Surviving

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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:38 am

That made Anissa smile a little, and finally, the tears were beginning to subside. She was so tired, though, and she still had to work that afternoon. Perhaps daycare work wasn't something she could handle during a crisis. It was difficult, tiring, and filled with its own stresses, although the children did seem to have a way of making her laugh. She hoped that she could be cheerful for them, as well as Victoria, because she knew she wasn't very good at hiding her feelings.

"Thank you." She sniffed, and laughed a little when she imagined how she must have looked when he'd come to sit with her. She knew she must have looked like a nervous wreck, because she most certainly was one. "I really didn't mean to unload on you like that... but Vicky always did say that I wear my heart on my sleeve." She wiped at a few remaining tears. "I cry at the drop of a hat. I can probably find a place to cry during any movie too. I'm really sorry; you should be eating and not just listening to me ramble about everything."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:43 am

Zachary took a bite of his chicken sandwich while she was speaking, so when she was done he'd already swallowed. "No, I don't mind. I often eat all by myself so this is a welcome change. If Victoria is all you have, then you need another friend and I'm willing to listen... that's why I gave you my card, so you can all anytime and I'll be around to help you through it. Also..." He pulled a wallet out of his back pocket and handed her another card.
"This one is for a support group, they cater to helping people who are struggling with friends or family in medical crisis. The group leader is a very good friend of mine and she helps with things like jobs, transportation, and just general comfort... so let's say if anything happens to Victoria, and you had no transportation to get to her, you'd just call them and they'd have you transported to the hospital." He smiled, "Trust me, you are not alone... my friend's name is Olivia, so if you call just ask for her and tell her that Zachary sent you."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:05 pm

Anissa accepted the card, and set it carefully beside his own. At that moment, she couldn't really picture herself calling a doctor out of the blue for emotional support, but she would hold onto the card... just in case. She pulled the hot-pink and teal zebra-striped wallet out of her purse and flipped it open, sliding the two cards into the back of her wallet with her other business cards she'd received and failed to use. She really appreciated his offer, finding him to be so much more generous than he needed to be.

Tears threatened again, simply from his kindness giving an emotional tug on her heartstrings, but those were tears she held back. Instead of tears, she struggled to give him a smile, as if to mean that he wouldn't need to worry about her. She could get though it. She and Victoria would both get through this. They would be alright. Maybe it wouldn't be cancerous anyway... maybe it would just be okay. Maybe it was just a kind of... fluke-like tumor that wasn't cancer. If that was the case, they would definitely be alright. There was no need to worry.

"Thank you for everything; you're really sweet." She brushed back the messy waves that had fallen in her face, and tucked them behind her ears. "Do you have anything fun to talk about? The news is never fun, and that's all that plays on the tv in the waiting room."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:43 pm

Zachary took another bite of his sandwich and pondered for a moment. There were several things he could think to talk about, but he first wanted to find if he had anything in common with her, just so they could make a good conversation while she waited for Victoria to wake up. Once he swallowed, he gave a slight shrug, "I agree, the news can be really grim and boring, I prefer to avoid watching that kind of stuff. What do you enjoy doing? Do you have any hobbies?" That was a good question to start off with, it'd be easier to expand on talking if they had a place to start.
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:05 pm

"Humph." Anissa sighed, leaning forward on the table after setting her wallet back in her purse where it belonged. "Aside from crying and reading sappy romance novels...?" She laughed a little and rubbed at her eyes which were burning, and a little itchy from the amount of crying she'd been doing. "When I'm not doing that, I am either reading some weird science or history magazines, or making these little crocheted keychains for the children at the daycare where I work." She turned to a bag at her feet that contained a few crochet needles, buttons, yarn, and other little assortments, and finally sat up again, setting a small navy blue teddy bear on the table between them. "That's my newest creation... I've never done a bear before, but it was pretty fun once I got it going. All that's left is to add the keyring to it. The children like to be able to hang them on their bags."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:31 pm

"We have something in common, I like to read too. I don't have as much time to read as I used to since I've been working. I also like to play checkers now and again... then there are puzzles, I spend a lot of time doing logic puzzles." Zachary smiled at her work, "That's really impressive, I don't think I could do something like that. It must take a lot of patience."

Zachary finished his sandwich and looked at his watch, "I still have about ten minutes before I have to do rounds. Have you ever played any sports? Basketball is good for letting off some steam, so if you ever need something to do I'm extending the offer if you'd ever like to come watch or have a one on one round with me." He chuckled, "I don't know if it's your thing, but sometimes just passing the ball can be nice."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:41 pm

"I'm afraid I've never really tried it, to be honest." Anissa replied, retrieving the little teddy bear only to end up staring at it and smoothing it over with her fingers. "Would you be willing to go easy on a girl who can't even properly reach the top shelf of her pantry, and has the unfortunate disease called Acute Clumsiness?" She asked, her light brown eyes shifting from the bear to the kindly man across the table from her. "I really don't even know the rules to basketball, other than... if you get the ball in the hoop, you get a point. If you think you can handle that, I may just take you up on your offer... if it really does relieve stress."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:54 pm

"I've never heard of acute clumsiness." Zachary actually laughed a little bit, "We wouldn't play like professionals, so don't worry about the rules. Maybe instead we could go jogging, I know a great place for that. Anyway... I hope I'm not coming on too strong, I just know that you need a good friend right now." He really did hope he wasn't making her nervous, but she seemed to be okay with him so far.

"Almost out of time. Would you like me to walk you back up?"
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:19 pm

Anissa sighed a bit to herself, thinking about how easy it would be to have him walk her all the way back to the waiting room. He was really kind, and that easy smile could so easily melt her heart. He seemed so at peace too; that was something she hadn't experienced before. Hopeful, she checked the time on her phone and frowned sadly. There was a new text message from her boss, asking her to come in earlier than she had planned for. "That would be so wonderful, but it seems like I can't even wait around for Vicky to wake up." She offered an apologetic smile, hoping he didn't find it oddly convenient that she had to leave. She needed the hours if she was going to help Victoria cover any medical expenses in the future.

She moved to scoot out out of the booth, and gathered her things together. "I really hope you have a wonderful day today." She'd never been comforted by a doctor before; it was something very new for her. Silently, she hoped they would meet again without her needing to bother him with a phonecall. Calling him felt like taking advantage of the kindness he'd given her, so she already knew that she wouldn't end up using the number on his card.

A good friend was something she desperately needed, but weren't those relationships something that formed out of random occurrence? To offer to be someone's good friend, and allow them to make the decision... didn't that scare him? What if he ended up with too many people who wanted that friendship from him? He had a business card pre-printed with his phone number on it... surely he gave it out to more than a few people? To call him and interrupt something important... it seemed insensitive. She wouldn't call him, no... but she did hope to meet him again.

"Also, acute clumsiness is a verifiable disease!" She teased with a weary smile. "And if it isn't professional play, I'm always up for learning how to play. Come find me if you ever need to feel like an all-star pro, or something! I'll most likely be here with Vicky, or something."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:54 pm

Zachary grabbed the tray his food had been on and stood up with her, "Well I hope I'll see you again soon. Don't hesitate to call, or even to call the support group, I'm sure they'd be glad to help with anything you need."

---

It was very hard to wait for the diagnosis. Anissa tried to be there for Victoria every chance she got, but she was working so hard and Victoria was missing work. Being in the hospital had drained her emotionally, especially when the news finally came. Zachary had sat down with both of them and explained the diagnosis, saying that cancer treatment would have to be aggressive, that Victoria would be transferred to an oncologist, who would be in charge of her care from that point on. Victoria spent some time encouraging Anissa, telling her that it would all be alright and that they'd get through it. It wasn't long before Victoria began to see her oncologist, trying to keep her chin up and stay positive despite the negatives that were coming at her. Then she began treatments, and that was when things got really hard.

"Go to work, I can drive myself!" Victoria smiled warmly, "It's not so bad!"

Anissa never seemed very convinced, and her worries were always confirmed when she'd come home to find Victoria sick and weary.

It had been a few months since the diagnosis. It was pouring rain and thundering loudly, Victoria had been watching movies with Anissa when she decided to go to bed early, leaving Anissa sitting by herself.
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:59 pm

Anissa had picked up an extra job on the weekends; one that paid well and allowed her to help pay for some of Victoria's treatments. It was a tiring job... where she had to read a lot of legal documents, then edit them for correct spelling an grammar. Sometimes it felt like all of the big words would jump off the page and attack her. She enjoyed the pay, and that it allowed her to stay home, but it was no less a job, and no less stressful. She stared at the movie that was playing, and picked up the remote, turning off the tv. She knew that movie. My Sister's Keeper. That wasn't a movie she wanted to be watching right then.

She turned to look at the stack of papers that she'd be up all night attempting to read through, and a heaviness seated itself on her chest. She felt physically and emotionally drained; like she was being pushed down by some unseen force, and she hated it. Victoria went to bed early a lot lately, and they had been having more than a few disagreements since her treatment had started. Victoria was stubborn, and she wanted to work as much as she could, but it only made her health worse. Anissa was trying so hard to do everything right; to give Victoria tasks around the house, but take on the more rigorous ones herself. She'd just asked if Victoria would consider quitting her job, or rolling back the hours quite a bit. She didn't want Victoria to wear herself out so thin that she was too tired to fight.

She pushed herself up off the couch, wincing when the muscles in her legs protested at the exercise. She'd been sitting at the couch for a long time, and they weren't happy to move around. She shuffled to the sink, and flipped the switch hiding behind the striped curtain. The tiny light came on, giving her just enough light to be able to fix herself some coffee since she knew she would probably be up all night. She tossed the filter in the basket, and carefully added just the right amount of coffee grounds for at least six cups. She wasn't yet sure how to make less than that. She poured water into the pot and waited for to brew while she decided to get her cup ready. It didn't take her very long to realize she was out of sugar, and that she wouldn't be finding any in the pantry though. She sighed, slapping her palm against her forehead. She had forgotten to write it down on the grocery list, so she would have to go get some that night if she were to be able to make a dent in that stack of paper.

Before she leaving, she changed out of her pajamas, and into loose-fitting tee and comfy hot-pink sweatpants with her favorite sneakers. It was raining, and already dark out, so there was no need to wear anything really nice. Comfortable was always the way to go whenever it rained. She picked up her phone, purse, and keys, then left the apartment after making sure it was locked up tight.

The rain was freezing, causing soft squeals to erupt from from Anissa's throat as she ran to her car and jumped in, shutting the door quickly so that she wouldn't get any more wet than she already was. She turned the key, hearing the engine turn over after hearing a few soft clicking noises. She frowned, making a note that she would need to get her car looked at as soon as she could. She backed out of the drive and headed to the nearest open grocery store, which happened to be about thirty minutes away from her apartment building.

She puled into the parking lot, and set the car in park before turning off the engine and running through the rain to get the sugar she needed for that midnight coffee hype she was about to have. It really didn't take her more than five minutes to get the sugar and pay; there weren't very many people who would frequent a grocery store at midnight. After breathing a heavy sigh to prepare herself for the freezing rain, she ran back to her car, putting the keys out of her jacket pocket to unlock it as she ran. She continued clicking the buttons on the key when the car's lights wouldn't flash, but assumed the battery for the key had died. Gasping for breath, she shoved the key into the lock and practically dove into the driver's seat, ready to be out of the freezing rain, and home where she could be wrapped up in a blanket and sipping hot coffee while fixing the most menial of grammatical errors. She shut the car door and pushed the key into its slot, turning it just as it had many times before.

This time there was only clicking. Desperate, she turned the key again, and the clicking was softer than before. "No..." Anissa groaned, pulling the grocery store bag out of her lap and tossing it into the passenger's seat. She turned the key yet again, and tears began to form in her eyes when she realized that there was no way this car would start today. She picked up her phone, instinctively dialing Victoria's number. She cleared it out of the dial pad when she remembered the oncologist's restrictions on driving, and exposing Victoria to things that were too cold... like this freezing November rain. But... who else did she have that she could call, if not her best friend? Biting back tears, she pulled her wallet out of her purse, and was thankful for the street lamp she'd parked under as she sifted through the stack of unused business cards hiding in the back folds of that wallet. There were business cards for everything and everyone who couldn't help her right now. Frustrated, she threw the cards at the windshield, chastising herself for holding on to such useless cards. When was she ever going to need a florist?

One of the cards slipped off the dash and onto the base of the steering wheel, laying face up as if it were daring her to call. It was that kindly doctor who had offered a listening ear, and even a friendship if she ever needed it. She definitely could use another friendship, but was there a time limit to his offer? She picked up the card, laughing when she noticed a smiley face on the bottom, right-hand corner of the card. She wasn't so sure he'd answer, or even remember her. If not, she'd find a way home... by bus, or cab.

Without giving herself any more time to back out, she dialed his number and lifted the phone to her ear. She really wasn't prepared for him to answer, and when he did, she just ended up sobbing into the phone.
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:18 pm

Zachary had just dropped his keys on the table next to his front door and yawned wearily. He hung the umbrella he had been using on a rack near the door as well and slipped out of his white lab coat. It had been a very long day, with what felt like a million different patients with a million different problems. But then that could have been an exaggeration on his part. Most of them were struck down with terrible flues as the November weather was very good at spreading ailments like that. He kicked off his work shoes and looked at his pager one more time before trudging to the living room where he turned on the TV. Too wired to fall asleep, he planned on watching whatever movie was playing and then eventually heading to bed. Thunder crashed and nearly shook his house, and as soon as lightning struck his power went out.

Groaning, Zachary got up from his couch and tossed the remote where he'd been sitting, deciding to brave his kitchen for a flashlight. Now Zachary lived in a bachelor pad, it wasn't terribly decorated, nor was it as though a child lived there, but it wasn't necessarily clean either. He was rarely home, and when he was he would eat take out and sleep until his next shift. When he had time, he'd play sports or sit down for a good game of checkers by myself. Sure, he had friends, but they were also very busy and in their specialties at the hospital. Sighing, he finally found a flashlight and hit it against his palm until the light finally flickered on. It was then that he realized he'd almost killed himself in the dark when he could have used the light on his phone.

Speaking of his phone, it began to ring and he rushed back into the living room where it was sitting on the coffee table. Zachary didn't immediately recognize the number, but he answered in case it was something important. As soon as he answered, he heard sobbing and recognized the name Anissa and his eyes widened.

"What's wrong?" He asked frantically, "Try and calm down so I can understand."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:29 pm

It took a few moments for Anissa to be able to calm down enough in order to speak. "I-I'm stuck at Fast Mart and m-my car is dead, and Vicky is asleep and I didn't want to wake her up! I wasn't sure who else to call!" She wiped at the tears as they rolled down her cheeks. "I j-just needed s-some sugar for my coffee, and now I'm stuck here and it's raining and cold, and it was either you or a florist." She stared out windshield, then locked the door where she sat. "I really hope I didn't interrupt anything..."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:32 pm

"Not at all." Zachary replied, "I'm getting my shoes on and I'm on my way, stay on the phone with me. It's dangerous to be alone so late at night and I don't want you to be by yourself. Honestly, I'm relieved... my power just went out and I just came in from work, so I hadn't even gone to bed!" He chuckled and tried to make her feel less scared and hoped her crying would stop, he didn't want her to catch what everyone else had. "I don't live too far, so it should only take me about ten minutes to get there. Are you okay otherwise? No injuries?"
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:42 pm

Anissa allowed herself to recline in the chair, sniffing a bit from the tears and the rain. "N-No, no injuries..." She replied, unable to hold back the small chuckle that came on account of his asking. It was only natural for him to assume she'd been hurt; he was was a doctor, and she called him crying for help. "I hope your power comes back on, though. The rain is really cold, and I was looking forward to curling up beneath a blanket with some coffee before I realized my car wouldn't start." She wiped at her eyes again; the tears were still flowing, but they weren't as bad now. "I didn't mean to startle you when I called... I just was so relieved that you actually answered, so I just couldn't do anything other than cry." She wondered if he remembered her telling him that she cried easy. It was hard keeping from crying, actually.
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:47 pm

"It should, I don't see why it wouldn't... maybe by the time I get back." Zachary was already on the road, it hadn't taken him very long to get out there. "I'm bringing an umbrella in case you need it."

He stayed on the phone with her for the next ten minutes until he pulled up and found her car as described off in the parking lot. He parked next to it so she wouldn't have to go far to climb into his. Zachary gave her a sympathetic smile when she got in and buckled her seat belt, silently hugging the bag that held the sugar she mentioned earlier on. He got the windshield wipers going and pulled out of the parking lot as he got his GPS up and running.

"Just put your address in there and I'll get you home." He smiled, and then it faded a little when he saw her still crying, "What's going on? How are things?" He asked.
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:58 pm

"I don't even know anymore, to be honest." She replied, trying to enter her address into the GPS. "Vicky always looks sick, yet says she feels fine. I think she's afraid that I won't let her do anything, so she lies to me about how she's feeling. She hasn't been able to work hardly any at all, so I've got a second job I picked up to help with her half of the rent, and s-some of the treatment bills." Those bills were stacking up, though. She never did let Victoria see them when they came in, and so they stayed in her own room. She wasn't able to keep up with paying the bills quickly enough, so the pile just continued to grow. Still, she never did blame her roommate, knowing that if their roles  were reversed, Victoria would be doing just the same. "I'm sorry, this is really depressing, and your impression of me already can't be all that good. The three times we've actually had a chance to talk, it seems I was crying the whole time."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:02 pm

"Don't say that, you are going through a rough time and it's perfectly normal to grieve like this. The first time I met you, you'd found her collapsed on the floor, the next times... well, you'd just seen her out of surgery, then the diagnosis, and all of that was perfectly fine to cry over!" Zachary said as he was waiting for her to finish putting her address in. "As for the bills, there are grants and insurances she can apply for, I know some that will help. I know you both are probably exhausted, but it really is something to look into. As for your car... let me handle that. The last thing you need is to worry about your car."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:21 pm

Anissa had just pressed the button that set the GPS to navigate when he offered to help her with her car. That wasn't something she had expected at all. She willed herself not to burst into tears, and just flopped backwards into the seat after she had sat forward to put her address in. She pressed wet palms over her face as she tried to control the whirlwind of emotions that seemed to be following her around these days. She shook her head, slowly. "If you keep saying nice things like that, I'll just start sobbing again, and that's not pretty. There's a lot of snot and drool that comes with it." She said, her words a little muffled. "I'll pay you back for the car, I promise."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:25 pm

On the road, Zachary stared forward and just smiled, "You don't have to. I'm honestly not trying to be nice just to win you over, I hate seeing stuff like this happen to good people. You are going through a really, really, hard time and I just... it makes me sad. I'm really glad you called me tonight though, I was beginning to think that you never would."

Eventually they pulled up to her apartment and he handed her the umbrella he'd brought along. "This is going to sound awful right now, but... next time lets meet up under better circumstances, how does lunch sound? I can come pick you up when you're free."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:35 pm

Anissa accepted the umbrella, smiling gratefully at his generosity. She pulled out her keys, and removed those for her car which had a little crocheted hamburger keychain attached to the ring. She handed them to him, almost reluctantly. "The daycare is closed for Thanksgiving weekend... so any time this weekend is fine." She replied, nose still incredibly stuffy. She'd been in and out of her crying fits for the whole ride. "Lunch sounds really good anyway; I can make a mean meatloaf if you don't like to eat out."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:39 pm

Zachary took the key from her and grinned, "That sounds excellent, but I want to get you out of the house. I know somewhere excellent that I'd like to take you and I think you'll love it. Besides, you need to get your mind off of stuff for a little while." He glanced over at the apartment and noticed that the lights were on, wondering if she'd noticed as well. "Anyway, I'll see you Saturday at noon, it'll be a lot of fun. Have a safe and good night."
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:59 pm

Anissa nodded slowly, then opened the door and allowed the umbrella to open to shield her from the freezing drops. "Saturday it is." She couldn't help but return his sweet smile with a giggle, and a simple smile that showed the dimples at her cheeks she'd never really grown out of. Her eyes sparkled a little in the moonlight as she entertained the idea of a doctor asking her out on a date. How exactly she accomplished that, she wasn't sure. She hadn't even been looking for a date. She slid out of his SUV, and offered him a little wave. "Thank you for rescuing me. I promise to not be crying when you arrive on Saturday! Have a wonderful night!" She grinned, and shut the door, realizing just how easily he had cheered her up. It was that smile. That sweet, honest smile, and that voice. There was something about him... he seemed to have an unnatural peace about life. She wanted that peace. She wanted it really bad.
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Re: Surviving

Post  Ikuar on Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:32 pm

A very weary Victoria was sitting alone at her oncologist appointment. She was shivering even though she was wearing a sweater that Anissa had bought her for Christmas the year before and it was supposed to keep her warm, but ever since her treatments began and she was losing weight, she couldn't seem to stay warm enough no matter what she did. Lately things had been really hard, she'd hardly seen her best friend and every time they talked Anissa was agitated or distant. Victoria sniffed, hoping she wasn't catching something since her immune system was not capable of working. She missed Anissa a lot and felt more alone than ever, even though she knew that her best friend was working hard, she just couldn't figure out what she'd done wrong.

Being sick was hard enough on its own. She coughed into her palm and her eyes watered from how painful it was, then she had to get up and wash her hands thoroughly. When she got back to the bed, she sat down just as a knock came and the door opened. In stepped her oncologist, a man with beautiful blue eyes and blond hair. He was handsome and she took note of that every time she showed up for an appointment.
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Re: Surviving

Post  Jayrin on Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:49 pm

"How are you feeling today?" Michael asked, reaching out a hand to give hers a firm shake. Her hands were like ice, just as every other patient. He smiled warmly and fetched two little plastic packets from his pockets, then set them in her lap. "It's always cold here, so I like to carry those around with me. Just open the packet and rub it between your hands, and viola; warmth!" He flipped her chart open, glancing over what the nurse had written down for him, and he frowned a bit in concern, glancing up at her. She was one of the few patients he had who still cared about her appearance when she came to her appointments. He liked that about her... she hadn't seemed to have given up. "It says here that you're still having some pain when you cough..." He set the chart aside and pulled a small flashlight out of his pocket, then rolled toward her in his chair, pulling on a pair of blue gloves.
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Re: Surviving

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