R e v e r i e
by Politic X
7: the hospital


Of all of the places that I could awaken from this nightmare, I'd probably choose my own bed first.  The quiet softness of my bedroom has dispelled turbulent dreams many times in the past.  The familiar scent of my sheets and duvet and pillows always soothes me.

If not my bed, then perhaps my sofa or somewhere else in my apartment.  Or at Mom's.  Even waking from a nightmare to find myself at the office would be preferable to waking in a hospital.  But there's no mistaking the smell.

I open my eyes to see Monica, hovering.  She smiles at my mother and then at me.  "Hey there, Sleeping Beauty."

"What happened?"

My mother gently pushes away hair that isn't in my eyes.  "Your doctor said that your electrolytes are low, that you're anemic."

"How long have I been out?"  My gaze is on Monica.  "What time is it?"

She glances at her watch.  "It's just after 12:00 ."



"What happened?"

"You don't remember the trip here?"

I shake my head, no. 

Monica eyes my mother.  "When I checked on you last night, you were out of it.  I tried to wake you up so that we could catch the flight to Spokane.  You felt feverish and your pulse was rapid-"

"She panicked."  My mother smiles gently.

"Where's my chart?"

"Your doctor has it.  She just walked out the door a second ago."

I continue to look at Monica.  I feel that she's hiding something from me, that I've missed something during unconsciousness, something more than the trip to the hospital. "You're going on today?"

She nods.  "I'm catching the 1:45 flight."  She rubs her neck.  "The case isn't pausing for us."

I catch her meaning.  "I'm not surprised."  I think for a moment.  "After I meet with my doctor, I'll let you know my plans."

She nods.  "Nothing she said to me sounded serious, but I imagine you'll be hooked up to the saline drip for a while.  Apparently you've just run yourself down, Dana.  I don't think you should be flying right now."  Her look is concerned but not grave.  I take comfort in this.

She leaves minutes later, but only because my mother is here.  Mom and I exchange a tired look and small talk.  I don't want her with me now.  I want to be left alone.  Moreover, God help me, I want to sleep again, no matter what dreams I have.  I'm more tired than I can ever remember being.

Thankfully, she seems to understand this.  She's reluctant to go, however, and stays with me until early evening, discussing her plans for the rest of her weekend with William, who is currently with a neighbor, a fact that worries me, even though it shouldn't.  If my mother trusts her neighbor with her grandson, then the neighbor is trustworthy.

As light wanes from the small window in my room, I give her the only push she needs.  "The truth is, Mom, that my body has taken a beating over the years.  It's more than likely that I'll spend a lot of time in and out of hospitals for the rest of my life.  I prefer to see you on other terms."

She balks a bit, but she does leave.  She's just walking out the door when I feel my eyelids closing.  Sleep comes to me again.

The woods are dark and deep, there's no trace of the previous wildfire or Monica... and I'm stumbling, tripping and sinking with the ground.  Mud clogs my nose and I wipe at it.  Although I continue wiping, I can't get it out of my nostrils; breathing becomes difficult.  I can't think.  Blood rushes in my ears, drowning out the music.  I'm suffocating.

A piercing sound cuts the air and I jolt awake.  It's my bedside phone.  I reach for it, sweating.

"Dana, it's me.  I just wanted to check on you.  Are you okay?"

"Yes."  My voice is groggy. 

"I feel like I left you in the dark earlier.  I'm sorry.  I just figured you wouldn't want to talk about what happened last night in front of your mother."

"What did happen last night?"

Monica sighs.  "In a nutshell?  You were sleepwalking and you collapsed.  You were running a fever.  And, like your mom said, I panicked."


"There's a lot more to it than that, but we'll talk about it later.  But listen to me; I don't want you to come here.  Okay?  Please, just stay there and rest.  I'll call you tomorrow."

"Why?"  The thought of her being in trouble sends my pulse racing.  "What's going on?  Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, but you're not.  You've run yourself down; these nightmares are getting the best of you.  And there's nothing you can do here.  I'm not even sure there's anything I can do.  Just don't come."

"I need to be there, Monica."

"No, Dana, I'm telling you that you don't.  Trust me on this.  Do not come here."

Her vehemence is only making me want to be there more.  "Something's wrong.  What have you found?"

She sighs.  "Nothing.  Just... just promise me you won't come.  At least wait until I see how long I'm going to be here.  Please."

"I need to be there," I say in my firmest voice, the one that's hard to argue with.

"Why?  Why do you need to be here?"  She sounds exasperated.  "I can handle this myself.  You need to stay home, get well for your son."

"I need to be there because you're there."

"Oh."  It's a squeak.

"I need to be with you."  I count my heartbeats during the silence that follows.  I'm too weak to keep arguing with her.  My nose still feels clogged with mud and I'm dizzy.    

"Dana."  Her voice is a whisper, laden with emotion. 

"So unless you plan to come home tomorrow, I'm flying there.  All right?"


"Don't try arguing with me.  It won't work.  Just tell me goodbye, and I'll see you tomorrow."

She pauses.  "Goodnight, Dana."

"Bye."  As I put the receiver down, I notice that it's still slick in my hand, and sticky too.  As is my chin.  A rush of adrenaline punches my heart.  I wipe my nose and snatch at the i.v., and my feet hit the floor so hard it hurts.  I run to the bathroom, flipping on the switch.  Light blinds me for a moment and then I see my reflection in the mirror. 

Blood is dripping from my nose. 



 Posted 10/31/03