The flight from Germany passed in a drug haze. I am one of those people who can deal with pain, as long as my mind is on other things. When it is just me and the pain, then I feel it much more intensely. So I was popping the Vicodin like M&M candies. But once I got to New York. there were enough going on to take my mind off the pain. At least enough so that it was manageable.
Gwen and I got a cab to a pizza parlor in the Village area. It was fun to watch the kids walking the streets. After some really good pizza, we went back to the airport to wait for time to pass. Just as soon as I got on the plane for the two plus hour flight home, I popped another pill and went to sleep.
“I had no idea why I needed an ambulance from the airport to the hospital, since I had taken a cab to the pizza restaurant, but I got on the gurney and let them take me to the hospital. I didn’t really mind. I was pretty out of it. I checked in through the emergency room, but I didn’t see a doctor there. I was sent straight to a room.
After getting me into one of their half assed gowns, and I mean that literally. I was taken to the MRI machine for more images of my calf. Someone wanted to know exactly how much muscle tissue was damaged. I wanted to know how much of a limp I would have. I knew from the crutches that adjusting to less mobility was going to be a pain. I wanted to know exactly how much of a pain in the ass it was going to be.
“Hello Maxine, you do remember me don’t you?” the man in the lab coat asked.
“Of course I do Jeff, how is your dad?” I hadn’t seen Ed, my former office landlord, and friend, in a couple of months. At Ed’s advanced age a lot could happen in that time.
“Dad is still as cranky as ever. He and Lucas are big buddies now. I think they are drinking partners. He needed that. I’m always on his ass to be healthy, and Lucas doesn’t care.”
“Yeah, that would make a good balance.” I paused a moment then asked. “So have you seen the damage?”
“Maxine, I’m no expert, but I would say you are going to have a weak spot, but no real movement changes to speak off. Now pain yeah. you are going to have some of that. I remember your pain profile, so the drugs you are on ends now. What I will have you on for a while is Tylenol with Codeine. But only for a while, then it goes to the over the country stuff. You can handle this.”
“What about all that physical therapy that they kept pushing?” I asked.
“Max, push yourself like you always do. Walk at the mall, ride your stupid bike in the middle of rush hour traffic, you will be fine. Do just as much as you can everyday that you can. Rest when you are worn out. In other words, live your life as much like you always have as possible.”
“You know Jeff, you are my favorite sawbones,” I said with a smile.
“Sweetie, I would never tell any of my other patients that. I would send them to rehab, but you will work harder on your own, than than any of them would in a complete rehab facility.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” I said and I meant it.
“Spend the night here to be sure you are clean of the Vicodin, then go home and start living again,” he demanded.
“You got it doc. Jeff, thanks for everything, I mean that.”
“The same back at you,” he said with a grin. “Wait till you get my bill.”
“Your bill is why I buy insurance,” I said smiling.
“In that case let’s do that MRI over again,” he suggested.
“Not if it means I have to spend one extra minute in this place. I hate sick people.” I replied.
“Far as I am concerned you can check out now. But since it is late, why don’t you stay the night and leave in the morning. No sense trying to get settled in with that leg the way it is. Give it till tomorrow, then go home and start working on a rehab schedule. Stop by my office next week about this time, and I’ll check the incision to be sure it is doing okay. You can change the dressing everyday. Use antibiotic cream on it and don’t get it wet till you see me.”
“Okay, I can handle all that. So I don’t have to use the crutches?” I said.
“Not if you can get by without them, but keep them around you might just need them.” Jeff suggested.
Then as quickly as he arrived, he was gone. I was surprised to find Cheryl walking through my door only seconds after Jeff left.
“What were you doing? Hanging out in the hall waiting for the doctor to leave?” I asked her.
First she kissed me then she answered, “Yes I didn’t want to interrupt him. So how is the leg?” she asked.
“The leg hurts a little bu I’m fine. How are things with you and Helen?” I asked.
“Things are great. I am running the sit down spot now. Not any more money, but it is a lot of fun. It will be more fun, now that you can come visit again.”
“So, do you still have the place full of cops and medics?” I asked.
“Yeah and lawyers, school teachers, stay at home moms and their children as well. Everybody likes to sit down to eat, but they love Helen’s food most of all.”
“Yeah, I’m not surprised.” I smiled at her just as Jen walked through the door.
“Jen,” I said as a greeting.
“Maxine, how the hell are you hon? I want you to know I’m going to sue Somalia.” she said laughing.
“Good for you,”Cheryl said.
“Well good luck with that. I’m not bad, but I will probably miss the Boston Marathon this year,” I said.
“Oh you were in the marathon last year?’ Cheryl asked.
“Hell no, but I’m still going to miss it.” I said smiling at her.
“I know you two have business, so I will see you at home. Do you know when.” Cheryl asked.
“Tomorrow,” I said.
Cheryl nodded, came over and kissed me goodbye, then turned to the door. “Tomorrow then,” she said as she left.
“That girl is staking a claim on you,” Jen said smiling.
“I doubt that, so how did things go with Hills?’ I asked.
“They were thrilled that you had video of the raid. There can be no mistake about who did what. It’s proof positive that it was self defense. It’s a good fucking thing Alex came to us, even if it was through the back door. If you hadn’t gotten him to pick up that load of relief supplies, he would have had no cover. Without that they would have determined his whole purpose was to kill pirates. Then they sure as hell would have been poor fishermen, when some of those new media type militants got through spinning it.”
“Well it all worked out. At least our government knows, and will hopefully keep all the other governments from getting too interested.” I said.
“Like it or not they are going to have to go to bat for you. I have a bunch of documents signed by our state department guaranteeing that you will not be prosecuted in any court. They can bring a lot of pressure to bear. Even better they will be using it as a big publicity punch. You know it is an election year. They need some good news for a change.”
“So we are going to get away clean?’ I asked.
“And you are going to be major heros. The TV guys love you. Fox and CNN finally agree on something. That, in and of itself, might have been worth all the effort.”
“Not worth the Teacher’s life. I hate when that happens,” I said.
“You do know that wasn’t your fault. They all knew there was that possibility, when they signed on.” Jen said trying to make me feel better.
“Yeah, but I sent him to the spot where he died.” I felt bad and I’m sure it showed.
“Well you are due for some downtime, how about we go on a cruise?” Jen asked breaking into laughter.
“If I never set foot on a boat again, it will be quite alright with me,” I answered.
“Your big admirer Alex sent me an Email. He would like to discuss a partnership arrangement with you.” Jen smiled.
“Sweetie I have been married more times than I care to remember and none of them worked out. Then there was Lucas, I don’t do well with partners.” I said.
“Yeah I know. The only reason Bob and I have made it this long is, he likes to watch,” she said grinning again.” She paused then changed the subject. “So does that mean no domestic partnership with Cheryl.”
“Absolutely not, Cheryl might end that kind of thing with shank to my belly.” I said smiling.
Gwen walked through the door. “Would you like for me to model this beautiful backless gown for you?” I asked with a smile. I said it since she had a small camera with her.
“No thanks, we are still trying to hide all your parts from the bedroom camera images.” she seemed to be in a good mood.
“Mary Ellen said to give you a kiss for her, but I think I will just tell you about it instead.” Gwen said.
“Good, we might have learned to get along, but kissing is definitely not part of it.” I said in agreement. “You staying with Lucas or have you been to the apartment?”
“I am going over to the apartment tonight. Lucas and I really haven’t been getting along so well. Mike is in New York working on the editing of your Georgia adventure.”
“So are you in the TV apartment or with Cheryl?”
“Cheryl has a new friend, since we were gone so long,” The sarcasm dripped from her voice.
I debated telling her my dad’s old statement about people who cheat, but I decided not to waste it on her. I could have asked her who, but I would find out soon enough.
“So are you coming home soon,” Gwen asked.
“It looks like tomorrow is the day,” I informed her.
“Cool, I can start filming you again.” Gwen suggested.
“Well this is fun ladies but I have to be heading home. Bob and I are going to a Motel lounge so I can flirt with strangers.” Jen said.
“Maybe they should assign a camera person to you. I am sure your life is more interesting than mine.” I admitted.
“Probably, but then I don’t kill people,” she said.
“I don’t know about that/ I am sure you have screwed some to death,” I broke into laughter.
“This from the blow job queen of the county,” Jen said.
“How would you know that?” I asked smiling.
“Hey, I hear things too,” Jen said.
Gwen sat listening to it all. She had a small camera out recording it. Neither Jen nor I cared. You can’t blackmail someone who has no dirty little secrets.
“You know, speaking of things that suck. I’m real disappointed that Cheryl didn’t bring me one of Helen’s Brown bags.” I said. “Hospital food sucks and not in a good way.
“Well,” I do have to run for real. Call me when you are ready to go out and we will buy you some new clothes.”
“I don’t need clothes, I said but I will call.” I informed her.
“So how about an on camera interview?” Gwen asked.
“Sure after I go pee,” I said.