I think we are due for another portion of the Halloween serial. You’ve all been good right? Don’t lie to me. I am like Santa, I know when you’ve been bad or good… or something…
Anyway, if you are just tuning in now or need a refresher the links to the rest of this story follow:
She who Watches
There Will be Flood
Will you do the Fandango
Awake in Dreams
Trip to the Doctor
Visions of Breakfast
After the Fire
Sweet Dreams are made of These
Trip to the Doctor
Happy that the meeting at the new doctor’s office wasn’t an appointment, she realized she should have shot for a time a little later than noon. Traffic fought her the whole trip. Then parking, if you could call it that, was nowhere to be seen around the office. She parked her car two blocks away. The faded sign on the grey brick building did not inspire confidence.
The front door opened on a small waiting area, a throwback to post seventies interior decorating. She looked around for the broken down disco ball but couldn’t find it.
The woman at the desk behind the counter cleared her throat. “Can I help you?”
“I set an appointment earlier today,” Lisa said.
The woman frowned as she looked at her. “I see,” she said. “You haven’t been to our offices before.” She hung the statement in the air with a sneer. “You need to fill out these forms.”
Lisa took the offered clipboard and pen then sat in a corner away from the front desk. While filling out the forms a man stepped through the door off to the side and leaned on the receptionist’s desk. His hushed tones did not carry over to where she sat with her forms. She finished the forms as the man stood in the doorway out of the office. “See you next week, Maja.”
“I look forward to it, Jerry.” Her stonewashed voice warmed for the conversation with the man, switched to frigid cold when Lisa set the clipboard on the desk. “You will be dealt with shortly.”
Lisa returned to her corner and pulled out her phone. A mindless game kept her company while she waited for her chance to go back. She fought the urge to check the time as she sat and waited, and waited.
“Lisa?” A middle-aged woman called her name from the doorway into the exam rooms. As she passed the reception desk, she felt Maja’s eyes burn into her, a glare of intense dissatisfaction.
“How are you today?” the nurse asked. She directed Lisa to the scale, marked a note pad, and then she took Lisa’s vitals. “Have you been having this problem long?” She looked at the top page of a file before she marked her note pad again. “Follow me.”
She opened the door to the exam room and stepped aside for Lisa to go inside. “Have a seat, the doctor will be with you shortly.”
The white walls in the room reflected the yellow from the fixture in the ceiling. The room had a jaundiced look to it that made Lisa cringe when she looked around. She sat on the exam table, as she assumed that would be where the doctor would want her to be, but the chair to the side, with its cushioned seat and backrest called out to her.
She pulled out her phone to play a game again and noticed the time. Total time spent waiting came to roughly three quarters of an hour, and she had yet to be seen by the doctor. Maybe this new doctor wasn’t the bright idea she originally thought it would be.
It would be easy, she still had her clothes and she brought little else with her, she could slip away and no one would notice. They would still bill her for the visit, she was certain of that, but that was a problem for her insurance.
She looked around the room, a delay tactic while she mulled over the idea in her head. She never ran out on something like this before. What happened if they caught you, she wondered. They couldn’t force her to stick around. That seemed draconian, especially for a first time visit.
A deep breath and she steeled herself for the charge out of the room, just as the knob turned and the door opened. A man in his early fifties stepped through the door. “Good afternoon,” he said. “I hope you didn’t have to wait too long.”
He knew, he knew she was about to bolt. Was that it, he toyed with her now? She took a deep breath and let it slowly leave her lungs as he watched her. He raised his eyebrows and opened his mouth to speak. “Sorry,” she said. “I haven’t been waiting too long.” Her cheeks and neck burned as the temperature in the room intensified.
“Are you ok?”
“Actually, I am a little embarrassed,” she said. “I was just about to leave. It seems like I have been waiting forever.”
“We’ve been a little backed up today. I apologize that it took me so long to see you.” His voice had a soft, round quality to it. “Since you are still here, how can I help you?”
“This may sound strange, but I’ve been having these dreams. I’m not too sure what happens in them except for the end.”
“I see,” he said. “How do they end?”
Lisa looked over at the door, she could still bolt. “I keep dying. It’s always a bloody death, like maybe I’ve been stabbed or something.”
“Are you sure you need a medical doctor for this? I can give you a referral to a therapist that might be better suited for your needs.”
“This is where the problem comes in,” she said. “I have insomnia. I’ve had it for a long time. But it wasn’t always like this. I started this new medication a few days before we moved here, and then the dreams started.”
“May I?” He opened his hand to take the pill bottle. He spun the bottle and squinted at the label. “The joy of growing older,” he said as he pulled reading glasses from his lab coat. He spun the bottle again and found the label. “I see. How long have you been taking these?”
“About a month now,” she said. “They helped for a few days but then the dreams started. I haven’t been able to sleep through the night in over a month.”
“I think we should run some tests,” he said. “Have you ever had a cat scan?” He made notes on her sheet. “What tests were done before they prescribed the pills?”
“They didn’t do anything like that. My last doctor told me that these would help me sleep.”
He nodded. “In some cases these pills have been known to do that. Did they happen to give you the list of side effects?”
“No, are they bad?”
“Wait one second,” he said as he stood up. He stepped out of the room and returned with a tablet in hand. “Here look at this.” The page showed the pill as well as technical specs about it. The bottom of the page listed the possible side effects. “I just read something about a case similar to yours.”
“What does this mean?”
“First, let’s get you off this pill. Try and sleep without it tonight. I will get some tests scheduled over the next week and we will see what might be causing your other problems.”
Don’t forget to check out the Halloween party over at Hastywords too. All sorts of stuff going on this month it seems.