My nurse, or nurse’s aid was “Matt,” but I remember him more fondly as “Banana Matt,” or just “Pain in my ass”. He was obese, and reeked of cigarettes when he got close to me. The nicotine was still lingering in my system on day two, and I really had no stomach for anything. Severe nausea was making the very idea of eating absolutely wretched. I wanted to push Matt out a window. I’m sure that sounds cruel, but you’d understand, if you had been me.
But here comes Matt, like clockwork, with his greasy, dirty blonde hair, and sing-song cheery voice that was about as authentic as pasteurized cheese product.
“Hey, Nicky! I brought you your breakfast. Now, I know you haven’t been feeling quite up to eating, and all, but I had the kitchen make you something really nice for that burning throat.” He placed a tray beside me, and took off the lid with a flourish, as if he were serving me the finest fare from a five-star restaurant. Viola! I stared at an unpeeled banana- the second one I had no desire for, and a small cup of cottage cheese. Normally, I would have really enjoyed the cottage cheese, but I was just not feeling it.
“Therrre ya’ go, Nicky! Now, I want you to be sure to eat this, because you really don’t want that tube feeding deal. It really sucks- and– I know you will want to be getting out of here and back to your life. So, is there anything else I can get for you, sweet pea?”
There are so many things I wanted to say to Matt at that moment. I guarantee he would never again think of the words ” sweet pea” and me in the same thought. However, my throat felt like raw meat. My feeble attempts earlier in the day to speak to my husband were very frustrating. Luckily, he’s a very patient and understanding man, and very loving. He fed me ice chips from a spoon, and I almost cried. He held my hand and stroked my face, and told me all about the antics of the dog, and the kids. My daughters would both be up this afternoon. We didn’t get into the hows and whys of it all, or how close I came to death. There would be time enough for that once I got out of here. Lawson and I watched TV for a couple of hours, and then both fell asleep. I knew he hadn’t gotten any more sleep the night before than I had. It meant so much to have him there beside me. I’d never needed him more. I couldn’t begin to start processing everything yet. I was still groggy and sometimes would wake up and wonder what the hell I was doing in the hospital. I asked one nurse who came in and woke me up if the tonsillectomy had gone well. She laughed, opened the drapes, and said, “No, honey. I’m afraid not. You were poisoned, remember?”
Today, though, with Matt’s visit, my anger was awakened, which lead me to start thinking about all of it. The run, the drink, the burning. I didn’t know all the details, yet. I took the banana and stacked in on top of the other one on my nightstand. Lawson would be back again, soon. He promised to bring me stuff from the house I might want. I don’t remember what.
Sometime later I was awakened by a doctor, and someone else I didn’t know.
“Nicky, hi. I’m Doctor Lassiter, and this is Nora Dunn. She’s a detective, and if you’re feeling up to it, she wants to ask you some questions about the incident in the park, so they can try to find out exactly what happened and who may have done this to you, OK?”
Really. I pointed to my throat and shook my head- the universal signal for “no”.
“Nicky, don’t worry. I am going to keep this short and simple. The doctor told me you can’t speak right now. I’m going to ask you some yes and no questions, and you can just nod, or shake your head, “no”, OK?”
This sounded agreeable, so I nodded.
“Your drink bottle was full of traces of nicotine. I know this may sound silly, but just for the record, did you have any intentions to harm yourself that day?”
I shook my head no, and tried to stare into her soul and convey that yes, that was a stupid question.
“I didn’t think so. And, did you see anyone near your car at any time? Not just in passing, but maybe someone who seemed to be hanging around, or lurking?”
“Ok. I want you to know we are taking this matter very seriously, and already have prints on the drink bottle that don’t match yours” I thought her eyes were kind, and she seemed honest. I didn’t remember anyone taking my prints, but obviously they had. Never mind. I was still feeling mostly sick, and tired. I wanted to see my daughters, and my husband. I wanted sleep, and most of all I wanted this burning throat to stop. I got an idea. I pantomimed the concept of writing , using one hand for the pen, the other for paper.
“Absolutely, Miss Nicky. Here you go.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a tablet, tore the first sheet off, then gave it to me with a pen. She probably thought I was going to give her some juicy information about the incident, which is what I wanted her to think. I had a good chance of getting the paper and pen that way. I wrote “Thanks” on the sheet, and a smiley face. Then I wrote, “Going to take a nap now. Thanks so much”.
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Hope you enjoyed it.