Tammy had received her call back from NHS24. She went through the formalities and had been put onto the triage nurse.
She felt a tear as the pain got worse. Explaining herself for the third time didn’t help.
“Can’t you send a doctor out to see me. I don’t mind that.”
“Tammy, I’ve been trying to tell you, a doctor can’t help you. You need to be in hospital. You’re blood pressure needs monitored, bloods taken, medication decided on. We need to do something about the infection. You can’t mess about with it. We need to keep an eye on you.”
She thought for a second, but it was a no-brainer.
…“Thanks for your time, I’ll leave it.”
“Tammy don’t hang up! Please re-consider. With your history and with what you are telling me, I want to send an ambulance.”
“Look nurse, thanks for your concern, I do appreciate it. But don’t send an ambulance, I’ll turn them at the door. I’ll sign a waver if I have to. I’m telling you that I’ll not be coming into hospital. Now, it’s Friday night, do you want to waste an ambulance when I tell you that I’m not going?”
“I can’t force you Tammy but let me put it to you this way – You might not be here tomorrow unless you let us look after you.”
“…Thanks nurse. I really do appreciate you trying to help me, but no.”
Tammy ended the call.
She tried to get comfortable.
She picked up the phone again.
“Frank, phone me back! I need you.”
Tammy groaned as she lifted her leg onto the stool. She grimaced as she felt the heat from the underside of her thigh. This had happened to her before, but this was the worst it had been.
She called her sister.
“Hi Robyn, it’s me. Could you come round?”
“What? It’s late, it’s after eleven. What’s wrong? Or shouldn’t I ask?”
“It’s my leg, it’s killing me.”
“I’m not lifting you into the bath again, I fucked my back the last time.”
“No, I don’t want a bath. I don’t think that would help. I just wanted some company”
“…Jesus Tammy, I’m in my bed.”
“Please. I don’t want to be by myself tonight.”
“…Fine! I’ll be round in an hour.”
Tammy knew that she wouldn’t let her down. She moved her leg, she was determined not to scream.
She lay back and closed her eyes. The throbbing and ache was making her feel sick.
The phone rang, she looked at the number.
“Frank, thank fuck! I need a bag. Two if you’ll let me owe you one.”
“OK, but double the price and the usual.”
She didn’t even think about the money, “No bother, but just not tonight, my leg’s killing me.”
“It’s not your leg I’m interested in.”
“How about Thursday when I get paid. I’ll bring the money to you and I should be better by then.”
“I’m too fucking good to you! But make sure you’re here by ten on Thursday or your leg will be the least of your worries.”
“Jason’s out and about, I’ll get him to put it through your letter box, twenty minutes.”
Tammy wanted to pace but she couldn’t. She put on the TV and stared at it.
She couldn’t shake what the nurse had said, but she couldn’t cope with the hospital at the weekend as she’d be there until Monday at least. One day she could handle…Maybe…But not three.
The remote was beside her. She flicked through the channels.
The clock had just turned 11.30pm when the letterbox rattled.
Tammy knew that Robyn was due, she didn’t have time to sort herself out so she took the envelope, got her kit-box and put them under her pillow in the bedroom.
Having it there was worse than not having it. She began to sweat.
The same programmes were passing by when she heard the knock.
“Come In! The door’s open!”
Robyn leaned over and hugged her. She touched her forehead, “Jesus! Look at the nick of you. Stand up.”
“I’d rather not.”
“Come on, I’ll drive you to A&E. I’ll get your coat.”
“No. I’m not going. Anyway I’ve phoned.”
Robyn sat down opposite her.
“And what did they say?”
“Cause it’s ongoing, I’ve to go and see my doctor on Monday.”
“That’s not good enough, c’mon!”
“No! I’m not going into any fucking hospital.”
“I thought that’s why I’m here. To take you. So move. You’re not changing your mind.”
“I’m no. I had no intention on going. And as I’ve said, they don’t want me in anyway.”
“And why the fuck’s that?”
“Jesus Robyn, they know I’m on five bags a day. They’d give me a librium and two jellies if I was lucky, that wouldn’t even touch the sides. My fucking rattling would kill me over the weekend never mind the thrombosis.”
“So you’ve just to stay here, like this?”
“Aye. But they did ask if I had someone with me and that’s why I called you.”
“I’m no a fucking doctor!”
“It’s not for that. They just said that I’d be more likely to settle down if I had someone here that I trusted and could rely on.”
Robyn stared at her. It had been a long time since there had been any difference from her truthful face. The pain that she could see didn’t help.
“When was your last hit?”
“Not that long ago, I’ll be fine.”
“Should you have done that?”
“At least I’m being honest.”
Robyn took off her jacket and threw it on the couch, “What do you want me to do?”
“I’m exhausted, I’ve not slept much over the last couple of days. I’m going to try and lie down. Give me half an hour. If I can get comfy I may be able to sleep. If not, maybe you could have some pasta ready for me.”
“Please. I’ve not ate much either and I’ve always loved your three cheese pasta. I reckon all the ingredients are there, if not I’m sure that you’ll improvise.”
Robyn was happy that she was talking about food.
“Do you want me to wake you if you’re sleeping?”
“Fuck no! If I can get to sleep just leave me. I’d rather wake up hungry than suffer this pain all night.”
“Fair enough. I’ll give you half an hour and then make it. I’ll check on you once it’s ready.”
“Thanks sis. I really do love you.”
“I know. Do you need a hand getting into bed?”
“No, just help me up. The wee walk will do me good.”
Robyn held out her hands and pulled her out the seat. She grimaced when her sister cried out.
Tammy steadied herself, “Fuck! That nipped a bit.”
“Will you manage?”
She began to walk slowly, “Aye, I’m fine once I’m moving.”
“Shout if you need anything.”
“I will. You get cooking.”
Tammy sat on the bed. She waited until she could hear Robyn in the kitchen.
Robyn drained the pasta and gave the sauce a last stir. She looked at the time, it was just about an hour since Tammy had went to bed. She opened the door into the hallway. The smell hit her.
Robyn wasn’t so bothered about being quiet. She was going to slap her to make sure she would wake but she stopped herself.
She leaned over and felt for the pulse in her neck. She was surprised at the strength.
Robyn lay down beside her and listened to her breathing.
8 thoughts on “A Weekender by Hugh Cron – Warning Adult Content.”
Great truth here. Addicts ALWAYS place their need first. No matter what.Kids, life, self respect, what have you. No fantasy here. Plenty of talk about systemic failures nowadays. I guess that holds true in in this piece. Brilliantly told, and no judgement offered by the author, who’s pushing a hundred such fine contributions.
I don’t write what I believe, I only write what I see.
You are bung on about need.
Addiction causes people to kid themselves about allsorts, especially their kids.They talk the talk about loving them. In their own way they do but they need something more. Once they start to accept this, then they have need and guilt and the guilt causes more need to get rid of the guilt and round and round they go until they either die or they choose to get themself out.
All the do gooders, family, prayers or therapists in the world will never make a difference until the person decides themself.
I read somewhere that even the few success stories will relapse at least eight times. I think that is being kind.
I’ve worked with thousands of addicts and of the ones I know, I can count on one hand how many have got clean.
And of the ones I know, there are well over the hundred who aren’t here anymore.
Anytime I’m in town and someone I know speaks to me, they normally start off with, ‘Ken whose deid…’
Thanks as always Leila, your comments always make my day.
Oh – ‘Ken’ is our word for ‘know’
A vivid picture of a person addicted to drugs, and the effects on those around her, such as Robyn. Robyn makes the pasta while Tammy “goes up to bed.” Then there’s Frank, the dealer, maybe an addict also, and/or an exploiter. Tammy exploits her sister, also, at the same time needing her there, just in case. The vicious circle aspect and the life and health destruction is shown clearly here.
Thanks so much for the insightful comments.
Addiction is one thing, exploitation is another. The sad thing is they go hand in hand. Supply and demand isn’t just about retail goods. And when thinking on addiction, that becomes a very interesting chicken or the egg question.
All the very best my friend.
Great portrayal of a sad reality. I particularly liked the bit when Robyn arrived. Tammy told a load of lies and then threw in an answer Robyn wouldn’t like to seem more believable.
I do hope Robyn got Tammy to a hospital in the end…
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.
Lies are always more effective when they are mingled with the truth.
A really good liar can incorporate realistic outcome and guilt into their manipulation.
So real. Tammy is a manipulator and Robyn an enabler, albeit with good intentions. Hard to see the downward spiral ending other than in a crash.
I’m delighted that you continue to read my work.
I think yours and all the other comments touch on all the negativity regarding this scenario..
And you are right, the future doesn’t look bright!
Getting out before getting dead is all that they can hope for.
That may sound brutal but it’s as good as it gets.
All the very best my friend.