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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2183087
Rated: E · Short Story · Other · #2183087
The sides of Dementia
Two-Headed Coin

The bedside table came crashing to the floor, as security held the man in place who was attempting to rip away the tubes invading his body. The urinal recently emptied from the man's Foley catheter, came crashing and splashing on anyone standing near it. The catheter was one of the many tubes the man was crazed about removing from his person. He started swinging his arms at anything he could hit causing staff to duck in a defensive posture. There was an angry strength to the man's upper body as he pushed away the people he believed were hurting him. His legs had lost all functionality long ago but it didn't stop him from trying to stand with a wobbling gait. He screamed curse words as they tried to keep him from falling in the urine spilled a moment earlier. The nurse could see the fear in the man's eyes. In a soothing voice, she tried desperately to convince him to take a seat. In one slight moment of clarity, he did and his body relaxed. A hint of a smile surfaced, and the man calmed. There was a collective release of their grips by the staff and they backed away. Briefly, a bigger smile appeared on the man as he reached over and pulled infusion tubing from his vein. Blood spurted freely as the nurse fought to contain it.

Ron could feel the clouds gathering as if a curtain threatened to drop darkness on the scene. The clouds were always a lurking danger. He was busy eating his fine dinner and out of nowhere the shadows appeared. He had no way of knowing when they would appear or what bought them to the surface. He knew only that focus was lost when the shadows loomed. A woman that he hardly knew was smiling and talking to him about a band he had once played in. He was regaling her with tales of his musical prowess. He told her stories about the refinery he was working. They were laughing and sharing parts of their lives. She had seemingly come to visit him and it made him happy. Ron wasn't sure why she had come to his room but he appreciated the company.

"So what instrument did you play?" she asked. She encouraged him to take small bites in between the conversation. The man in room 120 had become her favorite patient. He was so appreciative of her care. He never missed an opportunity to tell her thank you. His stories were lively and fun making the night fly quickly by.

"I'm a trumpet player. I play a mean horn! You should come by the Oasis some night to hear us play."

Lorelei snatched a glance at the papers beside her. It listed the man's age at seventy-nine, making her skeptical of his story. "You still play in the band every week?"

"Yep, every Friday. Occasionally have to take a night off to take my wife out on the town but other than that I'm there playing my heart out. You really should stop by sometime."

"That sounds like fun. I might have to do just that. Do you want your pudding now?"

"Did someone bring me pudding? That was nice? And what is your name?"

"I'm Lorelei. They sent the pudding up with your dinner. I told them that you had a sweet tooth."

"I like pudding, don't I?"

"Yes, I think so. I know that I do!"

"What was your name? Did I tell you that I work at the Refinery in Mehlville? Been there thirty-nine years."

"I'm Lorelei. That is a long time at the same job. What did you do there?"

"I'm an accountant. I keep their books. Lots of books," he said as he let his head droop down to his chest. His head shook side to side as if trying to remove a nonexistent bug from his hair. He pulled at the gown around him.

Lorelei thought the man looked tall, even sitting in the chair. His upper body hinted of a once active life. Thinning, his body still held the residue of brawn and muscle. His facial features were refined and business-like, making it easy to picture the man as an accountant. His silver hair still held flecks of black and his blue eyes echoed a long lost glimmer. His finger pads were calloused, Lorelei believed from a lifetime of playing his trombone.

"I'm hot. I need a shirt. Where are my clothes? I should probably go home now," he whispered. He stared blankly at the rubber tube extending from his penis. It scared him.

"I'll turn the heat down. I think your wife took your clothes home but we can take the gown off if you want."

"This isn't my shirt. I want my clothes. Why are you at my house?"

"Remember, you weren't feeling well so they brought you to the hospital. We have to help you get better and then you can go home."

"Yes, the hospital. Did you talk to my doctor?... Did he tell you to keep me here?" he said wanting to know why she kept smiling at him and why the rubber cord stretched from his penis and extended down his leg. Both things seemed evil to him.

"Yes, when you came into the hospital you had a bad infection in the bladder. It made you very sick, so your doctor wanted us to give you antibiotics to get rid of the infection."

Her voice reminded him of the teacher's voice on an old Peanuts cartoon. "Blah, blah, blah," was all he could understand. The rubber tube was irritating him.

"I want my shirt," he said as he tugged on the rubberized rope causing him pain.

Lorelei jumped up to gently redirect the man's hands. "So how about that pudding?"

"I need to take this thing out. Who put that there?" his voice was suddenly angry. He pulled at the hose roughly.

"No, let's leave that alone. It will hurt very badly if you keep pulling on that. The doctor had us put that in so you could pee easier. You have been so sick that you couldn't even pee."

"I need to pee now. That thing isn't helping."

"If you want it out, I will take it out. Just don't pull on it. Let me take it out gently. Okay?"

"You can't take that out. My doctor put that in there! "

"Alright, we will both just leave it alone. You were going to tell me about that band you are in."

"No, I need to leave!" he screamed. He squirmed in his seat, eager to be free of the room.

Ron was stifled suddenly by the haziness that thickened. Breathing became difficult. It was as if a bag had been placed over his head. A feeling of claustrophobia consumed him. He wanted only to escape. He knew no one. This place that held him was not his. He didn't belong here in this foreign land. He clawed at the strange objects protruding from his skin. He fought to stand but the smiling woman eased him back. His legs were noodle-like and unresponsive. He commanded the muscles in his legs to work but they failed him. Ron glanced at his thighs as the tendons twitched in an effort to move. Pushing hard against the arms of the chair he managed to rise to a semi-standing position. Beside him was a smiling demon that held him captive and returned him to the seated position.

Bells sounded from somewhere in the room. His agitation grew. He scooted to the edge of his seat and pushed up with all of his might. The smiling demon fell backward. She rose slowly trying to place her body in front of the man as his legs shook. He teetered on his weak malfunctioning limbs. She called to someone in the hall with a new and strange unsmiling being responding. Together they planted the man back in the seat that quickly engulfed him like a prison.

Lorelei could see the fear in the man's eyes. With a soothing voice, she reassured.

"I want to call Rose," he muttered breathlessly.

"Alright, let's do it. Do you know the number or should I look it up?"

"It's written down somewhere. Where are my clothes?"

"It's alright, I will look it up. Can you please stay in the chair and talk to Amy here for a minute?" she said as she waved her hand towards the unsmiling being.

"I'm Amy. Can I sit next to you for a minute?" her smile formed as she spoke.

"Hi, are you new here?"

"No, I've been here awhile. You might have just missed me when I brought your dinner tray in."

"Oh, do you know my address? How am I going to get home? If I call my wife, she'll come to get me," he murmured more to himself than anyone else. He bent over in the chair trying to reach a blanket that had fallen on the floor. He attempted to put the blanket over his head like a shirt. The new smiler kept him from falling too far forward. He eyed her cautiously.

"Lorelei is going to let you talk to your wife on the phone."

"The number is on a piece of paper."

"Yes, she's getting it."

"It's in my clothes. I need to get it. Where are my clothes? Who took them?"

"Your wife took them home, but we have the number. She gave it to us so you could call."

"I need it on paper."

Lorelei reentered the room while dialing the phone. The man grabbed at the paper she held in her hand, gripping it tight to his chest. The seven digit number written in marker on the page had become his lifeline. She spoke with Rose for just a moment before handing the phone to the man. Tears filled his eyes as he heard a familiar voice.

"Rose, come get me, please," the man begged.

From the one-sided conversation, Lorelei felt his pain but could see the man's jaw begin to relax. Whatever his wife was telling him was comforting.

He uttered only a single statement at the end of the call. "I want to go to bed, now."
The smilers helped him to his bed and tucked him for the night. A bed alarm was turned to on position.

At nine-o-five the alarm sounded at the nurse's station, the man was attempting to exit his bed.

Clouds weighed heavy in his brain, like a weighted sack of bricks pulling him down in a murky pond of water. He could taste the slime as it filled his lungs. Panic seized the man, threatening to strangle him. He was drowning. The fog surrounding him made it impossible to detect a location. Objects in the room appeared distant. Thoughts of death, solitary and painful, filled his head. The man was alone and very frightened. He struggled to carry himself to the top of the pond to where the air was good. People, unfamiliar and scary, magically appeared to hold him under the water. With all of his strength, he fought them. He refused to let them keep a good man down. He exited the tomb that was his hospital bed.

Lorelei and Amy quickly helped the man to the chair. They seated him and stood beside him breathless from the encounter. He continued to fight their intrusion. The man formed his hands into the shape of fists, pounding against the people trying to submerge him. He could hear voices, gurgling and unclear, above the murky water. They only added to his fear and made him angrier. He tossed anything within his reach at the invaders. Violently he pushed against the people holding him down.

Lorelei dialed the phone quietly and efficiently. The man had become more than they could handle. "Staff assist, room 120"

The bedside table came crashing to the floor, as security held the man in place who was attempting to rip away the tubes invading his body. The urinal recently emptied from the man's Foley catheter, came crashing and splashing on anyone standing near it. The catheter was one of the many tubes the man was crazed about removing from his person. He started swinging his arms at anything he could hit causing staff to duck in a defensive posture. There was an angry strength to the man's upper body as he pushed away the people he believed were hurting him. His legs had lost all functionality long ago but it didn't stop him from trying to stand with a wobbling gait. He screamed curse words as they tried to keep him from falling in the urine spilled a moment earlier. The nurse could see the fear in the man's eyes. In a soothing voice, she tried desperately to convince him to take a seat. In one slight moment of clarity, he did and his body relaxed. A hint of a smile surfaced, and the man calmed. There was a collective release of their grips by the staff and they backed away. Briefly, a bigger smile appeared on the man as he reached over and pulled infusion tubing from his vein. Blood spurted freely as the nurse fought to contain it.

The Haldol filled syringe slipped neatly into the man's backside. A temporary state of rest came eventually for the man.

The coin flips on both sides of dementia.

Word Count 2250
© Copyright 2019 L.A. Grawitch (lgrawitch at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2183087