1:17 A.M. Elmira, New York
It’s cold in her room. Rachel lies still under a worn comforter on a twin sized bed covered with flannel sheets. She’s tired, but can’t sleep. Lately, she’s been plagued by long bouts of insomnia. Her thoughts won’t slow down; she ruminates about the doctor’s appointment she missed the day before. It was important, and now she’ll likely have to wait another two weeks before she can be seen again. The nausea has gotten increasingly worse and she hasn’t eaten anything for the last eighteen hours. Her mother called earlier but she didn’t feel like talking to her. Since the diagnosis last year, she’s been reclusive and standoffish, even with her mother and her two siblings who she’s been close with all of her life.
She’s always been fit, but now she looks somewhat thin and malnourished. The illness has taken its toll. Her appetite is diminished and the prescribed medication aggravates her nausea, leading to vomiting. Just two years ago she was engaged to be married; he left shortly after her diagnosis. She still loves him despite of his transgressions and betrayal. She called him some time in the past three weeks but his number has been disconnected. Almost time for her to take the next scheduled dose of medicine. Only five Valiums left before the bottle is empty. It’s early winter, but temperatures have been colder than usual for this period of the season. She warms some soup on the stove. While that’s being heated, she takes a 10 mg dosage of Valium.
The soup is ready now, but she only eats two spoonfuls and three saltine crackers. She hopes the nausea will go away soon. Back in bed under the warmth of the comforter she retires; she hopes she can get at least two to three hours of sleep. 2:36 A.M.