Friday, March 21, 2008


Another excerpt from my novel-in-progress, Ginny Bates. If you are already a familiar reader, begin below. The action in the story resumes immediately after my post yesterday. If you need background, check the links in the sidebar on the right, fifth item down, to get caught up.

Mid December 2006

The next time they saw Nancy, as she was muscle testing Myra, she peered at her face and said "The dark rings around your eyes are wider than usual. Are you feeling all right?"

"Tired, too much. I'm not sleeping right" said Myra.

"What do you mean, specifically?" said Nancy.

"I wake up two or three times during the night. Usually just for a minute or two. But I've had some bad dreams" said Myra. "Not anything that makes sense to me. Like, twice I've dreamed there's something terribly wrong with my car. But there isn't, not in real life."

"Give me the details" said Nancy, her round face looking more serious than usual.

"Well, it's not even my current car, it's the Honda I had when I met Ginny. Which was a little red Civic I bought used after I won the lottery. Her name was Akai Kokoro, which I thought meant 'red heart' in Japanese, although I've had people tell me since that's not quite right. Anyhow, in the dream Chris and I are trying really hard to find out what's wrong with it -- it runs just fine, but somehow we know there's a major problem with the carburetor" said Myra.

Nancy spread her palm over Myra's chest, where her heart would be, her face now extremely somber. Ginny was leaning forward, watching them intently. Nancy muttered to herself, took Myra's pulses, and shook her head. She said "Are you sure it was the carburetor? And -- that's the fuel feed in a car, right?"

"Right on both. But, in the wacky way of dreams, mine wasn't in the engine compartment, it was underneath the back seat. Chris was trying to pull out the back cushions to locate it, I remember" said Myra.

Nancy's eyes registered comprehension. She moved her palm so it rested over Myra's lower abdomen, near her bladder, Myra thought. She muttered some more, this time nodding. She said "How long has it been since you had a gynecological check-up?"

Myra willed herself not to look Ginny's way. Ginny had been on her ass about this for years.

"I had a Pap at the women's clinic four years ago. I don't remember the last time I had a pelvic. Frankly, I haven't needed one. And, I'm in menopause, I think, I'm not having periods any more" said Myra.

Nancy took both her hands and said "I want you to promise me you will go see a gynecologist as soon as you can get in, and have a full work-up."

Myra felt a small chill. "All right" she said, a little reluctantly. "What is it, Nancy?"

"I can't tell precisely, but the chi is wrong. Something's blocked. If the regular work-up finds nothing, call me and I'll recommend another kind of practitioner" said Nancy. "Western medicine first, in this case."

On the way home, Ginny rested her hand on the back of Myra's seat, her fingers lightly touching Myra's shoulder. "Aren't you going to say 'I told you so'?" asked Myra.

"No" said Ginny gently.

At the house, Myra picked up the mail inside the front door and walked with it to her desk. She began sorting it and opening the more interesting items. Ginny appeared beside her, lifted the phone receiver and said "Dr. Desai. Call now."

Stifling a sigh, Myra pushed the speed dial button. She began the process of making an appointment. Ginny stayed beside her, and when Myra repeated "Three weeks? That's the soonest?" she heard Ginny make an exasperated sound. After she hung up, she faced Ginny and said "I'm new to their system, and I didn't think me explaining I had a dream about a carburetor and my energy worker said to get my plumbing checked out would actually get me processed any faster." Ginny smiled tightly and went to write the appointment on the refrigerator calendar. It was the day after Gillam's 16th birthday, January 4th.

Ginny accompanied her to the visit with Dr. Desai. When Myra explained why she had requested the work-up, Dr. Desai didn't laugh. She asked Myra how long it had been since she'd had a menstrual period.

"I'm not sure" began Myra, but Ginny interjected "Eighteen months." Dr. Desai took blood pressure, weighed her, and put her hand on Myra's face to lightly finger her chin and upper neck. She asked "If you didn't pluck, how much facial hair do you think you would have?"

Her cheeks hot, Myra said "Maybe a goatee. It's growing in white now, and not as thick as it used to be."

Myra was instructed to strip and put on a gown. Dr. Desai did a breast exam, and when Ginny spoke up again to say "We do that for each other every month", Dr. Desai grinned and replied "Good. Looks fine to me."

Myra then lay back and put her sock feet into stirrups. She'd been with Ginny for her exams, ages ago when she was pregnant, so she knew Dr. Desai had an endearing way of narrating what she was doing ahead of time, making sure there were no surprises. The speculum was a little tight, and the rectal exam was unpleasant, but Myra cracked herself up by reminding herself to "Think of Stonehenge".

When she sat back up, Dr. Desai pulled off her latex gloves and said "Don't get dressed just yet. I suspect you have a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome. It seems, in my practice at least, to be more prevalent among lesbians than non. I can run blood tests, but I'd also like to do an endometrial biopsy, to assess the condition of your endometrium. That's the lining of your uterus. It's a brief procedure, and I can do it right now."

"What -- what's involved?" asked Myra, trying to memorize terms.

"I'll pass a small instrument into your uterus through your cervix and extract a tiny bit of tissue. We don't anesthetize women for this, it's not invasive enough" said Dr. Desai.

Myra thought it sounded extremely invasive. Dr. Desai went on, "You will feel perhaps thirty seconds, at most, of intense pain and your uterus may spasm. But then I'll be done, and the contraction will end, with no residual discomfort."

Myra never trusted how doctors talked about discomfort, a word they took far too lightly, in her opinion. She thought of the line in the Princess Bride, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." If Ginny had not been there, she might have tried to make a run for it. She shivered once and said "All right, let's do it."

She was glad for Dr. Desai's warning. It hurt like a fucker -- it hurt exactly as you'd imagine from someone chomping out a bit of an internal organ. The tenaculum opening her cervix was no fucking walk in the park, either. When she sat back up, she was a little woozy. Ginny made Myra lean on her and Dr. Desai's nurse bustled to get some juice for Myra.

After she was dressed and breathing normally again, Dr. Desai explained polycystic ovary syndrome, saying the estrogen her body produced was going "unopposed", so she had excess amounts which led to persistent weight gain and an altered metabolism that, in most instances, could not be affected. To compensate, her body tried to produce androgen, creating facial hair growth and inhibiting her periods. She said there was a grave risk in the latter, because her uterus was still laying down a layer of rich tissue for possible egg fertilization each month. When no egg was successfully extruded by her ovaries, two negative consequences were the creation of a cyst on her ovaries and retention of the endometrial lining. This increasingly dense and aging matter was a sitting duck for any malignant cell that might happen upon it.

"I'm going to put you on progestin, which is one ingredient in the birth control pill cycle, but just for ten days a month. It should induce a period" said Dr. Desai. She handed Myra a sample pack. "Start today, stop after ten days, and call me if you don't have a period within two weeks of that. I'll let you know the results of your biopsy, and the laboratory studies I want you to get on your way out. We'll decide what to do from there."

Ginny thanked her fervently. Myra got woozy again from the blood draw, and once they were in the car, she said to Ginny "I want to go to a diner. I want a Coke and a cheeseburger."

Ginny didn't argue. She ordered a tuna melt, and while they were waiting on their food, she said "Did you look at those instruments she used?"

"No" said Myra emphatically, "And I don't want to hear about them. Listen, could we just get a newspaper, split it and read like morose married people you always see in restaurants?"

Ginny grinned and slid out of the booth to go buy the paper. By the end of the meal, Myra felt okay again. She took the first of the little white pills from the punchcard with her Coke.

Four days later, Myra woke up in the morning from an intensely erotic dream. She peed, then went looking for Ginny, who was laying out materials for grinding pigment.

"Ahh, can you wait on starting that?" said Myra coaxingly. "Come back to bed, I had this dream about you." Ginny raised her eyebrows, but after a little kissing, she followed Myra to their bedroom. They made love again that night, and the following day, after breakfast, Myra sat down at her desk but could not stop thinking about the night before. Finally, as Ginny was clearing their plates from lunch, she said "I want to go back to bed with you."

Ginny laughed incredulously. "Is this those pills you're taking, or something else?" she asked.

"I don't know. I feel like I'm in heat" said Myra. "If it's too much to ask you, I can look for that vibrator in the closet."

"Fat chance" said Ginny, drying her hands. Some time later, when they had both come and were lying together, slightly sticky, Myra whispered "If this is going to happen every month, we may have to plan around it."

"I remember when I was trying to get pregnant, having ovulatory cycles where I couldn't seem to get enough of you" said Ginny. "We were younger and freer then, though."

"I feel like I want you to get me pregnant" said Myra in a husky voice. Ginny looked at her, and rolled over on top of her.

The next day, Dr. Desai called to say the blood results were in and Myra was slightly anemic. "If you eat red meat, you might want to up the quantity a little" she said.

"No shit?" said Myra unguardedly. She covered her profanity by saying "I mean, zounds! I may need a doctor's note from you to convince Ginny."

"Spinach is also a good choice" laughed Dr. Desai.

But steaks were something Myra had been craving, and to Gillam's delight, beef began appearing on the dinner menu three times a week. The ninth day of her progestin, she woke up to find she was spotting. By that evening, she was bleeding more heavily than she ever had in her life. For the next two days, she couldn't leave the house. Even wearing a tampon and a maxi-pad, she had to carry an old towel around with her to sit on because she bled through anything she wore in less than an hour. She was definitely no longer interested in sex, and she became weepy at the drop of a hat.

She also began singing the Berkeley Women's Music Collective under her breath several times a day:

You might think it's ludicrous
But when the moon is full I feel my uterus
And I know the time's a-comin', comin' soon
Some sisters get down on menstruation
But there's no need for sad desperation
There's a new day comin' when you get the bloods again

Because you know you're body is a-workin' all right
If you had self-help you could watch all night
Get yer speculum at the neighborhood clinic
Learn about yer cervix and what's in it
There's a new day comin' when you get the bloods again

That weekend, when Carly was there, he finally asked "What is that you keep singing?" Myra took him to her study and put on the album. Gillam tagged along, covering his embarrassment by flipping through Myra's collection of women's music. Carly kept laughing until the song was over. "My moms don't listen to any of this" he said.

Gillam had stopped at the Izquierda album and said "I don't remember ever hearing any of these". Myra looked to see if Ginny was in the back yard before answering "Yeah, I love it but Ginny gets twitchy when I play it. Her ex was in that group."

"Who?" demanded Gillam, shocked. Myra pointed her out on the album cover. Gillam peppered her with questions about Ginny's relationship with this woman, staring at her if they was long-lost kin.

"Wanna hear her voice? Here, this song has her coming clearly through" said Myra, switching out vinyl on her record player. It was only halfway done when Ginny came in the sliding door and stopped in her tracks. Gillam tried to hide the cardboard sleeve behind his back, which brought Ginny immediately over. She lifted the needle and turned off the stereo, saying "If you have questions about my past, ask me". But she didn't wait for a reply, walking the flat-footed way she did when she was angry toward the front of the house.

Gillam looked at the album picture again and whispered "She looks goofy."

"She wasn't" said Myra. "She was a good first lover, and, the thing is, Ginny was always a catch." She didn't whisper, hoping Ginny might hear it. It was the truth. Gillam grinned and handed her back the album as he and Carly left.

Dr. Desai called back on Monday to say the biopsy had revealed "dysplastic tissue". "What does that mean?" said Myra, feeling another chill.

"It means overgrowth and some anomalies, but not frankly carcinogenic. However, I'm concerned that your period is not purge enough. I want to do a D and C" said Dr. Desai.

"You mean, like an abortion?" asked Myra.

"It's used for some terminations and miscarriages, yes, but technically it's scraping the inside of your uterus down to clean lining" said Dr. Desai.

"Please tell me I get anesthetic for this" said Myra.

"Oh, yes, we'll give you general. It's a day surgery, you'll go home afterward. I'm going to transfer you to my scheduler, I like to do these first thing in the morning so you'll have the afternoon and evening to recover, although mostly it's just the after-effects of the anesthesia you'll have to contend with. We'll send the findings to pathology and that way we won't have to worry about what's going on with you" said Dr. Desai.

Ginny came in from her studio as Myra scheduled the surgery for January 24th, rubbing the back of Myra's head reassuringly. When Myra got off the phone, she breathed in raggedly and said "Gin...I've never had anesthesia like this. I've never had real surgery."

"It's way better than it used to be" said Ginny. "Very safe. And when you get home, I'll give you all the ice cream you want." Myra giggled, and said "A Coke float?"

"If that's how you want it" grinned Ginny. Myra didn't know why that helped, but it did.

Until she began going online to research the procedure. She began at WebMD, then quickly got sucked into chat rooms and bulletin boards. A couple of hours later, Ginny came to ask her a question and discovered Myra pale and wide-eyed.

"Sometimes the curet slips and tears a hole through the uterus!" she said anxiously. "If the bladder gets punctured, that's it, you're on a catheter for the rest of your life. And you'd be amazed at how many people wake up during surgery, they can feel everything that's happening but they're paralyzed and can't move or tell anyone they're awake -- "

Ginny interrupted this stream of horror with "What the fuck are you reading? Myra, these are anecdotal, people telling their stories for dramatic effect. Get out of there, you don't need to hear this shit." She clicked off the connection and titled Myra's face up to her, saying "You're my lucky dyke, remember?"

Myra pressed her face against Ginny's belly, the source of their children, and let the warmth seep into her. "Call Nancy" said Ginny. "Let's get some extra sessions with her, before the surgery."

"Okay" said Myra, her voice muffled by Ginny's shirt.

Late January 2007

Myra went in for her D&C on Wednesday morning. Gillam begged to be allowed to stay home from school so he could go to the hospital with her and Ginny, but Myra said no. She insisted it was a minor surgery, not enough to miss school for, and her refusal actually helped reassure him. Allie came over at 6:15 a.m. and stayed at the house to eat breakfast with the kids and get them to school while Ginny drove Myra to the hospital. The surgery was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. and should be over by 9:00; Allie, Chris and Sima all planned to be there when Myra got out. Edwina could not take the morning off work.

In the preop room of Day Surgery, Myra was put into an inadequate hospital gown, booties that were slickly dangerous to walk in, and given a few pills to take. She was grateful for the sips of water that accompanied these pills; her mouth was already dry. She sat next to Ginny, holding her hand, in a roomful of people about to have hernias repaired and tubes tied. She was keyed up to the point where she could not converse with Ginny. Her other friends had not been allowed in this far. She felt very cold and fragile.

Finally a tech came to get her. Apparently, she was supposed to walk to the operating room on her own, which was not how it happened on TV. She gave Ginny a final kiss, said "I love you" in a pathetic voice, and shuffled carefully down the long hallway to a pair of gleaming double doors. The room beyond was shockingly chilly and bright, and looked to her much like a torture chamber. The operating table had a little footstool in front of it. The nurse told her to get up on the table and position her groin over a large hole in the table. She found this callous in the extreme.

Once she was lying down, people began doing things all around her, some doing things to her. A clip was pressed onto her fingertip. Her booties were removed and her gown was pushed up, with blue cloths laid over her. An IV was pushed into the arm opposite the clip on her finger, and the anesthesiologist told her she should start relaxing soon. She felt, instead, panic flood her chest and she was just about to sit up and yell that she had changed her mind when Dr. Desai walked in, fast and confident. She came straight to Myra, pushed the footstool up next to the table and climbed high enough so she could lean over the table partly onto Myra's chest. Her weight and warmth were intensely comforting. She looked down into Myra's face and said "It's okay, it's going to be fine." Then she asked "What's Gillam's favorite sport?"

Myra thought of Gillam, his beautiful face, and answered "Swimming. He loves to swim."

Dr. Desai grinned and said "What's his best stroke?"

Myra was about to answer "Butterfly" but the lights went out.

The next thing that happened was a nurse she didn't know leaning into her face -- where was Dr. Desai? -- saying "Wake up, Ms. Josong. You're surgery's over, you're in recovery. Everything went fine. Wake up, now." Myra croaked "Really" and the nurse nodded. There was a big black and white clock on the far wall, and Myra saw that 45 minutes had passed. Wow. Time travel.

The nurse gave Myra a piece of ice to suck on and took all her vitals. Nothing hurt; she couldn't tell they had done anything at all to her. Then a big young man in scrubs came to the head of her bed and said he was going to take her to aftercare. He pushed her bed away from the wall and began rolling it toward another set of swinging doors. He whacked the doors with the bed and they were out in a wide hall, with sunlight coming through windows at the end. Halfway down the hall was a bench, and sitting on the bench, looking away from her, were Ginny, Sima, Chris and Allie all in a row. Their faces were serious.

Myra raised an arm and yelled toward them. "Hey!" They all turned their heads at the same instant, as if on a connected pivot, and looked at her anxiously. She called out "It's a girl!"

They all cracked up in unholy relief, but so did the guy pushing her bed and he ran the bed into the wall. Saying "Oh, fuck" he straightened it back out. Myra was laughing her ass off. Ginny got to her first and stopped the forward motion again by hopping partly onto the bed and kissing Myra vigorously.

She was taken to a small room. She asked to go to the bathroom, and the nurse handed her a pad to put in her panties. It was hard to do with an IV in her arm, and she opened the door and asked for help. Ginny got there first. "Are you bleeding?" she asked, trying to bend down far enough to see Myra's genitals.

"I don't think so. Maybe a few drops."

"Is there any pain?"

"No, not a twinge."

Myra was kept in this room, sitting up on the bed with her friends lounging around her, for the next couple of hours. A nurse showed up periodically to check her vitals. Ginny called Gillam on her cell phone and Myra talked to him for a few minutes, telling him about how Dr. Desai had calmed her down. His voice was high with relief. They called Margie too and left her a message. Finally her IV was pulled out and she was released home. They gave her a big sheet of instructions, including a frightening list of complications to watch out for, and a bottle of Vicodin. She tried to refuse the Vicodin but the nurse insisted she could not take it back.

At home, Ginny pulled out a deep red veggie stew she had made according to instructions from Nancy, containing vegetables and herbs that were uterotonic. Myra said she really wasn't hungry yet; maybe a glass of milk. She felt drifty, and time was passing in jerks, not smoothly. Ginny said it was the effects of anesthesia, and she let Myra have half a glass of milk but insisted she drink another glass each of water and then cranberry juice, to flush the anesthesia out of her system faster. Myra sat down on the couch and Ginny got behind her to hold her, which felt extremely good. Chris and Allie went into the kitchen to make lunch for the rest of them; the veggie stew was only for Myra. Sima sat and talked with Ginny. Myra wasn't up for conversation, really.

They all ate in the living room so Myra didn't have to move, munching on toasted sandwiches of leftover roast chicken and avocado and swigging vanilla cream soda from bottles. Chris tried to tempt Myra with a mayonnaisy piece of avocado, but she still wasn't hungry. Allie asked Ginny three times when the biopsy results would be in.

After lunch, Chris and Sima left, kissing Myra goodbye sweetly. She felt really attached to everybody and wished they weren't going. Allie said she would stay, and asked if Myra needed to sleep. Myra lay down on the couch, and Allie covered her with a quilt, but she couldn't keep her eyes closed. Finally she sat back up and asked if they could watch a movie.

"Nothing scary" said Ginny. "Nothing intense in any way. I don't know how suggestible you are with whatever they gave you still in your system."

"But please, no Doris Day" whispered Allie to Ginny. They looked through the movies and finally settled on Singing In The Rain. As the movie began, Myra said "Gene Kelly was a Leo, you know." After a few seconds, she said "So was James Baldwin."

Allie put the movie on pause. "How did you go from Gene Kelly to James Baldwin?"

"Gene is so hunky, even I'm attracted to him. He's got thighs like Ginny. And all the gay guys I knew in college were sure he was a closet case, they wanted him bad. And James Baldwin is a gay boy."

"But I don't see the transition" said Allie.

Myra looked at her blankly.

"Never mind" said Allie, starting the movie again.

Myra kept having to pee. Her bladder was not holding as much as usual, it seemed, and Ginny was pushing fluids. There was no blood coming out of her, which was good.

When Gillam got home, he dropped his pack on the floor and got on the couch at Myra's feet, holding them in his lap. Allie said she would run on home now, and Myra motioned her down for a kiss, saying "I love you ever so, ever so, you are my dream come true". Allie blushed and said "I love you too, My." Gillam giggled.

Half an hour later, Margie got home and Myra told her stories all over again. Margie went into the kitchen and Myra heard her ask Ginny in a low voice "Is she really okay?" Ginny told her yes, and when Margie returned, her shoulders had loosened up noticeably.

Myra decided she could eat something now, and Ginny heated up the stew. She made fish tacos for herself and the kids, and let them have the last of the pie. Myra wanted to watch another movie. She asked if they could watch maybe Alien Resurrection, it was not as scary as the rest, and Ginny said "No" emphatically. She put in Some Like It Hot. Myra ate all her stew, even though it seemed odd-tasting, and drank all the water and cranberry juice Ginny brought her. Ginny sat on the floor in front of her, and Myra kept leaning over and kissing Ginny's cheek or neck, saying "I am so crazy about you." Then she'd nudge Gillam with her feet and say "I'm so crazy about you, too. You were the sweetest baby in the whole world. I never wanted to put you down, you were such a cuddler." Gillam was embarrassed but didn't really mind it.

When Margie came back downstairs, Myra began rambling about all the ways Margie changed their lives for the better by being born. Margie fled after twenty minutes.

After the movie, Ginny said Gillam should do his homework. He sat at the dining table instead of going to his room, and Myra lay on the couch, staring up at the ceiling. Ginny did a few chores, made a couple of calls, fed the animals, and packed Gillam a lunch for the next day, checking in on Myra every so often. Myra was placid. At 9:30, Ginny sent Gillam up to bed. He gave Myra a smacky kiss and thundered up the stairs. Ginny pulled Myra to her feet and they went into the bedroom. Myra was walking more steadily now. She pulled off her clothes, including the panties with the pad which she didn't need, and got into bed. Ginny locked up and joined her.

"Are you going to be able to sleep?" asked Ginny, pulling Myra's head onto her shoulder.

"I don't know. But I don't care. I'm just happy to be with you. You go on to sleep, I'm fine."

"I'm crazy about you, too, Myra."

"I know it."

Myra lay in the dark, listening to Ginny's heartbeat under her ear. After a while, she shifted onto the pillow and pulled Ginny over on her chest. Ginny was already sacked out, but even unconscious she cupped Myra's breast in her hand and pressed her forehead against Myra's neck. Myra was so full of love for Ginny, it seemed to pulsate inside her. She could hear the house creak and settle, mixed with Ginny's breathing and occasional rustles as she shifted but always stayed pressed up against Myra.

It was long past midnight when Myra finally drifted off. She woke up an hour later, disoriented and needing to pee. When she went to the bathroom, she decided she had been trying to dream but somehow it didn't work right and instead woke her up. She crawled back in with Ginny and slept in pieces until the next morning when Ginny awoke to get the kids ready for school. She was dozing when Ginny kissed her and said "Myra, baby -- I'm going to drop off Gillam, Margie's already left, and I need to run by the store quickly. Will you be okay for an hour?"

Myra opened her eyes and said "Yeah. I'm feeling a little bit more here. Wake me when you get back, okay?"

After Ginny and Gillam left, Myra got up and went to the bathroom. She peed a lot, then decided she needed to move her bowels. When she stood up to flush, she looked into the toilet and was frozen in horror to see large clots of blood among her stool. She wiped herself with a piece of toilet paper -- it wasn't in her urine or coming from her vagina, it must have come from her rectum. She dropped the toilet paper on the floor because she had to lean against the sink, suddenly dizzy.

She ran clumsily to the breakfast bar where Ginny had put all the papers from the hospital. On the list of complications, there it was -- bowel perforation. Somehow the curet had punctured her uterus into her bowel. Holy fuck.

She picked up the phone to call Ginny, but then noticed Ginny's cell was lying there on the counter. She rushed back into the bedroom to get dressed, and as she was pulling on shoes and socks, she dialed Allie. Her voice mail picked up. Fucking hell. She hung up and called Chris's work number. Thank god, Chris answered.

"Chris? I just went to the toilet and I'm passing chunks of blood from my bowels, I must have a perforation. Ginny's gone and won't be back for an hour, I need to get to the emergency room."

"Oh god, Myra. Are you in pain?"

"No, none at all. I guess I haven't had time yet to get peritonitis. Oh, god, Chris, this is going to mean abdominal surgery, emergency surgery."

"Listen, Myra, I got dropped off by Sima today but I'll go catch a cab. Don't try to drive, wait for me. I want you to call Sima and stay on the phone with her until I get there, I'm scared you're going to pass out."

At that moment, Myra heard the front door open. "Who's there?" she yelled.

"It's me, honey. I left my phone and my wallet." Ginny appeared in the bedroom door and said "What's wrong?"

"Ginny, I'm bleeding out my ass, we have to get to the emergency room right away." Myra forgot about Chris on the line.

"Oh god, Myra, let me see, is it soaking through your pants? Do we need to put a pack on it?"

"No, it's not coming out there, but it was in my bowel movement just now."

Ginny headed into the bathroom, saying "Did you flush?"

"Don't look in there, Ginny, I don't want you looking at my poop." The minute it was out of her mouth, Myra realized how stupid that was coming from someone who was about to have bowel surgery.

But Ginny was back in the doorway from the bathroom, laughing. Laughing so hard she had to lean on the door facing.

"What?" said Myra, horrified at Ginny's apparent break from reality.

"It's beets" Ginny gasped. "The stew I gave you was full of beets, that's what's in your poop. Not blood -- beets."

Myra became aware of a high thin shriek coming from the phone receiver. She put it back up to her ear and heard Chris in wild hysterics. "Chris -- Chris, can you stop laughing long enough to talk -- Chris, I'm hanging up now. I'll call you later."

Myra's adrenaline plummeted. She lay back on the bed and put her arm over her eyes. Ginny jumped onto the bed beside her, still lost to laughter, and hugged her.

"Oh, my darling dimwit!" said Ginny. "Can you imagine the face of the emergency room doctor when they figured out what was really going with you?"

Myra finally began laughing, too. "I don't suppose there's any way to keep this from getting around" she said.

"No, this is priceless!" said Ginny. "Thank god I came back when I did. Oh, Myra. You know, if you ate beets more often this might not have caught you by surprise."

"I eat beets plenty. It was just the aftereffects of the anesthesia" said Myra.

"Okay, we'll go with that explanation. Oh, Myra, angel. Life with you is never dull." Ginny kissed her and got up to flush the toilet.

Myra found herself still unable to fully concentrate that day, so she made bread early, created casseroles, and eventually joined Ginny in the garden to weed. Ginny seemed to be keeping herself from starting a canvas, and she was a little short-tempered without noticing it. The following day, when Myra got up Friday morning, she felt right again. She went into the kitchen where Ginny was washing lettuce and said "Go. Paint. I know you're overdue."

Ginny fixed a slightly turbid gaze on her and said "Honestly?"

"Yep. I'll spin this dry and put it away, go now." Ginny kissed her and walked eagerly back to her studio. When Myra was through with her breakfast, she sat down and found she could write. Hallelujah. A few hours later, she was interrupted by the phone ringing. She glanced at the clock -- fuck, it was 3:00, she'd worked through lunch. She could smell linseed oil from Ginny's studio.

It was Dr. Desai. "Calling to check up on me?" asked Myra.

"No, I've got your path results. The pathology from the tissue I extracted with the curettage" said Dr. Desai. "Listen, is Ginny there with you?"

Myra stopped breathing. And, suddenly, Ginny was right beside her. How does she do that? Myra thought.

"Yes" she croaked.

"Myra, you have a polyp that's malignant. It's cancer. Uterine cancer. You're going to need a hysterectomy."


Liza Cowan said...

oh my g*d. I know fictional characters have minds of their own but please tell me she will be OK. Should I pray for her? Or petition you? I don't know the protocol here.

letsdance said...

Yipes! What a place to stop, Maggie. I agree with Liza! Please tell us Myra will be okay, okay??

Jesse Wendel said...

Don't tell us a damn thing.

Cliffhangers are GREAT. *smiles sweetly*

kat said...

Liza, I won't spoil anything, so let's call this the "kat reassures liza" comment.

Maggie Jochild said...

Myra does not die in 2007.