Day 167 – Folie à Deux – Part 7

Word count: 1277

The doctor’s again. The waiting room was crowded with screaming children with temperatures and tantrums, pensioners with flu and the usual chorus of coughs and splutters. Catherine had taken the afternoon off today. Her mum was not able to take time off work, so she was there on her own with her worries. Her skull hurt with all the thoughts she was processing. As a child banged a toy tractor on the coffee table, her heart beat fluttered. What if she was really, really ill? Sleeping for twenty four hours straight… that was not normal, that was not healthy. And seeing things? Every night since the incident, she had dwelled on that country lane. It had been right there. It had been – it was real… wasn’t it?
Amongst the comparatively playful anxieties of passing exams, the last thing she needed right now was to be told that she was a psychopath. Today was her second last day of school ever. Tomorrow would be all about fun, futures and frivolous activities that would go on well into the night. Tomorrow marked the end of many, many things for Catherine… and she did not want today to mark an even more definite end.
There was no denying it, she was scared for her life. The test results were here. They were written on a piece of paper somewhere in this building. They were close – so close. The receptionist had informed her that the doctor was running ten minutes late. Ten minutes. Ten minutes more to ponder and fester. Catherine sat forward on the edge of her seat. From the corner of her eye she saw one of the three year olds playing with the toys sit right up and stare at her. She tilted her head and stared right back at it. The child was intriguing, calming to watch. Catherine then began to wonder whether it knew why it was here. Did it just register pain and discomfort; did it care or fear it coming back when paracetamol took the pain away? It just cared for toys and food. It did not have to worry about life… and having it snatched away.
“Catherine Stevenson,” a female voice called out.
Catherine broke eye contact with the child and nervously got to her feet. The doctor led her through the room and, as she sat down, Catherine felt a surge of acid rising up her throat. She felt sick. She felt dizzy, sick, panicky and worried. What if it was bad – could it be cancer, brain tumour, schizophrenia? Was she going mad – could they even detect that with blood? Would she get better, was this it, was this the end?
Doctor MacIntosh sat herself down and brought up Catherine’s notes on the computer.
“Is it serious?” Catherine blurted out.
Doctor MacIntosh screwed her brow as she read through the notes, “No, no not at all…”
Catherine felt as if she had just dived into a cool pool of refreshing water.
“The blood tests came back absolutely fine – you’re a little anemic, but that’s about it… that might explain the tiredness you’ve been experiencing. However, we will need to find the root issue here, as even deficient iron levels do not cause these extreme levels of fatigue. When I was called over the other day, you were simply unwakeable.”
“And how bad is that?”
“It seems like you’re slipping into a subconscious state akin to a coma….”
“A coma?!” Catherine was worried again.
“Now I don’t think it’s anything to greatly worry about at this stage. We could be seeing early signs of narcolepsy.”
“Narcolepsy – but I want to live like this for the rest of my life?”
“Narcolepsy is treatable, but we would need to run a few more test before we can conclusively diagnose your condition. I’m going to schedule you for an MRI scan. This is just a magnetic –”
“Resonating Imaging scan… I know what it is… but it’s just… is it my brain?” as she spoke, Catherine felt the insides of her skull contract.
“It could be a number of things, we just need to establish what and where the cause is and treat it.”
“But, but – MRI scans are for people with head injuries, brain tumours and, and cancer? I’ve got exams next week, I leave school tomorrow – I can’t die, I’m too young?”
“Calm down, Catherine. It could be any number of simple, easily treatable problems. An MRI scan will be able to determine this. There is nothing to worry about.”
“I hope you’re right…”
“I am,” she turned towards some paperwork on her desk, “I am, however, going to prescribe you some valium to help you through your exam period.”
“Yes, it will help calm you down and you’ll feel more relaxed.”
“I’m not sure – I’m not very good with pills…. I struggle with painkillers.”
“It’s not something that you have to take stringently at a certain time, just once a day will be fine.”
“Okay, then…”
The doctor wrote out a prescription for the pills and handed it to Catherine, “I will arrange an MRI scan with the hospital and an appointment will be sent to you in the post. I would hope for the scan to take place within the next couple of weeks. If you’ve got an exam at the time, you can always reschedule through the hospital though.”
“Do I need to make another appointment with you?” Catherine stood up and motioned towards the door.
“Yes, as soon as you know your appointment for your scan, book an appointment for the following week.”
“Ok, thank you…”
Catherine walked out feeling only slightly better than she had when she had walked in. It wasn’t serious, but it was serious enough to warrant an MRI scan. Pushing through the double-doors, she emerged into a harshly bright and sunny day. The warmth in the air was phenomenal. Summer was here, earlier than usual. Walking across the carpark, she took out her music player and put on her favourite band. She needed to hear something familiar; something steeped in meaning and feeling and to just submerge herself in the music.
She thought about texting Jenny, but she was not sure if she wanted to speak to anyone just yet. Mentioning an MRI scan would ensure a phone call and Catherine just wanted to be alone with her music a while.
If she were able to write her thoughts down on the walk home, it would be a stream of progressively anxious worriment. At first she was simply worried about the valium and whether or not her mum would even let her take it. Next her mind slid to the MRI scan and cancers, fatal illnesses and death. Further still her anxiety wandered; would she survive until university; would she reach thirty; would she slowly descend into a vegetable; would she be able to say goodbye?
Catherine stopped dead. Her thoughts reset to blind panic. Where was she? Where were the city streets and the cars and the traffic lights; the pedestrians and the terraced houses? She was in a garden. It had a huge green lawn, at the end of which there was a canal. It was as bright and as sunny a day as it was in the city. Her legs were not moving, despite the fact that she could feel them moving in her brain. At the top of her mind, she felt this itchy feeling that sense that her legs were moving one after another, but she was not moving anywhere: she was just standing looking out at the lawn. Everything was silent. There was no laughter this time…..

~ by S.G. Mark on March 22, 2012.

One Response to “Day 167 – Folie à Deux – Part 7”

  1. so often we know something is amiss and the rest of the world isn’t doing it’s part to notice… it won’t leave, this insistent feeling, even when we seek to be reassured. It insists. Catherine knows.
    She is inescapably in this well drawn place.

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