The Coagulation Cascade
The day after I wake up covered in my blood, is a busy one. I am ill equipped to deal with it. My body shuts down and I feel shivery and weak and dizzy. I cannot even sit up without my head feeling as though it is on a roundabout, being pushed by an extremely strong and enthusiastic pusher. I get up to go to the toilet and need to grip the edge of the bed as I make my way to the toilet that is simply a few steps away. Before removing both hands from the bed I make sure one hand is placed against the wall near the toilet door. I feel like the floor is reaching up to grab me if given the opportunity. I have run out of clean clothes and underwear.
When the doctors come round they notice something is wrong. ‘’Your not your usual upbeat self.’’ He says. I shrug and fight tears as he takes my blood preassure and presses his stethoscope to my back. I am told that my body is showing signs of infection and they need to find out what kind it is. ‘’We will get you in to have some more plasma exchange.’’ The doctor says. I nod and ask if I can lay down again, please.
It is on this day that he visits me for the first time. Just the evening before Erin was asking me if he had visited yet. ‘’No, and he wont anyway. I upset him.’’ I say. ‘’By writing about how much he disappointed me, the last time we hung out. ‘’ I had been sitting at my laptop in my bedroom on Brunswick rd. Pretending to write, when he texted me. It was the last line that flipped my switch from distracted to psycho mad. ‘’I’m trying to be your friend. But, your making it difficult.’’ I sat there in my bedroom, totally stung by the irony of those words. I texted back simply. ‘’If I’m being so difficult, do not trouble yourself.’’ I was done. Completely and totally done trying. I worried about that boy constantly. About his health about whether he was doing alright. There was always some disaster awaiting him or attacking him. I wanted to be there for him. But as soon as I ever tried he responded with disinterest or being super busy. But, when he texted me about some disaster I was always quick with concern or a pep up, or an invitation to hang out. As I sat there thinking all this, my phone kept beeping. Over the next ten minutes, as I sat at my desk, staring at my laptop screen, my phone lit up three times. I checked the length of the messages. They were long and I had no heart to read them at that moment. My eyes were too blurry with tears. I was so alone. The January summer heat was absolutely slaying me. I had no energy to go outside save for my visits to the royal Melbourne. Afterwards I would go home and lay on my bed with the blind down to block out the sun, and give in to the heat induced dizziness that engulfed me. I would get up to make toast and only get about half a slice down. The rest would go to waste.
It was Erin who I handed my phone to. ‘’You can read what he responded with.’’ I tell her. ‘’Tell me if I was right not to bother.’’
She nods and reads the messages. She does not read them out loud. As she reads she shakes her head of perfectly straightened black hair. I recommend having attractive friends visit you in hospital. It is a complex combination of cheerful distraction coupled with a compounding reminder of how utterly lusterless you must look in comparisom.
‘’You were right not to read that stuff.’’ Erin tells me as she puts my phone on my bed. I am sitting up with my legs crossed, at the edge of my bed, facing my friend. Erin is sitting in the chair under the window and facing me. ‘’He basically puts it all on you, as if you don’t have anything big to deal with right now. And he says all your friends are drug addicts.’’ I sigh in sadness. Why does he keep thinking this? I have lots of different friends and not all of them take recreational drugs. I hardly even drink these days. It is not as if I think all his friends are art wankas just because he is. I don’t even know his friends. He never ets me hang out with him and his girlfriend or any of his friends. I always just assumed it was because he didn’t think I was cool or arty enough.
‘’Speaking of drugs.’’ Erin stage whispered to me. She leaned in to me with a beautiful grin. ‘’Me and Roxy took MDMA on Saturday night while on Sydney rd.’’ I giggled and leaned in to get closer to the story. Erin smelled like fresh shampoo devil may care shined through from her dark brown eyes. Even under hospital lights her skin was luminous and white. At 8pm the announcement comes on telling all visitors to be cooperative in leaving the hospital wards. Erin hugs me tightly and rubs her face into my chest. ‘’Oh my slit.’’ She says with affection, using one of my nicknames from years ago. A reference to one of my imaginary band names; The Rusted Slits, obviously a an all female punk band. When the tea lady comes I get a tea with milk and sugar and as many little packets of crackerjack chedder cheese and arnottes savoy biscuits. Dinner that evening had been bland and depressing as usual, so at 8:15pm I was quite hungry. The cheese and crackers were a developing addiction.
When Ace does walk into my hospital room the next day. I am stunned. He had texted me asking what bed number and ward. I still did not believe he would show. I just assumed I would get a text saying something had come up at the last minute. I did not hear him walk into the room but I sensed someone approaching. I was huddled on my made up bed, under a white blanket. I was so cold and so tired. I felt as though I would shiver myself to a pile of dust. I saw him as he walked past the end of my bed to get to the empty chair. His handsome face is observing me with a smile. He is holding a white box that has a tall stem shooting up and leaning over to the left. On the green stem are white orchid blossoms. He places the gift on the windowsill, next to the books. He looks amazing and put together. It is an outfit I find familiar; a button up short sleeved shirt that has flaming eye balls all over it, Black suspenders that connect to black military pants with black lace up boots and a blue tartan bowtie.
‘’You look so tiny.’’ He says as he sits down on the chair. The mere sight of him makes me want to cry. Makes me want to open up the blanket and coax him to crawl under it with me. Share this disease with me. My heart shouts. It wont be so bad I promise. I will take the brunt of it, you can simply huddle here with me and share your body warmth. I am sorry for being such a silly cow. My dirty insides have muddled my brain and I am not doing so good. I stay lying down and smile at him. ‘’I am tiny.’’ I say.
‘’I want purple hair.’’ H e says smiling at my bright but messy hair. I fight the disease coursing through my body and manage to sit up slowly so as to better communicate. I wrap the blanket around my shoulders. ‘’Thank you for the flower.’’ I say. Its so pretty.’’
They do well in the hospital environment.’’ He tells me. ‘’Someone got me one when I was in for Golden Staf and it lasted a year.’’
At that moment a beautiful chinease woman walks in the room carrying a bunch of bright yellow flowers. She is wearing light blue tight jeans and a blue blazer over a white t shirt. It is my friend Ying. She puts the flowers on my bed and leans in to hug me. She introduces herself to Ace and we fall into a happy chat. I find myself wishing it was still Just Ace and I. I was already finding it difficult carrying on a conversation with one person. At that moment another bunch of flowers was delivered. This bunch looked expensive. It was wrapped in many layers of tissue paper in shades of purple and then wrapped in brown paper and tied with ribbons. The flowers were an array of wild flowers all fresh and smelling amazing. There was a card and I read it with difficulty. It was hard to focus on the letters. I did manage to read that they were from the art directors of West Space art gallery. Ace took a photo of them on his phone. ‘’Of course these are from an art gallery.’’ I say. ‘’Only they have such an eye for detail in regards to anything of a visual nature.’’
A bunch of nurses came rushing into my room and stood around my bed. They admired my flowers and one of the nurses said ‘’We heard you just got the most beautiful bunch of flowers.’’
‘’I have actually gotton three separate but beautiful flower arrangements.’’ I say so as not to discredit the gifts from my friends who are present in the room. A nurse brings in a large glass vase and arranges the flowers from west space in the vase of water. Ying places her yellow flowers amongst the others. It is a beautiful and cheering sight. The nurses leave.
A doctor enters the scene and it is the handsome Asian one I like so much. He has lovely features and a kind smile. His name is Tom. ‘’I am afraid I need to take more blood.’’ He says. ‘’Is that OK?’’
‘’Anything for you, Tom.’’ I say with a feverish grin.
Ace gets up and throws his backpack over one shoulder. ‘’I will leave you to it.’’ He says.
‘’Oh, ok. Thank you for coming.’’ I say.
He exits. Ying stays by my side as I lay down on my back and throw off the blanket to allow easy access to my arms. Tom takes the little green container that is kidney bean shaped and places it next to him on my bed. He levels the bed up so he does not need to bend over so much. I am starting to think that this day will be free of peace and quiet. I just want to close my eyes and disappear into navy coloured velvet. As I lay there Ying reaches down and holds my left hand, squeezing it gently. Tom washes his hands in the sink across from my bed end. He dries his hands on paper towels. When he comes back to my bedside I get to look at his face better as he leans over my arm and traces the best vein with his finger. He swabs the area and I turn my attention to my lovely friends face as she tells me about her art projects and upcoming exhibitions. Tom slips the needle in and fills up about seven tubes with my blood. ‘’We should know if and what sort of infection you have tomorrow.’’ Dr. Tom tells me as he throws the used needle into the medical waste bin. He collects the kidney bean shaped container with all the blood filled tubes. I notice he has a wedding ring.
Once The doctor of heart palpitations leaves, Ying tells me of her cat drama. Her ex got one of the three cats they shared together, from the break up. This break up happened three years ago. So Ying was surprised when she got a call from the ex informing her that the cat was missing. Ying was quite upset about this and thought it very careless of her ex to misplace the beloved pet. Ying has the the other two cats; a gray and white one called Babushka and a large gray cat called Tom. The cat showed up not far from Ying’s apartment three days later, looking skinny and dirty but alive. An amazing show of resilience and a certain cats obvious preferred parent.
I was starting to get crazy tired. I could barely keep my eyes open. Ying noticed. ‘’I better get going and let you sleep.’’ She says, squeezing my hand one more time. But rest is not forthcoming. Doctors show up again to check me out and tell me more things. ‘’Whats wrong?’’ One asks me. ‘’I just want to sleep.’’ I say with tears rolling down my face. They leave me alone and about five minutes later my lovely friends Tim and Rhiannon arrive. They look so good and healthy. Rhiannon’s long dark curly hair and Tim’s red beard. Rhiannon is carrying a gift bag. I am curled up in my bed, sweating but cold. I see them and burst into tears. ‘’I am so so tired.’’ I say pitifully. ‘’Im so sorry for not being fun.’’
‘Aww Jess.’’ Tim says. He looks so concerned as he sits across from me on the chair. Rhiannon sits on the edge of my bed. ‘’We got you some pajamas.’’ She tells me. I had been saying how I needed nice pajamas. I was put in hospital so suddenly I did not have time to pack accordingly.
‘’Thank you.’’ I say. They leave.
And I continue to shiver.