Disclaimers: All characters referenced in this story are mine and mine alone. Any similarities between them and anyone else living, dead, or fictional, is purely accidental/coincidental. Basically, hands off without my permission-pretty please.
Warnings: No violence, sorry. This does involve a look at loving relationships between women. If this is not your style, you are under 18, or if this is not legal where you live: Either don’t read it, don’t get caught reading it, or forget you ever saw this stuff.
For those who think lesbianism is wrong -sorry, perhaps one day after we cure stuff like cancer and AIDS we’ll work on stupidity-until then, don’t read and don’t flame.
Sex: Of course-not in all sections but it does happen now and again.
Sue: Always for you!
Anything I missed? Fill in the blanks or email me.
All comments, questions, suggestions and nice stuff are LOVED!
Singing, someone is singing, thought Jay. What? Did something go wrong? Why am I hearing singing? She felt a hand holding hers but she couldn’t open her eyes. She was drifting rather pleasantly and her body didn’t seem to want to stop yet. The singing moved closer to her, and she could hear other voices talking. She thought she heard her name being called from a distance. She knew she was supposed to respond. Slowly, like rising from the bottom of a pool, she swam up to consciousness. There was a man singing in her room as he checked her vitals. He was the one trying to wake her up. She tried to turn her head and a sudden pain shot through her neck before she remembered where she was, and why. Bailey leaned over and gave her a kiss on her forehead.
“Welcome back Jay, everything went just fine. I’m here honey, and your parents are downstairs getting coffee.”
Jay groaned and the man introduced himself as her medical tech for the evening shift. He offered to get the nurse to give her pain medication and she gratefully accepted. As he went off in search of the nurse to dispense the medication, Jay looked around her room and realized she had a roommate. She could turn her head to the right a little but it was easier to turn towards to left, where the surgery had been done.
A youngish woman came in wearing scrubs and said she was the evening nurse, there with medication for the pain. “I’ll be giving you morphine Jay, let me know if it makes you feel uncomfortable or sick.”
Jay grunted, still not quite awake enough to speak. Bailey leaned over holding a spoon with ice.
“Open up sweetie, I have some ice chips so you can wet your mouth a little.”
Jay opened up slightly, took the ice, and then felt the morphine hit her, hard. She could feel it wash across her body from the IV site until it had reached every part of her body. “Did you see the doc yet?” croaked Jay. Her throat was sorer than after the last surgery.
“Yeah, she stopped in the waiting room after the surgery. She just said everything went well and she’d see you when you woke up. I guess the nurse went to call her.”
Jay leaned back; the head of her bed was raised to about a forty-five degree angle, making it easier for her to rest. Jay was curious about the results of the surgery but she would wait. She felt two rubber bulbs pinned to the front of her hospital gown and realized those were the drains. She felt as if she were slowly orienting at least. The fuzzy feeling in her head was kind of pleasant, but she preferred to know what was going on around her.
A little while later, the surgeon showed up with a resident who had assisted with the surgery.
“Hey Doc, how did you do?” asked Jay, trying to joke but nervous about the answer.
“Everything went very well Jay. I took out a total of lymph fifty nodes from just above your original site, and down your shoulder. Only one showed immediate signs of cancer, and they will study the rest in the lab. The one that did show signs was right next to the original tumor site so it hopefully hasn’t spread.”
Jay sagged back with relief and Bailey looked relieved. “Thanks Doc, did you get my ear on straight?”
“I think I put it back on pretty well,” joked the surgeon. She took a quick look at the surgical area, which was undressed, just covered in some kind of greasy stuff. “Everything looks great. If you have pain, let the nurses know. We don’t believe in pain, we believe in pain management. Don’t be a hero, okay?”
Jay nodded at her, too weary to answer.
“I’ll check back tomorrow and see how you’re doing. I’ll probably want you to spend some time out of bed tomorrow. For tonight, you can go to the bathroom as long as you have help but otherwise I want you in bed until I see you in the morning, understood?”
“No worries Doc, I don’t really feel like going for a walk just yet.”
“Any questions Bailey? You’ve been quiet.”
“I’m fine thanks, just grateful to you and your team for bringing her back to me.”
The surgeon smiled gently and took her hand, “We have a family and friends support center here too. If you need help, there’s no shame in asking for it. I think you’re doing great, but as things progress, think about yourself a little too.”
With that, the doctors left and they were on their own. Her roommate’s curtain was drawn and there was a low murmur of voices from the other side.
Jay’s parents came in just then, and Bailey filled them in on the doctor’s visit. Jay napped on and off while the three visited and discussed her health. She was too tired to care and the morphine was keeping her head fuzzy. Her mom sat next to her, holding her hand and smoothing back her hair from her face.
“Mom?” Jay whispered.
“I’m here Jay, I’m here, and you are going to be fine.”
“I know Mom, but can you make sure Bailey eats something? She’s spent all her time here with me and I want her to take care of herself too.”
Laura smiled, so very proud of this strong and caring woman she had helped raise. “I’ll take care of it honey don’t worry, just get some rest.”
Bailey and Jay’s parents left to get dinner and Bailey kissed her goodbye telling her she’d be back first thing in the morning.
“’K, love you.”
“I love you too baby, sleep well.”
On the second day after Jay’s surgery, Jay got two additional visitors, one she expected, and one she didn’t. Bailey had gone into work for a few hours, promising to come by after work. Riley came by about mid-morning to hang out and play PSP games with Jay. They had just finished a round of racing when a new visitor stuck her head in the door after knocking. Jay looked up assuming it was for her roommate and was surprised to find Sharon standing in the doorway, looking a bit uncertain.
“Hey Sharon, this is a surprise, come on in.”
Riley stood up and held her hand out, “Hi, I’m Riley a friend of Jay and Bailey’s.”
Sharon took the offered hand and was surprised as the small jolt of electricity that shot through her as she stammered, “Um, Hi, I’m uh, Sharon, I work with them...”
Jay looked from one to the other, puzzled about Sharon’s sudden case of stuttering, but she was on pain medication so she didn’t really have the strength to think about it. Riley offered Sharon a seat and pulled up another chair for herself, glancing over at her now and then.
“Sharon is actually our boss Riley, she’s just a little too modest sometimes. So, how are things at the office?”
“Good, busy, we miss you around there Jay.” Sharon glanced over at Riley and caught her looking back. Flustered, she turned to Jay, “So, when are you getting out of this place? Any idea yet?”
“They said maybe tomorrow or the next day. It depends on the drains and some other stuff I think. They are sending me home with the drains in this time,” Jay answered.
They talked about things for a while before Sharon stood and took her leave, saying she had to head back to the office for a meeting late in the afternoon.
Riley stood up and offered her hand again, “It has been a pleasure meeting you. Maybe I’ll see you again…you know, taking care of Jay and all…”
After Sharon left, Riley looked a little dazed as she sat down.
“Dude! Why have I never met her before?”
“Who, Sharon? She’s my boss, we don’t hang out usually. I’m shocked she came to see me here. Why?”
Riley looked at Jay as if she had three heads. “She’s cool! I’m just wondering why I hadn’t met her when we went out to dinner or something.”
“Uh huh, whatever, we don’t usually hang out like I said.”
“Oh” said Riley, sounding excited and dejected all at once.
“I CAN’T FUCKING DO THIS!” shouted Jay. She had been home for about five hours and it was time to empty and measure her drains. The angles weren’t quite right though, so she couldn’t see what she needed to see in order to squeeze out and empty the tubes.
“Do you trust me Jay?” asked Bailey in a calm voice.
“Of course, but this isn’t your job.”
“Sweetie, it isn’t about whose job something is or isn’t. It needs to be done and I can do it. I had the nurse show me how to do it while you napped yesterday. Let me help you by doing this for you.”
Jay nodded grudgingly. She hated being unable to take care of things on her own. Bailey was going to work from home for the next few days before going back to the office. She didn’t look at the drains as Bailey squeezed and milked them to clean the tubing and emptied the bulb like collection containers. After following instruction on measuring and recording the output, Bailey cleaned up and tucked the supplies away.
Bailey kissed Jay’s forehead and resettled her under a light blanket on the couch. Bailey made sure that Jay had plenty to drink before going to Jay’s favorite chair to do some work. She worked steadily on the laptop, answering e-mails, concurring loan decisions, and filing reports. Finally, she was done and looked over at Jay, sleeping on the couch. Bailey’s heart broke for her, but she knew that Jay wouldn’t welcome anything that felt like pity. She could see the lines of pain etched across her lover’s face as she slept, but it wasn’t time yet for another pain pill. Sighing, Bailey got up, did a load of laundry, and put away some clothes. Then she went to the kitchen to start dinner; figuring softer foods would be better for Jay right now.
Deciding on something quick and healthy, she looked through the cupboards and made a quick choice. She put lightly salted water on to boil for pasta and pulled out a smaller pot to make the sauce. To the smaller pot, she added some chicken stock and a little flour to thicken it, and whisked it together. Then she added some sour cream and fresh dill and whisked it until it was smooth. She put it on medium heat and tossed in some flaked salmon from a package in the freezer that she had thawed in the microwave, then added some frozen peas, roasted red pepper and seasoned it with a little freshly ground white pepper. She heated it through and left it covered on low heat while the pasta boiled. She drained the pasta, tossed it in the sauce and then covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to cool down.
About an hour later, she woke Jay and helped her to the bathroom to clean up. By the time Jay was back, the pasta was out of the fridge, the table was set, and some soft music was playing.
“Jay, I can bring this to you on the couch if you’re more comfortable there.” Jay would have to sleep on the couch the next few nights at least, as she couldn’t fully recline yet.
“Let me try the table and I’ll move if I can’t handle it.”
Bailey helped Jay get situated before she dished up some of the pasta salad. She poured some sparkling water for them and raised a glass. Jay looked at her curiously but raised her own as well.
“To having you home with me where you belong.” They clinked glasses and drank before starting on the dinner.
“Honey, this is great! The hospital sure didn’t serve food like this!” Jay was a bit of a food snob and wasn’t afraid to admit it. “They used so much canned stuff, it wasn’t very good. Thanks for cooking honey.”
Bailey looked at Jay with a sparkle in her eye, “You know I love cooking, I just can’t wait until you can cook with me again.” She paused to take a bite of food and grinned, “Do you remember those messes we made in high school? It’s amazing either of us was ever allowed back in a kitchen again.”
They laughed and continued reminiscing as they ate. After dinner, Jay decided that she wanted to watch a movie so Bailey popped in a DVD after cleaning up from dinner and starting the dishwasher. She sat on the end of the couch, pulled Jay’s legs onto her lap, and rubbed her feet as they watched the movie. Jay fell asleep about halfway through the movie and Bailey eased out from under her legs and tucked her in, before turning off the TV and the lights. She left the hall light on just in case and went to the master bedroom to get ready for bed. It wasn’t that late but they were both tired and she knew she should rest while she could.
Just over a week after her surgery, Jay was back at the cancer center to have her drains and staples removed. Riley had brought her in for the appointment so that Bailey wouldn’t have to take more time off. She had only been back at work for a few days and so far hadn’t reported any problems. The resident came in and checked her drain chart and her staples, and announced that he could indeed remove everything right away. The nurse got the staple removing kit ready and the resident prepared to take out the drains.
He removed the stitches holding the drains and got ready to pull the first one out. He said to Jay, “OK, I’ll pull the first one on the count of three.”
“OK, I’ll be ready”
“OK, one, two—” and he pulled both drains out at once.
Jay almost kicked him for doing it that way. She had wanted to exhale as he pulled and he messed up that up with his stupid trick. Having him do both at once wasn’t bad, but she would have liked to know about it first. She imagined that worms slithering through her veins would duplicate the feel of those tubes sliding out of her neck and chest. She glared at the resident but kept her mouth shut, after all, he still had to remove the staples, and there was no point in pissing him off before he did it. Once he removed the last staple, he told Jay to make sure she kept putting the antibiotic ointment on it twice a day at least and once it was fully closed she could switch to the lotion they had given her. She nodded, thanked him, and asked Riley to get her out of there as quickly as possible.
“Did ya need to stop anywhere dude? Need to go to your office for anything?” asked Riley as they got in the car.
“Uh, I hadn’t planned on it, I’m pretty sensitive about showing my scar still, and I can’t keep it covered yet because fabric irritates it. Plus, my shoulder and neck feel all weird since they cut some nerves, it’s like I’m numb but overly sensitive at the same time.”
Riley made a sympathetic noise but had a slightly disappointed look on her face.
“Did you want to stop someplace Rye?”
“Oh, um, no that’s fine, I just wondered, you know, if you needed anything from your office or something.”
“Thanks but if I need anything Bailey will just bring it home with her.”
“Oh yeah, right, makes sense. Home it is then!”
Riley put on an Indigo Girls CD and jammed away to it as they drove back through the city. Jay looked out the window, wondering if she would ever feel confident in her appearance again. The new scar followed the older one but that made it larger also. It was very red, raised, and seemed large. The staple marks made her neck look like it was a railroad track, plus there were the two holes from the drains and the nerve damage. She was afraid to go out, that’s why she didn’t have Riley take her anywhere. Truthfully, she would have loved to stop by the office and at least say hello to people, but she couldn’t bear the thought of them seeing her like this. How will I ever go back to work?
Riley glanced over, watching Jay’s expressions change as her thoughts wandered. She had an idea of what was going on in Jay’s head but she didn’t know how to reassure her that the scarring wasn’t that bad. It was still fresh and had a lot more healing to do. Eventually it would fade away. She wished she could cheer her friend up but mostly she felt a little helpless, which is one reason she was glad to be able to help with transportation. At least she knew there was something she could do to help her friends.
Continued in Part 14
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