I just awoke and the Doctor is peering at me intently, and the only impression that I can think of is of a vulture waiting for its meal to die.
It's not a pleasant way to wake up. And, as luck would have it, about to get worse.
"Where is my wife?" is the first thing I can think of, which is a terribly selfish thing to ask considering that without even knowing if anything is amiss, I'm back to my old anxiety attack days of college.
"She's right there," with a gesture to Sheila, which of course is shocking on two levels and more than a bit alarming. This perfectly groomed woman now looks as if she has gone through several cycles on a washing machine, unkempt, exhausted, first off, and of course she's not my wife, which also means that if Sharon walks through that hospital door jet-lagged from a 12 or more hour flight, and poor flyer that she is, probably more than a few sheets to the wind, questions about why my secretary has apparently overnighted in hospital with me will come up. Bad questions.
"That's not my wife," I stumble.
The doctor registers shock before I realize that he was in fact pointing at a very tired look Sharon, sitting directly across from Sheila, not even attempting to conceal the pack of cigarettes in her vest pocket that she thinks I believed she'd quit. It is only slightly moderated by the fact that my boss is also there, all of them looking quite concerned. Which I suppose is normal, I mean it's not every day that one's loafer fills up with blood in the office lobby. That doesn't really help much, however.
"When was the last time you had a check-up?" ventures the Doctor, trying very hard to avoid the non-medical questions.
"Well, I don't know, I mean, maybe a year, maybe two, I mean," now offering up the salesrep laugh that sold copiers worldwide, "I mean, what with work and the economy as it is, it's been busy."
Searching for clues in his eyes. No luck.
"Well, we don't have the full blood count back yet. That's going to come in tomorrow or the next day. In the meantime, before I bring your wife in, is there anything you would like to tell me?"
"I mean, have you been feeling stressed, depressed, you know, the like?"
I almost fell for that one before I realized that the needle I stepped on might not have been Sam's insulin kit after all.
"Not really, why?"
He nods without giving further information.
"Very well. We will get you out of here shortly, and come back on Thursday. I...I can offer you assistance, I mean, if you're having any sort of problem with..."
"With what?" I ask, throwing as much defiance in my voice as I can muster. This is a family matter and none of your bloody business...
He smiles a little too tentatively and pats me gently. "Very well, I will see you Thursday. And, in the meantime, you're to stay off of that foot as much as possible. We have to remove a lot of small pieces of metal from it."
Then I became very aware of the pain and, as if reading my mind.
"I really can't give you anything for the pain, you understand, right? And you should not take any more aspirin than needed because that might thin your blood too much."
I didn't understand, but now the anxiety was growing, and I just wanted to be home, so I nodded, and with that he was gone.
This was going to be a great day, I could feel it already. It was then I noticed the only person missing was Sam, and I had lost an entire day or more in here somewhere.