~Friday, July 06, 2007

It's not codependency when you're openly bleeding

My hands tightened around my steering wheel.

"You just totally looked at me like I'm an asshole," Scott said.

I woke Scott up early in the morning. I told him he had to get up and walk around to see if he could drive himself to the doctor's or not. If he couldn't, I would call out sick to work and take him. Instead he grumbled and said he wanted to sleep. He said he would be fine. I went to work and he called me and said he got a 1:30 appointment, but he couldn't ride his motorcycle. I had to go to my boss again and tell her that I needed to leave early. Scott and I hadn't even been together long enough for my employers to realize my change of status, so I know I must have come off as some insane idiot.

Scott had been protesting everything I tried to do since his accident. I wanted to take care of him like he took care of me. The only difference is that I readily gave up control and he didn't. I tried taking care of him and I was only getting balked at. I told him I knew what I was doing--five years as a lifeguard and I'm both fully certified and experienced at handling first-aid--but he wouldn't listen. And instead of calling out for the day like I wanted, I had to leave early, explaining my whereabouts to my boss.

"I'm trying Scott, I just don't know what to do with you. You've just been so argumentative that I don't know if I'm doing the correct things."

He softened up, "You're going a great job. I'm just trying so hard to not be codependent like I have been in the past."

"It's not codependency when you're openly bleeding."

I pulled my SUV, which feels safer and safer everyday, into Scott's doctor's office and quickly noticed it was a free clinic. He goes to a free clinic.

I've never seen a free clinic before.

I was embarrassed, not for the people inside, but for me. I had come from work to take him, meaning that I was dressed professionally and sporting my $400 Coach leather bag. My purse alone would pay for their collective doctor's bills. My doctor is a friend of the family. I can call him up and go see him whenever I want. And if he's too busy, I can always call Harvey's father, also a doctor. If I had known, I would have changed and left the bag at home.

We grabbed seats in the corner. At least I was sitting next to Scott. And good for him for getting medical attention within his means. He could get money from his parents and go elsewhere, but he chooses not to. That's admirable.

Scott got called away and then I realized I was sitting alone in the free clinic. I pulled out my mp3 player and unwound the earplugs to listen to my music and zone out, but then I realized my surroundings and put the mp3 player away. I opened my lunch, drive-thru from McDonald's, and began to eat instead.

At the sight of my french fries, three Mexican children ran away from their mother and grabbed the seats around me. Three Mexican children surrounded me and stared at me while I tried to eat. I looked helplessly at the mother, who didn't care what her children were doing.

I looked at the kids, "You're not supposed to eat food from strangers and I'm a stranger."

"(Unintelligible Spanish.)"

They don't even speak English! my head shrilled. I ignored their presence and ate hurriedly. Clearly their mother wouldn't want a stranger feeding them no matter how hard they begged, right?

The children kept speaking to me in Spanish. I never took a single Spanish class. I didn't know what they were saying, so I kept ignoring them while sending mind waves for their mother to collect them. This is just rude.

Then one kid leaned towards me and blew a raspberry. I just got spit in the face by a Mexican kid who doesn't speak English at a free clinic. It's a doctor's office, which means one or more of them are probably ill, and now his saliva was on my face.

I quickly began to lose patience. I am from upper-middle class suburbia. I grew up around senators and quasi-celebrities. I spend more time at the country club than I do at the free clinic. If my mother knew where I was right now she would flip the fuck out. I'm about to flip the fuck out. What am I doing here? I have no business being here. Why didn't I call my own doctor for Scott? I should just get up and leave. I should just--

"Hey baby it's just going to be a couple of more minutes," Scott leaned his head out the door. I saw that his arm was in a sling.

I jumped out of my chair, "Are you alright?" I whimpered. The sling meant he was hurt; my heart leapt at the sight of Scott.

And that's why I'm sitting at the free clinic on a Tuesday afternoon.

The verdict was a separated shoulder and a chipped collarbone. The doctor said it's only going to get worse before it's going to get better and wrote Scott a prescription for hydrocodone. And absolutely no motorcycle riding.

We filled his prescription and then I drove to his house for the very first time. I had been telling him for a few days that I really want to see it. I joked that I needed to make sure he wasn't married anymore or living with a girl and that's why I hadn't seen it yet. As if it were possible, Scott's apartment was smaller than mine, but it was immaculately kept.

I collapsed on his futon while he packed a bag. It was decided he would stay with me for the next few days. He couldn't drive, much less use the left side of his body, and I lived closer to his bike shop than he did. I could pick him up in the afternoons and his boss could swing by and get him in the mornings. This also meant I had to give Scott my spare key. First week in and he's staying with me and has the key--this relationship was moving quickly.

As predicted, the hydrocodone made Scott loopy and pretty out of it. We rented a movie and he immediately fell asleep, taking up all my couch space. I squatted on the floor and brushed his hair back, trying to wake him up.

"Come on, let's go to bed. This couch isn't good for your shoulder."

"You're taking such good care of me," he murmured.

"I'm trying, but you're so stubborn."

"That's one thing you'll learn about me fairly quickly." He opened his eyes and cupped my face in his hand, "I don't know what I would do without you. I can't drive. I'd be stuck in my own apartment and not be able to do anything."

"Well you took care of me."

He sighed, "I know. I can't believe it. A couple of weeks ago we were just riding motorbikes together. Then you wrecked and then I wrecked and now I'm here. I just don't know what I'd do without you," he repeated. "It's crazy how all this happened."

I dismissed it and put him in bed. Everyone knows that hydrocodone has opiates in it.


SuvvyGirl said...

The free clinic sounds like quite the "adventure". If you're going to live in this country speak ENGLISH!! I have neighbors that are from Mexico. Very nice but their 6 year old son has to translate for them. I blame it on the fact that they know english (I've heard them) but the just don't use it. But I guess in my little town it's the best way to get all the assholes to leave you alone. Anyway...off track there. :P At least they hydrocodone made him more agreeable :)

Two Drink Girl said...

I saw a free clinic once...it's on the Haight in San Francisco. :-) Sounds scary, glad I've never gone into one.

And I don't care what nationality you are, take care of your damn kids, and keep them away from strangers. Jeez!

Amber said...

Hmm... sounds like SOMEONE should be giving herself a little more credit, :).

dont eat the token said...

I hope he heals quickly!

We don't have free clinics so much as uninsured-only-welcomed clinics. I need to make an appointment.

The people in charge of the city should be implementing programs for children to learn English. A lot of kids get thrown into classes and no one even translates for them. I don't follow politics but that is one issue I should get into.

Ashi said...

I seriously wish my life was as interesting as yours! I had to laugh at the Coach bag thing. I feel awkward being the non-white student in standard college student sweatpants sitting on a park bench with a Coach bag, but I can only imagine what the clinic must have been like!

Ashi said...

Oh yeah, and I totally agree about the English thing. My dad grew up in colonial British East Africa (being neither an african, nor british). So he became (and still is) fluent in English - the lingua franca, Swahili - the native african language, French to deal with nearby colonies, Urdu and Punjabi to talk to the South Asian population, and Latin for his studies. And people can't even pick up English in America?

Peach said...

crazy but fate?

Savage said...

"Soy una bruja y yo voy a comer sus almas."

Write that down and next time you are surrounded by little mexican kids that are bothering you say it.

It translates into: I am a witch and i am going to eat your souls.

I give you a money back guarantee they will go running to their mommy and leave you alone :)

Anonymous said...

Savage - that is SO wrong! I love it!! :D

Sarah I'm glad you got the experience. I used to go to the free clinic in college because I loved the doctor so much, not because I had to. I always gave a good donation. Getting outside your comfort zone is very important, maybe this Scott will teach you a little more about yourself than you expected? Open up your mind a little....

Miss Natalie said...

I'll never understand the US medical system. However i do appreciate this story, it's a shock to see how 'the other half' live.

Miss Natalie said...

Oh, and I wish him a speedy recovry

Venting said...

That's weird - we don't really have free clinics in Canada because all health care is free...

I hope Scott heals well!

pink jellybaby said...

huraah hurrah

Drama Queen said...

But that's just men for you. Trying to be all manly. However, give them the common cold and watch them cry like babies. . .

Anonymous said...

did you mean to come across as racist and spoilt?
or is there a sense of irony i'm missing somehow?


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