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Entry date: 3-25-2023 - The last few days (and Mary) - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


Went for a nice hike today in the mountain preserve with the J family, Rhondi, and our collective dogs It was so nice out and we got there right in time before the real rush began. Afterwards we visited Dad and Lori and had a great visit, too.


So far, it's been a really nice day.


Thursday and Friday are a blur. We had a wonderful dinner with the J's last night, which spawned our hike today, and I wish I could say work was fun or good this past week. The short version is that 10 year old children suck the big one sometimes and no matter how I proposed making good choices to them, their answer was "Nay." Hopefully next week will be better.


Fun observation, though. In the 11-ish days I have been without DirecTv, I have not missed it for one second. I didn't watch television for something like three days in a row and that was marvelous, too. Cord cutting is a good thing.


*****


Dr. Channing smiled at Mary in a way that made her distrust him immediately.


"So what's going on today, Mary?" he asked.


"Where the fuck am I?"


"Why don't you have a seat, Mary, and we can talk about it."


"No, I'm fine standing here. Your name is Channing?"


"Yes, Mary. I'm Hunter Channing. It's nice to see you today."


"You act like we've met before but I would swear that I have never seen you in my life."


"I understand, Mary."


"What is it you understand? I don't understand anything."


"I know, Mary, and I'm sorry."


"Why am I here?"


"You have a brain injury, Mary."


Mary looked at Dr. Channing intently. The lines in his forehead reminded her of something, or someone, but she could not quite put her finger on it. Dr. Channing moved over to the chair and sat down.


"Please, Mary," he continued, "Wouldn't you be more comfortable sitting on your bed?"


Mary relented. She picked up the pillows and arranged them so she could lean back a little on them.


"I have a brain injury? How did that happen? I don't even know how I got here. I thought I was in my yard at home."


"Were you in the front yard or backyard?" Dr. Channing asked calmly.


Mary thought this was a strange question.


"I - I - I don't remember, actually. I was looking for Connie."


"Who is Connie, Mary?"


"My friend. She and I work together. I was worried that I had hurt her... I ...." Mary trailed off.


Dr. Channing sat expressionless. He was writing something down in a small notepad he took from his pocket.


"Why do you think you hurt Connie, Mary?"


"I don't know, um, Dr., um..."


"Channing, Mary. I'm Dr. Hunter Channing."


"Yes, right, sorry." Mary's nerves were frazzled. She didn't know if she could trust this Channing guy, but she also knew she was obviously not allowed to leave the room. She decided to tell him what she could remember.


When Mary explained to Dr. Channing what she remembered, he put took a few notes here and there and listened intently. Occasionally he would ask a short clarifying question, but other than that, he just listened.


"I can understand why you are feeling upset, Mary."


"Did I hurt Connie, Doctor? Is that why I am here?"


"No, Mary. You didn't hurt Connie today. You are here because you had a traumatic brain injury and we make sure you are safe and comfortable and get everything you need each day."


"I don't understand. I have to be at work on Monday. We have testing coming up."


"No, Mary. You don't have to worry about testing."


"But I..." Mary trailed off again. She was searching Channing's face for any clue or sign, but she got nothing from him.


"It's okay, Mary. Why don't you try and get some rest and we can talk again later this afternoon."


"Will you tell me this, Doctor Channing?"


"What's that, Mary?"


"How did I hurt my head?"


"Mary, will you take your finger and touch the top of your head, just to the right of the middle of your head about two or three inches above your ear?"


Mary ran her fingers through her hair and found a spot about the size of a quarter that was smooth and didn't seem to have any hair growing from it.


"Do you feel that," asked Dr. Channing.


"Yes, I do. What is it?"


"It's a scar, Mary. You injured yourself when you were a teenager."


"What? I don't remember that."


"I know you don't, Mary, and I'm sorry. I wish I could be more helpful to you."


"Can I call Connie, Doctor, or Randy?"


"I'm afraid you cannot, Mary."


"Why can't I make a phone call?"


"I'm sorry, Mary. That is not allowed. I'm not sure who you would call anyway."


"I want to call Connie. I need to know that she is all right."


"I'm sorry, Mary. That is impossible. Connie has been dead for over forty years."


"What are you talking about? I just saw her this morning."


"I'm afraid that was a dream, Mary."


"But..."


"It's hard to understand, I know."


"But I just saw here. We were going to destroy the fan."


"There was no fan, Mary, and no porch."


"But Randy did the work."


"You don't have a cousin named Randy, Mary."


"But...wait a minute." Mary stared at Dr. Channing as if she was trying to see into his soul.


"Yes, Mary?"


"Randy and I grew up together. I have memories..."


Dr. Channing took out his notebook and jotted a few more things down.


"What are you writing there? I have a right to know."


"I'm sorry, Mary. I can't share my notes with you right now."


"What do you mean 'right now'? WHEN CAN YOU SHARE THEM?" Mary shouted.


"Mark, are you listening?"


A voice came over the room: "Yes, Dr. Channing. How can I help?'


"Let's get Mary something to help her calm down."


(to be continued)


*****


See you tomorrow.



Nova Boys were cool. That's all I have to say about that. If you know, then you know.




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