Sharon’s Note: Poor Beth. Nose leeches aren’t fun for anyone. To bad it gets worse. Warning: Any resemblance to an actual hospital stay is purely fictitious. Really, nurses rock!
The emergency room had been surprisingly busy considering it was a Monday morning. After Katy had used the master key to open the door and found me screaming and bleeding in the bathroom, she had screamed herself. Then, ever practical Katy had grabbed me and dragged me to her car and drove me to the hospital. She had called the supervisor for the school store on the way to let her know what happened.
In typical nurse fashion, no one in the ER seemed impressed by my bloody condition. After a quick chat with someone in scrubs in a side room, it was deemed that I wasn’t dying, so I had to sit in the waiting room like everyone else. I used the time to wash the blood off my face, so it wasn’t all bad.
When I was finally called in, I was given a small, curtailed off area and a bed in the hallway. All the rooms were taken. They’d asked me lots of questions, and had me repeat my story several times. There’d been pee tests and blood tests, and once I had told them that my blackout had occurred after I had gone out drinking, they didn’t believe a word I said.
No matter how many times I denied it, they assumed I was on some kind of drugs. In our hasty rush to the hospital, neither of us had picked up the dying leech thing. With no evidence, and no witness, since Katy had never seen the leech at all, they had no reason to believe my story. I was discharged with the politely passive aggressive advice to drink plenty of water and get out of the bed that was needed for someone else.
As Katy was driving me back to my apartment, she ranted about the hospital, about me, and about the crappy state of the universe in general. I’d known her for long enough, that the sound of her complaints was almost soothing. My eyes started drooping. I was feeling so tired and . . .
I gasped, arms flailing. My left arm stuck something, and Katy swore, slamming the breaks. Heart thudding in my chest so hard it almost hurt, I tried to breath around my sobbing. Katy pulled the car into a strip mall parking lot, which after a moment I realized was only a couple of blocks from my complex.
“What the hell, Beth?” Katy hissed at me.
“I don’t . . . don’t know. A night . . . nightmare, I guess?” My breath hitched, breaking my speech.
“Must have been some nightmare.” I didn’t miss the vague hostility in Katy’s voice, I just couldn’t deal with it right then.
“I . . . I don’t know. It was just . . . so intense. It was dark, and there was something chasing me and . . . I think it had claws or knives and it slashed at me. . .” I raised my hand to my face, where I remembered it striking, and felt the moisture of tears. The dream had been so vivid I could still feel the sting as I touched where the thing in the dark had cut me.
“What happened to your cheek?” Katy asked, apawled.
I screwed up my face in confusion, and she pointed to my hand. I pulled it away from my cheek to look, and my throat seized in terror as my stomach turned to ice. It wasn’t tears on my fingers, it was blood.