Need Someone

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Chapter 4.1 - What Should I Do

I managed to break my fever that night. Fudging my timeline a bit, I was able to switch to the evening shift with a double over the weekend. Though I wasn’t exactly excited about losing most of my weekend right after being sick, I was looking forward to being alone with minimal patients.

All of the patients on our floor must have had tickets to Coachella or something. It was a ghost town at our end. Meanwhile, the baby birthers were overbooked and rolling into our rooms. I wasn’t complaining. It was fun to watch the birthing teams sprint down the hall in their pale pink scrubs mere minutes before a baby started crying, all while I had to do absolutely nothing to help them.

After I checked in, I walked down to Ziggy’s room and met Theresa as she came out. She had a disapproving smirk on her face when she saw me. I looked at her in question. “He’s on morphine and won’t shut up about you.” She patted me on the arm. “I warned you.”

I walked in and Tiffany was nearly in tears. Denise was bright red trying to keep herself from laughing. They both saw me and lost it. What the hell?

Ziggy gasped. “There she is! My Angel.” He was high as a kite, smiling so big his eyes were early closed. He leaned toward me and looked like he would roll out of the bed.

“Hi, Ziggy,” I kept from laughing at him.

“Hi, beautiful.” He reached for me. I gave him my hand and he kissed it over and over. I looked over at my coworkers and saw they were still enjoying the show. “I missed you.”

“Oh, did you?”

He nodded slowly against his pillow, a drowsy smile on his lips. “Yeah. So much.” He bit his lip. I delicately removed my hand from his and turned to the computer to prepare it for the doctor. “You’re so fucking hot. And nice. And sweet. And hot.”

I glared at him. “Ziggy, please.”

“That prick you went out with didn’t treat you right. It’s a traves . . . A travesty.”

“Didn’t treat me right? He was very nice,” I continued to stare at the screen.

“No, you deserve so much better,” he shook his head against the pillow. “When I get out of here, I’m going to buy you like ... two, three dozen roses in some weird color, because I know you’re too good for that basic red shit. Then I’m gonna take you to a nice ass restaurant for some . . . some fucking lobster.” I looked at him and tried my hardest not to laugh. He looked me straight in the eyes. “Then I’ll take you home and make you come so hard you’ll forget your own name.”

Denise squealed with her laughter. My face was on fire. “Ziggy!”

“Was that rude?” he asked. “I’m sorry.” He reached for me again, but I sidestepped him.

“Yes, that was rude. I need to take your temperature.”

“Oh, okay.” He rolled over and sat up like an obedient child.

I dragged it across his forehead and cheek. “Can you tell me your pain level?”

“My pain? Oh, I guess it does hurt . . .” He looked like he got lost in thought. “Two.”

“A two out of ten?”

“Yeah. Do I have a fucking hard on?” he asked, then proceeded to touch himself unabashedly. He gasped. “I do! You wanna see it?”

“No, Ziggy.”

“You sure? I’ve been told it’s very impressive.” Denise and Tiffany continued to giggle in the corner.

I shook my head at the two of them. “I’m sure it is.” Dr. Smith walked in and I was relieved.

“How are we doing, Mr. Ziegler?”

“Fine,” he smiled. “How are you?”

Dr. Smith made the face that no one wants to see. I felt my heart sink.

“We have a much better idea of what is going on with you. We should have the final test results later tonight, but before that, do you have any family or friends that you would like to be here?”

Ziggy looked perplexed. “He doesn’t have anyone on his contact list,” I responded in his stead.

“Yeah, nobody,” Ziggy slurred.

Dr. Smith nodded. “All right then. See you first thing tomorrow morning?”

“Yeah, okay.”

I woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning worried about Ziggy, and couldn’t go back to sleep. I moved up my run and went into work early even though I knew I would be working most of the night. When I arrived at the hospital, I changed clothes and immediately went to his room. I tapped the door lightly and found him sleeping. I thought about coming back later but changed my mind. I went to the computer to check when his vitals were last taken and found he was due for a check.

“Hey,” Ziggy said in a raspy voice as he roused from his sleep.

“Hey, there. How are you feeling?”

He started to sit up and winced. “I’m okay, I guess.” With a lack of morphine, seemed much more together than yesterday. I took his temperature. It was normal.

“Can I take a look at your incision?” He nodded and moved the sheet so I could lift up his shirt. His bandages looked clean—one of the benefits of the state-of-the-art equipment in the surgical suites. Yet another reason for me to love this place. I lightly pressed around the area and it didn’t seem to bother him. I put his shirt down and turned to make my notes.

“Did I say something inappropriate to you last time you were in here?” he asked.

I grinned. “No, of course not. You never say anything offensive or inappropriate,” I said sarcastically.

He laughed at his own expense. “What did I say?”

“You may or may not have told me you would make me come so hard I would forget my own name, and then offered to show me your penis.” I gave it a second to sink in.

When he groaned I look over to find him covering his mouth with a hand, his cheeks red. “Fuck. I am so sorry.”

“Don’t be.”

“You know I think you’re stupid hot, but I don’t want you thinking I’m a pig. I mean, I am a pig, I just don’t want you to think it.”

I glanced over and found his laughing smile. He knew how he was and he loved himself for it.

“When does my Douche of the Year award get delivered?” he laughed.

A top on the door gained our attention. Dr. Smith walked in ready to drop the news. “Good morning, Mr. Ziegler,” he said with an ironic absence of positivity in his voice. Dr. Mathews walked in behind him and I felt sick. There was only one reason for oncology to be here.

“Good morning,” Ziggy said back.

“Are you feeling better?”

“I’m getting there.”

I stepped out of the way so the doctor could do the same checks I just performed. He pressed on his abdomen then lowered his shirt. He sat down on the end of the bed and laced his fingers together. “Are you certain you don’t want anyone to be here with you?”

“I don’t have anyone who would be here. Can you just tell me what’s going on? You’re starting to scare me.”

“Mr. Ziegler,” he started. “During surgery, we looked closely at some specific areas of concern that showed up in your MRI. We took biopsies to verify, and we are able to confirm that you have stage three pancreatic cancer.”

My heart dropped to my feet. I felt like I was given the news myself.

Ziggy’s mouth dropped open slowly. “Wh-what?”

“You are very lucky. Because the tumor was pressing against your spinal nerves causing some of your other symptoms, we caught it much earlier than is usually possible. Though it is very aggressive, this is treatable. You have options.”

“The tumor . . .” Ziggy said, still trying to comprehend. Dr. Smith was still talking to him like he was a test result rather than a person.

My hands started to shake and I began to feel nauseous. I can’t do this right now. I can’t feel this again. I went to leave the room because I knew I would do nothing but make things worse. I almost stayed when I saw Ziggy’s face. marred by confusion and helplessness. I walked past Dr. Mathews and out of the door.

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