Thursday, December 07, 2006

Patient

Maria opened the door and tentatively peered into the darkened room. She stepped inside and flipped on the lights.

"Who the hell are you?" came an angry voice from the corner.

The nurse jumped and squealed just a little. "I'm Maria, your new attendant," she said more like a question than a fact.

Brandon emerged from the corner and approached the young woman. She took a step back. Brandon hated the look of fear and revulsion on her face. "What happened to Marta?" Brandon sat on his bed, the sheets moist and pink.

"She said she was tired of you making her cry," Maria said with sudden courage.

Brandon had tears of his own. Small red rivulets streamed down his face, drying before they fell from his bloated, disfigured face. He tried to feel remorse for his mistreatment of Marta, but the pain in his head was selfish. It refused to allow any thoughts outside of his own suffering. "I'm glad I finally got rid of that old bag."

The two were silent. Brandon looked at Maria's horrified face. Maria looked at Brandon's disgusting, misshapen figure. His skin was bright pink. His body resembled a swollen water balloon with horns.

It had been more than six months since Brandon had come to the hospital a perpetually bloody mess. In all that time doctors had been unable to diagnose his problem, or even come up with a way to explain how it was possible.

They started draining his blood regularly and gave him Vicodin for the pain. Then what the doctors called "tumorous nodes" appeared on his some of his bones, and indeed his whole skeleton began to swell and harden. The doctors briefly considered removing these nodes, but they proved to be too widespread and numerous. His ribs and the bones in his skull fused together. Nodes on his vertebrae, fingers and toes, and jaw began to push through his epidermal layer.

One doctor found a few cases similar to Brandon's, but they had all been documented in infants exposed to the radiation from the meltdown in Chernobyl. Brandon was examined, and traces of irradiated particles were found in his body, but no one could provide an explanation as to how they had gotten there.

Brandon's skeletal system was, as one doctor explained it to him, "freaking out." It was growing unchecked and producing overabundant amounts of red blood cells. Nodes had appeared on every major bone. He had bones protruding from his shoulders, back, forearms, pelvis, and shins. Some were nearly a foot long. Most of the protuberances were long, curved, horn-like structures ending in dull points. Others, such as the one that sprouted off of the ulna of his right arm, spiraled like a corkscrew. Needless to say, sitting or laying in any position was very uncomfortable.

Brandon agreed to stay at the hospital, so the doctors could continue to monitor him, and so the red cross could use him as a blood fountain. Unfortunately for the doctors, six months passed and they still had no clue how to treat him. Unfortunately for the Red Cross, Brandon's blood type was AB+. Unfortunately for Brandon, he'd become a disfigured monstrocity with "nodes" poking out of his body like horns and blood running out of every orafice.

Brandon had come to realize that he was never going to be cured, to be normal again. He would be bloody and spikey until he died. All he had to do was wait until death came. Unfortunately, Brandon's disease wasn't as terminal as he would have liked. Every day his irritability and impatience grew with his pain.

"So, are you gonna take my blood, or just stare at me like a freak show?"

"Sorry, Mr. Collins." Maria attached Brandon to the the "vampire machine" that relieved his body of his extra blood through holes in his arm.

"Where's my dope?" Brandon asked. Brandon was on a cocktail of pain medications, most of which he didn't care to pronounce, that he referred to as his "dope."

"Huh?"

"My dope. My meds!" Brandon said tersely. Maria checked his chart and noted that he had already received his full dosage for the day. "Then why does my head hurt so fucking much?" Maria chose not to respond and thus avoid an arguement, something the previous attendant had never mastered. "Why don't you go and tell those fucking doctors that if they want to 'first, do no harm' then they should give me more fucking pills." Again, Maria did not respond, but checked the vampire machine's various readouts. "The silent treatment, huh? Well, it's more effective than any other treatment the doctors have tried." Maria checked Brandon's charts again, flipping through the pages in silence.

Brandon, just trying to get a reaction from the attendant, said, "Well, at least you're prettier than the last two attendants," and then immediately realized that it was true. "That's not saying much, though, seeing as the first one looked like a rhino with orthopedic shoes, and Marta had apparently been a nurse since the Civil War era." Maria gave him a sideways, disdainful glance, then went back to reading from the clipboard.

The two were silent again for several minutes. Despite his permanant erection, the pain in Brandon's head prevented any thoughts of sex to enter -- no small feat, most fellow males would note. Brandon noticed just how attractive Maria was as she stood next to his bed ignoring him. Beside his two previous attendants, his mother, and one "dyke doctor," as he had called the M.D. who had taken him off of morphine, he had not been in contact with any females for over half a year. Now here was a perfectly lovely woman alone in a room with him, and he couldn't even disregard his pain and concentrate long enough to find her attractive.

Suddenly, Brandon chuckled softly. Maria looked up but didn't ask him what was funny. He said anyway, "Six months ago I would have asked a pretty girl like you for her phone number. Now all I want to ask you for is pain pills."

Maria rolled her eyes and went back to ignoring her patient. Brandon went back to his pain, constant and reassuring.

1 comment:

  1. Me likes. Keep em coming, Josh.

    ReplyDelete

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