~Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Goin' down down down

Thursday my intercom buzzed. "Sarah, Scott's on the phone for you." shrilled the receptionist.

"Okay, thanks!"

I picked up the receiver to a broken boyfriend. Apparently he didn't go to work again. He said he was having gastrointestinal problems and he's been throwing up all day. "I need you to take me to see your doctor friend," he whimpered.

My doctor friend is actually the father of a boy I went to high school with who happened to befriend my mother. And because he was alone on Christmas Eve, my mother had him over to eat and go to church with us. He was so grateful that he said I can go see him anytime despite the fact I don't have health insurance.

I checked my watch: 3:00 pm. My boss doesn't let people leave early, but then I thought back to the beginning of the year when I got so sick that I left work without telling anyone. I stumbled in the apartment door crying and found Scott, who was home on his lunch break. He immediately called out to both our jobs and took me to cash in my favor with my doctor friend. He did it for me without hesitation.

I grabbed my purse and coat and told my boss the situation and promised her I'd make up the hours and bring her a doctor's note and left. Scott was sitting on the couch, weepy. "I tried to drink a beer and threw it up," he teared. That's Scott's gauge for being sick--whether or not he can have his beer.

I packed him a nice little vomit bucket and accompanying rag and took him to the doctor. The doctor took Scott's word on his diagnosis and wrote him four prescriptions. And when Scott came home, he drank some more, which upset his stomach some more.

Scott was panicky and I've never really had to take care of someone before. He didn't want to put the beer down; he didn't want my offerings of Pepto and ginger ale and saltines. He's difficult to work with because he fights for control even when he's incapacitated. Finally I picked up his cell phone and thrusted it towards him. "Call your mother," I instructed, "Moms always know what to do."

Only his mother was less than helpful. "He shouldn't be drinking, you know," she lectured me, as if his drinking was my fault. "You shouldn't let him drink. It's probably ripping a hole in his stomach lining which is making him so sick."

"You know how he is," I retorted. "You try telling Scott what to do." Luckily for me she laughed in understanding instead of breathing fire at my insolence.

I met Scott back in the bedroom where he was sprawled across the mattress. "Your mother said to not put anything else in your system, not even water, because you'll just puke it up. Just go to sleep so you won't have to be in pain anymore."

"I need to go to the hospital!" he moaned. I rolled my eyes.

And when Scott got up after napping, he drank two more beers. And he woke up again in the middle of the night to throw them back up.


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