68: Hospital

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It's three in the morning. 

Three o-one.

Three o-two. 

Three o-three. 

She can't stop coughing.

Three o-four. 

She can't breathe. 

She stumbles out of bed, gasping for air. All of the muscles in her neck and lungs are on fire, throbbing and aching when she tries to breathe or swallow. She can't choke down a drop of water. 

Praying she'll have the ability to, Autumn drives herself to her doctor. Thank goodness there's no traffic. 

She gets one good breath in but has a hard time exhaling once it's there. She turns violently into an illegal parking space and pushes the door open. 

She doesn't have to say a word. The nurses take one look at her pale, wheezing face and know it's an emergency. They send for her doctor. 

He leads her to a room and gets an IV into her arm and gets her to be able to take short breaths. He sends for an ambulance to take her to the emergency room. 

The sirens bother her more than anything else. 

The IV hurts, the oxygen mask on her face cuts off the circulation in the tip of her nose, and there's one awkward nurse sitting with her in the back, making sure she's "comfortable." Ha. 

But the sirens cross the line. She'd really love some silence right now. 

They arrive at the hospital in three minutes, though to Autumn it feels like hours. They take her into a room, where she's lifted onto the bed, and she falls asleep right away. 

They run tests. They give her drugs and medicines to ease the pain and attempt to make her condition better and less uncomfortable, saying rest is the best way to help her body, along with water. 

Rest? How is she expected to rest if every half hour someone wakes her up to run another test or reset the IV??

She gives up after a while, but is miserable awake. Her body aches all over. 

The routine continues for a week. Her symptoms get no better and no worse (thank goodness). She feels worse emotionally, though; as she wishes Adrian would call her to ask if she is okay. 

One of the doctors comes to tell her the results of the bazillion tests they ran in the past week, explaining exactly what each one did, and he claims it helps the patient understand the results better, but she senses he's just delaying telling her what the results themselves are.

She takes a breath (to the best of her ability).

"And? What exactly do the results suggest?" she asks, using vocabulary that attempts to match his scientific way of speaking. 

"Well, these particular tests we have run determine the length of life ahead of you." - her heart skips a beat - "and they suggest... two... weeks..."

This doctor reminds her of her old one, the local one, that liked to delay the inevitable, then when finally breaking the news, does it slowly, prolonging the pain of it, like peeling a band-aid off slowly and feeling every hair on your skin tear from its root instead of getting it over with in one quick blow. 

"Two weeks," she repeats expressionlessly. She says it like she's stating a fact, just an answer to a question she's been asking herself, like telling someone when she plans to text Adrian next or...


She can't go this long. She'll get some words out of him if it's the last thing she does. 

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