She's lying there curled in a ball on the white, sterile bed beside me.
She looks fearfully into my face and her hand grasps mine. It's so
-move your hip back a little, now, relax your back, push your back out towards
me a little... OK-
The doctor presses the needle against her back and slides it through her
skin and into her spine. She says she's OK, she says it's just fine, but
she's lying through her teeth.
I can see the pain in her eyes. I make faces at her through the rail
beside the bed - I want to do a raspberry on her neck. She can't move now,
so I file this away for later. When this is over, I do it on the back
of her knee as she watches TV. For now, I cup her hands within mine to
warm hers. I don't want her to have to do this again.
The Doctor watches the needle carefully and fills his little bottles with
clear fluid. He talks to her softly and gives the dry clinical conversation
while I trace my finger across her knuckles.
I look into her eyes and try to show her I'm not worried. I'm such a
She squeezes my hand.
When it is done, she rolls on her back and smiles up at me. I keep
thinking that she can be so fucking brave sometimes. She keeps insisting
that she wants to go home.
Personally, I would have kicked and screamed the whole time and I would
have laid in that bed until they kicked me out. I'd Say "You want
to prod and poke? Fine, let me heal here. Get me a Coke"
She talks to her parents as we wheel her to the car. "It wasn't so
bad at all." She lies, "I'm a little sore, but I'll be fine"
But her hands clench on my shoulder as I help her into the car.
I can see the fake smile in her eyes.
When they leave she collapses. Her strong smile melts into sobs and
I hold her and feel impotent. When she's done, we drive home to put her
into bed. Her shuffling, painful walk reminds me of her grandmother- I don't
tell her this. I smile to myself as I help her out of her clothes and
then over to the bed. I cover her up and go to the kitchen to fix her
some strawberry tea.
Between the pain killers and the Valium she's wiped out and asleep by the
time I return with the tea.
So I watch her lying there and drink it in silence.