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Wandering Souls-7

October 3, 2013

     He was laying there, looking at a little screen on a machine perched to his right, on a stand beside his bed, his chest hurting and his throat sore, feeling hot and constricted in his body like an over-wrapped mummy waiting for eternity and he understood that the jumping white lines on the screen was the laboring of his defective heart.
      He could feel the weight of the sheet heavy upon him and knew there was someone sitting by the bed, in a chair, reading, no, making notes.  He could hear them breathing, the rustling of paper, the scratching of a ballpoint pen.  He tried to turn his head in the direction of the sound and found it took work, he had to strain and the doctor, the one who had been shouting at
him, noticed Dewey working at moving and said, “Boy, you had quite a day.”
     “I guess.”  The words croaked up Dewey’s sore throat like pea gravel, dragging until they limped out, low and tired past his lips.  
     “How you feeling?”
     “I don’t know, not so good.”
     “I wouldn’t complain if I were you.  You have been very sick for a very long time.”
     “Oh yeah?”
     “Yeah.  Don’t you ever go to see a doctor?”
     “No.  I don’t”
     “And if you’re sick?”
     “Wait for it to go away.”
     “This one isn’t going away.  Not ever.  Way things are now, I can’t really explain why you’re talking to me.  Ought to be burying you about now.”
     “That bad huh?”
     “Worse.  You ignored the pain too long.”
     “I don’t like to bitch.”
     “Un huh.”
     “What’s the matter with my leg, my right arm?”
     “In recovery you threw a clot.”
     “A blood clot?”
     “Yes, had a stroke.  Not bad.  We caught it, but bad enough.  No good strokes.  Apparently your brain activity and speech weren’t affected.  The weakness on your right side is to be expected.”
     “Not by me it’s not.  You call this weakness?”
     “Paralysis then.  It’s a common complication.”
     “Don’t worry.  I’m not figuring to sue.  This permanent?”
     “I can’t tell you that Dewey.  With a regimen of therapy, we can expect improvement, gradual improvement.  What you achieve will come so slowly, in fact, so gradually you probably won’t realize you’re doing better.”
     “You must remember, having one incident…”
     “A stroke,” Dewey said.
     “All right.  Having had a stroke increases the chance of having another.”
     “Any thing I can do about that?”
     “I’ll give you some medication, thin the blood and help it keep pumping right.  The doctor stood, stepped toward the door.  “Other than that,” and he struck a pose trying to be amusing,
waggling his finger at Dewey and speaking in a croaking, old woman’s voice, “eat right, exercise, try to stay calm.  Moderation in all things.”
     “Uh huh.”
     The doctor turned back to door saying over his shoulder, “I’ll be seeing you,” and Dewey said, “Who exactly are you,” and the man said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  I’m Dr. Meens, your cardiologist.”  He stopped again, his hand on the doorknob and looked back.  “By the way,” he said.  “Is there anybody you want me to call?  Family?  Friends?”
     “No.” Dewey said.


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