Tunnel vision was setting in hard. Only the immediate center of Brianna’s vision was clear and in focus. Around the edges of view, the world shot into a blur looking like the effect of a spaceship going into warp-drive. Huge dead trees blocked her every step as she tried moving forward. Turning to the left or right just showed high grey rock walls she knew were impossible to scale.
In the back of her mind, a voice almost unnoticed at first began to speak. “It’s only a dream, wake up…wake up.” Finally growing louder, “Brianna wake up! It’s a bad time Brie!”
The voice was not hers, nor was it at the same time unfamiliar. It’s the voice she’s learned to summon from childhood when the dreams got bad. And this one was becoming one of those childhood nightmares.
Brianna’s eyes shot open wide like saucers. She lay there gasping and unable to move. Looking around the tunnel vision was now gone and she could see her room clearly from the street light that reflected in from the edges of her window.
Panic set in, her heart raced and sweat set shimmering beads upon her forehead. He was here, he followed her. Her mouth opened wide, her throat forced a scream, but no sound or breath escaped. Only silence.
“You must wake up Brianna”, the childish voice beckoned from behind her. “Wake up. The bad time is here.”
Again, Brianna awoke. This time as before she awoke lying in bed with the outside light still dimly illuminating her surroundings, and as before the fear was there. She tried standing, but some force held her pinned. Another voice, this one from far away, spoke to her. She couldn’t make out the words, only garbled syllables and some sort of guttural accent.
Her own conscious began to realize she was still in her nightmare. A third time she tried waking herself up and found she was unable to. As a child she used to have nightmares all the time about falling and learned to wake herself up by finding some inner voice that would warn her before the dream got too scary. Then in her teens, the falling turned into being pulled upwards high into the sky by some unseen force she called her aliens. The sensations in either scenario were completely real. She could feel everything from the g-forces of acceleration to the wind whooshing through her hair. They were utter terror to her.
This was the first time she found herself in a dream she couldn’t control since she learned how to escape. What was causing it? Why couldn’t she wake up? Did someone, or something, find a way to beat her escape? She looked around the room and everything looked real. Every sensation she could pick up felt real. But she knew it wasn’t real. She knew she was still asleep and captive in an unending nightmare.
Again she forced herself awake and felt weird prickling tingles up and down both legs. She was on her belly instead of her back with her head lopped crookedly to the left. Her arms lay spread above her head resting upon the bookcase that made her headboard. Looking around, she saw the hint of orange signaling a new day peeking through her thin drapes and pushed herself up. Her mind was embraced on the dream and her inability to wake up. Deep down she could feel a fear that was worse than the one she had of her nightmares as a kid. Her thoughts then turned to her father.
Maybe something had changed in Steve’s condition since she and her mother, Cassandra, left his bedside well after 11:00 pm. This thought made her chuckle, though her own scared state stifled it heavily. After all, telekinetic bonds are for comic books and good horror stories, right?
Regardless, Brianna could not shake this fear and it followed her as she prepared for a new day and the upcoming event that will change the whole family forever. Maybe the dream was a reflection of guilt that she assured herself and her mother was not an issue. The issue was after all, dad’s quality of life. And that was what they based their final decision on as the finished their consultation with Dr. Castro.
The night before, Brianna and Cassandra (or Cassie if you were a friend of the family) spent over three hours talking to Dr. Edmund Castro before leaving the hospital that night. Steve was on life support for the last three days following the accident when his Acura RSX met the front end of a Peterbuilt on south-bound 131 for a grill to grill handshake. His condition was not likely to improve to more than a vegetative bedridden man needing constant medical care in the best case scenario.
Tom Ripkins originally was in the north bound lane hauling his load of empty pallet boxes back to a plastics plant for refilling when he found himself amused and distracted by his new in dash MP-3, DVD, hands-free, voice activated, GPS so you get where your going device that also hooked up to the newest video game consoles. He began drifting left without realizing it, and when he finally did, his semi was doing a good impression of the General Lee jumping a gorge as it went plowing through the grass median that separated the 4 lane highway.
Steve was in the left lane passing an elderly couple who were doing just under 45 in a 70. His gaze was fixed on the lady who looked like she couldn’t see over the handle bar of a tricycle let alone the dash of her Cadillac CTS. Steve smiled and waved as he passed and never once heard or saw the hammer that came crashing down on the front of his car. The front tires of the truck were a good four feet off the ground as it lifted up the embankment of the median into the south-bound lane. The front bumper smashed down on the Acura just to the front of the firewall and cut the car clean in two. Momentum carried both vehicles into the Cadillac and onward into the ditch separating the highway from Mr. Kegles corn field, now empty after the fall harvest.
Mr. and Mrs. Newvall had no chance, as neither was wearing a seat belt. The Cadillac ricocheted from the blast of impact and spun a pirouette before flipping side-long over and over 3 times. Ethyl and Edgar were like rag dolls tossed in a dryer set on hell.
Steve and Tom remained connected as they went off-road where the semi rolled up onto the top of what remained of the small sports car, rolling it like a joint under the semi and then the trailer before they finally stopped. The remains of the car rested just in front of forward duels on the trailer. Steven was obscured by blood and the deflated vinyl side impact airbags which had stuck to his skin. Tom, shaken and heavily stirred, jumped from his truck and ran over to the Cadillac oblivious to the fact he had hit two vehicles.
He bent down to look into the drivers’ side window which now lay in the dirt of the field and lost his lunch at the sight inside. Edgar was decapitated and Ethyl looked like busted up mush fresh removed from a blender. Both were laying in a morbid embrace on the interior roof of the car which was now the bottom of the wrecked vehicle.
Tom couldn’t stand and remained knelt beside the upturned car until sirens blared from the roadway 50 yards behind him. Finally, a state police officer grabbed him and asked him what happened. Tom turned and looked, for the first time seeing the silver painted remnants of the Acura. He opened his mouth and just began repeating “I don’t know…I don’t know” over and over.
It took rescue workers over 40 minutes to extract Steve from the car. They needed 2 tow trucks to maneuver the trailer off the vehicle enough to even attempt cutting into the vehicle for extraction. A medic was leaning a make shift opening courtesy the Jaws of Life, to stabilize the c-spine and also control the heavy bleeding from several lacerations to Steve’s face and chest along with a partial amputation of the left arm just below the elbow.
Cassie got the call from the hospital at about 7:45 p.m. It took her almost 20 minutes to gain enough composure to call Brianna at her apartment not far from KVCC. Brianna was able to maintain her composure better and contacted a friend to drive her and her mother to the hospital. Even still, she was just as distraught as her mom and when they met up at her parents’ house for the trip to Kalamazoo, her emotions finally overwhelmed her. Becky did her best to comfort as she drove them, but quickly figured it better to just remain silent and let them go on as they were.
“What happened mom?”
“I don’t know other than he was in a car wreck.”
“I hope it’s not that bad, he’ll be alright”, Brianna tried sounding enthused with optimism when she spoke, but as she looked up to her mother, they all caught a glimpse of the patrolman replacing flares along the side of the of the south-bound lane. Becky was busy watching traffic as it crawled from rubber necker’s gawking at the remains of a balled up chunk of silver metal being loaded onto a flatbed wrecker.
They were in the north bound lane and instinctively knew this was the accident. They traced the path of the semi through the median, the skid marks and debris on the pavement, and the churned dirt of the ditch and field to the remnants of the dented up semi. The Cadillac had long since been hauled off and only three wreckers and two State Police officers remained to do the clean up.
Cassie undid her seat belt climbing from the front of the mini van to the back seat where Brianna sat and clutched her with all her might. Although they were only 20 miles from the hospital, the ride seemed like eternity that passed in an instant once they reached the emergency room doors.
The next two days neurosurgeons and other specialists did there best to heal Steve. From the time he arrived until almost 6 am the next morning he was in the operating room. Then, wheeled to ICU where Brianna and Cassie got to spend just 15 minutes with him before he was prepped for yet another surgery for which a specialist had just arrived.
They spent the whole of those three days in the hospital, never leaving once. Finally, on Thursday when Dr. Castro finished all the meetings and reviewed all the information, x-rays, and diagnostics for Mr. Steve Michaels, he approached Cassandra and asked her to come with him.
“What about me?” Brianna stated almost in a demanding yell. Turning her head to look at the two of them before the got fully out the door awaiting a reply, she noticed a reflective shimmer above her mothers head. Only, there was no light shining directly on her head, nor anything for light to reflect from. Her mind dismissed it unconsciously.
“Stay with your father for the moment”, Dr. Castro replied. “I’ll be back and we’ll all talk as a group.”
“I think that would be best, dear”, her mother said softly.
Brianna turned her focus back to her father and held tightly onto his right hand. Tears highlighted her cheeks as she spoke to her daddy about their times growing up and her life in college. About 30 minutes later, a nurse walked in and asked Brianna to join her mother and the doctor in his office.
Brianna walked in, her mother was seated sobbing heavily. “I don’t know about that, is it the right thing?”
“Is what the right thing?” Brianna questioned as she stood half way between the chairs and door.
“Please sit, Miss Michaels”, Dr. Castro said pointing to an empty chair to the left of her mother.
“Is WHAT the right thing?” she reiterated as she sat.
“We think it may be best for you to discuss whether or not to leave your father, Steve, on life support. His condition at best by all our specialists and myself is he would be a invalid. A vegetable confined to a bed, if he came out of the coma at all. He’ll require a respirator for probably the rest of his life, if not complete life support if he were to ever regain consciousness.”
“I want a second opinion”, Cassandra spoke without any pause after the doctors last word.
“That’s fine. I respect that. But I assure you we have had all the best doctors here to look at his condition and analyze his status.” Dr. Castro leaned back in his leather chair, his thin frame making the furnishing look somehow incomplete, “I am looking out for the best interest to you all. I know no one wants to lose a loved one. We do have the technology to extend his life. But you must also look at what his quality of life would be, is this how he would want to live.”
Brianna looked at her mother and almost whispered “The money you’d spend that insurance won’t cover alone for this would devastate you financially.”
“I know…I know, but what if. What if he did recover and the MRI’s and CAT-Scans and everything else is wrong.” Cassandra almost couldn’t finish the sentence behind her sobs.
“Mrs. Michaels, take your own advice if you are unsure. Get a second opinion. We can even recommend some outside specialists or use your own referrals.”
“No, that’s ok, Brie and I will discuss it with family tomorrow,” Cassie said as she and her daughter looked at each other.
“Can we discuss this with the doctor sometime Monday, let some of family know to have them help make a decision then?” Brianna asked her mother.
“Also, I don’t want to feel guilty about it”, Cassie suddenly blurted almost in a spontaneous quip.
“If his life is not what it would be, we have nothing to feel guilty about, mother”, Brie said firmly.
“Your daughter’s right, Mrs.………”
“I think were done for the night Dr. Castro,” Cassie said as she rose to her feet. “Come on Brianna, lets go home and get some rest. It’ll be a long day tomorrow.”
With that, they left the doctors office and walked back to the room in ICU where Steve lay hooked up to all kinds of machines and a respirator that made the only real sound as they walked in. The slow, wispy, repetitive, “koosh-daah” of the respirator was almost demonic in Brianna’s ears now. She realized it was too words it was making, not just a mechanical sound.
“Choose-die…..choose-die……choose-die,” the machine echoed now in her head. “I’m calling Becky mom, be right back”, she said as she left briskly to get away from the dreadful sound. She didn’t even hear her mother reply, just made pace to the nearest exit so she could use her cell and call Becky.
Brianna didn’t wait for a hello. “Can you come get us and take us to moms?”
“Be there in 20 or 30 minutes Brie”, Becky said and hung up.
Brianna reached into her pocket and grabbed a Marlboro light and stood there staring into nothing, wondering what will be and reassuring herself that their choice was the best choice.
“Choose-die…….choose-die” fleeted into her mind again. She flicked the butt of her smoke into the wind and walked back into the hospital. She sat with her mother until Becky arrived and buzzed her cell letting her know she was there waiting to take them home.
Brianna walked out of her parents guest room into the kitchen where her mother was already up and having some coffee. They didn’t speak at first, just exchanged a smile and sat at the breakfast table quietly. The kitchen was well lit from the huge widow that nearly filled the entire east wall from counter top to ceiling. Modest colors decorated the varnished cabinet doors and drawers below the sink. The breakfast table was an Amish hand-made beauty that Steve bought Cassie for her 30th birthday.
“I wish I knew what to talk about”, Brianna said finally breaking the silence. She scooped some sugar and non-dairy creamer into the fresh cup of java her mother placed in front of her, not really expecting a reply.
Cassandra leaned hard on the counter with both hands making it creek. “I couldn’t sleep at all. I’ve already called your aunt to come help with this.”
Brianna only had one aunt, so she didn’t have to ask “Aunt who“. Her father was an only child, her mother had one sister, Beverly. Beverly was always a part of the family. She never married and as such, made the Michaels a part of her life. She sent Brianna money, usually a 5 or 10 dollar bill, every birthday and Christmas. She also set up Brianna with a nice little bond which was continually turned into more bonds as it matured until Brianna graduated high school. In the end, it paid for $2500 of Brianna’s tuition for school. Not a lot, but it sure offset what her student loan would have been without it.
Bev also was a sure visitor every holiday and special occasion. And this occasion would be no different. She was going to be a rock they all needed at this time. Little did Cassie or Brianna know, Aunt Bev had already made calls to family who needed to know about the accident and was prepared to make another set of calls concerning the severity of the issue the family faced.
Cassie released her pressure from the counter and it sighed as it flexed back up. She sat back down at the table with Brianna and sipped her cup of coffee. Her hands trembled mildly and tears still slipped over her cheeks. Her daughter was just as shaken. Gingerly, she reached over and grabbed Brianna by the hand and held it tight. They sat there silent until both their cups were empty when finally Cassie stood and walked to the bathroom and shut the door.
Brie heard the shower turn on and walked to the coffee pot which sat between a four slot toaster and old fashioned bread box. She poured herself some more brew and gazed out the window into the back yard. The house was surrounded on three sides by a dense set of woods that went from the south side of the home around to the north. On the east side of the house was the St. Joseph river which had it’s path along the lower corner of Michigan’s great southwest.
The house wasn’t in the country, but rather on the edge of town. But by the lay of the property you wouldn’t know it. Deer were occasionally seen in the early morning or late evening, especially this time of year with hunting already under way. The deer were smart and knew inside the city limits they weren’t going to get shot.
But the view this morning wasn’t filled with any deer. Just a grey overcast sky and light morning fog not really dense enough to obscure anything. Looking into the tree-line, Brianna was reminded of the dream from which she just awoke a short time before. The trees appeared to move closer to each other, and her, the more she looked at them.
She blinked and stepped back from the window. Her eyes scanned left, right, up and down in an attempt to rectify the illusion. Her eyes settled back in their sockets and everything outside was as it should be.
A red-wing black bird landed on the feeder and let out a “cah-caw” as if to proclaim it’s new found treasure.
Brianna returned to her chair and sat resting her head into the palms of her hands. Her thoughts were now focused on her father. Today would be decision time. Today, she suddenly realized, could be the day they decide to let him die. Her mother wants to keep him alive, Brie knew it would be best to let him go.
Tears flowed, but no sobbing. She wiped her eyes up her hands as she lifted her head and saw a reflective glint by the coffee pot, similar to the one at the hospital that appeared by her mother’s head. This time, her mind didn’t dismiss it. She stared at it hard. It was a metallic glint of metal suspended in the air half way between the wall and table directly between her and the coffee pot.
She stood slowly and moved toward it. As she moved, the glint faded slightly but did not disappear altogether. It didn’t bob up or down nor did it weave left or right. It stayed where it was and did not change shape or form. She reached for it, knowing it was real. She wanted to touch it.
The bathroom door thudded open and Cassie walked out with a towel on her head and one wrapped about her body under her bathrobe. “It’s ready when you are, Brie”, she said as she made her way to her and Steve’s bedroom.
Brianna turned with a blank expression, almost robotic. “Okay, mother.” Her hand seemed floated down back to her side as she drifted to the bathroom to take her shower. Almost hypnotically she reached into the closet where she grabbed a wash cloth and towel. She hung the towel on the rack across from the toilet and the wash cloth from the hanger in the stall. She removed her robe and sleeping clothes and placed them on the floor in front of the toilet.
She turned on the water as hot as she could stand it and stepped. Leaning forward while supporting herself with her hands on the tiles, she let the water stream down the back of her head and onto her back.
Outside the confines of the small bathroom, Cassie walked out of her bedroom dressed like she was ready to go to church. She walked into the kitchen to get another cup of coffee from the little bit left in the pot and sat back down at the table.
The glint of metal still hung in the air, but Cassie never noticed it. She walked right by it on her way to the pot and right under it as she headed for the seat. The phone rang making her jump, she reached up and grabbed the handset from the wall above her head.
“Hello”, she said, her voice audible but cracked.
“It’s Bev dear, how are you and Brie?” Aunt Bev’s voice was as comforting as a mother.
“We’re making it. What time will you be here?”
“I’m just ready to leave now, so about an hour and a half.”
“Ok, we’ll be here.”
“Anyone else coming this morning besides me?”
“No one here but me and Brie now, not expecting anyone either. Roger is up at the hospital visiting Steve. He called just before Brie woke up and asked if I minded”, Cassie said actually mustering a giggle.
“Why would you mind Roger going to the hospi-”, Bev started to say as Cassie cut her off.
“I wouldn’t, Roger and Steve have been friends for what, 5 years? Almost 6anyhow.” Cassie said as another smile greeted her face, though brief. Roger and Steve have know each other since Roger started at Pemberton Plastics. Steve had already been there for 8 years prior, starting as an associate, working his way up to tech, then supervisor on third shift. Roger came to the company as the new plant manager in the molding department. Just two years ago, Roger recommended Steve for the new position available as a lead quality assurance coordinator.
Steve jumped at this, although it didn’t pay much more, it was first shift from 8 am to 4 pm and also had some extras a floor super didn’t get. One of which being all the meetings. He went from 4 meetings a week to just 2. He was awkward giving speeches or presentations, but his brilliance with charts, diagrams, and lean manufacturing made people take little notice towards his lack of speech giving skills.
“Well dear, I’m hitting the road and I’ll be there before you know it”, Aunt Bev said.
“Alright, Brie and I will be here. See ya in a bit.”
“Bye Hon”, Bev said sweetly as she hung up the phone. Cassie reached up and replaced the handset on the wall mount without even looking. She leaned her head back while trusting her arms forward over the table top and arched her back in a welcome morning stretch. Letting out a mighty sigh as she reached the point where her joints and muscles could expand no further, the pressure of her breath moving through the air seemed to affect the shinning object which now had moved closer to the table.
If Cassie could have seen it, she would have been looking right at it. But she was oblivious to any other presence in the room, but not the same of it to her. Behind her, she heard the shower shut off and the glass door rattle open. Cassie stood up and made her way to the refrigerator but stopped and decided she wasn’t hungry, and, she thought, neither was Brie.
Brianna walked out of the bathroom into the hallway, looking into the kitchen through the doorway that lead into the kitchen. She saw her mother turning and walking towards the living room. Her eyes scanned the area of the kitchen see, unconsciously, for the object she had seen earlier. It was gone now, or somewhere she couldn’t see it. Making her way to the guest room she entered and closed the door behind her.
She dropped her robe in the clothes basket that lay at the foot of the bed and sat on the rumpled covers. Her head suddenly felt heavy, but she didn’t feel ill. Her vision began to grow dark so she laid back waiting for it to pass. She’s never felt like this before, but the visual sensation was exactly like her dream in the woods. She stared at the ceiling and could not see anything except for an area about one foot in diameter in the immediate center of her vision.
“I need him”, came a voice from nowhere, yet everywhere around her. It was a heavy and weighted sounding growl more than a articulate voice. “It is time for him to come.”
“Wake up Brianna, not good times ahead…..Wake up Brie”, called her nightmare guardian. Brianna never realized she had fallen asleep. She still saw the same 1 foot patch of spackled plaster on the ceiling that she was staring at as she laid back. But now, her eyes were closed and she was asleep.
“Wake up…it’s time to wake up”, the girlish voice now had urgency to it, unlike any other time before. Almost panicked.
Brianna open her eyes and had the same paralyzed sensation from earlier. Her tunnel vision had gone, and she could see everything in her room, including the clock which read 9:13. She knew she wasn’t awake, only dreaming she was awake. She also knew the time on the clock was correct, but how? She forced herself to sit up, but her body would not move, only her head. She thrashed her head violently from side to side and heard her neck pop and felt a twinge of pain shoot up the back of her neck.
Her dream state might as well been a waking state. Again she forced herself to awaken and when she opened her eyes for the second time as she left one dream, she instantly forced herself to sit up. This time she was able to stand and she did everything she could think of the reassure herself she had come back to reality. Looking over her shoulder to make sure she wasn’t standing in front of her own body, she saw her unmade bed and the crumpled blankets showing a hint that someone had just been on them.
She forced herself to walk, and it seemed to her it took real physical effort to do this. Her legs felt like lead and seemed delayed in response from signals her brain sent out to make them move. She looked over to the clock on the nightstand and read 9:18. Where did five minutes go, she wondered momentarily to herself, and dismissed the thought just as suddenly.
She opened the door and walked into the hallway and turned left towards the living room. Her mother was sitting on the couch by now and watching “Live with Regis and Kelli” on the television. Cassie turned and looked at her daughter, her facial expression appeared almost like that of someone who was zoned out on a good buzz.
“Mom, I’m not feeling so hot…I’ve been having these weird dreams and my-”
“Choose……………………………die……………..”,Cassie said in a wispy sighed voice. The same voice that filled her room just seconds before.
Brianna’s eyes shot open and she sat upright in a bolt. She was awake this time, and she knew it. She looked at the clock and it read 9:23. Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes which began to redden as she rubbed at them hard.
She stood up and removed her towel, tossing it haphazardly towards the basket, missing and thumping in a heap on the floor. She grabbed some underwear and clothing from the closet and hurriedly dressed wanting herself out of the room as soon as possible. Grabbing her brush from the dresser, she opened the door and made sure to close it tightly behind her when she got out.
Making her way into the living room it was purely de ja vous. Her mother was sitting on the couch watching “Live…” and turned to look at her daughter slightly expressionless. “What took you so long?” Cassie asked.
“Just tired I guess, I nodded off for a minute”, Brie replied not wanting to unload her current problems with everything else going on involving her dad.
“You feeling ok, you look like you’re woozy?” Cassie asked motherly.
“It’s probably the stress mom.”
“I know dear, I don’t know what were going to do. Aunt Bev will be here in a little while, between 10 and 10:30.” Cassie paused and thought aloud, “I don’t want to let him go.”
“You heard what Dr. Castro said, he won’t have anything close to a life if he does live, Mother”, Brie said surprised at how firmly steadfast her voice was.
“Let’s not discuss it right now until your Aunt gets here. I want to do the right thing, but what is the right thing?” Cassie asked solemnly. “I don’t want to lose Steve.”
“I don’t want to lose my father!” Brianna shouted to her own surprise. “But I don’t want to remember my father as a thing lying in bed having to be hand fed like an infant and you having to change his diapers.” She realized she was almost scolding her mom now.
“Brie don’t take that tone with me, put yourself in my shoes…He’s my husband!” Cassie said defensively.
“He’s also my father”, Brie countered and turned away walking towards the kitchen and heading for the door. She just wanted to be outside and get some fresh air. This was not the time to quarrel, and she knew it.
The weather was comfortable outside, upper 60’s and the morning fog was lifting. Not that the fog was really bad enough to be an issue or take away from the beauty of the property her parents have nurtured for the last 30 years.
This has been her parents home since they married. The house was a simple one story pad without many fancy trims. Simple white vinyl siding adorned the exterior walls with a charcoal-grey colored roof on top. Her bare feet felt cool as they slid over the grass still covered in morning dew and perhaps left over moisture from some rain overnight. If it did rain, it was just a light mist, as no puddles lined the edges of the drive.
Rabbits eyed her cautiously from beyond the small shrubs that lined the far side of the driveway. Walking that way would lead her to the edge of the river, where she decided would be a peaceful place to collect her thoughts. As she stepped onto the drive, the gravel poked into her feet and she shifted her walking to distribute her weight better and ease the discomfort on her feet until she reached the neatly trimmed low lying cornus stolonifera, aka “Hedgerow’s Gold”. Although the plants can grow upwards of 6 feet, Cassie and
Steve just planted them earlier this year to help quell Cassie’s green thumb and the hedges were just barely 2 foot high now, so stepping over the vegetation was easily negotiable saving a trip down the drive to walk around.
Brie noticed the traces of paths made through the dew soaked grass showing where the rabbits had made their morning rounds. She watched them scurry off into the brush piles and cat-tails that lined the lawn where it met the shore of the river. From where Brie was by the edge of the drive to the river was a good 75 yards.
She walked the distance slowly, her head down watching her toes comb through the neatly kept grass.
Sitting upon a little dock the only went a couple feet into the river. It was more of a patio or deck than a dock really, where the Michaels would have cookouts or just sit in the lawn chairs that were the only real furnishings by the water, and read a book or daily paper.
Brianna cuffed up her pants and let her feet hang off the edge and felt the current pass around her calves and enjoyed the slight tickle the water created as it rolled under her heals. She pondered on what her mother was doing now and felt bad about how the situation got out of hand. She couldn’t stand to let her father face a life that wasn’t him. But, she also understood her mother wouldn’t want to let the only man she ever had, held, kissed, or made love with, to be out of her life physically.
Brianna sat in quiet contemplation until she heard the low grind of crushed gravel beneath the wheels of her aunt Beverly’s Grand Am headed up the drive. She pushed herself up and headed back for the house. This time, she followed the path that lead from the dock to the end of the driveway and walked up to the house following the brick pathway that separated the drive from the house.
Aunt Beverly had already made her way in and was sitting with Cassie at the dining room table. Brianna joined them, taking a seat at the end of the table and listened to the conversation without interjecting until she was spoken to first.
“Hello there Brie”, aunt Bev said cheerily after she finished some small talk with Cassie. “How have you been love? Are you ok?”
“I’m doing alright. As best I can right now”, Brie replied, hoping the answer wouldn’t provide digging further. Sometimes, and Brie never really understood why, aunt Bev could see through a person and knew when there was something deeper. Brianna didn’t want her seeing the problem that has troubled her since this morning. More important matters were at hand.
“Well, we have the whole weekend, and your mother and I have decided to not talk about your father just yet. At least not to the point of coming to a decision today. But I want to talk, because you and your mom need to heal now, just from what has transpired so far.” Aunt Bev held out both hands, her left for Cassie, her right for Brie. They each accepted graciously as all three smiled and spoke about life up to this point.
Aunt Bev never let loose her grip on their hands as the three of them sat talking. Cassie and Brie had moments of peaceful joy and a few moments each of tearful reflection. Cassie eluded during a couple of these sorrowful moments that she didn’t want to talk about Steve in the past-tense. Each time, Aunt Bev would remind her that Steve is still here and that the past is what they are currently talking about.
Brie used the time she shared in the conversation to discuss mostly her memories of her father missing her big moments in school, such as band recitals or graduation. But then expressed her joy in her father having more involvement in her life when he was transferred to first shift at his job. She reflected on his taking a vacation for a day just to spend the whole day with her when she began college a year ago. He seemed more excited than her when the big day came. Then her voiced began to soften as she came closer to the present tense in her recollection.
“I never thought I’d be taking time off from school for dad, just not yet”, she said, her voice fading slightly as she drifted from each word to the next.
“Why don’t we go out to eat, my treat?” Bev asked as more of a distraction than what she felt was what everyone actually wanted. Cassie and Brie hadn’t eaten anything for breakfast, and were not really all that hungry now even though it was half passed noon. However, they were not going to say no to aunt Bev; Brie never told her aunt Bev no, and Cassie was always close to her sister even though Bev was 9 years her senior.
They each gathered themselves up and readied for the trip to Olive Garden. Bev insisted on driving and received very little resistance to the idea, even in consideration that she had just made the drive from Jackson to Three Rivers.
Olive Garden was on the south side of Portage, about 45 minutes from Cassie’s house in Three Rivers, just 10-15 minutes from Bronson Hospital, where Steve lay in ICU. Cassie and Brie both intentionally looked to the east as the approached Schoolcraft, not wanting their gaze to fall upon the median or south bound lane where the marks of the accident still are fresh and painful reminders.
From Three Rivers to Vicksburg (where Steve worked), Portage, and Kalamazoo, the quickest route was US 131 north. Kalamazoo is fairly large, and Portage really has no separation as you leave the town and enter into K-zoo. If the towns keep growing like they are, Vicksburg won’t be far behind in being swallowed up into the suburbanization of the area.
On the north side of Schoolcraft is the exit, where Bev turned off, onto Shaver Road. About a mile or two up in a large plaza was the restaurant where they filed in and found a seat by one of the front windows and prepared for lunch.
Brie ordered just a salad and breadsticks with tea to drink. Cassie had just a diet Coke, but nibbled on some of the breadsticks from her daughters plate. Bev ordered an angel hair pasta with alfredo sauce with coffee.
They ate in silence, just simple small talk filling the atmosphere around their table. Bev filled them in on little things in her life going on the last couple months since she last saw them. They all got together over the 4th of July when Steve always had a big bar-b-cue gathering for his family and a couple of their closest friends; and of course, Bev was always there, a big part of the family.
Bev talked about her worries of being laid-off from work. A couple of her friends were already affected by the situation involving auto makers and their suppliers. She worked for Aero-Pack since graduating high school as was one of the highest seniority employees working there. Although she’s been there for almost 20 years, she never took any offers for promotion from the assembly line. She loved working in the final packing department and wouldn’t want to do anything different.
She also griped a little about zoning changes the city counsel wants to implement allowing for expansion of the industrial park which would remove some of the park space she enjoys on her days off.
When they finished, Bev paid on her Visa card and they made their way to the parking lot and back into Bev’s Grand Am. “Ready to go see him?” she asked as she put the keys in the ignition started the motor.
“Yeah, maybe there will be good news,” Cassie said hopeful, yet, dread underlying her words.
“Roger’s probably still there, too, ma”, Brie said. “Maybe he’ll have some ideas.”
“Like what? What is your idea, Brie. Why don’t you feel in Aunt Bev with your and Dr. Castro’s grand scheme”, there was an eerie and cruel undertone in her voice Brie never heard. It made her sink low into the back seat and regret saying anything at all.
“Now, Cassie, this is not the time for spite or arguments. It isn’t going to do any good. I already know the situation and your opinion. Don’t make Brie feel worse than she already does, because her choice isn’t any less as emotional as yours”, Bev interjected playing both referee and the speaker of reason.
“I don’t want you guys fighting over this. This is something that we agreed we would use the whole weekend to discuss and come to resolution on no sooner than Monday.”
“Sorry sis”, Cassie said, and then added, “I’m sorry Brie.”
“It’s ok mom, it’s ok”, Brie said in nothing more as a sigh while leaning back into the seat and closing her eyes trying to hold in the tears. This time, the emotion wasn’t for her father, but for her mother. She couldn’t understand why her mother would want to let him live in such a condition.
All the sudden, she no longer heard the sound of the car or traffic and city life around her. Her world became muted silence. Upon opening her eyes, she was still on Westnedge Road, headed north to Gull Road and the visitors lot of Bronson Hospital. But she wasn’t there. It was like she was watching from just over her own shoulder, an outsider looking in.
“Don’t let this be…”, the low voice again emanating from everywhere, but at the same time, nowhere. Brianna turned and spun looking for the source. She then looked at her body sitting slumped in the seat, appearing asleep, and saw her lips moving.
“Choose………………die…………….Choose…………….die………….”, she spoke in the voice that just filled her ears moments ago, not her voice or any hint there-of in and presence was audible.
She could see that the car had made the right onto Gull Road and was preparing to shift into the left turn lane and go into the parking lot of the hospital. The scenery was real, not surreal. Her senses couldn’t register anything, no smells or audible sounds from outside the vehicle, though a couple windows were cracked open. The only thing she could take in other than her visual sense, was the sound escaping from her own bodies mouth.
Was she experiencing an astral projection? She couldn’t figure out what was going on with her, and it made her more scared than the situation with her fathers life. What’s up with these weird dreams last night and this morning? She struggled to make sense of it now as she found herself in a new, but similar, state.
As the car parked, she saw her mother turn and lean over as her aunt spoke. She couldn’t hear anything they were saying, but watched as her mother grabbed the hand of her slumbering body and shake it gently.
Again, her world zoned out to black and slowly her eyes opened. Her ears picked up the comforting sound of her mother’s tone, “…wake up sweetie, we’re here.”
“I’m awake mom”, Brie replied.
“You were out almost the instant we got out of the parking lot”, Aunt Bev said. “You must be exhausted, having you been sleeping ok?”
“Having some weird dreams, that’s all”, Brie answered almost unconsciously.
“Well, let’s go see your father, we can talk about that later”, Bev replied.
“I don’t know if I want to, it’s just dreams”, Brie spoke as they all exited the vehicle and headed to the entrance. “Probably just stress.”
“Sometimes there’s more meaning than you see, Brianna”, Bev offered. And Brie could sense the notion than her aunt’s words were more than just a comment, but as if Aunt Bev knew something she couldn’t put her finger on right now.
“Bev, dream interpretation is nothing more than the bull-hockey crap that guy on the Sci-Fi channel used to talk about on his show where he claimed to speak to the dead”, Cassie spoke before Brie could even form any words to reply or question what aunt Bev meant.
They made a left down the short corridor and headed for the elevators. Cassie pressed the up button and they boarded the car and pressed the 5 key. The doors opened as the ding signaled their arrival on the desired floor. They went to the right and walked to the nurses station.
Roger sat in the small waiting room that was just off to the right of the entry way to the ICU area. Cassie turned toward him and sat in the open chair beside his. Bev and Brie followed but stood instead of taking a seat.
“They asked me to leave his room about thirty minutes ago, he started having some kind of seizure or something”, Roger said without even looking up. “I’ve tried calling you and so did the hospital.”
“What is it Roger”, Cassie inquired in a cracked voice turning shaky.
Brie headed to the nurses station to find out what she could, Bev knelt and held her sisters hand gently.
“I’m not sure, as soon as the beepers and stuff started going off, someone came in and told me I had to leave. He don’t even look like the Steve I know”, Roger said as he began to cry and show his emotion since he found out what happened when Cassie called Steve’s work to let them know he was injured. “I had no idea he was this hurt, will he be ok?”
“We don’t know”, Cassie told him, not wanting him to know the whole of the severity just yet.
Brie made her way back to her mother with aunt Bev by her side, a nurse was following close behind. This time Brie and Bev sat as the nurse began to speak.
“Mrs. Michaels, your husband is back in the operating room right now. He has a hemorrhage in his skull just behind and below the medulla oblongata near where the spine enters the cranium”, the nurse spoke as giving a rehearsed speech or lecture. The words flat and semi-monotone his Cassie hard. She took Rogers hand with both of hers and gripped hard enough to turn her knuckles white.
The nurse spoke before anyone had time to react: “We’ll let you know of any changes and when he’s out of the O.R. Please just wait here, someone will speak to you as we get information.”
With that, she smiled in a veiled attempt to be comforting and then offered almost second-handedly,
“Would you like to speak to the hospital Chaplain?”
“Not right now”, Bev replied. And with that, the four of them sat and waited for what seemed days to find out what was coming next.
The wait was finally over. The neuro-surgeon, Dr. Pollack, informed the family and Roger that Steve made it through the 3 and a half hours without further complication. “We’ve removed a portion of the base of his skull to relieve any additional pressure from the swelling. He will be more touch and go for the next couple days, maybe even longer.”
Doctor Pollack paused awaiting any reaction or questions, when no one spoke up he continued: “We took the piece of bone we removed and placed it in his abdomen to keep the tissue alive. This way, when the swelling reverses, we can restore everything back to normal. But I can’t give a definite date for that, only time will tell-”
“Maybe time’s running out”, Brianna muttered, but loud enough for everyone to hear.
Cassie didn’t even acknowledge what Brie said, instead she remained transfixed on the doctor and asked
“Can we go see him?”
“I’ll have the nurse come get you when they have him set up in his room again and everything is ready on our end”, Dr. Pollack replied.
Roger stood up slowly reaching for Cassie’s hand. “I’ll be going home for tonight then, I think this moment is more important for his family”, he said as he clutched her fingers gently in his.
“We’ll call you in the morning”, Cassie told him as she pulled her hands free of his to wipe her tears.
Bev reached in her purse, pulled out a tissue, and handed it to her sister. She stood up and hugged Roger in a motherly manner and added “If anything comes up tonight, you’ll get a call right away.”
“Thank you and I wish there was more I could do…”, he replied as he turned and left the three of them there in the silence of the waiting area.
“Wait up”, Brianna hollered as she stood to follow Roger. “I wanna go out and have a smoke, will you walk out with me?”
“Sure”, Roger answered giving her a grin.
As soon as they were out of ear-shot of her mother and aunt, Brianna spoke; “All the doctors say my dad isn’t gonna make it, and if he does, he won’t be much more than an invalid.”
“I know, I talked with a nurse for a little bit. She wouldn’t go into detail because I’m not family, but I got the gist of what was between the lines she was sharing”, Roger said rather plainly, almost flat.
“Let me finish, I need to vent”, Brie almost demanded, “Anytime I try talking about it, I get pushed aside and over-ridden. Mother want’s to keep him alive, I think it would be best to let him go. Mom thinks we’d be killing him for one and doesn’t want to lose him. I can understand both her views. But I want my father, not a shadow of what he was, if he comes out of this at all.” Her words broke towards the end of her statement as the doors opened to the elevator that would take them to the parking level garage.
They entered and made the rest of the way out of the hospital without speaking another word. Roger struggled to find something to say, but didn’t know if anything would be appropriate at this time. Brie wanted to talk about more…her dreams and the voices, but didn’t want Roger thinking she was going nuts.
As they finally made it to the exit door to the parking garage, Roger spoke: “Brie, I don’t know what to say or do. Steve is a good friend and all I’d have to say would just be an opinion that I made not knowing everything that you and your mom were told.”
“Tell me your opinion”, Brie pried as she lit her cigarette.
“I think your father wouldn’t want to live like they say he’ll be, if he isn’t comatose for the rest of his life. But I also understand that your mother doesn’t want to let go of the person she loves. They are both my friends, I don’t want to choose sides and say who’s right or wrong.”, then he paused, almost unknowingly before adding, “Don’t let it tear your family apart, either.”
“Are you saying I should give in and let him stay-”
Roger cut her off “I’m saying don’t let this tear you and your mother apart.” He got into his car, waving to her as he started it. Brie returned his farewell wave, walked back over toward the entrance door and sat on the cool concrete. Leaning back against the wall, she closed her eyes and forced her mind clear. She didn’t want to think about her father living or dying right now, as it related to his condition. She wanted to think about her father as the man he was.
She thought back to just a couple months ago when the summer sun was abundant, college was break, and her dad seemed to bar-b-cue everything, even breakfast. She was back to the Saturday morning in early August when she went and spent the last weekend with them as a family. She hadn’t been home for an extended stay since then, and felt a little guilt about not being home more.
It was mid-morning, about 10 am and she just walked out onto the patio where her father was grilling brats. The air smelled of fresh cut grass, the mower still sitting in the driveway wet from where he rinsed the clippings off the deck and wheels with the garden hose.
“Good morning”, Steve greeted her with a hug holding the tongs in his extended arm so not to get grease on her shirt.
“Morning pops”, she said gleefully, “What’s cooking?”
“My reward for a job well done”, he said rolling the two oversized links then raising his arm gesturing over the grass. Her eyes followed the path his fingers made in the air pretending to dance on the turf. She watched with gross intensity his arm began to rot away. His left arm. His amputated missing piece of who he was.
She realized she was no longer in her mind. She was an observer again, a third party standing to the left of her father and her other self. Her eyes were transfixed as the flesh and bone disappeared like a lit candle filmed with time-lapse photography. All that remained now was the stub of forearm just below the elbow, however, it was unbandaged as she had always seen it in the hospital. She could see the torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments flexing and contracting as nerve impulses sent signals to now non-existent wrist, thumb, and fingers.
He carried on like nothing had changed, “I’m proud of myself and my accomplishments. But not as proud as I am of you, sweetheart.” The grilling utensil hovered almost magically, while still under his control, about a foot from where his current arm ceased to be. The tongs grabbed at the meat and tossed them neatly onto a paper plate and seemed to hang themselves neatly from the hook attached on the side of the grill base.
Brie continued to watch everything that was happening just as it happened then; he grabbed the plate with his right hand, turned asking her if she would join him at the picnic table, then following behind her and walking around to the opposite side of the table as she sat. The whole scene played before her as if she were watching a video taped recording. The only difference was he was slowly falling apart, his once former handsomeness turning into his current beaten and battered state.
Both he and her “other self” were oblivious to these changes. The Brie in her daydream (she realized it wasn’t a memory now, but being shown to her not as a memory or thought) conversed with her father as if all was the way it had always been. He continued to exist and interact unaware of the changes befalling him.
His skull began bruising and tearing, showing the impacts of the accident as they happened. An audible pop and crack were heard as his jaw deformed from the fracture that resulted as the steering wheel was shoved into his head by the force of the cars destruction. Blood began seeping through his clothing in the areas reflective of subsequent injuries.
Above him, the shimmering silver object once again appeared. Brie wondered what it was, it had dimension, but lacked substance. It was there, but incomplete. She thought of orbs and things she had seen in pictures of ghosts and hauntings, but this wasn’t that, either. It wasn’t a mist or “ectoplasm”, but there was a definite sense that there was a presence with it. It always accompanied this thing when she saw it, though she just now realized this new fact.
Without warning, the object was in front of her. Right in her face. She was on her back in a bed, the room was completely dark. The thing seemed to pace back and forth over her body, only pausing each time it reached her face. It was mocking her. Taunting her to flinch. Daring her to challenge it.
“What are you? What do you want with me?” Brie asked with fear trembling her voice letting it know she was weak, vulnerable.
No answer came. Not a sound could be heard and still nothing but it was in her vision. She knew not where it had taken her, and part of her didn’t care. She just wanted to be out of the place she found herself and not come back.
Then low in the distance, far away, someone spoke. It was barely audible, but she heard it clearly. “I need you”, the garbled voice, almost choked, spoke with a sense of thick desire. Not a desire for her, per say, but a desire of something she had. But what was it? Why now with all this other shit going on?
She noticed her little friend wasn’t calling to her to wake up. So she wasn’t dreaming, that much she knew. She understood something was needing her, but not what for. Nothing else could she make heads or tails of as she stared into the blackness with her eyes clamped not wanting to see what might be there. She was suddenly scared, not just afraid. It was real and not just her mind having a bad nightmare.
A sound filled her ears, it was as soft as a whisper, but not distant and from everywhere like the sound of the voice. She couldn’t make out what the source was, but she knew it wasn’t a human. It was mechanical. It was right in front of her face.
She opened her eyes and found herself in a hospital bed, her mother and aunt standing over her. In her nose, a nasal cannula, was feeding her oxygen. It was the low whisper she was hearing just before she opened her eyes.
“Why am I in this bed?” she asked, not specifically to her aunt or mother.
“A lady found you unconscious outside, and got help”, her aunt replied.
“Are you ok?” her mother asked as she stroked her daughters forehead gently.
“I’m fine, it’s probably the stress-” Brie started to say but her aunt cut her off.
“You were also having some spasms, similar to convulsions, the doctor said”, Aunt Bev told her and asked,
“Are you sure you’re feeling alright? You’re not ill are you and not telling us?”
“No, I’m fine. I’ve had trouble sleeping cuz of some bad dreams, that’s all”, Brie told her aunt and she could tell by the look in Aunt Bev’s eyes she knew there was more to what she was telling.
“I was sitting there thinking about dad and before I knew it, my thoughts turned into something different, like a dream, but not a dream”, she added.
“Tell me about it”, Bev inquired.
“This isn’t the time”, Cassie interjected impatiently. “I don’t want to hear about the past or about dream-weavery ---whatever---Wicca nonsense.”
“Mother, please”, Brie stated imploringly.
“No, it’s ok, really. Your mom just doesn’t understand. My sister’s hardheaded about things sometimes”, Bev said.
“You two talk about it all you want, I’m going to see if they’ll let me spend time with my husband”, Cassie stated in defiance and left her daughters bedside in the E.R.
“How long am I gonna be in here?” Brie asked wanting to see her dad, also, and definitely not wanting to be confided to a hospital bed herself.
“Not long, I’m sure. The doctor said they wanted to check you out after you woke up. Your blood-pressure was extremely low, they say that’s probably why you blacked out. Want me to let someone know you’re awake?”
“Yeah, sure”, Brie told her aunt but just then an orderly came around the curtain looking cheerful.
“Ah, you’re awake”, he said, “My names Jeremy. Was just coming in to see if you came around.”
“She just woke up”, Bev told him.
“Your blood pressure was just 89 over 53 when they brought you down here. You on any medications? Any allergies?”
“No to both.”
“Good. I’m just going to get your vitals then a doctor will come in to talk to you.”
“You’re not going to keep her are you?” Bev asked.
“Depends on her signs, but it’s the doctors call in the end anyways”, Jeremy replied. He sat quiet, placed a thermometer in Brie’s mouth, and got the information he needed.
“Well, your heart is racing more than before, pulse is 102, but your blood pressure is a lot better. 118 over 75. Now lets wait for the beep.” A few seconds later, the tone sounded indicating the timer had expired to take an adequate temperature. “A little high, but nothing to worry about I bet. 99.4 degrees.”
Jeremy wrote down the last bit of info on the paperwork he held clasped in his left arm. “Just be patient, the doctor will be in shortly. She’s with another patient right now.”
“Thank you”, Brie and Bev said almost in unison, causing a spontaneous giggle from the two of them. Jeremy smiled politely and walked back around the curtain.
Bev pulled the stool Jeremy had been sitting on toward herself and sat beside the bed. “You want to talk about your dreams?”
“Yeah, if you want to listen. They don’t seem like dreams, more than something that’s really happening.”
“I want to listen. I listened when you were younger and helped show you how to stop your nightmares then, right?”
“Yes, and it works still. But not on these. These ones are different” Brie said feeling like she sounded weird.
“Not all dreams are the same, sweetheart. Maybe we can figure out what’s going on and you can get back to worrying about your father and not suffering from the things on your mind”, Bev said leaning in close to listen intent on the words Brie was about to share.
Bev has always been fascinated with pagan ideas. She’s been practicing Wicca since she was 16. Her house looks like the b-movie set of a road side fortune teller. Beaded strings hanging from doorless entryways in every room, except the bathroom. Each window encompassing a dream catcher, every one unique. Candles were the main source of illumination, owning only 2 electrical lamps aside from the four ceiling fixtures that were installed, one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, one in the main bedroom and one in the dining room, when the home was built in the 1940’s or remodeled by previous owners. All of her books were about mythology, various occults, demonology, Egyptian history, crystals, Wicca, dream interpretation, astrology, and the like.
Her beliefs were a portion of the reason she never married, but not a sole factor. It was the driving wedge between her and Cassandra, however, and Bev never understood why. Cassie wasn’t religious in any aspect, but she was open minded to various things and respectful of others beliefs. Just not hers.
Bev didn’t think of herself as a witch, she never read spell books or anything like that. She likened herself more to a spiritualist. If someone was in tune with their spirit and did right with themselves and others, then their spirit would be looked upon as just by the Gods (yes, she believed in more than one God, very similar to Egyptian beliefs in the time of the pharaohs or Roman mythology). And, she felt, if there were good Gods, there were also evil Gods, or demons. And Bev was sure it was one of these demons who was now torturing her niece and she was ready to help her anyway she could. Brie needed to be there for her father and not have this other distraction affecting her.
Brianna filled in her aunt on every detail should could recount on the dreams she’s been having and about how she has been blacking out without knowing it. She struggled for the words to describe how intense the sensations and feeling of reality filled her when she was having these visions, or dreams. At this point she wasn’t sure which description was more accurate to convey what she was going through.
Beverly spoke up as Brie was just getting ready to recount what had happened in the car on the way to the hospital; “I wonder if it may be some kind of astral projection or other out of body experience that you are dealing with here. The spirit is an amazing entity, sweetie.”
Brie chuckled as she replied, “I don’t know about all that, I’m positive I’m not sure at all about any of it. It’s all so weird and surreal and…um, what’s the word I’m looking for?”
“I know what you’re trying to say, Brie”, Bev said.
“I’m not sure you do, I think if anyone else heard me talking like this, they would think I am nuts”, Brie managed a smile trying to make light of how badly these things were bugging her---scaring her---and messing with her mentally.
“If it keeps up, I might go nuts. If they get much worse, I’d be to creeped out to sleep”, Brie said and Bev picked up instantly on the undertone of fear in her nieces voice.
“You never see where the voice is coming from?”
“No, but it’s coming from everywhere, and half the time I can’t move or control what I’m doing. Nothing is in focus except what I am looking at right in front of me.”
“In the car on the way here, you just appeared to be in a deep sleep, nothing looked unusual to me when I saw you in the mirror. But outside the hospital, they thought you were having a seizure”, Bev said and saw a sudden look of concern in Brie’s eyes. Brie was staring over her aunt’s shoulder. Turning, she saw that the ER doctor had just came around the curtain.
“Did I interrupt something?” he said as he approached the left side of the bed.
“No we were just talking about some odd dreams I’ve been having.”
“Don’t be offended my asking, but have you been tested for narcolepsy? Some people with that condition go into an almost instant state of REM sleep, rapid eye movement, associated with the phase of sleep the mind is in where we dream. From what I’ve found out so far, and from what I gathered in your conversation with your friend---”
“Aunt”, Bev said laughing.
“Aunt, sorry, I haven’t had all the introductions just yet. I do know there are three of you with Dr. Castro’s patient. I’m Dr. Suren, Murat Suren.”
“Nice to meet you”, Bev piped kindly.
“Thank you, I wasn’t trying to pry on what you two were talking about, don’t get me wrong, but the symptoms your niece is expressing may be something akin to narcolepsy--”
“I have bigger issues to worry about than that right now, doctor”, Brie said. Her voice had a cold chill to it.
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to agitate you, Brianna”, he said looking and the charts to remember her name. “I am just trying to suggest something that may be causing you to fall asleep.”
“I know, and I apologize for being blunt. It’s just my dad’s in bad shape. I haven’t slept right since his accident.”
“That’s understandable. It may just be your mind is working overtime then. But, think about what I said should these symptoms continue as things straighten out.”
“I will. There’s just so much going on and what seems like little time.”
“Well, I will leave that to you and your family. I do have good news from what information we have so far concerning you. Your fine, a lot better than when you came in. The blood work isn’t done yet, we drew some because you were having some convulsions. So I don’t see any reason you need to stay in this bed, and when the lab tests are done I can have the receptionist page you. I assume your going to be here with your father for a while tonight?”
“Yes, that’s fine”, Brie replied as she sat up and shifted herself to hop off the bed. “What the?”
“Oh, we hooked you up to an iv, I’m surprised you didn’t notice it already”, Dr. Suren said with a chuckle.
“It’s pretty much standard practice anymore.”
“I never felt it or noticed it”, Brie replied as she hopped off the bed and situated herself.
“I’ll get someone to come in and take it out. Have a good day, ladies, and my best to your father.” With that, the good doctor made his way out, stopping and the nurses station just across the aisle to let them know about the iv.
Within seconds some young lady about Brie’s age came in to remove the cath from her arm. “All set. Just stop up front, got some paperwork to fill out.”
“Yeah, figures”, Brie said. Her aunt helped her collect her things and they made there way out of the room to the front desk. The same lady was there and handed Brie all the forms.
“I’m going to go check on your mother and father, see if there’s anything more to know”, Bev said, giving Brie a hug.
“Ok, I’ll be up there as soon as I get all this finished.” Brie took a seat in one of the heavily padded chairs with wooden arm rests. Slowly she prodded her way through all the forms, answering all the questions about allergies, heart conditions, family history, down to the details of insurance and employment information.