Feb 18, 2011

When The Fireworks Begin (Chapter IV)

Chapter IV.

James was looking at the screen of his laptop in his small cubicle in the advertising firm where he has been working for a year now. He has been trying his very best to gradually step up his career.  This work and his salary were far from what he had before, when he was still managing the family business or businesses.  But when he decided to marry Devon and go against what his father wants, he dropped everything like a hot potato.

He glanced at his wristwatch.  He was trying to wrap his work up so that he would be able to go home, early.  His hard work is paying off, he was just promoted a couple of days ago.  Promotion would not only mean another step in the salary table, but would also mean more responsibilities.   This is the day he and Devon would be celebrating his promotion.

James was in deep concentration with the design and program, when he heard another officemate calling his name.

“James, phone call for you,”  his officemate called, while holding the receiver. 

James was not expecting any call.  “Hello?”

“Hi, James,”  the authoritative male voice on the other end of the line greeted.

James was shocked to hear that voice, he has not heard that voice before. He did not say anything.

“I was going to call you on the cell phone, but I figured you would not be answering my call. So, I decided to call you on the office instead,” the male voice explained.

“What do you want,” James silently asked, with no hint of expression on his voice.

“I just want to congratulate you, James,”  the man continued.  “I heard you got promoted.”

“Who told you that?” James asked, there are few people who knew about that.

“Well, a friend of mine is a board of director in your firm and I asked how you were doing,” the man answered slowly.  “He told me that you got promoted.”

James wavered. Was he promoted because of his good work or was it because this man has something to do with it again?  “Do you have anything to do with it?”

“With the promotion?” the man surprisingly asked. “Of course not.  I just asked him how you were doing. As your father, James, I want to know if you are okay. Your mother is very worried about you.”

“I never thought that you were still my father. I thought I was no longer your son,”  James answered.

“James, about that,”  his father started.  “I…”

“No time to talk about that,” James cut him.  “I have work to do, and I honestly prefer if you would not be calling this number again.”

James did not wait for his father’s reply and immediately said goodbye.  He placed the receiver back and walked towards his cubicle.  He started to rub his forehead, he hated what he was feeling. He’s so angry with his father, but he wished that he also said he was worried about him, too. 

****

Devon was walking out of the university. She was sending James a text message, telling him that she would just go home to change clothes and then meet him in the office for their dinner.  After sending the text message and having a quick chit-chat with other faculty members of the university, Devon hailed a jeep.

She was calmly looking at her schedule, looking forward  for their dinner celebration.  This night was special, it is James’s night.  Devon stopped the jeep when she saw their street.  She was climbing down the jeepney, when she felt her knees buckle on her step.  She felt that she lost control of her leg muscles.  It was as if her legs became jelly.

She fell hard on the concrete road.  Passengers were surprised by her fall. Then suddenly, an incoming car was speeding towards the jeep, perhaps unknowing that somebody was crumpled on the road.

Oh my god, oh my god, Devon whispered.  Let the car stop. Let it stop.  She was struggling on her feet. Trying to stand up, but she was unable to accomplish anything. 

Those who were standing on the sidewalk were screaming.  “Stand up!?!”

But Devon can’t stand up, and then she heard screeching brakes.  The car stopped just a few inches away from her.  The driver angrily went out of the car and started shouting at Devon.

“What are you doing in the middle of the road?” the driver asked angrily. “Are you trying to kill yourself?”

People from the sidewalk started to walk towards Devon and the driver.  Hoping that nobody got hurt.

Devon’s tears welled up and slowly answered. “I can’t stand up. I can’t move my legs.”

Perhaps the driver saw the fear in her eyes.  He hunched towards Devon and looked at her. “You can’t stand up?”

“I can’t. I can’t do anything,” Devon said.

The man started to touch her legs and looked like he’s applying pressure on it. But Devon felt nothing. 

“Do you feel anything?” the man asked, while pinching her leg.

Devon shook her head and then the tears started to fall. This time, she became so scared. This is not simple numbness, it is the feeling that she no longer has any legs.

He shook his head.  “Come on, I’ll bring you to the hospital,” he answered.  He motioned two other guys to help him carry her and her belongings to the car.   “I’m a doctor, Doctor Alvarez.”

****

James was already packing his bags, when his phone rang. He saw Devon’s name on the phone’s screen.

“Baby,” he answered quickly. “I am going out of the office now.”  He started to walk out of the door and towards the elevator.

Devon cleared her throat.  This was supposed to be his night, she whispered to herself.  And then I have to ruin it for him.  

“Baby,” she started. “I’m in the hospital.”

“What?” James stopped on his tracks. “What happened?”

“There’s a small accident earlier, when I was going home,” Devon explained. “But I am okay, they just want me to stay here a little longer for some tests.”

“What hospital?” James asked.

Devon gave him the hospital name and said that she would be wheeled into another medical test again. James said goodbye to his wife and started to fidget. She has been into so many accidents lately, that James was starting to think something is wrong to her.  He was about to ask her to have some tests, but not this soon.

He hired a taxi and asked the driver to sped it up to the hospital.  He almost broke into a run, when the taxi stopped in front of the hospital.  He walked towards the ER and was looking for Devon when he bumped into a doctor.

“James,” the doctor exclaimed, when he saw James.

“Ninong,” James greeted and gave the man a hug. It has been a long time since he saw Ninong Robby or Doctor Alvarez.

“What are you doing here?” the doctor asked.

“I’m looking for my wife,” James explained, reaching out for the cellphone and trying to call Devon.  But there was no answer on the phone.

“You’re married? Why wasn’t I invited,”  Doctor Alvarez exclaimed.

James forced a chuckle. “Believe me, Ninong. You are not the only who’s not invited.”

“Ah so you eloped,” Doctor Alvarez concluded, and gave James a smile. “Is your wife working here? I could check where she is.”

“No, she’s not working here. She’s a faculty member in the university. She called me about getting an accident and that she was taken here,” James explained.

Doctor Alvarez nodded. “What’s her name, I’ll check.”

“Devon Rocafort,”  James answered.

Doctor Alvarez looked at James when he heard the name. “Devon?”

James nodded.  Doctor Alvarez shook his head, as if in disbelief.  James heart raced faster. “You know her? Where is she?”

“Well, the car I have been driving almost hit her and I brought her here,” Doctor Alvarez started.  James looked so confused, that the doctor started to tell him what happened.

“Where is she right now?” James asked, very worried. “She still can’t move her legs?”

“She’s still in the laboratory, she’ll be back soon. And no, she still can’t move her legs,” Doctor Alvarez answered.

James sat down on the row of chairs.  He felt as if all the energy has been sapped out of his body. “She’s been getting into these small accidents, lately. Slipping, falling down. She kept telling me that she tripped or the floor too slippery. Do you think it’s serious?”

“Well I have no idea yet,”  Doctor Alvarez said. “We’ll be looking on the results first, I’ve asked for MRIs and scans, we need to be very sure about this.  Don’t worry about the cost of the tests.  It will be my wedding present.”

James thanked his ninong and hugged him. “Thank you.”

“She’s here,” Doctor Alvarez said, motioning a wheelchair being moved out of a room.

James rushed to Devon’s side and she was wheeled inside the emergency room. “How are you feeling, baby,” he asked.

“I’m okay,” Devon answered. “I think I would be able to go home later.”

“I don’t think so,” interrupted Doctor Alvarez. “I think it would be better to have stay here tonight, stay under observation. I’ll be back tomorrow with the test results.”

“But,” Devon tried to resist. “I can already move my legs.”

The Doctor was taken a back by what Devon said.  He has a suspicion but he has decided to keep it to himself, first.

James stopped her. “Baby, it would be better to listen to the good doctor.  He knows what he is doing, he’s the best here.”

Doctor Alvarez placed his hand on James shoulder. “I know you’re my godson James, but don’t flatter me too much.”  He smiled towards Devon.  “You’re husband here, happens to be my favourite godson.  You don’t have to think or worry that I am one of those doctors who just want to make your hospital bill bigger”

Devon smiled back at Doctor Alvarez. “I was not thinking about that Doctor.”

“Then you will be staying here tonight,” Doctor Alvarez concluded.

Nothing happened overnight.  They called Devon’s parents, James insisted that they should know what happened. They would be coming over the next day to visit her.  Devon and James slept cuddled together on the hospital bed. The next morning James brought the breakfast to Devon’s table. 

“This is so foolish,” Devon said. “I feel fine, I can move my legs. I already walked to the bathroom without any trouble.”

“I know baby,” James tried to explain. “But we have to wait for the doctor’s go signal.”

Devon nodded exasperatedly.  “Aren’t you going to work today?”

James shook his head. “I wanted to take care of you today.”

Devon dropped her fork, sounding so frustrated. “I don’t want you to miss work because of me. I know how much you enjoyed working in that firm.  Go to work., I am going to call Mama. They can stay here with me.”

James hesitated.  Devon touched his hand and looked at him. “I am going to be fine. Now scoot. Go home and take a bath, I am calling Mama.”

James smiled at his wife and looked at her while she dialled her mother’s phone number. 

****

James rushed to the hospital, after work.  He received a message from Devon telling him that she has finished all the tests and the doctor would like to talk them first before being discharged. 

James was about to enter Devon’s room, when Doctor Alvarez called him.

“James,” Doctor Alvarez called. “It’s  a good thing that you’re here. I wanted to tell you this first.”

James walked towards to Doctor Alvarez and listened intently.  Doctor Alvarez cleared his throat.  There is no way he could make this easier for both James and Devon.

“I think that Devon has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS,”  Doctor Alvarez started.

James leaned closer and tried to listen better. The name of the disease is definitely scary. “That sounds serious,” James said.

Doctor Alvarez answered slowly, like a father talking to his son. “It is very serious, James. We would be running other tests to confirm that.  However, you could take her home now but I’ll give some medications and she needs to be here for her additional tests.”

“Okay,” James agreed. “But what is this thing that she’s sick of?”

Doctor Alvarez looked at James and slowly began explaining, “ALS is a disease that causes muscle weakness and disability.  You’ve seen how she would often fell, perhaps this has started a year ago, but she dismissed it as unimportant.  Often, this disease would strike older people, but they could also affect younger patients like Devon.” 

James was feeling overwhelmed with what Doctor Alvarez said. “Are you telling me that Devon may not walk?”

Doctor Alvarez took a deep breath, he continued his explanation. “ALS does not only affect leg muscles, it may also affect and paralyze muscles needed for chewing, swallowing and speaking. Muscles may be paralyzed, but the person’s mental condition or thinking is not affected.”

James nodded. “I don’t mind having a paralyzed wife.”

“This is a fatal disease, James. Muscles for breathing could also be paralyzed,” Doctor Alvarez tried to explain.

James was startled with what Doctor Alvarez said. “Are you telling me, that she could die?”

“James,” Doctor Alvarez slowly said. “Those diagnosed with ALS only have an average of 2 to 5 years to live.”

James became deaf. Two to five years, he thought.

“You expect me to believe, that my wife would die in two to five years?” James angrily told Doctor Alvarez.  “I am not believing this crap. I thought you were the best doctor in here.”

“I am,” Doctor Alvarez answered.

“Well, what you said to me Ninong is crap. My wife is not going to die,” James tearfully exclaimed. “Not yet.”

“We would run more tests to determine if it is indeed ALS,” Doctor Alvarez commented. “But most of the tests are already leaning towards that disease.”

James collapsed on the row of chairs near the door. He closed his eyes. This is all a dream, I would open my eyes then this would all go away. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes.  He was still in the hospital. That is when it hit him. He would lose Devon.

He placed his face on his hands and cried.  He sobbed so hard, he felt racking pains on his chest. Five years, he thought.  I thought I have a lifetime with her. He sobbed harder, punching his right thigh trying to make the pain on his thigh more painful than what he is feeling inside his chest.

Doctor Alvarez was unable to answer him and hugged James instead. 

“I can’t lose her,” James whispered. “She’s all I have.”

6 comments:

stefrawrs said...

naluluha naman ako nito ate bite! namatay ba si mm? kaya naging emo si dd sa umpisa! haha hindi naman siguro. huhuhuhu
next ch na !!!!! <3

jhoanne-vj10 said...

it reminds me of the asianovela "1 Liter of tears"...pero iba name nung sakit nya dun pero parang same effect lng... na a-anticipate ko na na iiyak na naman ako d2 ng bonggang-bongga d2!!

messy_meh said...

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa pinaiyak na naman ng FF ni lola bite...

Jexy said...

aaawwww :( bakit.. bakit?? :((
huhuhu... naiyak naman ako dun :((
sana gumaling si MM :)


next chapter na po please ^^

jak said...

awww,,,nakakalungkot naman....
lowla bite, wag po ganito...huhuhu

veebello said...

nakakaiyak naman.... :((
sana gumaling si devon nakakaawa si james!!!
next chap po pls....

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