I had been talking with everyone over Christmas, but I still missed them. Alex had told me she was ill, but I didn’t think she was this sick. I saw her as I returned with my things. She looked so pale, a bad throat infection apparently. I didn’t get back till late, so I spent the evening with the guys.
Before long people were heading off to bed, I’d been sleeping in the car for the four hour journey. There was no way I was going to get any sleep, I was just too awake. As Alex was already in her room I headed up to go say my good nights.
She was sitting up in bed, all wrapped up in a huge blanket and still fully clothed. I hated to say it, but she looked like hell. She could barely speak as it was, and now all she could do was whisper. She smiled and waved as I walked in and sat beside her on her bed.
“Hey hey. How you feeling?” She made a sad face at me. “That bad huh, you taken some more pain killers?” She nodded. “You look beat love, what have you been doing while I’ve been gone?”
“I haven’t slept for three days. It hurt too much.” I could barely hear her, she winced in pain as she finished.
“Well have you taken everything?” Again she nodded. “Well try and get some sleep, I know easier said than done. Call me if it gets really bad. I don’t care what time, that’s what I’m here for. Just on the other end of the phone line.” I placed my hand atop hers and gave it a small squeeze. At least she was smiling now.
Reaching over I hugged her good night before shuffling back to my room downstairs. I just couldn’t even think about sleep, and it was already eleven. So I sat in front of my computer adding to my stories and journals. It was time to call it a night at two, so I fell into bed.
I heard a phone ringing in my sleep, it was my phone. Shaking myself awake I answered it to hear nothing but crying on the other end. “I can’t take this anymore Vez, it hurts.”
“Ok, ok. Its ok, I’m on my way up alright.” Putting the phone down I scrambled around for clothing before running up the stairs. She sounded so hurt. I couldn’t bare it, I’d never heard her cry before – I never wanted to again.
Her door was open, she knew it was me. There she was sat up in bed, drinking water like it was going out of style. Tears fell from her eyes. “That’s it; I’m taking you to go see a doctor. This isn’t right, the painkillers aren’t working. I haven’t been home twenty four hours and I can tell.”
I sat with her as I rang taxi numbers. There wasn’t a doctor available on a Saturday night, I bit my lip. She had to see someone, guess the only answer was A&E. Great, not like she isn’t in enough pain as it is. “Alright, get some clothes on, I’ll be back in five ok,” Her face looked like a lost child. “I swear, I’ll be back.” I brushed stray hair back looking her in the eye. “I promise.” She nodded and reached for her jeans.
Standing outside a taxi pulled up outside the halls, I opened the door for her to the taxi man’s annoyance.
“You haven’t even told me your name yet!”
“It’s Gregory, and I want to go to A&E pretty sharp-ish mate.”
“Right you are love.” Thought as much. No one messes with the serious tone. Just the sound of my voice mixed with the thought of the emergency room shut the middle aged twat right up.
Soon enough we were sat in the hospital A&E, Saturday night, full of bloodied up drunks. Just what we needed, she had to have a headache from the coughing and the crying. And some loud mouthed bint was making it worse. We sat for hours to be seen, I just held her in a hug and fetching water.
The nurses weren’t too happy to see us, but so what? She needed help, and this is all I could think of. We have a free health service here, and I’ll be damned if we don’t use it. A stern talking to and a box of tablets later I bundled her into a taxi home. Five in the morning and I’m not even drunk, gotta be a first. She chugged down the pills there and then; hopefully they’d kick in before we got back.
“You wanna watch a movie in my room when we get back?” Wow, a little voice, but there it was. I smiled back,
“Sure, I’m too awake right now.” She just smiled and rested her head on my shoulder.
By the time we got back it was about half five in the morning, Alex snuggled up in her blanket and I just sat on her bed against the wall under the end of it. We put on a random no-brainer DVD and settled in. We sat in a tired silence watching together.
About thirty minutes later I heard her breathing settle into a soft routine, looking over she had finally fallen asleep. Damn what did they give her? Horse tranquilisers? Satisfied she was alright I left her with a note to call if the pain came back. Finally I climbed into bed at seven in the morning. Come nine I was up for breakfast. Deep joy.
I had been getting headaches everyday since I got back after Christmas, and today was no different. It was the sickening dizzy feeling that hit me at random intervals too. Something was off, but Alex was more important right now. The pain killers and antibiotics were doing their job and she was soon on the mend. But she still worried me even as much as she insisted she was getting better.
That night we stood in the queue for our dinner and it hit me again, that dizzy feeling. I leant against the wall to try and make it go away. No one saw, good. I can’t be doing with questions this evening. Piling the food on our trays we all shuffled off to a table.
I looked down at the food in front of me. I didn’t even want it; I forced myself to at least eat the salad and the fruit. About ten minutes later, it felt worse.
“Excuse me guys.”
All faces looked to me, concerned looks as I removed the tray full of food and left the room. I headed back to my room; the lights were hurting my head, this can’t be good. I switched off the lights and crawled into my bed still clothed. A little later my mobile phone lit up. Great, not like I was trying to sleep.
It was Alex; she wanted to know if I was ok. Well I clearly wasn’t, and if I was going to get help now would be the time. I sent her back the message and low and behold minutes later my room was invaded. Everyone stood around watching like I was gonna do a trick as Alex sat next to me trying to warm my hands.
I was burning up inside, but my body was cold. There were definitely concerned faces all around. Someone had been to the porter and told them my symptoms, next thing I know I have the halls HCSO manager calling me. Asking me if I was alright, I was trying to avoid this, and now look.
But it was comforting though, she sat with me stroking my arm. The touch was electric; in any other situation I’d be ecstatic. But right now, I just wanted the quiet. I was soon left with strict instructions that if I got worse I was to call someone. This was Alex trying to pay me back. Bless her heart.
Around an hour later my phone rang again, it was Phil from my course.
“Hey mate, just wondering if you’re up for a few pints tonight?” I explained the situation to him, conveniently leaving out the part where my mates were worried that I may have something worse.
He made his sympathetic excuses and hung up. As I was rolling over to get some more sleep it rang again. This time it was Leanne, another mate from my course.
“Phil’s just rang me, are you alright mate? What’s going on, he told me you were in bed with the symptoms of meningitis! Are you alright? Have you told anyone?” I grunted back explaining what had been happening.
“Where is Alex now? You call her right now and get to a hospital! Understand!” I sighed and promised I’d call her. As soon as the phone was put down I picked it up once more.
“Hey,” They instantly recognised my voice. “Hey, how you feeling? Better, worse or the same?”
“In all honesty, a little worse.” My voice was quiet and forced. I really had no energy, I just wanted sleep, I just needed them to leave me alone for the night.
“Right, ok. Stay there.” The phone line went dead. Like I was going to go anywhere else? No more than two minutes later she was here.
The worry in her face made me feel so guilty; she must really think it was bad. I didn’t care, I needed sleep. She was combing my hair with her fingers again, she knew me too well. I just sat there and did as she told me. It’s like when you scratch behind a cat’s ear; basically that’s what it was doing to me.
Before I knew it I was bundled into a car bound for a medical centre that should be open. I tried to sleep in the car, but Rosanna kept making me speak. I guess they were really worried that if I slept, that was it, I wouldn’t be coming back from it. The potential severity of the situation never really hit me. The centre was closing as we got there, but a nurse agreed to come to the car to give some advice.
I was trying to talk to her and answer her questions. It took no more than 40 seconds for her to recommend the emergency room. Fantastic, another night in A&E. I just wanted sleep.
I know here is where you want all the gory details, was I scared about what it could be? Well no I wasn’t, things had been a little crappy and I just wanted to sleep. I think my friends were terrified; they really did act like it. It kind of bothered me, I didn’t want this attention. I just wanted to get better on my own. I always did and now should have been no different.
Time with the doctors soon discovered that I wasn’t that ill, much to the relief of everyone. It had basically been the build up of stress over the semester. It was all new to me, it was difficult and I just hadn’t stopped. My body had shut down that night, I just hadn’t stopped, and now it had stopped me. I slept for about 3 days before I was my old self again. Soon back to play fighting with Alex.