having a date night with my sweetie. We had Smashburger, yum! Their veggie frites are awesome. If you haven’t been there, you should go. We used to go every Wednesday, but our cool waiter went to Spain. It’s just not the same without him.
Now, a movie and bed, most likely.
But, 2012? Keep in mind that my attitude towards you remains the same.
The new year is coming soon, and it’s also time for us to start a new chapter in our TTC story. It’s CD21 today, so the plan right now is basically just looking at the calendar to decide when we want to throw some more money at this whole infertility thing. Then I’ll start a round of provera so I can try letrozole next cycle.
It’s kind of funny, I plan and plot so much when and how and what the next step will be, but I never actually think about what would happen if something worked. Surely, if I had no faith at all that something would work, I wouldn’t put myself through this. Surely, if I had no hope at all, I would stop trying. Right?
I don’t know. I really don’t. I know this is easy to say now, but if we were childfree, I would be okay with being childfree. But we’re not. And being a part-time mom just makes me want even more to be a full-time mom. I don’t want to share. I feel like that sounds horribly selfish, but I don’t care.
I really do not understand at all how my mother could send my sister and I across the country every year for the whole summer. Especially after that summer she came to pick us up and our toothbrushes were still packed. My dad was not a big hygiene enforcer. Heck, he didn’t even tell us to bathe, hopefully just because we swam so much.
I’m way off subject.
Anyway…I have an OB/GYN who will prescribe me letrozole, and then tamoxifen if that doesn’t work. Maybe I’ll go back to the women’s clinic when (if) they replace the RE who abandoned me. Still debating on filing a complaint with the state Board of Review over that debacle. Either way, 2012 is covered.
And then I’ll be 35.
Maybe that’ll be the cutoff. Maybe we’ll see how this next year goes and decide from there. I’m so tired of the waiting.
Six years is a long time.