by Stephen Reid Andrews
All rights reserved in the author
Doctor Jensen is explaining my medical condition to me and my parents before he returns home for the night. My parents are seated to my side with my mother holding my hand as if I am a little child. Trevor is no longer in the room, most likely because he is trying to find something to eat.
“You seem to be doing fine, David. Since we increased your medication, we have seen no sign that you might have another seizure even when you were…excited,” Dr. Jensen says in a monotone voice. “We are going to keep you over the night to monitor you, but I would imagine you should be able to return home tomorrow.”
My mother looks at me with a smile that radiates her relief. “How long will he have seizures?” my mother asks, still acting as if I am a ten year old child for whom she is responsible to provide every need.
Though I am annoyed that my parents are treating me like a child, at the same time, I am relieved that my parents are providing Dr. Jensen with someone to talk to besides me as I am content to look out the window into the darkening night and sulk.
“Hard to say. He could suffer from episodes for the rest of his life.” Dr. Jensen puts his clipboard down and looks at me without showing emotion. “The bullet that struck you last year missed your Occipital Lobe by only a few millimeters. You’re a lucky young man David.”
Lucky? I think to myself. I am anything but lucky. I have lost my wife, and I have missed the last ten months of my life. Basically, I have nothing to live for. I would have been lucky if I would have died.
Despite my pessimism, it is pointless to say anything to Dr. Jensen as he doesn’t understand what I have lost.
Dr. Jensen continues, turning his look back to my parents. “I am confident that the dosage of medication we have prescribed for him will control his seizures. The seizures may not completely go away, but I believe we have sufficiently limited their intensity. I’ll schedule David for a checkup at my office in a week so we can see how he is doing.” Dr. Jensen instinctively looks down at my wrists.
The nurses took the straps off my arms, legs, and waist when I got emotional about my wife without having a seizure. I suppose Dr. Jensen must have believed I was stable enough to be released from my medical captivity.
“Do we have to be concerned with anything?” my mother asks without changing her tone towards me.
“Well, for the immediate future, at least until we can determine how severe his condition is and how well he will function out in the world, make sure he doesn’t sleep around any sharp-cornered furniture or loose objects that could hurt him if he has an episode.”
Great, I think. Twenty years old, and I won’t even be able to sleep without my mother coddling me. I wish Jennifer were here, and I wish I could see her. I wish that I could disappear with her and that she could take care of me.
“Oh, and of course,” Dr. Jensen continues, “don’t let him drive or operate any machinery.”
My mother and father nod their heads in agreement, but I feel like I am going to throw up.
“If you don’t need anything else from me tonight, I am going to head home,” Dr. Jensen concludes, speaking to my parents while turning to me. “David. We’re glad you’re finally back.” Dr. Jensen fakes some emotion for my benefit.
“Thank you, doctor,” My mother says as she looks to me and smiles. My mother certainly is not hiding the fact that she’s happy I’m alive and awake.
With my mother’s concluding words, Dr. Jensen nods his head and turns to walk out the door. I glance back to the window, staring blankly through the nearby trees and into the sky. My mother can sense my disinterest with living and rises from her seat. She moves closer to me still clutching my hand like only a loving mother can.
“David. I am so sorry about Jennifer. But…” she pauses, and I can tell that she is sincere in her feelings. “But, your dad and I, we are so glad you are with us again.”
Without responding, I watch the scenery through the window, wishing that I could escape. I am frustrated with my mother’s behavior towards me, but my inner depression prevents me from censuring her.
“We’ll take you back to
tomorrow,” she says like she believes I would like to go home with them and
that doing so will make everything better. “You can stay with us and get your
feet under you.” Freeport
Because the last thing I want right now is to be babied by my mother at my childhood home, I respond, although I do so quietly and with indifference. “Thanks mom, but I think I’ll just go back to my home.”
Jennifer and I lived in a small townhome just outside
in Woodridge, one of ’s
suburbs. Although I was attending the Chicago ,
we wanted to be as far away from the city as possible without making my commute
more than forty minutes. University of Chicago
Disturbingly, at my request to return to my own home, my mother remains completely silent, and I realize there is more news that she was not looking forward to sharing with me. Concerned, I look from the window to my mother.
“Mom?” I whisper, feeling like I am going to cry again.
“David, I’m sorry. We sold your home,” she says somberly. “I’m sorry David,” she repeats making it obvious that she does not want to provide me any time to respond. “But, the doctors didn’t know if you would ever wake up, and your father and I couldn’t carry the mortgage.”
My mother looks back at my father, and he looks at me ashamed that he ever doubted that I would wake up.
With all of the bad news and all of the agony I’ve been experiencing today, I forgot that I had been asleep for the last ten months. I should have anticipated this news about my home, but I have been unable to convince myself that anything should be different than it was ten months ago. I keep expecting Jennifer to walk in the door and greet me with a loving hug and kiss. Unfortunately, I am gradually realizing that, of all my dreams, my past life is the most unattainable and unrealistic of them all.