Tuesday, September 4, 2012


part six:
To read from the start, please scroll down to:
"The Ache"

"Well your heart and liver functions are all okay and The blood work looks good as well. Now this is the part you are not going to like."

Dr. Chanter handed him a piece of paper. He new what it was before he took it. It was a lab work prescription. He had already given them blood and urine and other things that came out of him that he would like to repress forever. The sympathetic look on his G.P.'s face was not enough to cause alarm, and it really didn't register at first. After all this doctor had been through it all with him going all the way back to 1993. He was a singer back then and got sore throats, strep, pleurisy and countless other bugs and viruses playing in bars and drinking with the other professional night lifers. Back then the doctor would urge him to take better care of himself and he would listen politely and then ask if he could drink with the current course of antibiotics. He fancied himself a suffering artist, and took pride in singing through countless illnesses. Then his guitar player recorded a band in his living room that got a record deal and sold millions of albums. The band broke up, his brother turned the place they played into an upscale wine and cigar bar. Later, after seeing some guys on mountain bikes cross Park Avenue, he sold some music gear and bought a bicycle. Since then the Doc's and his relationship changed from viruses to bones. Sore joints, broken collar bones, neck, and elbow surgery had become the new center of their relationship. Two years ago he had a stroke and heart surgery due to shitty genetic cards. The Doc was over protective. He was a rare bird in the medical industry. He really cared and explained everything in great detail. He would call him and make sure he was okay. He would make appointments for him when there were no spaces available.

"Now I know you hate the hospital, but I want you to go get an echo test. I don't like this fatigue issue you are having. It's probably nothing but with your history it makes sense to rule everything out."

The Doc turned his head to one side in that sympathetic gesture showing him the Doc didn't buy his tough guy act. He put his hand on his shoulder and leaned in for affect. The Doc knew he would do what he asked because he trusted him, with his life.

"I don't think God wants me to ride bikes any more."

He said with frustration.

"Well maybe he's not happy with how you're treating this body he gave you."

The Doc said as he tapped on his computer tablet.

"Well he could have been  little more generous, when he gave me this scrap heap. I have a some harsh words for that guy...."

"Well lets not rush you off to talk with him anytime soon. Lets deal with the things we can control and you can ponder your place in the universe while you get better. Okay, so Jenny made an appointment for you, you can head over now and be out in time for lunch."

"Okay so here is the x-ray, She has a broken left hip, broken right femur, and two fractures in her left ankle. She sprained her wrist and has a small dislocation in her shoulder. There is additional bruising around the left knee which leads me to believe there is some tearing in there, but nothing to worry about now. We are keeping her stable for now until the swelling in her thighs recedes. Then we can repair the broken bones, and set her ankle. It's a lot to take in, I know. I think we can do all the surgeries in one shot, provided we don't come across anything we didn't expect. We are going to wheel her up to sonogram to check out her heart and then she will be cleared for surgery. Do you have any questions?"

"No. Thank you Doctor. "

Kerry turned and looked at her Mother laying in a pain killer sleep. She looked normal enough but even asleep you could see the bitterness on her face. God she was an angry woman. She expressed her worry and love in strange ways, usually by being over critical and by pointing out mistakes. If Kerry did something well, it was met with an accusing look. What she hated most of all was how tough she was on the boys. Kerry felt guilty that some part of her was relieved that her mother was unconscious. At least she couldn't talk and that was a small victory Kerry was happy to celebrate. A nurse came in the room, and spoke to Kerry as she looked down at her mother.

"They'll take her down to cardio in a few minutes. My Name is Rose, if you need anything."

Kerry walked out into the hall to find Roscoe waiting.

"Rose is a pretty name don't you think? A lot of great woman are named after flowers. I wish I was named after a flower. I would have liked that. I would have liked anything other than who I am. My name means nothing. Everybody always says they just want to be themselves, but I think I'd like to be someone else, for a change."

"My wife's name was Lilly, and my daughters name is Jasmine. So I guess I do. They are two of the most wonderful women I have ever known, but I am not sure it was their names that made them that way. Some people just rise above better than others. Some people get a little more than their share of hard times. My father used to say that everybody cries ten gallons of tears in their life. Some a little at a time and others all at once. He used to say the real trick is to figure out when to stop crying."

Roscoe looked out the window and thought about his Lilly. The rain was breaking up and the sun was coming through. The grand beams hit little areas of the town and from the fifth floor he watched the light move in scattered spots and the blue open sky to the west, behind the front.

"Time to blow out the candles I guess."

Roscoe whispered in a sigh, under his breath.

"Candles how did you know it was my birthday?"

Kerry's face crunched up as she looked at Roscoe in awe.

"I am surrounded by fortune tellers. I ran into one at the flea market just the other day. Seriously, how'd you know it was my birthday?"

"It's a  lucky coincidence I guess. I was thinking about rain and the power going out and lighting candles. I guess I was thinking out loud. Well Miss Kerry you seem to be okay, I won't bother you anymore. Good luck with....."

Kerry grabbed his arm and startled him a little.

"If you could stay a little....I don't have anyone. It's a hard day for me today. It's my birthday and...."

"I know it IS a hard day. I understand that. Seems to be going around. I'll stay with you a little longer till they get your Mama settled. Oh....They are taking her down the hall. C'mon now, lets go with her. You going to be alright."

Roscoe grabbed her hand and patted it, and then put it in the crick of his elbow like an usher at a wedding. She held on and felt comforted for the first time in years. They rode the elevator down to the third floor and Gretna was snoring. Every so often she stopped abruptly and caused the attendant, Kerry and Roscoe to all look at her suddenly. Then she would breath again for a few seconds and stop again. They would look down at her out of reflex and the cycle continued. Had someone been there to observe them, they would have resembled people watching a tennis match.

"Is that normal?"

Roscoe asked.

Gretna was snoring even louder now and added a slight whistle to the arsenal of sound effects she was making.

"She's like all three Stooges at once."

Roscoe said as he looked at her in amazement.

The orderly began to chuckle, Kerry blurted out laughing and finally Roscoe started in so hard that his chest was moving up and down. Gretna began to stir a little and looked as though she might wake up. Roscoe threw up his hands like a conductor stopping an orchestra. They all held their breath for a second as they looked at Gretna. They waited for her to breath again as the sound of a high pitched, tortured, sound came from under the covers. It went on longer than one would expect and sounded like a thick canvas was being torn apart. They all stopped laughing for a minute till the sound raised in pitch and puncuated. They erupted with laughter again as the elevator doors slid open. A nurse turned and looked sternly at them all from the  front desk of the Cardiac floor. The orderly wheeled Gretna out.

"Good Lord, that's awful!"

Roscoe was waving his hat and Kerry made a face as they scrambled off the elevator. Kerry and Roscoe found a seat in the hall, out side the sonogram room. A man was sitting there and he moved to the end chair so Roscoe and Kerry could sit next to each other. Kerry Pulled out her phone and the Pandora station started where she had paused it earlier. The last few bars of  "Mr. Jones" came out of the tiny speaker. The song faded and "Josephine" by The Wallflowers started to play.

"Ah, too bad. I love that song. I played it for years"

 The man said, sitting Kerry.

"Played it for years?"

Kerry asked.

"Ya I was in a band in the nineties. We were the house band at The Cab Stand. We played this song every night for years. Those were good times. Did you ever go there?"