|Back in Febuary of 1996, Mardi Gras had come again to the south. My friends and I wee on the streets of New Orleans. I remember it was hot, or I was hot. Nobody else seemed to complain. Tom, my boyfriend at the time, and the others were cheering for beads. I suddenly wanted to take a nap. At first, I just put my hands down and walked away from the mass of people to the wall facing the street. I sat down right there on a stoop on the edge of the sidewalk. The parade continued to pass by.
I watched it from my lowered viewpoint and thought that this is what a child must see when they look up at it. I also thought that it was a fine thing to step back and take a load off. Tom was the first to notice I was missing. I don't remember seeing him until he was right up in my face, "Kim, you okay?"
"Yeah, "I said, "Go have fun, catch me some beads." But he didn't leave my side. He kept asking me if I felt alright and all I wanted was for him to leave me alone so I could sleep. It didn't ocurr to time at the time that I was in any danger at all.
The next thing I remember is waking up in Tom's arms after a nap in his dorm room. I'd asked him who he was. I knew full well who he was, but his name would come up in my head. Later, I was in my own room at East Laville and Tom and Neal were there trying to sort things out, letting me rest. I still have no idea how I got there. I asked Neal who he was. I knew that I knew them and that I loved them both, but I couldn't get their names into my head. They left suddenly, and I was afraid I'd go to jail for being a smartass. So, I left my dorm room, and the dorm building in my nightgown. I wandered around outside until I thought the coast was clear. It was a warm night.
I have arrived at the front of the building when, suddenly, a tall, pale figure grabbed me from behind. I struggled weakly against him for a moment. Confused as to why my friend would grab me in this way, part of me was comforted by the embrace and I was quiet. Then I saw them. Two figures in dark clothes with bright yellow patches on their arms started towards me. Just as I had feared, the police had come to arrest me! I screamed and cried until one of them said, "come on, let her go, son." So he did.
I thought I was safe, so I walked calmly to the dorm room, right to fridge, and opened the door. There was a small caraf of cool water in there. As I sat down to drink it everyone was there- staring at me. The two cops came closer. I can't remember anything they said, I was so afraid. But my sweet, loyal roomate, Amanda, appeared from seemingly nowhere and sat on the floor right in front of me. I cried out to her.
The next thing I remember is the hall director, Steve threatening to call the dean if I didn't go to the hospital voluntarily. I finally agreed. Bill drove us there and I walked in under my own power. Soon after sombody got me a wheelchair.
The police were in the hallway, talking to the doctors. I was put on a gurney and someone started an IV. I howled in pain. Tom tried to enter the room, but I think someone stopped him. Then someone pressed cold rubbed up to my forehead and said 105 to someone I couldn't see. I fell asleep again.
The next day I was feeling much like myself again, although I was still very ill. A doctor came to see me. He said Ebstein-barr and some other stuff. Then he said somthing about sending a hemotological onocologist named Faroqui to see me. I knew exactly what that meant. This quack thought I had cancer! i was offended, but I let them do their tests over the next few days. A bone marrow aspiration, a CAT scan, a blood culture, and some other stuff I dont' remember.
Come to think of it. I imagine they were surprized not to see any drugs in my system. One night, about ten of my friends from my posse' and Atlantis(a closed 'talker' internet group) came to see me all at the same time. I was happy they'd come but they soon wore me out. I whispered to Jim that they should leave before I passed out from exhaustion. They left very quickly.
On another day, Jeremy came to see me. We talked for a while. As we did, I noticed somthing very strange. Everytime lifted my right hand to drink or brush my hair away from my face, he'd wince and look away. I fianlly asked what the matter was and he said looking at the IV in my hand made him sick. After that, I tried to keep it hidden under the blankets. We roleplayed for a while, with me as the DM, but soon I was very tired. I tried to sit up to clear my head, but that only made things worse. He left shortly after that.
The next day, my father showed up, a moment I had been dreading. I'd hoped he'd stay in New Orleans. And there was good reason to be afraid. Aloe vera juice. He swore by the stuff and used to make us drink it all the time. So, as soon as I knew he was coming, I told the nurse not to let him give me anything. So, they gave him a sealed cup of cranberry juice to give to me. I guess they thought that was safe enough. If only they knew the history behind that stuff too.
Now, the bone marrow thing was a comical event in itself. Someone had given me a xanax earlier that hour. So this guy walks in with a tray full of stuff and two student doctors. He proceeds to drill a tiny hole in my hip while I sing show tunes to them. The two students giggled like mad, and at the end, so did I.
After five days, someone from the campus church called me on the phone to check on me. I told him that they thought I might have cancer. He said cancer was just a word. Then I said to him that they won't let me leave until my white blood cell count reaches 2000. It was currently at 900. Then Tony did something totally uncalled for. This man promised me it would be there by the next day. I didn't belive him. But this man was right! The very next day they said I'd be alright, gave me some b-complex plus to take(mere vitamins), and sent me back to school.
So, that night, Tom supporting me the whole way, walked with me over to the lecture hall where services were being held. I hid behind one of the columns til serivces were over. At least, i thought I was hiding. Stovall, the student-preacher, had just finished praying specially for me and when he opened his eyes, there I was, seated in a dark corner. "She's here!" he shouted. Everyone tuned around and looked, and broke into applause and shouts of "Amen!" I never knew I was that famous on campus.