Me the three kids, the dog and the cat all up in the isolated cabin up north. 2 hours down the highway, drove through 15 minutes of nothing to get there. I didn't mind doing it since it helped my sister.

The dog was being difficult. Kept sneezing, waking herself up then barking for 5 minutes. I wondered if something sinister was lurking outside and the dog knew... but the bitch was just being paranoid.

The eldest woke up, crying and told me that his whole body hurt everywhere, he needed help. I hugged him, kissed him, put his blankets around him, gave him water and assured him that all of these things together would cure his ills. He was asleep 10 minutes later. I briefly missed having someone who reassured me like this.

All this time, I was really sick. Only took breaks to check on the infant and yell at the dog. Finally, at 2:30, my sister came home, sick too. I could not tell her what was wrong, she was busy, so I left a note -- "I am going to the hospital". I left like a thief in the night. I remembered having that feeling before.

45 minutes later, I was in the small-town hospital. A girl with her nose gashed in, blood running down her face; a suicide attempt; 2 men and a woman who looked like they were part of some cult took a keen interest in me. I crossed my arms and read a magazine. A woman fainted near front reception but no one picked her up. The nurses knew she was faking it because she took off her glasses before she fell. They shared a laugh.

The dr. finally came to attend to me. I joked around with him, flirted. I wanted to be a easy, good-natured patient compared to the rest of what he saw. He gave me my perscription and I was gone. I thought about how manipulation can be used for good.

It was 4 in the morning. I popped the first pill, it made me so drowsy, and I had 1.5 hrs of driving. I went for coffee in the derelict small-town cafe. No book or paper, I just looked out the window. I was already feeling better. I felt good about modern medicine.

Driving home, I was almost asleep. I drove with my right hand and held my eye open with my left. The music was turned on loud. Finally, I made it back to the city.

Alone in my apartment, I pondered the trappings of true love and fell asleep.