[Continued from Part 5]
Casey could feel the chemicals in her body doing their job. She felt light and cozy and there was a tug in her mind that pulled her towards the sweet embrace of sleep. She needed a distraction, something to keep her mind engaged. Turning to the nurse in the room, she asked politely, “May I have my purse, please?”
“Why do you want your purse?” the nurse asked, raising her eyebrow just a bit.
“Oh, I want to make a phone call. My brother is flying in to see me this morning and I wanted to see if he’s boarded his plane yet,” answered Casey.
“Yeah, I guess that’s ok,” said the nurse as she reached for the purse that lay on the counter across from Casey. Rather than handing her the entire purse, the nurse rummaged through the inside and pulled out Casey’s phone.
“Here you go,” she said with a touch of softness in her voice.
“Thanks,” said Casey smiling at her.
Casey unlocked her phone and dialed Todd’s number. It went straight to voice mail. “He might have it turned off if he’s already onboard,” she thought to herself.
She was about to hand the phone back when she decided to make another call. She dialed Megan. Her best friend had abandoned her when she needed her the most. She was going to give Megan an earful. The phone rang and then the familiar voice of her friend answered.
“Hello?” said Megan.
“What the Hell happened to you last night?” asked Casey in a very irritated manner.
“Who is this?” replied Megan.
“Oh right, very funny. You’re not getting out of this that easily. I really needed you and you went home with some guy instead? How could you do that?” Casey asked, feeling perturbed.
“Excuse me? Who are you? How would you know what I did or did not do last night? asked Megan.
“Duh, you sent me a pic of that guy you were with last night. The dark hair and bluish shirt. You obviously hooked up with him and ditched me,” said Casey, still very irritated.
“Raul said he didn’t have a girlfriend. He swore to me he was single. If you’re seeing him, that’s not my fault. You should talk to your lying man about this and leave me alone,” Megan retorted angrily.
“Megan, what is wrong with you. It’s me, Casey,” Casey replied.
“Who the fuck is Casey?” asked Megan, clearly confused.
“What, are you and Alyssa BFF’s now?” Casey asked, starting to feel hurt. “Is this some kind of game to you? It’s not funny, Megan. I’m in the hospital right now and I needed you guys last night. I mean… Ok, maybe I could see Alyssa doing this to me, but not my best friend.”
“Seriously, who the fuck are you?” asked Megan. I don’t know you and I don’t know anyone named ‘Alyssa’. I think you have me mistaken for someone else.”
Casey could feel the tears building in her eyes. This was just one more wound to add to all the others she’d suffered. She was having the worst day of her life and her best friend was disavowing her? Casey’s mind raced trying to think of any kind of slight she might have made against Megan that would make her so angry as to treat Casey this way. She came up with nothing.
“Megan, what are you…” Casey started to cry. “Please don’t do this. I’m really scared. You have no idea what I’ve been dealing with since yesterday and I need a friend. I need you.”
“Look, I’m sorry but I really don’t know who you are. If you’re in the hospital it sounds like that’s the best place you could be. Maybe you should ask them to do a psych evaluation on you,” Megan replied.
Suddenly Casey was angry. Her fury burst out of her like a volcano erupting.
“Fuck you, bitch! You’re no friend of mine. Friends don’t turn their backs on each other when things get bad. You wanna play this game? Fine! Go to Hell!” Casey screamed into her phone before hanging up.
Casey had had enough. She was done playing the helpless victim. She realized now that coming to the hospital was a mistake. No one seemed to realize what was happening to her and people were starting to forget her. Doctors couldn’t help her. She sat up in her bed, intent on getting out of the ER. The nurse saw her sit up and started toward her.
“Whoa, where do you think you’re going?” she asked in an authoritative tone.
“I’m getting out of here,” said Casey determinedly.
“No, no I’m afraid you can’t do that, Casey. Doctor Monroe wants you in here for observation. You need to lie down,” said the nurse.
“I don’t have to do anything!” exclaimed Casey. “I’m not a prisoner here. I can leave if I want to. Now get me a wheelchair!”
The nurse grabbed Casey and tried to push her upper torso back onto the hospital bed. Casey struggled violently.
“Maureen!” shouted the nurse. “Maureen get in here!”
“No! Stop it! Let me go!” yelled Casey as she struggled with the nurse.
One of the other nurses appeared in the door. She took in the scene almost instantly and turned towards the nurse’s station about twenty feet from the doorway.
“Call an aide and bring the restraints!” she shouted at the woman standing behind the counter at the nurse’s station. She then rushed into the room and grabbed Casey. The two nurses held Casey down until a young, stocky guy with a scruffy beard showed up in the room with long straps.
“Get over here, Kevin,” said the first nurse, still struggling to restrain Casey.
Within three minutes Casey was strapped down firmly to her bed, only able to move her head and hands.
“Let me go! You let me out of here right now!” she yelled frantically at the nurses.
A third nurse, the last of the trio that had been in her room earlier walked in. Her nose was swollen and a large red, puffy area around her eye was evidence of Casey’s punch earlier. The nurse held another syringe. Casey knew it was another sedative and she suspected this one would be stronger than the last one.
“No please, you can’t give that to me. You don’t understand. I can’t go to sleep. That’s when it happens. I can’t go to sleep. No… no please NOOOOOO!” Casey screamed.
When Casey awoke, she looked at the clock on the wall. The large hand was on the 4 and the small hand was just past the 2. The lights were off in her room and she was alone. She could not tell if it was early morning or afternoon but she guessed it must be afternoon. She couldn’t imagine she’d slept for over 24 hours. She tried to move but was unable. Her restraints held tight. She looked down past her torso to her lower extremities. There wasn’t much left there. From the bulge in the blanket that covered her, she could see that her right leg appeared to end at the knee. Casey called out.
“Hello? Is anybody out there?”
No reply. She tried again. After about a minute, a woman who Casey did not recognize appeared in her doorway. The woman was dressed in the same colorful nurse’s scrubs as the three nurses she remembered from this morning.
“Hi Casey, how can I help you?” the woman asked in a gentle voice.
“I need to talk to the doctor that treated me earlier. I need to know when I can go home,” said Casey quietly.
“Ok, well Doctor Monroe left for the day but according to your chart we’re just waiting for them to get a room ready for you upstairs,” the nurse said cautiously.
“I don’t want to go upstairs,” said Casey. “I want to go home. When can I go home?”
The nurse moved in closer. She was standing next to Casey and she put a hand on Casey’s left shoulder in what was supposed to be a reassuring gesture.
“Casey,” the nurse began, “the doctor has determined that the best thing for you at this time would be to stay here in the hospital for observation for a few days. He doesn’t feel it would be safe for you to go home unsupervised.”
“You think I’m crazy, don’t you?” asked Casey wearily. “Sure, lock up the crazy girl who thinks she’s disappearing.”
“Casey, we’re just concerned about you and want to be sure you get the help you need. Now, since you’re awake, I was wondering if you could help me. I was going over your chart and I don’t see any next of kin in your information,” replied the nurse.
“What do you mean?” Casey asked confused. “I told them my brother Todd was on his way here to get me. In fact, he should be arriving at any time. He was flying in this afternoon. Don’t you have his information? I know I gave it to the nurse this morning.”
“I’m sorry Casey, but for whatever reason, it didn’t get recorded. You said you have a brother named Todd? Do you have a phone number for him?” asked the nurse.
“If you can get my phone, I have his number there,” said Casey.
The nurse looked to the counter and there was a plastic bin with Casey’s purse and pajama bottoms inside. Next to the purse was Casey’s phone. Someone had put it in there after her last outburst.
“Ok Casey, now I can loosen the restraint on your arm a little bit to allow you to use your phone, but you have to promise not to get violent or try to get out. Can you do that?” asked the nurse with some hesitation.
“I promise, I’ll be a good girl,” said Casey smiling broadly at the nurse.
The nurse loosened the strap that bound Casey’s left hand just enough to allow her to move it and unlock her phone. She then permitted Casey to flip through her contacts until she found her brother’s information.
“Here you go,” said Casey, handing the phone back to the nurse.
“Thanks,” said the nurse as she began copying the information to a form in a folder.
“When you’re done, may I try to call him?” asked Casey. “He should be here in town by now. I’d like to talk to him and find out when he’ll be here.”
The nurse hesitated for a moment. Then, realizing that there probably was no harm in Casey making a call to her brother, handed the phone back.
“Don’t talk too long, ok?” said the nurse.
Casey thought perhaps the nurse would leave the room to allow her to talk privately but apparently Casey’s actions from earlier had negated any trust that the hospital staff may have had for her.
She dialed Todd’s number. After what seemed like an eternity, but was in fact only a few seconds, her brother’s familiar voice answered.
Casey felt an emotional wave wash over her and she relaxed.
“Todd. It’s Casey. God, you have no idea how glad I am to hear your voice. Are you in town yet?” Casey asked, her voice breaking slightly with emotion.
“What? Who is this?” Todd asked.
Casey froze. The calm that had just settled over her was gone and she felt icy fear clawing its way down her spine. Her heart began racing.
“Todd, it’s Casey. Your sister. Please don’t do this,” Casey said with trepidation.
“What are you talking about? I don’t have a sister. Is this some kind of joke? Who is this?” Todd asked.
Casey’s mind raced. This couldn’t be some kind of elaborate prank. Her brother would never agree to participate in such a thing. How could her own brother not know her? Why would he say he had no sister?
“Todd, you have to know who this is. I’m your sister. How could you forget me?” she whined.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know who this is. How did you get my number?” Todd asked sounding angry.
Casey disconnected the call. She couldn’t bear to hear anymore. Not him. Not Todd. He was the one person in the world that always had her back. Had she really lost him?
The nurse looked at her with what might have been sadness or pity in her eyes. She reached out and slowly took Casey’s phone from her hand. Casey just let the phone go with no resistance. She stared blankly at the wall.
“I’ll put your phone back in your purse, ok?” said the nurse gently. “Can I get you something, Casey? Would you like some water? Maybe you’re hungry?”
Casey didn’t answer. She just stared at the wall; a glazed look in her eyes.
“Ok then. If you need anything I’ll be right outside. Here, just use this,” the nurse said as she put the corded handle with the red button that alerted the nurses station into Casey’s hand. She then tightened the strap on Casey’s left arm securing her tightly. Casey said nothing as the nurse walked out of the room.
Time passed. Casey knew this with occasional glances at the clock. She began to feel drowsy again. This time, she did not fight the sleep as it came. She just let it happen.