The night before Cassie had wondered what this day would bring. Well, what it brought was pain, first thing in the morning.
Cassie woke up with pain, in her leg actually. A muscle cramp! She didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. It hurt like hell, but on the other hand she was feeling!
Hooray! Oh God, make it stop!
She immediately pushed the button for the nurse. It was only around 6 am so the floor was pretty quiet and she answered quickly. It was Rose, the nurse from last night, still on duty.
“Yes Ms. Banks?” she said, her voice sounding tinny and scratchy over the speaker.
“I’m having a muscle cramp in my leg! It hurts…” Cassie practically yelled.
“Be right there!” she said and true to her word she was.
“Let’s take a look,” she said as she pulled the covers down and lifted the gown up so she could look. Cassie tilted her head up for a moment to see for herself and she could see the muscles in her leg knotting and moving. No wonder it hurt so badly!
Rose saw Cassie lift her head and so she laid her hand on Cassie’s forehead and gently pushed it back down flat on the bed. “None of that now. I’d better call the doctor, but let me assure you that this is normal.” She punched some buttons on her phone and looked at Cassie’s face; it was blanched totally white from the pain. “I know it hurts, we’re going to get something for you okay? I promise.”
Rose took Cassie’s hand and gently rubbed it. Cassie knew that Rose felt bad for her but right now that just wasn’t cutting it! “Do something!” she demanded.
The resident doctor came into the room at a trot. He was a young, good looking man with sparkling blue eyes and sandy blond hair. He reminded Cassie a lot of Derek but she didn’t have time to think about that right now. If she could have writhed on the bed she would have the pain was so intense.
“I’m Dr. Miller,” he said as he inspected her leg. “Wow, look at that. No wonder you are in pain!”
Cassie looked at him, wishing a plague of locusts would come and pluck his eyes out. Or was that birds? She didn’t know and didn’t really care.
Dr. Miller watched as one of her beautiful brows arched sharply upward and she opened her mouth to speak. He was young, he knew but he was sympathetic to her. He knew that muscle was causing her a good deal of pain. He was one of Dr. Gorman’s protégés and knew his job well.
“Okay Ms. Banks, we’re going to get you a muscle relaxer, right away okay?” He told Rose what he wanted and she ran to get it. “Now, I’m going to remove the wedge from under your legs and we’ll try a bit of muscle massage to see if that helps okay?”
When he had her legs flat she thought for a moment that it had done the trick and she took a deep breath. But it was only momentary because the muscle protested wildly at the new position and it renewed its knotting and twisting, with an increased vigor.
Tears were running down Cassie’s face when Rose got back into the room. Dr. Miller was gently manipulating the muscle in Cassie’s leg as Rose gave her the shot of the muscle relaxer.
It literally only took a few moments for the relaxer to start working and Cassie sighed with relief as the pain ebbed away. Rose took over the muscle massage while Dr. Miller asked her some questions.
“How long ago did this start?”
“It is what woke me up,” Cassie said. Her head felt a bit fuzzy, a not totally unpleasant feeling. “I don’t know when exactly, but it was when I called the nurse.”
He nodded and made a note in her chart. He then moved around to the other side of the bed and examined her other leg, testing the muscular reflex on the left side as well. “Any pain in this leg?”
“No, it’s okay. I think anyway. Who could tell? What did you give me anyway? Is there tequila or something in that shot?” She blinked her eyes a couple of times; she felt ‘floaty’ and it was weird.
“No, just a muscle relaxer,” he murmured as he poked her leg with the probe thingy again. He ran it down her bare foot and she laughed, it actually tickled!
“Well, that’s a great feeling, isn’t it Ms. Banks!”
Just then the door opened and Dr. Gorman walked in. “She hates to be called ‘Ms. Banks’ Robert. Call her Cassie!” He stopped at her bed and smiled at her, nodding his head. “And it is a really good thing, huh?”
“You really do live here, don’t you?” Cassie mumbled. She took a deep breath and she wasn’t altogether sure she liked the ‘floaty’ feeling. No, take that back, she knew she didn’t like it. It was like being drunk, but more intense. Cassie didn’t like not feeling in control and that was definitely the case now. “I don’t like this feeling,” she told them.
“No I don’t and what did you give her?” Georgio looked at the chart and nodded, knowing it was an appropriate drug. “Cassie, you’re just feeling the effects of the muscle relaxer. We gave you a fairly strong dose of medication to ease your discomfort, the light-headedness will pass.”
“That wasn’t discomfort; it was excrum – uh, emcrux…ah, it hurt like hell!” she told him, unable to say the word excruciating.
“I know,” Georgio said. “Is it better now?”
She nodded sleepily; the drug had made her feel like a nap. “I want to sleep now,” she said, trying to shoo them away. “Go asway - way.”
Georgio smiled, but Cassie didn’t notice. Rose was taking Cassie’s vitals and Dr. Miller stood waiting for Georgio. He was making rounds with him this morning. A moment later Cassie was softly snoring.
Georgio watched her for a moment, his eyes softening slightly. She looked about 16 just then and he grinned. “Well, doesn’t take much to put her out does it?”
“So I see. I wondered if I was giving her enough actually. That muscle was really knotting hard. At least she isn’t in pain any longer. Should we put the wedge back under her legs?” Dr. Miller asked.
“No, let’s leave it off for a few hours; give those muscles a chance to recoup. Rose, put in her chart that I’ll want the wedge back in place at, hm,” he said, looking at his watch, “at 9:00 am. Hopefully that will prevent any more cramps this morning.”
“Okay Dr. Gorman, will do,” Rose said. The doctors left the room as Rose was covering Cassie’s legs back up. Such a tiny little thing Rose thought. Cassie let out a huge snore just then and stirred slightly in her sleep. Rose laughed and thought, tiny but mighty!
Cassie woke up when they were putting the wedge back under her knees and she felt them settling her legs on it; really felt it. She knew, KNEW that it was going to be okay from then on. And even better news arrived a few minutes later when Lissa and Derek came to her room.
“Guess what? Mom’s awake!” they both said, excitement rippling through their words.
“Oh my gosh! I want to see her. These beds are moveable aren’t they? Roll me down there NOW!” Cassie said, tears streaking her face.
“Cassie, you aren’t quite that mobile; we’ll bring mom up in a wheelchair as soon as they say she can come, okay?” Lissa promised.
“Why aren’t you two with her?” Cassie questioned.
A dark flush swept over Derek’s face and ears, turning them beet red. “Because Lissa,” he pointed at his sister with his finger, “Thought that she and Adam needed a few minutes alone!” The thought was clearly not a happy one for Derek.
Cassie tried to hold back a smile and said, “I thought we discussed this last night?”
Derek looked down and sort of shuffled his feet; it was a gesture Cass was well acquainted with as it was an effort to hide his discomfort. “I know; I am trying to get used to it.” He looked Cassie directly in the eye and added, “Honestly”.
Cassie nodded and said quietly, “Good enough!”.
“How are you doing today?”
Cassie smiled at Lissa’s ‘doctor’s’ tone of voice. “I’m great! Guess what?”
“I don’t know, what?” they both asked.
“I woke up really early this morning with a leg cramp! It hurt like hell!” She started laughing and then Lissa joined in as well. Derek stared at both of them like they were crazy.
“I don’t see how that’s funny, leg cramps are miserable!” And then it hit him – “You’re getting feeling back, huh?”
“Yeah Einstein, I am!”
“Alright – alright,” Derek said, grinning like an idiot. “You’re getting better!”
“I know!” She was quiet for a moment, knowing that she still had a long way to go, but she was getting better. “It’s just so hard, lying here all the time and not being able to get up.”
“Cassie, I know you don’t realize this but you are really lucky; they way you were tossed around inside the car – it’s amazing you didn’t actually break your back. Really, really lucky,” Lissa said.
“I know, it’s just my impatience talking here, ignore it. So tell me about your mom!”
“She’s pretty good; said she has a little headache, which is to be expected. Otherwise, cranky and yelling about getting her catheter out. Oh, and she wants to see you too!”
“What did she say when she saw Adam there? Was she happy?”
“He was actually down the hall when she woke up, calling his kids I think. But then the door opened and he walked in and Mom’s face just lit up. It was amazing…” Lissa said, tears in her eyes. “She really does care about him Cassie; you were so right!”
Cassie nodded and swallowed hard, fighting back her own tears. “Good. Good for her and Adam. She so deserves a man who adores her.”
“I agree.” Lissa looked at Derek and spoke directly to him, “Derek, you’ll think so too, eventually.”
“I know. I just don’t want her to get hurt, especially by some Hollywood hot shot.”
“He didn’t strike me as being like that at all Derek,” Cassie said.
“Me either, Grover. Lighten up a bit. Let’s just see what happens, okay?”
Derek blew out a long, slow breath and nodded. “Okay, let’s see!”
After the kids left the day shift nurse came in and asked if Cassie would like a bath. Cassie immediately brightened up and said yes so the nurse said she would send a nurse’s aide in to take care of that. Cassie couldn’t wait; even though she wasn’t doing anything to exert herself she felt grimy and smelly; a bath would certainly help even if it was a real one.
After her bath was done her lunch tray arrived and so did her parents. Her mom fed her the offerings on the tray, inwardly shaking her head at how unappetizing it looked and smelled. After she had eaten about half of it Cassie shook her head and said, “No more, please! Lissa is going to bring me some N & J later, I’ll fill up on that!”
“Can’t say I blame you Shortcake. I’m not even altogether sure what that is – was!” her mom told her. Alice poked at the remainder of the food on the plate and sighed, still confused.
“I think they told me it was supposed to be a Mexican casserole.” She shrugged and grinned, what else could she do?
‘I sure wish I could smuggle Max in to see you,” her dad said. “He smells you on us and then he sits and cries for you for an hour after we get home. He knows something is wrong and he misses you terribly. Although I must admit that your mother is spoiling him rotten!”
“Well, he’s a nice little dog and I enjoy having him around!”
“She’s even gotten a recipe for dog biscuits! She’s going to make him his own dog biscuits! And she took him to the dog hair parlor and they fluffed him and put some smelly stuff on him too. They wanted to paint his nails, but she told them NO to that. Can you believe that?”
Secretly Cassie was thrilled that Max was being so well cared for, but she had to tease her mom a bit. “Did you have them put the little blue bows on him? He likes those mom!”
Alice looked stricken at the thought of missing something to please Max. “Oh dear, I’ll have to take him back I guess!”
“Mom, I’m teasing okay? He just pulls those stupid ribbons out and eats them! He hates them, I promise. I’m sure he’ll like the dog biscuits though; the little guy is a pig!”
‘Oh! Okay then. It’s terrible of you to tease me like that Cassandra! I’m only trying to take good care of him after all.”
“Um hm, I know Mom. And I’m sure he’ll never be the same again!”
Cassie’s next guest came late that afternoon; it was Lissa bearing the promised food from N & J. Cassie’s mouth watered as she smelled the Chicken Swarma, wrapped in a fresh pita. Cassie took a bite and slowly chewed savoring the flavors that danced on her tongue.
“Oh, this is heavenly Lissa, thanks so much!”
Lissa scooped up a gob of hummus on a pita chip and held it out for Cassie, who eagerly took it. “No problem. I couldn’t stand to only eat the hospital food!”
Cassie chewed the bite and then asked how Sarah was.
“She’s sleeping again right now; Derek and Adam are with her. After I’m done here Adam and I are going to mom’s house. Derek will stay the night here because he has to leave first thing tomorrow morning.”
“Mm. Have your grandparents met Adam yet?”
“Um hm. They really like him, especially grandpa. They’ve been talking sports stuff. I think grandma is a bit taken with him actually!”
Cassie laughed, “I can see that! And what’s not to be taken with?”
“Not much, let me tell you! He is charming, that’s for sure. But you know what? He’s also very nice. Not just polite nice, but deep-down nice.”
There was a short knock on the door and then Dr. Gorman stepped in. “A hah! I thought I smelled swarma!”
“I’ll share!” Cassie declared. Lissa couldn’t help but noticed the pleased smile that spread across Dr. Gorman’s handsome face, followed just as quickly by a blush!
Wonder what that was about?
“Did Cassie tell you her good news today?” he asked, trying to focus on something else besides watching Cassie eat the hummus; her small, pink tongue licking along the corners of her mouth. It was impossible for him to watch and not want to feel those lips against his own.
“Yes she did. It’s exciting.”
“I just heard that your mother woke up this afternoon as well. All around it’s been a good day!”
Both Cassie and Lissa nodded, “It’s been a GREAT day!” Cassie stated.
Copyright 2010 by Cynthia Hope Hodge
All rights reserved. You may not reproduce, or retransmit by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any other means without permission by the author.