38. the calls are coming from...?

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I shut my textbook with a sigh

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I shut my textbook with a sigh. After camping out in the living room with only the dim corner lamp on for several hours, I was starting to see double. It was nearly midnight and if I had to calculate drug dosages any longer, I would be doing it in my sleep.

Taking a spring course seemed like a good idea a few months ago, but now it was just another source of stress. I had an exam in two days but my brain had already tapped out.

It didn't help that math was the part of my program that I enjoyed least; patients, on the other hand, were my favorite. Ethan always laughed and said I was crazy, and that he'd take math over dealing with people any day. For such a well-liked guy, sometimes he verged on being a bit of a curmudgeon.

The display on my cellphone lit up and it started to vibrate. The caller ID read 'unknown caller'. I hit decline, frowning. There had been a few calls like that this week and whenever I answered, there was no response on the other end. I'd chalked it up to telemarketers but at 11:30pm? I wasn't sure what to make of that. Part of me wondered if it was Harry, but it seemed unlikely that he would resurface now after so many months.

Craning my neck, I tried to see if the bedroom light was on upstairs. It looked dark; maybe Ethan had fallen asleep for once. I hoped so. Several nights, I'd felt him tossing and turning for ages before finally getting out of bed altogether and slinking downstairs. Even though his intentions were good and he was trying to let me sleep, I hated when he did that; the bed felt empty without him.

Ethan had been at home recovering for a week— or in his words, 'forever'. He was newly cleared for light activity but hockey was still out of the question. Out of commission indefinitely. For the rest of the playoffs- quickly coming to an end anyway, with several consecutive losses- for certain.

The doctors told me to be on the lookout for personality changes or other red flags that might signal a longer-term problem relating his head injury. So far, luckily, he seemed like the same old Ethan. Maybe a little grouchy because he was stuck inside, but I didn't blame him; sitting around the condo for days on end was not his idea of a good time.

At his follow-up appointment today, the doctor expressed concerns about him playing hockey again and the potential for another injury. When I first saw him at the hospital, he  downplayed the severity of what had happened.

I should have known to be suspicious. Men are notorious for doing that-- I see it in patients all the time. I'm not sure if it stems from denial, an instinct to protect their loved ones, or some combination of both. I think Ethan just likes to consider himself invincible.

Of course, Ethan didn't even consider not playing to be an option. I knew I couldn't dictate what he did with himself but it was upsetting to think of him putting his safety at risk. And, not seeing eye-to-eye on the matter was difficult. We'd shelved the topic for now, anyway. He wasn't cleared to play yet so there was no point in arguing over whether he should.

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