I am in Morrigan’s room, playing with her figurines while she dances ponies across her xylophone. I’ve been holding off taking the Ativan because I’m not sure what it will do. I want to make sure I use it when needed. It’s addictive, and I don’t need to be going through chemo and battling a drug addiction.
But the bad thoughts start coming. The butterflies show up. I’m starting to think about how they’re going to get the tumor in my jaw out. The periodontist warned me that they would have to take more teeth.
My two left back molars feel fine. My next tooth, a premolar, is now missing from when they did the biopsy. The rest of the teeth, all the way to my right front tooth, don’t feel right. I can’t chew on that side anymore. If I poke at them, they wiggle.
They will have to cut out the tumor, remove five or six teeth, and sew me back up. What if they have to take part of my gum? What if they have to take part of my jaw? What if it leaves me disfigured and unable to eat except through a straw for the rest of my life? My children will be afraid of me, and I will have to cover my face when I go out in public. I won’t be able to look at myself in the mirror.
One part of me is grateful that I’m finally panicking over something other than death. The other part says, “Time for the Ativan.”
I push myself up off the floor.
“Mommom! Don’t go, Mommom! Play with me!” squeals Morrigan.
“I can’t, honey.” I try to control my breathing, but I’m getting cold, shivering. I hurry out of the room, leaving her crying.
I go downstairs. I find the pills. They are tiny and blue. I put one under my tongue, confused as to what I’m supposed to do. I wait a little while, and then I start swishing around the dissolved bits.
I decide to go back up to Morrigan’s room. I lay down on the floor again…
… Man, I’m sleepy. And relaxed. This is nice. Boy, why didn’t I do this sooner?
I lay with my eyes closed, and the desire to think about how disfigured I might become melts away. It will be what it will be. Worrying about it isn’t going to help.
Morrigan says something and I laugh. Things are extra funny all of a sudden. I prop myself up on my elbows and join her in the pony dancing. I chase her around the room with her plastic velociraptor. “Petunia’s gonna get your toes!”
“No!” She giggles and runs. “Don’t eat, Petunia!”
“She’s gonna get you!”
“No, Petunia!” She hides behind the door, laughing. I pretend Petunia is sleeping, and Morrigan sneaks toward us. As soon as she gets close, I pop up the dinosaur, and she runs away shrieking with laughter.
The Ativan is a cross between a marijuana high and being drunk.
Well. At least I’ve figured out how I’m going to get through the upcoming days, and done something other than scare my eldest.
Although I certainly don’t trust myself to drive a car.