[Continued from Part 4]
Casey was still irritated with Megan. She hadn’t heard from her friend and Casey was tempted to call her and ask her why she never showed up. If Megan had hooked up with a guy, she was probably dead to the world at this point and would never hear her phone, so Casey decided to wait a few hours.
Her eyelids fluttered. She felt drowsy. There was a sleepiness that was slowly overtaking her, which she attempted to resist. It was silly of course, but every time she had slept in the past twelve hours or so she had awakened to find another piece of herself missing. She had a hard time shaking the idea that she must not fall asleep. Fighting sleep however, proved to be difficult and eventually she succumbed and her eyelids closed. It seemed like only moments had passed when a nurse was gently shaking her.
“Casey. Casey wake up. The doctor is here to see you,” a nurse whose name Casey had forgotten said as she shook Casey’s shoulder.
Casey looked up and a man in his late 40’s with dark hair streaked with gray and a chin covered in stubble smiled at her. He reached out and extended his hand. Casey took it and it felt warm.
“Hello Casey, I’m Doctor Monroe,” he said.
“Hi,” said Casey, a bit slowly. She still did not feel fully awake and there was this nagging feeling she had like something gnawing away at her in the back of her mind, but she could not quite remember what it was. It was the feeling of dread and she felt like it would soon come back to her and part of her mind didn’t want to acknowledge whatever it was that she’d forgotten.
“So what brings you into my ER today, Casey?” asked the doctor.
Casey concentrated and slowly starting clearing the cobwebs from her mind. All too quickly the events of the past several hours came rushing back. The fear and panic. Her missing limb. It was like waking from a dream and moving straight into a nightmare.
“Didn’t they tell you?” Casey asked, feeling confused. Surely she had explained several times to the nurses after she arrived that her leg had been slowly melting away into nothingness and that she was powerless to stop it. She remembered how aggravated she felt as she repeated her story to each new person that came into her room. How many times does one have to say “My leg disappeared” before someone understood? Granted, she didn’t really expect anyone to believe her, but she still felt annoyed.
“Well, I’d like to hear it directly from you, Casey,” said the doctor.
Casey inhaled deeply and launched into her story. She gave him the highlights and let him know that she understood how crazy it sounded but assured him she was not crazy and that this was really happening. She reasoned that if she sounded calm and lucid that it would lend credibility to her story. The ER doctor just smiled at her while she spoke and seemed not to appear surprised as she discussed what she surely thought was an unbelievable recollection.
“And I understand that you were given a prescription for Risperidone by a doctor… Jefferson, is that correct?” asked the doctor, glancing at her chart.
“Yes, I was under his care for depression and anxiety,” said Casey.
The doctor looked at her for a moment as if trying to determine if she were being honest.
“Ok. Casey, were you aware that Risperidone is considered an anti-psychotic medication? It’s generally not prescribed for treatment of depression and anxiety. Did your doctor discuss his diagnosis of your condition with you?” asked the doctor.
“Wha… he… yes well, he said I had issues with depression and anxiety. He never said it was anything serious. I mean, not like I was crazy or anything,” Casey replied becoming more excited.
“No, no, I’m not saying anything of the sort. Please don’t become upset. I was just wondering why it was prescribed for you. You see, sometimes the mind can play tricks on us. What can seem very real is often just a false memory. Sometimes the mind can get a bit confused about what it perceives. As I hear your story…” the doctor replied.
“I’m not confused. Look, I know how this all sounds, but I had two legs just twenty-four hours ago,” Casey said loudly.
“Ok, alright. Let me take a look at this ‘missing’ leg and we’ll see if we can get to the bottom of this mystery,” said the doctor pleasantly. “Would you mind if I examined you?”
“That’s fine,” said Casey looking at the doctor warily.
Doctor Monroe pulled back the white blanket on Casey’s left side. She was still wearing her pajama bottoms.
“Is it all right if I remove these?” he asked, indicating her pajamas.
“Yes,” Casey replied.
The doctor slipped his fingers into the waistband of her pajamas and pulled down. He flipped her blanket off her right side so he could pull them off her right leg. As he did so, Casey could see the smooth area next to the crotch of her panties on her left side. It had the appearance of a congenital defect. She’d seen pictures of babies born in decades past without limbs. She remembered it had something to do with a drug called Thalidomide. There was no indication of a scar from any kind of surgical cut. It gave all appearances of her never having had a leg at all.
As the doctor pulled the pajamas off her right leg Casey pointed her right foot forward to make it easier for him to remove her bottoms. For some reason though, her right foot did not seem to want to move. She glanced down at it just as the doctor was pulling off her pajamas. She tried to hold back her scream when she saw a smooth round stump at the end of her right leg.
“Oh no, no, no…” Casey began.
Doctor Monroe looked at her quizzically.
“What’s wrong Casey?” he asked with a confused look on his face.
“M…my foot. My foot is gone!” she wailed.
The doctor grabbed her chart and flipped to the second page.
“That’s what it says right here, Casey. The nurse that examined you when you first came in noted that you were without your left leg and right foot. It’s right here in your chart,” he said.
“No, that’s wrong!” Casey shouted. “My foot was there when I came in. I know it was. She saw it. They all saw it!”
“Ok, Casey. Calm down,” said the doctor.
“No, I will not calm down!” said Casey frantically. “Don’t tell me to calm down! I’m fucking disappearing and you want me to be calm about it?”
“Casey, you’re not disappearing. That’s not possible. Think about it. How could that be real?” asked the doctor.
“I don’t know how it can be real! Why do you think I’m freaking the fuck out right now?” Casey shouted.
By now several nurses had appeared at Casey’s door. They looked to the doctor with wide questioning eyes as if to ask “What would you have us do?”
Doctor Monroe turned to the nurse closest to him and said quietly, “Give her 2 milligrams of lorazepam.”
The nurse quickly slid out of the room and two others moved to either side of Casey ready to hold her down at the doctor’s orders.
“Casey, I want you to listen to me, ok?” said the doctor.
“What?” she shouted back.
“Casey, I’m looking at your missing limbs and do you know what I see?” he asked.
Casey paused. She was terrified and desperately wanted something to cling to in order to maintain her tenuous grip on what she felt was her sanity slipping away.
What do you see?” she asked, trying to calm down.
“I see no sign of trauma whatsoever. It’s clear that you’ve been without your left leg and right foot since birth.” he answered her. “Now Casey, it is not uncommon for there to be some psychological ‘bumps in the road’ as children come to terms with their limitations. Adapting to life without a complete body can be difficult and sometimes kids have a hard time mentally adjusting. There is nothing… wait, wait… there is nothing wrong with you. Did you hear what I said? There is nothing wrong with you,” he spoke the last words with emphasis in hopes of getting past her current delusional state of mind.
Casey had stopped shouting and was now crying softly. The nurse returned with a syringe loaded with sedatives.
“Casey, I’m going to contact your doctor back home, this…” he paused to glance at her chart again, “Doctor Jefferson. I want to speak with him and once I’ve done that, we’ll come up with a treatment plan for you. I promise you Casey, we’ll set everything right. But now I want to help you calm down with this sedative.”
At the mention of the word “sedative” Casey’s eyes got wide and she started yelling again. “No, no, no, no!” she shouted. “No, please don’t. I can’t go to sleep. Don’t you see, I can’t go to sleep. That’s when it happens. You can’t give me that!”
As the nurse with the syringe approached Casey with the intent to inject the fluid into the IV, Casey sat up and swung a clenched fist at the nurse. Her fist connected with the nurse’s face throwing the nurse backwards. Casey screamed and tried to get off the table. Momentarily startled by the violent outburst, the ER doctor regained his composure and ordered the two nurses standing on either side of Casey to restrain her. They grabbed her arms and the nurse on her left also held her leg. The third nurse, who still held the syringe in her left hand while clutching her nose with her right, rushed to the tube that fed into Casey’s hand and jabbed the needle into the opening and pushed the plunger. Casey could feel a warm tingle going up her arm. She struggled to no avail. She was mentally and physically exhausted and her small body was no match for three seasoned ER nurses, plus the doctor. One of the nurses asked if she should get restraints.
“No please, no restraints,” said Casey pleadingly. “I won’t have another outburst like that again. I’m very sorry. I just… got excited. Please, I’m ok. Really.” She smiled. The doctor considered it for a moment and told the nurse to hold off on the restraints… for now. He walked out of her room along with two of the three nurses. The one that remained reminded Casey of that actress she liked. The one from that Stephen King movie. What was it? Misery?
It was clear that the remaining nurse was there to keep an eye on her. Casey tried not to make any sudden movements. She did not want to be restrained. It was bad enough that she had been sedated again and would now have to fight sleep again. She looked at the clock on the wall: 7:55 a.m. She wondered if Todd had boarded his flight yet? She wondered if he’d make it here in time.