The cough intensified as the days wore on.
Deep and rattling. At times, uncontrollable.
As if she was surrounded by an evil entity, squeezing all the air from her lungs. It literally came from nowhere. All was fine… until the cough magically appeared.
Nancy’s one tough lady, but this was knocking her down. All I could do was offer my support and retrieve from the store what she needed to fight it. What I was able to provide, didn’t seem to help.
She eventually paid a visit to her doctor.
This may rub some folks the wrong way, but I don’t look fondly at western medicine. I used to, once, in the Old Life, but not anymore. I have my reasons, and experiencing Nancy’s next few hurdles, solidified my position and stance on the matter.
Her doctor prescribed her a nebulizer with an inhaling mist, and told her she had bronchitis.
It wasn’t bronchitis. But we wouldn’t know that for another week or so.
I wish they could get their diagnosis accurate the first time around.
She’d draw the mist into her lungs and cough until she was purple in the face. Hands clutching her chest. Deep breathing and wheezing in between the moments of doubling over in obvious pain. I was helpless watching her go through it all.
“What can I do? What can I get you?”
“Nothing.” She’d reply. “I just have to get through it.”
We dealt with that for almost a week.
It takes a catastrophe to keep her from work. When she started calling in to her job, and taking extended time off, was when I knew we had a more serious problem than a case of bronchitis. She made the decision to re-connect with her doctor.
I was told over the phone she’d fill me in when she returned.
I stood at the kitchen window and listened to the water fill the sink. I scooped up a pile of plates and lowered them into the suds, keeping my attention on the flock of crows gathered on the neighbor’s roof, and cursed out loud when the water spilled over the edge and splashed across my feet. Something didn’t feel right. The hairs on my neck stood up and the room felt smaller.
I was losing focus and concentration.
Something was about to happen. I could sense it. That bubble which once surrounded me for protection was starting to reappear.
I paced the room feeling anxiety racing under my skin as the dishes sat in the sink unattended.
I told you something was coming. I told you the fight will soon be on your doorstep. You never listen to me. You need to prepare.
“My wars are over.”
Sorry. You’re wrong. They’ve only just begun.
Five minutes later she called me and asked me to meet her at the doctors.
Typically I drive like an old man who can barely see over the steering wheel. I’m cautious of the law, speed limits, and all the rules of the road. I was lucky I didn’t get pulled over on the way to her.
I tore open the door and felt as if I was walking into a brightly lit tomb. We found each other and I was introduced to her primary care specialist.
He had the same Joker smile as my old buddy, Bill, from BizzaroTech.
Why are you so happy? I thought, while shaking his hand. You’re about to tell us difficult news. Wipe that smug smirk from your face.
I watched the doctor pull out his file, slap an assortment of X-Rays on the wall, and flipped on the light. “I’ll just get right to it.” He said, and pointed to his breast bone. “We did a series of tests and took some X-Rays of the chest cavity and found something that demands immediate attention.” He approached the light and circled a location blocked out by a large dark mass. “Ordinarily, the human Thymus disappears and is replaced by fat after we reach puberty. Nancy’s never did.”
I swallowed hard and was waiting for the bomb to drop. “Inside her Thymus, is a growth. A tumor if you will, that needs to be removed.”
“Is this a quick and easy procedure?” I asked him.
“It does involve surgery. But in order for her to heal, it needs to come out.”
“How soon can she have this taken care of?”
“We can do it tomorrow.” He sat back down and scrawled notes on his papers.
“How rare is something like this?”
He glanced up to me over the rim of his glasses. “Very rare.”
I looked to her and she attempted a smile. I asked, “Do you want to do this tomorrow?”
Here it comes. I told you something was about to happen. You need to start listening more.
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