Friday, October 25, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 242

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 242: Help

One of the facts of the funeral industry is that you rarely have off time, per se. Funeral homes don’t really close. But, like with any other business, every person has their own specialty, and those take place at different times.

Breena’s a mortician. (Her mom is the Funeral Director, so she handles the front of the house, along with her sister. She and her Dad take care of the bodies.) So her part of the job usually takes place over a fairly set number of hours. Usually in the morning.

So most days she works from eight to one, maybe two if they get a lot of people in.

Which means most days she picks Molly up from daycare, they play a little, then nap time, more playing, eventually Jimmy gets home, dinner, and then they have some time with each other once Molly goes to bed.

It works pretty well.

And it also means it’s fairly easy to swing by Tim and Abby’s once Molly’s up.

Because Breena’s mommy senses are tingling, hard. Something more than just baby blues is wrong with Abby, and that needs to get nipped in the bud. 

Tim’s looking awfully glad to see her when she comes over. Abby’s nursing Kelly, and Breena goes to sit next to her. She’s not talking, not really all there, and it… it just hurts so see her so out of it.

Breena goes to get Abby an extra drink, and Tim tags along. “What sort of meds is she on right now?”

“Tylenol 3, now. It’s got codeine in it, but she was like this yesterday on Percocet.”

“Okay. She sensitive to opiates?”

“Not that sensitive. Morphine just made her really happy.”

“All right. When was the last time she was out of the house.”

“Day we brought Kelly home.”

“Once she’s done nursing, we’re going for a walk.”

“Sounds good. I’ll keep the girls busy.”

And so, post-nursing, Breena gently cajoled Abby out of the house, and started a slow amble around the neighborhood.

Once they got out of sight of Abby's house, Breena said,“Talk to me, Abby, come on I’ve been there, done that, and have the milk and spit-up stained commemorative t-shirt.”

Abby just shrugged a little, looking awfully listless.

“I’m not Tim. You aren’t going to say anything that horrifies me. You probably aren’t going to say anything I didn’t think myself. Just let it out, because it’s never going to get better if you keep it inside.”

She shrugged again.

“Come on.”

Abby slumped a little, and Breena wrapped her arms around her.

Finally Abby said, “It’s never going to get better. It can’t get better. This was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made, and I can’t fix it or make it better because she’s a person and Tim adores her so if I want him I’ve got to keep her, and I just don’t…” and from there Abby lost her words as she sobbed on Breena’s shoulder.

“Hey… It’s okay to feel like this. It’s okay,” Breena said quietly while rubbing Abby’s back. “It’s okay.”

“I don’t want anything bad to happen to her. I just wish she was gone. Wish we had never done this. I feel like I set fire to myself. Everything hurts all the time. It’s unending, a constant, sucking black hole of never ending need that I’m feeding myself into, breaking into millions of pieces and it just never ends.”

“It’s okay, Abby.”

“I’m so alone on this. I can’t really sleep, can’t really relax because there’s just me. If something goes wrong, I can’t count on him.”

“Oh, honey.” Breena keeps petting Abby's back, hating seeing her so gone and desperately hoping they can get her better.

“I can’t ever turn off. I don’t want her. Don’t want him. Don’t want me, even. Don’t want anything. But I can’t turn off, can’t relax, can’t fail." Abby sounds utterly crushed as she's saying this. "Too many people expect me to be perfect, so I’ve got to do it. It just never ends. There’s no breaks. No free time. I’m trapped, chained to a seven pound person who needs me all the time, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

“I felt the same way when Molly was little.” No she hadn’t, not even close, but right now Breena figures Abby needs someone to talk to who’s been there way more than she needs the truth. “You are going to get through this. I did. You are.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are. If I have to pick you up and drag your ass through, you’re going to get through. Look, you may need medication for this. And that’s okay, too, but maybe, first, we could try getting you some sleep?”

“Can’t sleep." Her eyes are wasted, dead, staring off into the distance, not seeing the tidy houses and neighbors going about their summertime. "If I sleep something might happen, so I’ve got to be there and able to deal with it.”

“No, you don’t. Tim’s got this.”

“I lay there, eyes closed, trying, but I can’t sleep. They think I’m asleep because I’m so quiet, but I can’t sleep.”

“If you came to my house, do you think you could shut down?”

“I can’t go to your house; I’ve got to feed her.”

“No you don’t.”

“But formula—“

Breena knows they’ve been over this once, and she knows how Abby got on the c-section thing, so she’s assuming this is just a symptom of not having the rational part of her mind in charge. “No. You do not have to breastfeed every single meal. She will not starve, and you need the rest. She’s doing a one AM and four AM feed, right?”


“Those two. You’ll do a bottle for them. Tim’ll get the first three nights, and if you have to stay at our house to let him do it, we’ll do that, but you have to sleep. By three nights your breasts won’t be killing you, Kelly won’t be expecting to nurse those feeds, and then you two can alternate nights, which means at least three nights a week you’ll get eight straight hours of sleep. And with any luck, once you get closer to rested you’ll remember why you love Kelly and why you wanted to make babies with Tim in the first place.”

“It’ll hurt.” She just looks so defeated by that. Like one more pain on top of all the other pain is the straw that’ll not just break the camel’s back, but kneecap it, hamstring it, and then slit its throat and piss on its corpse.

“I know, honey, but we have a breast pump at my house. You pump enough to take the edge off, it takes ten minutes, you go back to sleep. Next night Tim’s got milk for one of the feeds and formula for the next, and by the time three days are up, your body is used to it. You need the sleep. You need the down time, and if you have to come to my house to get it, you come to my house. We’ve got a perfectly good guest room with a very comfy bed and absolutely no little babies that need to be fed every three hours.”

Abby doesn’t look like she’s buying it. But she also doesn’t look like she’s going to fight with Breena about it.

“Come on, we can’t figure out if this is just you so tired you can’t see straight or something worse until you get some sleep. And maybe, if you can get that sleep, you’ll start to feel like you again.”

Abby doesn’t look like she’s buying that either.

“Tell me about hurts all over. What’s going on with that?”

“I just ache, all over. The incision aches. My breasts ache. My joints ache. Hell, my teeth ache.”

“Okay, that’s not normal. You’ve got a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, right?”


Breena sees that answer and suddenly gets that Abby has no idea what day it is. “How’s the bleeding going?”

“Still pretty heavy.”

“How heavy?”

“New pad every two hours.”

Breena places her hands on Abby’s forehead, but doesn’t feel any fever. Of course, Abby’s also on Tylenol, so if she did have an infection, that might be stopping any fever she might have.

“You and Tim have to make sure to tell the doctor that. If you’ve got an infection or if you’re getting anemic, that’ll mess with how you’re feeling.”

Abby nods, listlessly.    

“Come on, we’re going around the block, at least once, getting you some fresh air, some sunshine, and a few exercise endorphins.”

Abby shrugs, letting Breena lead her.

This is why TV in the 70s/80s rocked.
When they got back, Tim had Kelly in her crib, sleeping, and was watching the Muppet Show with Molly. Elton John was belting out Crocodile Rock while Muppet Crocks in danced around.

Breena walked Abby up to their room, got her settled and said, “Rest. Tonight you come to my place, and we’ll get you some solid sleep.”

Abby nodded and laid down.

Then Breena headed down.

Tim looked at her expectantly.

“She’s not sleeping, at all.”

“What? She’s in bed all the time.”

“She might be, but she’s not sleeping. She can’t shut down. She’s on constant alert. But we’ve got a game plan. She’s gonna rest, do the dinner feed and the bedtime feed, then she’s coming over to my place tonight, where, with any luck, she’ll be able to shut down and sleep. You’re on tonight, tomorrow, and the night after, and if she’s got to stay at my place to sleep, she will.”

Tim nods along with that. “Not a problem.”

“If we’re lucky she’s just so tired she can’t find her way anymore. If not this is full on post-partum depression maybe edging onto psychosis, so I want you to take this very seriously, if a few nights of sleep isn’t perking her up, both of you are going to the doctor to see about some medication for this. Don’t just let this slide, and if she’s still not talking to you after a few nights of sleep, I don’t care how much she doesn’t want to go, you’re taking her to the doctor’s. Kelly can come to our place, we’ll keep watch over her, but you make sure Abby gets whatever help she needs.”

“Okay. That, I can do. I will carry her in if I need to.”

“Good. She’s telling me she’s still bleeding heavily and aches all over. Make sure the Doc knows that. She might be anemic or have some sort of low grade infection and that could be knocking her for a loop.”

Tim nods, grabbing his phone and taking notes.

Breena checked the clock, 5:30, getting onto dinner time. “Molly and I are going to head home. You bring her over to our place after the 10 o’clock feed, and Jimmy’ll bring her back in time for the 7:00 AM one.”

“She’ll be over at your place around 11.”

“When’s her appointment tomorrow?”

“One thirty.”

“Give me a call when you get back.”

“Will do.”

And plan in place, Breena gathered up Molly to head home and get ready for dinner time.


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