Stranded Hope Dr. Z Will See You Now
By Blake Caliguiri
Now here is the thing about me. I had ailments my whole damn life. You name any kind of specialist and I have gone to ’em, paid ’em and hell, if I’m lying then I’m dying, none of them ever put me right once. And when I say ailments, I mean AIL-MENTS.
I’ve had it all: I’m allergic to anything with wheat in it, I’m lactose intolerant, I’ve got IBS, OCD and glasses. It seems like ever since I was born, I’ve been prepping myself to be old and useless. When the day finally came that I retired, I was still too young to be old. My whole life I got ready to be there and then once I was there I hated it.
I was driving at night, which I shouldn’t have been doing on account of my terrible vision, and I got into an accident. Well, I did a number on myself that day. It was raining, the radio was too loud, my windshield was fogging up, my glasses were fogging up, the wheel locked up and then SLAM! Right into the median.
I remember my face, more specifically my eye, hitting the steering wheel. When I went to the hospital they told me I would need to go see a “retina specialist.” That was a new specialist, even for me.
So two weeks after the accident was my appointment. I had a routine eye examination before I saw the specialist. They asked all the big questions:
“Have you been seeing small black dots in your vision?”
“Yes,” I said. (These are called “floaters.”)
“Is there pain in your eyes at anytime?”
“Not really,” I replied. (This could be a sign of worse things.)
“Have you ever seen a retina specialist before?”
“No,” I said. (If I had, I’m not sure what it would have changed.)
I tilted my head back and the young lady wearing scrubs puts two drops from two different bottles in both my eyes.
“It burns,” I told her.
“It’s normal for it to burn,” she responded. “The doctor will be in shortly. Your vision will become very blurry, but don’t be alarmed, it’s just because of the dilation.”
As she left I muttered behind her, “My vision is already blurry you moron.” She didn’t hear me. The door had shut before I could get the words out. I put my glasses on in a desperate attempt to keep my vision for an extra moment or two.
The wall was literally littered with degrees, diplomas and plaques. I managed to read a few before getting bored. I was surrounded by very strange instruments, none sharp or scary, just different. But that all quickly went out of focus. So I sat there in my own personal blurry prison listening to the office outside.
People came in; a little bell rang. People went out; a little ball rang. Someone coughed, someone sneezed, a magazine got flipped through. Then I heard something different. The door opened. The bell rang, but it was followed by a lot of footsteps and horrible screaming coming from the waiting room.
I stood up uneasily. The door was directly behind me, so I moved toward it. Between the blurred vision and the fear of what was outside I could barely bring myself to open the door. The little bell on the door was in near constant motion from people running out.
I stumbled into the hallway and it was so bright that I had to wince. I trickled down the hall. I finally made it to the waiting room and I could only see general shapes. I saw the chairs, I saw the table, but no people. The floor was wet; I remember that. I tripped over something. I landed on my hands and they were soaked with blood when I looked at them again. I knew only because of the color.
Whatever it was that I tripped over had began to grab at me. I kicked it away. I tried to get away and I fell, landing flat on my back. Whatever this was, they were right on top of me, grabbing, spitting, trying to bite me. I didn’t know what to do.
I knew I was right next to the table, so I grabbed the thing’s head and slammed it right into the corner of that table. Its head went limp off its neck and I knew I was safe.
I got up and ran. Outside the office I bumped into someone and I told them what had happened to the best of my knowledge. They helped me get out of that building and into a cab heading home. I got to my house and by then my vision was almost normal.
I began washing my hands as soon as I got there. I looked at myself in the mirror. I was still covered in someone’s blood. It was then that I knew it had all changed.
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Published December 3, 2009
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