Stars Worth Searching For

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Chapter Ten

On Monday morning, I don’t tell anyone, but I’m a little nervous about the appointment. When I was coming down the stairs last night at Leo’s, I saw something that looked like an extra step, and almost tripped again.

That happened to me, right before I needed the surgery the first time too.

But maybe if I just ignore it, everything will be fine.

I’ve also been having a headache too, but it may have something to do with being nervous, before the appointment.

“Wanna get some coffee on the way?” Leo asks.

“Sure.” I slip my sweatshirt over my head,

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” I smile, trying to hide my nervousness.

I texted mom, but told her that I didn’t think it was a big deal, so she and dad are at work today, and I don’t think this will be such a big deal.

But I can tell that it’s a big deal as soon as I look at the picture on the screen, and the look on Dr. Calloway’s face.

“Umm..is everything okay?” I ask in a shaky voice.

“Not now, but it will be.” He points at the screen. “Part of having the disease that you have and the fact that the retina in your left eye has already detached, puts your right eye at risk for detachment.”

I fight back tears. “So, I have another detachment?”

“Yes. I’m sorry.”

“So what now?” I ask.

“I would strongly recommend having the surgery as soon as possible.”

“But.. what happens if I don’t?”

Dr. Calloway puts his hand over mine. “It will just progressively get worse. I think you should have the surgery.”

Tears stream down my cheeks, but it’s harder to hold them back this time.

“Okay.”

Dr. Calloway looks me in the eye. “This isn’t going to be as bad as your left eye. I promise.”

“Is it gonna start shrinking?” I ask, a tear streaming down my cheek.

“No love, it isn’t as severely detached, as your left retina was.”

“Okay.”

“I’m sorry.” He puts his hand on my forearm.

“It’s fine.” I say quietly, signing the consent papers.

How am I supposed to explain this to mom and dad?

“Do you think you could handle an injection today, to stabilize the pressure?” Dr. Calloway asks, sympathetically.

“Can we wait until the surgery?” I ask.

I’m really not feeling it today.

“Okay. Just make sure you take these drops in the meantime, the surrey is scheduled for next week.”

“Okay.”

“Do you need me to talk to your parents?” He asks. “Are they here?”

“I’ll tell them. They’re at work today.”

“Okay, just meet with the coordinator, it won’t take that long.”

I bite my lip, to keep from crying. “Okay.”

“You okay?” Leo asks, as we’re walking out to the car.

“I don’t know.” I burst into tears.

Leo comes over to the passenger’s side of the car, and hugs me. “Do you want to be alone?”

“No, I want you.”

Leo smiles. “Okay, let’s go get something to drink.”

“I don’t even want to talk to Kaycee about any type of scholarship today.” I sink lower in my seat, and look at the window, tears streaming down my cheeks.

“You can tell her your situation, she may be able to help you with rehab.”

“Why would I need rehab?” I ask, getting anxious.

Leo puts his hand on my leg. “I didn’t say you needed it, but it may help you recover after surgery,”

“Okay.”

“You still want me to go with you?”

“You don’t have to, I actually have to go home so I can call my parents and tell them about the surgery.”

“Can I hang out there with you for a little?” He asks.

I link my arm through his, and put my head on his shoulder. “Sure.”

Leo and I get Starbucks, and bring it back to the house.

“Can we watch a movie?”

I’m trying really hard to keep my mind off of the surgery.“Sure.” Leo grabs a movie out of the DVD case, and sits next to me on the couch, putting his arm around me.

“Leo?” I ask, halfway through the movie.

Leo answers with a kiss on my forehead. “Yes, love?”

“Do you think I’m gonna be blind?” Tears stream down my cheeks.

Leo wraps me into a hug. “Not permanently my love.”

“What do you mean?”

“Read the report he gave you. It will probably take six to eight weeks for your normal vision to come back, after the surgery, but if you take it easy it’ll be better for you.

“I just can’t believe this is happening again.” I’m bawling, now

Leo wraps me into a hug, rubbing my back. “Hey.” He kisses my cheek. “Look at me.”

I look up at Leo, and he wipes a tear off of my cheek with his thumb, “I’m always going to be here for you, my love.”

I look up at Leo, smiling through my tears. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too.” Leo kisses me, rubbing my back.

“You don’t have to go through this alone.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………

“Want me to talk, or do you think you can talk?” Leo asks, taking my hand, as we walk into the clinic.

“I can, thank you.”

“Alex?” Kaycee smiles.

“Hi.” I smile, trying to put myself back together.

But as soon as I get into her office, I’m crying.

Leo rubs my back. “It’s okay.” He says, quietly. “Relax.”

“Is everything okay?” Kaycee gives me a sympathetic look.

“No, I just found out that I need to have surgery again.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Kaycee puts her hand over mine. “Are you okay?”

“No. My retina is detached, in my other eye.”

“I’m so sorry.” Kaycee picks up a binder. “I have to add this to your file, because you’re an employee.”

I completely forgot about work. “Yeah, I’m gonna have to take some time off.”

“No problem.” Kaycee smiles. “Take any time you need?”

“Do you offer rehabilitation services?” Leo interjects.

“Yeah, actually we do.” Kaycee smiles, and hands both of us a brochure.

“Just come in as soon as you feel you’re up to it, and we can get you started.”

“What does that entail?”

“Just job training courses, counseling services, and therapists to help you navigate sometimes a new way of life.”

“Okay.” I’m really anxious now.

Kaycee puts her hand over mine. “It’s a good thing that you’re having the surgery as soon as you are.”

“Yeah.” I offer a small smile. That is true.

“Let me know if you need anything else.” Kaycee smiles.

“Thanks, I will.” I blink back tears.

“Good luck.”

“Thank you.” I practically ran out of the office, because I’m crying again.

“Do you want to get dinner?” Leo asks.

“No, I want to go home.”

“Okay.” Leo strokes my hair. “I’m sorry.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………

“Alex?” Mom comes into my room, as soon as she gets home from work.

I’m laying in bed, with the covers over my head. “I really don’t want to talk.”

“Okay, well do you want some cookies?”

“No.”

“Okay, well I’m leaving a tray for you. Feel better my love.”

“Thanks.” I offer a small smile. “I’m sorry, I really just don’t want to talk.”

“I understand.” Mom kisses my forehead. “Have some cookies.”

When mom leaves, I stay under my covers for another five minutes, before the smell of my favorite M&M chocolate chip cookies becomes irresistible. I devour the cookies, and wash them down with a glass of milk. At least they still taste the same.

……………………………………………………………………………………

I woke up to a text from my old friend, Aly Jo. I haven’t talked to her in so long, but she responded to my Instagram story, talking about my feelings about the surgery.

Hey, so sorry I haven’t reached out earlier than this. Do you wanna meet for coffee this morning, and do some shopping? I’m bringing the babies with me. Love you!

Oh yeah, she has two kids now. She must be so busy, and she’s taking time out of her schedule to meet me for coffee, when some of my family didn’t even respond. It means so much to me.

Aly texts that she’ll pick me up at nine. I’m so excited to see her youngest daughter, Serenity, I’ve never met her. And I can’t believe her daughter Meadow is seriously almost eight.

“You okay?” Dad comes into my room, before leaving for work.

“Yeah I’m good. My friend is picking me up to get coffee and shopping before work.” I take my scrubs out of the closet.

“Are you sure you’ll be able to work today?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I want to keep busy.”

“Okay.” Dad hugs me. “Have a good time with your friend.”

“Thanks, I will.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………

Half an hour later, Aly texts that she’s on her way, and I wait for her on the couch.

I go outside, when I see her car pulling up, fighting back tears.

Aly Jo’s wearing a pink Peasant crop top, and blue denim shorts with black flip flops.

She has another tattoo on the other side of her belly, her youngest daughter’s birthday.

As soon as she hugs me, I’m in tears.

She kisses my cheek, and when she lets go, I can see she’s crying too.

“Sorry.” I laugh.

“It’s okay.” She takes her daughters out of their car seats.

“Meadow, go say hi to Alex, she used to be your teacher!”

Meadow hugs me, and gives me a gap toothed smile. “I have a little sister now!”

A little girl comes up to me, and hugs my legs.

“Hi!” I run my fingers through her hair.

“That’s Setentity, she’s two.”

Serenity has beautiful brown hair that flows down her back.

“Wow, her hair grows fast!”

“Tell me about it.” Meadow laughs, putting the girls back in the car.

“Dunkin?” She asks, starting the car.

“Yeah,”

“I can drop you off at work, too.”

“Thanks.”

She puts her hand over mine. “No problem, love.”

“So, how does it feel to be married?” I ask, after grabbing a table outside.

“I love it.” Aly Jo lifts Serenity onto her lap.

“But this isn’t about me.” She rubs my arm. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m okay.” A tear escapes my lashes. “Just discouraged.”

Aly Jo comes over to hug me. “I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you.”

I smile at Meadow, who gives me a hug.

“Your girls are sweet.”

“Let me know if you want to borrow them for the day, I need a break.”

“I wish I could take them, but I’m working today.”

“Are you still a Child Life Specialist?” She asks.

“No, I’m an Occupational Therapy Assistant at a vision clinic for children that are legally blind and blind children.”

“Wow.” Aly takes my hand. “That’s amazing,”

“Thanks.” I offer a small smile. “I feel like it’s a way of giving back.”

“I’m sorry I haven’t gotten together with you in so long.”

“It’s okay, I can’t imagine how busy you must be.”

“Yeah, I’m actually a stay at home mom now, so my day is filled.”

“Did you graduate?”

“Yeah.” She nods. “I just started online college classes too,”

“I don’t know how you do it.” I smile at her kids.

“Believe me.” She sighs. “Sometimes I don’t know either.”

“Are you nervous about the surgery?” Ali and I clean our table, and carry the girls to Aly’s car.

“I’m just nervous about having the patch on, because I won’t be able to see anything after the surgery, and sometimes it takes a while for vision to come back.”

Aly puts her hand over mine. “You have a new doctor performing the surgery now. Things may be different.”

“Yeah.” I offer a small smile. “Maybe.”

I’m trying to stay positive, hut on the inside, I’m freaking out.

What if everything starts happening again?

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