Anyways, Katie and I arrive at Bar Louie. We settle in to have a few drinks with Josh and Sophia. I remember that with absolute certainty… I remember sitting the four of us sitting around and laughing…
I clearly remember polishing off my first drink… I remember watching Josh and Sophia leaving… I remember sneaking glances at Katie (a lot) … I remember ordering and finishing off my second drink… I remember asking for the tab after that second drink…
Then, my world went pitch-black.
I regain consciousness in my bed. Uh oh, not good. Did I bring Katie home last night? I sit up to take a quick survey of the room (no pair of empty glasses of wine – so that’s good), and no one here but me and a huge headache. I just turn really red, I don’t get hangovers – is this what it feels like? I reach up to stabilize my head, to make sure it doesn’t explode. As I touch my head, my hand is engulfed by a warm feeling. I check my hand and it’s covered with blood. A lot of blood. My headache is temporarily forgotten as I look around and discover that my sheets are absolutely crimson. Like, my pillow is soggy. I can feel crusty half-clotted blood in my hair and see smeared streaks down the rest of my body as well.
The familiar smell of blood is invading my nose. It is not a pleasant invasion. It reminds me of my radiology elective where I spent a few days in trauma department. I shake my head to clear the feelings and stumble to the mirror. Yep, my face is definitely coated with blood. For goodness sake, I look like Dexter.
Well, I can still move everything, so that’s good. I take a quick inventory of my senses: other than my head, my abdomen feels like I just did 10 rounds with Mike Tyson but with less ear-biting.
I call up one of my physician friends and ask her what I should do. I quickly summarize my night (“Well I went to get drinks. I only had a couple. And then I blacked out, when I woke up I was covered with blood and there’s a piece of my forehead missing”). Anyways, she knows how much I can drink. Having trouble after two drinks is not normal so she suggests getting both a blood and urine sample.
What? It’s that serious? Are you suggesting that someone put something in my drink?
Yes, that’s exactly what she thinks.
By this time, the haze is starting to fade, I am starting to regain my thoughts. I gather myself and think. Ok, I check my pockets for any clues as to what happened. I can’t find anything except a $40 Bar Louie tab – which is reasonable for two people having a few drinks. But, there’s also no cash in my pocket. I had swung by the ATM on my walk over to Katie’s apartment. Did I take a cab back?
I get to the department. My boss takes one look at me and tells me I’m not allowed to get on the clinic floor. He agrees when I say, “I probably should go to employee health.”
I get there where they immediately draw blood. As I’m attempting to collect a urine sample, suddenly it dawns on me, that during this whole escapade I haven’t seen or heard from Katie yet. The physician suggests a CT scan in order to rule out a concussion. In response, I quickly give the physician all the counter-indications – I don’t have time for a possible radiology visit, not yet.
I rush out of the out-patient clinic and back to my department. I call Katie and breathe a sigh of relief as she picks up. I ask her, “What in the world happened last night?”
“You don’t remember any of it?”
“Wow. Ok…” And as she starts to tell me story, I start to remember.
… As we left Bar Louie, you began to act funny and walking really woozy. As we got to my apartment lobby, you started leaning very heavily on me. With your arm around my waist, I was guiding you to the elevator when all of a sudden you went completely limp and just fell face first. Like, straight into the ground. Problem is, your arm was still around me, so I went with you and hit my head on your shoulder…
As soon as she says this, I instantly flip out. “Wait so are you ok? Where are you?”
She’s at home and she has a really bad headache. Concussion? I ask her if she’s ever been concussed before and she says yes. Well, that’s the number 1 indicator – previous concussions. Now I’m really worried. So she finishes the rest of the story.
… Well, I got you up to my apartment room. Then you proceeded to throw up for about 45 minutes straight…
Ok, I guess that explains the wrenching pain in my gut.
…And then all of a sudden you walked out of the bathroom and then practically ran out of my apartment …
Well, that’s ironic because I’m going to run into your apartment … I probably fled because I didn’t have any more dignity. Ok. Ah, and I probably hailed a cab after stumbling out of her apartment complex, so that explains my lack of cash. So, the pieces are coming together..
… I wasn’t sure if it was the best idea for you to leave. You didn’t hear me, or maybe you just ignored me…
Was my forehead looking ok before? Because right now my forehead looks like a crimson version of Niagara Falls. I guess that’d be a good conversation piece though, right?
I snap back to reality and tell her I’m going to come over. She says no, but I insist. She sighs. Good enough. At this point, I will take that as a “yes” and hang up.
I quickly inform my boss that I don’t feel very good. He tells me to just go home and rest. At this point, I have limited patient contact allowed and my head is actually legitimately starting to hurt again. But, instead of originating from gushing blood, this feeling is from a churning mixture of embarrassment, worry, and regret. (Sounds like $1 tequila shot night)
Anyways, I get home, where I shove antibiotics and rubbing alcohol which into my backpack. I bring my hospital credentials on the off-chance that they’ll help us get admitted faster – I’m fully expecting to take her to radiology for a CT. I rush over to her apartment complex again and knock softly on the door.
She opens the door of her apartment, which is pitch-black because the light is hurting her eyes.
This sucks, instead of getting lost in her eyes, I’m examining them for nystagmus and double-checking her pupils equal, round, and reactive. Ridiculous. Checking the rest of her face, she’s got a small bruise forming on the left outer canthus.
She quietly asks me, “What’re you doing here?”
“I wanted to make sure you were ok.” Even now, I still don’t remember everything that happened, but I had this uncontrollable desire to take care of her.
What is it with this girl? I just got in a fight over/for her .. less than 36 hours ago!
And now, look at how ridiculous this is: me, still bleeding from my head and a minor concussion, feebly attempting to take care of anyone.
I want to take her to get a CT scan. But she refuses to go (“What’re they going to do? Even if I have a concussion, they’re just going to tell me to go home and rest.”) and won’t listen to my reasoning. There’s a lot that can be mistakenly self-diagnosed as a concussion – and even more stuff that can be masked with concussion-like symptoms.
Anyways, I am with her for about 30 minutes when Katie gets a text saying that Sophia will be over in about an hour. Katie confesses that she (understandably) feels uncomfortable about me being there – on her couch while she’s trying to recover in the next room. So she would feel better if I just left. Well, this was not a battle I was going to win, so I just resigned myself to making her promise to let me know when Sophia got there so I knew there was someone to take care of her.
As I slowly and reluctantly made my way to the door, I got an overpowering sense that I wouldn’t ever see Katie again. I tried to capture a final mental picture of her common room.. her collection of souvenir shot glasses; the black, white, and silver Providence College blanket; her slightly misaligned checkered cloth couch. For some reason, it’s not her embarrassingly up-to-date collection of CDs which sticks out most vividly in my mind, it’s still her personalized coasters.
Not sure why this is the most vivid memory I have. There’s just something about the way her single letter looks. Don’t know how to describe it – a subdued elegance? I probably only remember it because it’s a pretty uncommon letter…
Yes, that’s probably what it is.
So I took the elevator down (with L’esprit de l’escalier ripping my thoughts apart) but lingered in the lobby waiting for Sophia to let me know she was there. Even after Sophia let me know she was being taken care of, I ended up sticking around for a couple of hours. Then I reluctantly forced myself to literally and figuratively walk away.
Just kidding, not the end yet. I certainly thought it was..
But don’t worry, there’s a giant plot twist that completely took me off-guard. This story continues to get even more ridiculous, so I hope you keep reading.
What happened to my head?
Katie G part 1: Friday, the piano bar night
Katie G part 2: Saturday, the Boston night
Katie G part 3: Sunday night, the calm before the disaster
Katie G part 5: Flower-filled outrage
Katie G part 6: The end
Where did the name Sophia come from?
Katie G part 7: More confusion