“Olivia, we have your results”
After two excruciating hours of exams, starting with an echocardiogram, a blood test, an electrocardiogram, and finally with a chest X-ray. I was sure I was more than ready to be featured on a Grey’s Anatomy episode.
I’ve never experienced something like this. I mean, I’ve been to a hospital before, but last time I waited the whole night for a young resident to look at my feet after my toe got smashed by a metal toolbox.
This was different, it was like they had everything ready and available for me, with different types of specialists and nurses guided by Doctor Kumar. It was reassuring knowing I was in good hands, but that didn’t stop me from feeling nervous and tense about my results.
I was passed around from exam to exam without any wait, and Darius stayed with Dr. Kumar the whole time, which was strange. Is that even allowed? I mean he practically walked with him like he own the place.
“You have a paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, Ms. Summer,” Dr. Kumar said. “It is a heart condition. That is why you have an irregular and often rapid heart rate.”
“You lost me at pa-aro-roxysmal” I replied trying to understand the word.
“That basically means that it is an Atrial Fibrillation that comes and goes. For example, this episode you had in the bathroom, it stopped on its own…but sometimes medication is needed.”
“I don’t follow. You are saying I have a heart condition?”
“Yes, you do it is what causes your irregular heartbeat.” he paused. “The good news is that it is an early stage for AFIB, meaning it hasn’t damaged or affected your heart too much.” he paused for a second letting me take part of the information.
“Uhm, I still don’t understand. it just doesn’t make sense.”
“I am only missing your blood test results, but other than that we have finished your diagnosis”
“How much are the exams I just had?”
“Just the echocardiogram around three thousand”
“Olivia. You have the best treatment options available to you, with better responses to either medication or procedures. We are talking about a high success rate here, this early detection possibly saved your life.” Dr. Kummar kept talking.
Possibly saved my life?
“Uhm…medication? Procedures? Could you stop for a second?” I asked.
Shit, shit, shit. I don’t have the money for all of this!
“And you are telling me I will need medication?”
“Yes” he answered quickly and carefully watched me as I covered my head with my hands
“Just tell me, can I live without medication?”
“To an untreated Afib? Yes, is not life-threatening on its own, but this condition can increment if not managed…and will certainly cause serious consequences”
“Oh, so I can stay like this for a while, and nothing will happen?”
“Probably, yes; but only for a while.” He answered, frowning his face.
Okay, we can work with this for a little while until we get everything in order.
“Uhm..okay. Is that all? I’d like to think about it”
“You would like to think about it? What is there to think? You would be at a higher risk for stroke or heart failure.” Darius added.
“Uhm..okay.” I said ignoring Darius’ comment “Thank you for your assessment Dr, Kumar. I think I am ready to leave. If you are so kind to send the bill to the address set on my Id .” I added.
“May I have a moment, Dr. Kumar?” Darius asked.
The doctor nodded and left without a word. Darius closed the door and walked back to where I was seated.
“Why are you not accepting the treatment, Olivia” He watched me with a hardened expression.
“Thank you for this, I really appreciate it, but it is too much for me to handle,” I said trying to get up from the hospital bed, but he held me steady.
“Why are you so reckless? Why are you sabotaging yourself?” He asked in a commanding voice.
“I am not sabotaging myself. I ju-ust…cannot handle this right now”
“Being sick?” he asked raising my chin to meet his intense eyes. “But you are” added.
“I have other problems, Darius. You don’t understand because your life has always been easy. So back off.”
“When did you have the impression that my life is easy, Olivia?”
“I have more responsibilities in my back than you can imagine, hundreds of families relying on this enterprise to keep going. I think you are so stuck in your little problems. that you are avoiding the big elephant in the room”
Did he just call my problems, little problems?
“Little problems!?” I replied angrily.
How can he be so mean?
He nodded watching me seriously.
“Have you ever been, broke, cheated on or unemployed? Are your parents dead? Do you have any idea how struggling feels like?” I scoffed.
“You have no fucking clue of what real life is like, so stop lecturing me” I added feeling my blood boiling.
I hated myself at this moment for sounding like such a victim, but he had no idea what my life was like.
“Don’t let your ego step in the way; It is a matter of perspective. From my point of view, those problems you are drowning yourself into are rather temporary. Your heart condition could be permanent” he said harshly.
His words sliced me open and before I could change my facial expression, tears were already pooling up in my eyes.
Oh, no Olivia. Don’t cry in front of him.
“You are sick and you need to face it,” he said so coldly that I lost it, and then I was definitely shedding a tear.
He watched me cry and for the first time, he softened his eyes and closed the gap between us bringing me into his arms. I quickly stiffened at his touch.
“Do you pity me!? Stop watching me like that! I am a big girl. I can handle my problems” I said, pushing his chest with my two arms.
He just remained like a rock holding me, and no matter how hard I tried to push him away, he hold his position, hugging me until I surrender completely, crashing into a desperate ugly cry leaving tears and drool all over his shirt.
“Breath Olivia, I can feel your heart,” he said as one of his hands caressed my hair and the other one did small circles in my back bringing in a sense of comfort after.
I breathed in touching his back and hugging him back for the first time and closing my heavy lids. In a minute I was feeling better, but I knew I looked like a big mess, probably with red eyes and a pink nose.
Once I calmed myself up he pushed my chin up and I resist looking at his eyes by crossing my face to one side. I screwed my eyes shut on how ashamed I felt and on how much I shared with him. I was never this vulnerable.
“Olivia,” he said raising my chin up again to meet his stare and I let him. He was starring brazenly into my eyes with those silver eyes, and then before I could stop him he brought his lips into mine into a soft kiss.