Lost In Thought, Part 7

The consultation with the doctor that afternoon was short and to the point. When Jen asked what options she had besides surgery the doctor was blunt. “I’m afraid surgery is our only option,” the doctor told her as she sat with Dave in his office.

“So when do we do this?” Jen asked.

“As soon as possible. If you’re ready, we could do it in the morning.”

“So, are the chances good?” Dave tentatively ventured.

“I’d say it’s maybe 50/50, but that’s better odds than if we don’t try.”

 

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Lost in Thought, Part 7

By Jillian

 
The consultation with the doctor that afternoon was short and to the point. When Jen asked what options she had besides surgery the doctor was blunt. “I’m afraid surgery is our only option,” the doctor told her as she sat with Dave in his office.

“So when do we do this?” Jen asked.

“As soon as possible. If you’re ready, we could do it in the morning.”

“So, are the chances good?” Dave tentatively ventured.

“I’d say it’s maybe 50/50, but that’s better odds than if we don’t try.”

“So if we don’t…” Jen started.

“Then we’re back to the five to six week estimate. And that last couple of weeks will be hell, I’m afraid.”

“Well then, it would appear there’s really not much of a choice to make, is there?” Dave offered.

“So shall we schedule you first thing in the morning?”

Jen looked at Dave for a moment, then turned back to the doctor and whispered, “Yes.”

“Good, I’ll see you first thing. Once you leave here, go in through admissions, and they’ll get you sorted. I really do think we have a good chance. I’ve had great success with this procedure in the past.”

Dave stood up, and as he helped Jen to her feet as well, said, “I hope you’re right. We’ll see you tomorrow.”

And with that the Bonds left his office and made their way to the admissions office of the hospital. Once all the appropriate paperwork had been dutifully filed, they were led to the surgical ward, where Jen was instructed to change into one of those hospital gowns, then get into bed. Dave sat down at her bedside, and they chatted for a while, until one of the nurses came over to inform them that visiting hours were over and he would have to leave. So after he made certain Jen was settled in for the night, Dave headed home and made his check-in call to the kids.

“Walters residence…”

“Brit?”

“Oh, hi Mr. B. I’ll get Jules.”

There were a few seconds of rustling sounds, then “Dad? How’s mum?”

“About the same, really. We went to her surgeon’s assessment this afternoon. They want to operate tomorrow.”

“So soon?”

“Yes, he seems to think there’s a good chance of getting all of it, but time is of the essence.”

“So she’s gotten worse.”

“As I said, time is of the essence.”

“Oh…tell her I love her, will you?”

“Of course I will, sweetheart. I’m afraid I’m going to have to cut things short tonight. Early day tomorrow. Let me speak to Drew, all right? Love you.”

“Love you too.” And then Juliette handed the phone to her ‘sister’.

The conversation with the youngest Bond went in a similar fashion, and soon, Dave was on his way to bed. Once there, even though he was absolutely exhausted, he found sleep elusive.

________________________

Things are getting a bit complicated, aren’t they? Even without Jen being so sick, the reappearance of Gaby is enough to keep me up nights. She’s never been around for more than a couple of days at a time, and now, she’s going to be around for six weeks solid. What kind of effect is that going to have on my son? How on Earth is he going to cope? Oh, I know he’s got a good head on his shoulders, but being so immersed in being a girl for so long, how can it not leave it’s mark on him? As difficult as it has always been for him to be seen as a boy, even without having to act like a girl for such a long period of time. This is bound to spill over into his ‘Drew’ persona, if that’s the right way to think of it. Will he even remember how to be a boy when he gets home?

And how is Jules taking all of this? She has on a couple of occasions had a hand in Gaby’s appearances, but I don’t really think she’s ever intended anything malicious. Now, she’s going to be living in close quarters with Gaby for an extended period. Maybe I should ask her to keep a special eye out for her, make sure she doesn’t get into any trouble?

Jen. God, I hope this procedure tomorrow is successful. I don’t think I’d be able to ever enjoy living again, if you were gone. That’s how I was when I thought you’d left, and this is even worse…

________________________

He finally drifted off to sleep in the midst of a whirlpool of unsettling thoughts…

________________________

The silhouetted stranger was standing in front of the window, chuckling evilly until he knew he had Dave’s attention. Then he spoke, “I did warn you. She is mine, and always will be, whether it’s in life or death. Mine and no one else’s.”

“You’re wrong! I know it! She loves me, and I her…more than ever!”

“That is irrelevant. When I am ready to take her from you, I will!” Once again, the chuckle grew into a full laugh that rang in Dave’s ears like a carillon on Christmas morning…

_______________________

Dave’s eyes sprang open, and he could almost make out the fading laugh as it drifted into the distance. He looked at the clock, and seeing it was nearly three in the morning, rolled over and eventually managed to drift off once more for a couple of hours of relatively undisturbed sleep.

The following morning, upon arrival at the hospital Dave was instructed toward the surgical waiting room, where he immediately went to the desk to ask the nurse, “Is there any way I can see my wife before she goes into surgery?”

“Let me check, sir. What’s the name?”

“Bond. The patient’s name is Jenny Bond.”

“I’ll be just a moment.” She left her desk and went into the pre-op holding area, then a moment later returned. “It’s a bit unusual, but yes, Mr. Bond. Follow me, won’t you?”

She led him down the hall, and into a large room where numerous patients were lying in varying stages of wakefulness, all waiting for their turns in the operating theater. They made their way to Jen’s bedside, where she was nearly out of it herself, but was still awake enough to notice his arrival.

“Dave…” Jen said, through the stupor of the medications she had been given in preparation for her surgery.

“I wanted to see you before they took you back. I wanted to tell you one more time that I love you.” As Dave was speaking, the nurse silently excused herself and returned to her post.

“Oh, Dave, I love you too. I don’t deserve you. I’ve been awful to you, and the kids.”

“There’s no need to go into any of that right now. The important thing is you getting better. Don’t worry about anything other than that, you hear me?”

“Yes, sir,” she said, smiling as much as she could manage, being only half conscious.

“Well, I’ll see you soon, all right? Love you very much.”

“Love you too,” as she said this, the surgical nurse came over to check on Jen.

“I’m afraid it’s time for you to go on, we’re just about ready to take her in,” the nurse told Dave.

“All right,” he said to the nurse. He took one more look at Jen, who was now asleep, and then turned and headed back to the waiting area, where he took a seat, picked up a magazine, and promptly proceeded to ignore it completely.

___________________

What is going on with these strange dreams? Is my subconscious trying to tell me that there may be more to the whole affair thing than just a simple cover up story? Is it trying to tell me to be careful? In my heart, I believe what she’s told me completely. I still don’t begin to understand why she told us what she did, but I do believe she’s telling me the truth about the incident. So why am I still being haunted by these doubts in my dreams? Maybe I’m not as convinced as I thought I was that she’s now telling the whole truth? What if there really was someone, but she decided to come home for us to help her get well before leaving us once more? What if…no, I refuse to believe that’s a possibility. It would just be so far out of character, there’s no way.

For a moment there just now, I thought she was going to try to tell me something, but she couldn’t. I don’t know what that could have been, and frankly guessing at it while she’s in there is a surefire way to drive me round the bend. Like I’m going to be able to ignore it now. Not likely to happen, eh? Maybe she was just trying to apologize for all the deceit while she was trying to hide her illness from us. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand what drove her to do that. It simply makes no sense. Now, since she’s come home, we’ve been trying to function more or less normally, or as close to it as we can manage under the circumstances.

And yet, it has been a bit strained between us since she came home. I don’t think it’s me, but I suppose it could be, at least in part. I’ve been so focused on taking care of her that I haven’t taken the time to really sit down and talk with her about her reasons behind all that subterfuge. I’ve rationalized away my lack of initiative on this subject as not wanting to upset her when she’s so weak, but still, at some point, this is all going to have to be hashed out, and I’m not looking forward to it. If things don’t go well in there today, I don’t suppose it’ll matter all that much, will it?

No, I can’t even allow myself to think about that possibility. It’s simply not a line of thinking that I want to look into. The last thing any of us need is for doubts to creep into things today. She needs all the positive energy she can get, and I’d hate to spoil things with negativity. Bad karma, and all that. There’ll be plenty of time for us to work things out after she’s on her way to getting better. I do still love her very much. I think that’s probably the most important thing to remember in all of this.

And then there are the kids. I know in my head that it’s probably best for them to be away instead of sitting here in this waiting room doing nothing but worrying for hours upon hours, but in my heart, I can’t help but wish they were here, not only for me, but so they could have had one last moment to talk to Jen before she went in. I know the doctor is good, and he’s done this successfully before, but that doesn’t mean everything is going to go beautifully this time. Things happen. Problems come up. It might turn out to be worse than they had initially thought, and then where are we? The kids in America, with no way of getting back in time to say goodbye? What on Earth was I thinking, sending them away like that? How could I do that to them? There I go again, letting that negativity peek it’s nasty head through.

They didn’t even want to go. They repeatedly said they didn’t think they should go under the circumstances, but no, Jen wanted them to go have fun learning about America. Maybe she just had so much confidence that she wasn’t worried about not making it? I hope so, I really do. They say that mental attitude can do more to help someone get better than just about anything doctors can do, so maybe she can ‘will’ herself better. That’s my theory, anyway.

If I hadn’t sent them on this trip, Drew wouldn’t be Gaby fulltime, either. Maybe that’s the wrong way of looking at it. After all, with little more than some fairly minor resistance, Drew always gives in and becomes Gaby, and always enjoys it too. I really do think deep down, he’s happier when he’s being her, as much as that pains me to say. Of course, I’m judging from the perspective of someone who has seen the poor boy be dismissed and confused for being a girl even without making any effort whatsoever to appear so. I’ve never really seen it, but then he’s my son. But when he dresses as Gaby, nobody ever mistakes her for a boy. They’re constantly taking Drew for a girl. So does all this mean I may someday have two daughters, instead of one and a son? I wish I knew.

I had always prided myself in the fact that I am a tolerant and understanding man. Maybe that’s what makes all this hard for me to take in, and why at the same time I feel a certain disappointment in my own reactions. Am I the only one who seems to have a problem with my son spending almost as much time as my daughter as my son? Jen has never had a problem at all. Her one rule has always been “If Drew is wearing girls’ clothes treat her like a girl, period.” Sorry, but I still have a bit of a problem with that stance. Maybe I’m not always as tolerant or understanding of other people’s ways as I should be.

Jules has, from time to time, had a little problem with Gaby, but that’s been born out of fear that she might take some of the special “daughter” perks. And other than a couple of specific incidents, she’s really made a point of having nothing to do with Gaby. Now, the one who has seemed most responsible for Gaby appearances has obviously been Maddy, closely followed by Brittany. I don’t even begin to understand why either of them seem so intent on having Drew be Gaby so often. With Brit, I suspect it’s simply mischief, but Maddy? I just don’t know. And she purports to be Drew’s girlfriend. It’s very strange indeed. I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on those two once they get back, for certain.

,;

“Dave?”

He looked up to see Carol Standing in front of him, holding out a cup of tea. “You are a lifesaver, Carol Peters.”

“I had a feeling you’d be needing a little something.”

“Thanks, but what are you doing here?”

“What do you mean? You didn’t really expect me to allow you to sit here all alone through this, did you?”

“I hadn’t really given it any thought.”

“As I had expected. Typical man.”

“Hey…” he started to protest, until he noticed her grin, indicating that it was said at least partially in jest.

She sat down beside him, and they simply sat in silence for several minutes before it was broken by a doctor entering the waiting area.

“Mr. Bond?”

Dave jumped to his feet. “Yes.”

“I was sent out by the surgeon to tell you that it’s going to be a while, sir, before there’s any news. He suggested that, as it’s near lunchtime, you might want to go grab a bite. Just let the nurse know if you’re leaving the hospital, and we’ll track you down if there’s any news before you return.”

“Now you mention it, I am feeling a bit hungry. Fact is, I can’t even remember if I had any breakfast.”

Carol jumped in, “What say we go down to the cafeteria and get you a bite. Then we’ll head back this way.”

The doctor then said, “Good, if something happens before you get back, we’ll send someone down there.” Once he said this, he turned and left, returning to the operating room.

It was probably a good thing Carol was there with him, as Dave seemed a bit out of sync with the world as they headed for the cafeteria and had a bite of lunch. He was having trouble making even the simplest decisions, and in an effort to lead him through things, Carol decided to just take charge of the situation. Once their lunch was finished, she walked with him outside for a few minutes of fresh air before they returned to the waiting room, where Dave quickly descended once again deep into his thoughts.

__________________________

It’s a good thing Carol is here. I’d probably have forgotten all about eating without her taking care of me. Silly, isn’t it? She’s always been such a good friend. Really, she held us all together when we thought Jen was leaving us. I wish I knew how things were going to wind up. I hate this feeling of being lost all the time. It leaves me feeling off balance, dizzy…out of control.

You know, the thought’s just occurred to me…Maddy’s obsession with Gaby…I wonder, no, that would be just too strange. Do you think maybe she’s more attracted to girls, and Gaby is her way of dealing with that? Odd as it may sound, I’m sure even more unusual things have been known to happen. I don’t dare mention this idea to Carol, do I? No, of course not. Besides, they’re so young. They’ll both wind up having twenty other relationships within the next couple of years, I’m sure. Just let things take their course. Either one of them will grow tired enough of the dress up game to bring it to a close, or…

But that brings us back to Drew, and whether he’s more comfortable as Gaby? I know he lodges his protests, but still I can’t get away from the fact that Gaby is often happier than Drew, if that makes any sense. I’m sure it doesn’t help things that he’s still dealing with this hormone problem, not that we’ve learned much substantial from the tests so far. It has to be confusing for the boy, knowing that his doctor has said he has the hormone profile of a normal girl. Yes, there’s something that’ll build up the old male ego. Something’s going to have to be done, and soon. This limbo has got to be unsettling for the child. And, on top of everything he’s been dealing with here at home, now he gets to spend six whole weeks living as a girl. I wonder if Drew will ever make it back after that.

_______________________

As Dave let his mind wander once again, Carol noticed the arrival in the waiting room of a doctor in surgical scrubs. She nudged Dave in the ribs, to bring him out of his lost little world. Just then, the doctor walked up to them and spoke, “Mr. Bond? We’ve just about finished up with your wife. They’re closing as we speak. It was fairly extensive, but I think we got it all. We will just have to wait and see whether or not we have, but as I said, it looks to be successful. She’ll be out of it for a while yet, but once she wakes up, we’ll move her back to the ward, and then you can go in to see her.”

“Thank you doctor,” Dave said once he finally had resurfaced and had absorbed everything the doctor had just said.

“That’s good news, eh?” Carol said quietly into Dave’s ear as she gave him a hug.

“Yes it is. Without question.”

After the visit from the surgeon, Dave’s mood had lightened quite a bit, and he was then able to carry on a more normal conversation with Carol while they waited for the word that they could go see Jen in her room. Nothing of much importance was said, but it was much more relaxed and pleasant than Dave could remember feeling in months.

Carol left when they came to tell him he could go in and sit with her a while; saying she needed to get home to fix dinner for John. Dave went to the ward, where he sat more or less silently holding her hand as she drifted in and out of wakefulness. At some point he too dropped off to sleep, and when the nurse came in to tell him that visiting hours were over, she had to shake him awake. He then went home, and realizing he hadn’t yet called the kids to fill them in on the days events, he called the Walters’ residence.

“Hello?”

“Mrs. Walters? Dave Bond.”

“Oh yes, Mr. Bond. Please call me Joss.”

“Only if you call me Dave. It’s not too late to be calling is it? We were at the hospital all day, and I just got home.”

“So did things go well?”

“As well as could be expected. Are either of my offspring handy?”

“Yes, Here’s Jules just coming this way,” she took the phone away from her ear and said to Jules, “It’s your dad.”

Then there were a few seconds of rustling sounds followed by, “Dad? How’s mum?”

“Well, it took them quite a while, but they think they’ve got it.”

“Really? That’s good news, right?”

“Yes, it is. It’s still going to be a long road, but this is a big step.”

“That’s great, dad. Give her my love, won’t you?”

“Of course I will, sweetheart. I don’t mean to cut things short, but I know it’s late there, and I’m absolutely exhausted, so could you get your brother for me?”

“Sure, love you,” and with that, there were another couple of seconds of rustling noises as the phone changed hands, then…

“Did they operate?”

“Yes Drew, that's why I'm calling so late, I've only just got home”

“And?”

“Well the good news is that the surgeon thinks that it went exceedingly well but it will be a few days before they can tell how successful the surgery has been.”

“Does that mean she's cured?”

“Not exactly son, it could still go either way and your mother is still very sick”

After a brief moment of silence, Dave continued. “So how are you kiddo?”

“Okay I guess. Mrs. Walters friend, Erin, she owns the local bike shop, has lent me a bike to ride and I'm supposed to be going for a ride with her on Saturday”

“That's very good of her. Make sure you thank her and look after the bike.”

“Daad, course I will! It's a really cool GT with Chorus kit and its mint!”

“Just remember you have to ride on the opposite side of the road and be careful.”

“I will be, give Mum my love”

“Of course I will, I'll try to ring a bit earlier tomorrow okay”

“Anytime”

“Bye Drew”

“Bye Dad”

After hanging up the phone, Dave decided he was too tired to even worry about going to bed, so he just plopped on the couch and was asleep within minutes.



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