Don't Sleep Just Yet | Chapter 1

Don't Sleep Just Yet | Chapter 1

A Chapter by Noëlle McHenry

            Darcy Adair had been the bearer of bad news for his patients several times. As a doctor, that was kind of his shtick. However, when he got the news for the results of one of his more recent patients, he felt his heart sink worse than it ever had before. After reading the words typed onto the paper, he slumped back into his chair, just staring at the words in disbelief. The tall man then sat up in his chair and hunched forward with his elbows against his desk, paper in his face. He cupped his mouth with his free hand when his vision began to blur with tears, and suddenly he was crying.

            “Suck it up, man!” The doctor thought to himself. He tried to contain his feelings, but it was no use; he was too emotional and sentimental a man to stop himself from crying. The diagnosis he had made initially hadn’t been fatal, or even of any real concern, but the paper before him said the patient only had maybe a little over a month now to live. Honestly, he knew that he had never before hoped so strongly that the results he’d been given were wrong.


 

            Darcy walked to his office, where a wife was waiting with her husband. When he opened the door, the two of them looked up at him anxiously. The husband had been admitted with chills, chest pain, and shortness of breath. He also had a pretty wicked fever, and even then, he would cough every so often. Darcy’s eyebrows furrowed, but he tried to give them a reassuring smile. He sat down in a chair in front of the couple and pushed his long, messy dark brown hair out of his eyes.

            “So, what’s the diagnosis?” The wife asked worriedly.

            “Well,” Darcy opened his folder and skimmed it once more, half to make sure what he was about to announce was correct, and half to make the situation a little bit less awkward for himself, “I’ve got good news and bad news.”

            “What’s the good news?” The wife was then cut off by her husband.

            “Tell me the bad news, first,” insisted the man.

            “Sure.” After a pause, Darcy cleared his throat. He knelt forward. “I’m afraid that you’re suffering from an abscess in the lung.”

            “What does that mean?” The wife spoke again. Not surprisingly, she was the more talkative of the two, since her husband was having a bit of trouble breathing and all.

            “It’s a bacterial infection. It causes the tissue around the infected area to die, and the resulting pocket is filled with pus.” The doctor explained.

            The husband and wife leaned against each other for support, fearing this may be the end.

            “Uh, but, I mean…” Darcy brought attention back to himself. “There is good news.”

            “What’s that?” The husband.

            “It’s treatable.”

            The husband looked up at Darcy with wide eyes and mouth slightly agape. “So I’m not going to die?”

            “Not if you follow my instructions and take the antibiotics I prescribe.” Darcy replied with a small smile. “Now, you told me that you drink, right?”

            “Well, of course.”

            “I mean alcohol.”

            “Oh. Yeah.”

            “How much do you think you drink in a week?”

            The husband lowered his head for a moment in thought before looking back up. He coughed before speaking. “I don’t know, maybe three or four a day… Sometimes six or seven?”

            Darcy widened his eyes. “Bottles?

            “No, no, just cans.”

            “Still, that’s… a lot of beer.”

            He stammered, “Well, I mean, there are variations, of course. Depends on the occasion.”

            “Okay, well, hear me out. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I think that your lung abscess may have been caused by the alcohol you consume. I recommend that you try to drink less, alright?” Darcy suggested.

            “Alright, doc.”

            Darcy looked down at the folder on his lap and pulled up his pen. Then, he wrote up a slip of paper, ripped it from its pad, and handed it to the man. “Ask your pharmacist for these antibiotics. If you take them as the label instructs you to, then your abscess should hopefully be healed within five or six months. Until then, take it easy, and I don’t just mean on the drinking.” He told the couple as they stood. Looking up at them, he raised his eyebrows and added, “Capisce?”

            “I understand.” The husband affirmed.

            “I’ll make sure he doesn’t drink as much,” assured the wife.

            “Well, that about does it, then!” Darcy jumped to his feet, and, with a small skip in his step, walked over and opened the door to his office, holding it open to let the patient and his spouse out. “If you have any concerns, questions, or if your condition worsens at all, give me a call and I’ll sort everything out for you.”

            He was about to close the door when a nurse ran up. “Dr. Adair?” The nurse, a new guy named Ryan, asked.

            Darcy was a happy guy. He very rarely disliked anyone, let alone hate them. Ryan, however, was one of the few people that rubbed Darcy the wrong way. Needless to say, their relationship, as colleagues and as people, was rather tense.

            “What is it, Ryan?” Darcy responded, trying very hard to keep his tone as pleasant as it normally was, but finding it exceptionally difficult.

            “Could you take the patient in Room C3? All of the other doctors are busy.”

            “Have you tried Dr. Park? She’s always free.”

            Ryan clicked his tongue, pretending to be apologetic as he confided, “She’s taking the patient in Room D5 right now.”

            With a heavy sigh, Darcy finally gave in. “Fine, I’ll take them.”

            “Good to hear.” After nodding his head, Ryan turned to walk off, but then he stopped and turned back to Darcy. “Oh, and one more thing, Doctor. He hates doctors.”

            Darcy watched with a steady, though not entirely present, stare as Ryan wandered off down the hall. Then, he calmly closed his office door. Once it was closed, he brought his hands up over his head, burying his face in his upper arms and having a silent nervous breakdown. Ryan knew that Darcy wasn’t as tough under pressure as the other doctors. In fact, Darcy almost never worked with patients that hated doctors. He felt too uncomfortable in a situation like that. The patients always insulted him and made him feel like his career choice was a mistake, and besides, they rarely seemed to listen to a single thing he said. Really, it was more or less a waste of time trying to talk to patients like that. They always insisted that they knew better than him.

            Still inwardly panicking, Darcy went to the wooden shelves on his dark green walls and looked at a framed picture he had of his father. His father had been a doctor, which was why he had taken up the profession himself. He hadn’t been forced into it, though: it had been his choice to pursue a career in medicine. He was just so proud of his father. He’d wanted to be just like him since he was young. So, standing there in his office, he thought. Would his father back away from a patient just because that patient might not listen to a word he said?

            “No, he wouldn’t.” He mumbled the answer to himself. “He’d take the patient anyway, because trying again is better than giving up.” His father’s words of wisdom gave him the strength to take the patient. He put the photo down, then placed his pen into the pocket of his coat. Off he went, striding with his long legs toward Patient Room C3.

            Darcy was a tall man, and very friendly. It wasn’t difficult at all to make him laugh, but some people were intimidated by his height. Luckily, while he was rather tall, he was also a very scrawny man. As he was walking down the halls, he waved at some of the patients sitting, smiling at them, as was his nature. When he finally arrived at Patient Room C3, he hesitated before opening the door. Already, he could hear a little bit of a commotion inside. A different nurse rushed over to him, handing him a clipboard. He was told that they forgot to put it in the room for him, and Darcy nodded them away before taking a look at the paper in the clipboard. The patient’s name was the first thing that caught his eye.

            “Ansel Hunnisett?” He mumbled the name to himself. “What a weird name. Sounds sort of snooty.” He skimmed his eyes over the rest of the preliminary report. Ansel had come in with concern to his sleeping, of which he had apparently done very little over the past month. He also claimed to be anxious. Darcy finally opened the door, deciding it was better to hear from Ansel himself instead of reading the clip notes version.

            “Get your hands off of me! I’m not here for any sort of bullshit checkup like that!”

            Darcy stood in the doorway, staring at Ansel, who was fighting off two nurses that were struggling to get him to remain seated on the exam table. Ansel was equally as tall as Darcy, it seemed, but he was a bit stockier�"he must have had at least seventy pounds on him. He was wearing a purple zip-up hoodie over a light yellow t-shirt, and his light brown hair was long and uncombed with his bangs hanging loosely at the sides of his face. When he saw the doctor, he stopped struggling against the nurses after shoving them both one last time for good measure.

            “You must be the doctor, then?”

            Darcy motioned for the nurses to leave, which they did haughtily. They closed the door behind themselves, leaving Darcy alone in the room with Ansel. The doctor struggled to keep an air of confidence around himself. “Yes. I’m Dr. Adair, but you can just call me�"”

            Ansel held his hand up, rolling his eyes. “Don’t care. Just give me a prescription and let me leave. I don’t even want to be here.”

            Darcy stood in place. He wasn’t sure how to react to being shut down. He had a certain rhythm to his patient interviews that Ansel was violently disrupting. “Prescriptions for what?”

            “I dunno, man! Sleeping pills and anti-anxiety s**t, I guess.”

            “You seem stressed.” Darcy observed.

            Ansel brought his hand to his forehead, pushing his bangs back a bit as he huffed. “I don’t wanna talk about it.” There was a moment of silence before Ansel spoke again. “My name’s Ansel. I haven’t slept in a month, I’m anxious and stressed, and I’ve been having a rough time with my friend. That’s all. So just give me some prescriptions and let me walk.”

            Darcy pulled up a chair and sat down in front of Ansel. The other man saw this and rolled his eyes, but Darcy didn’t back down. “Rough times with a friend?”

            “Look, don’t play psychologist with me, doctor. It’s none of your business.”

            “I know the feeling.” While saying this, Darcy lowered his head. When he knew that Ansel was probably looking at him, he continued with his pity story. “When I was younger, I had a good friend. We had been friends for years. But then, he became one of those party people. I just wasn’t into that kind of scene. Man, we fought so often after that. It just broke my heart. We had been so close, but we let it all be destroyed simply because I didn’t want to go to any parties.” He let a beat pass before he raised his head and took in the sight of Ansel.

            “Wow…” Ansel replied. “You’re so lame.”

            The casual and playful nature of the insult made Darcy start laughing. His contagious giggle spread to Ansel, and soon the ice had been broken by the long laugh they shared.

            “I really am.” Darcy agreed through his chuckles as he stood up and began to slowly pace. “I’m a pretty lame guy.”

            “I can see that, given that you’re a doctor.”

            “Being a doctor isn’t lame, Mr. Hunnisett.”

            “Please, just call me Ansel.” As he said this, the man rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. The slightly-off-gray pants he was wearing had black stains on the legs, and Darcy noted that.

            “Have you been working, Ansel?”

            “I needed something to pass the time. Insomnia, and all. You know how it is. I’ve been painting for someone.”

            “Those pants are wrecked.” Darcy pointed out.

            Ansel shook his head. “I like the stains. They add character.”

            “Funny choice of words…” Darcy was amused by Ansel. While he did seem to despise doctors, he seemed to be a funny guy. “So, about your friend…”

            Again, however, Ansel shook his head. “There’s just been a lot of stress in our relationship. You could say he’s getting a little too close for comfort.”

            Darcy decided to give his diagnosis right then. “Well, Ansel, I’m not going to prescribe you anything.”

            The man looked up at him. “What? Why not?”

            “I believe that your symptoms are merely due to stress. A lot of people feel anxious and have trouble sleeping when they’re stressed out.”

            “But…”

            “Come back after you’ve sorted out the problem with your friend. If there’s nothing to stress you, but you still can’t sleep, then I’ll prescribe you something.”

            “You really think it’s just stress?” The tone Ansel used suggested that such a diagnosis was incredibly relieving to him.

            “Probably. I mean, did anyone in your family�"”

            “Nope.” He answered before the question was even finished, but Darcy let it slide, taking it as excitement at not having anything seriously wrong with him.

            “Well, then that’s that.” The scrawny doctor walked to the door, opening it for Ansel. “If you have any concerns, questions, or if your condition worsens at all, give me a call and I’ll sort everything out for you.”

            However, Ansel didn’t leave. He just sat there. Darcy waited for one beat, then two, but the stockier man still didn’t move; he only smiled at him.

            “Is something else bothering you?” Darcy finally asked.

            “No, it’s just…” Ansel pointed at him, smirking. “It’s strange. You’re strange.”

            Darcy raised a brow. “I’m strange?”

            “I don’t mean it like that.” Ansel lowered his hand. “I mean, you actually seem like a normal, cheerful guy.”

            “Yeah, so?”

            “You’re not an a*****e like other doctors. Are you new to the job?”

            Darcy shrugged. “Going on three years this August.”

            “When do you get off?”

            Darcy’s mind was in the gutter, and he felt his face flush a bit. “Excuse me?”

            “When do you stop working?”

            “Oh. Well, I don’t think you need to know that.”

            It was Ansel’s turn to shrug, and he got up from the exam table. He was almost the exact same height as Darcy, but he almost seemed to be about half an inch shorter. “Can’t say I didn’t try.” He headed for the door, and had just stepped out when he poked his head back in. His brown eyes met Darcy’s of a lighter shade of the same color, and then he inquired, “What did you say your name was?”

            “Dr. Adair.”

            “No, the one I cut off.”

            “I didn’t.”

            There was a pause, and after it, Darcy sighed.

            “Darcy Adair.”

            “What a weird name.” Ansel told him. “Well, see you ‘round, Darcy.” With that, he started walking down the hall. He pulled up his hood over his head and shoved his hands into his sweater’s pockets before disappearing into the crowd of doctors in the hall. Darcy leaned against the door as he watched the other man go, with his arms crossed over his chest.

            It was odd. He hadn’t been able to connect with a patient so quickly since he first started. There was something about Ansel that intrigued him, and if he didn’t know any better, he’d say that perhaps it was fate that they’d met one another. Briefly, he thought about thanking Ryan, but then changed his mind when he realized that he’d sooner have sex with a dog than he would thank Ryan. He was still lost in his thoughts, trying to figure out what it was about Ansel that made him feel so welcomed despite his profession, when a nurse with another patient snapped her fingers in front of his face.

            “Earth to Dr. Adair.”

            “Huh? Oh, yes, sorry. I’ll take another patient while I’m here.”



© 2017 Noëlle McHenry


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Added on November 23, 2016
Last Updated on May 10, 2017
Tags: doctor, patient, drama, friendship, stalker, insomnia, diagnosis


Author

Noëlle McHenry
Noëlle McHenry

Canada



About
I like to write stories and make up characters. I also draw and occasionally do voice acting. I've been writing as a hobby since I was a little squirt, and began my first original story when I was eig.. more..

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