Flight of the Dodo - 20. Chapter 20
A touch of stress, a panic attack, a nap, and Eddie's mind takes him on a little trip.
“I want you to meet my parents,” Frankie said as we walked to the elevators in the apartment parking garage.
“I don’t know if I should,” I said.
“I’m younger than you. They probably won’t like that.”
“What are you like talking about?” Frankie asked as we walked into an elevator.
“They are probably looking for you to bring home a woman around your age,” I said as I pushed the 11 button. “They will see me as a threat to their desires for grandchildren.”
“What the fuck?”
“Now you’re mad at me again. I better go to my own apartment.”
“Sweetie, I’m not mad at you. Why do you always assume I’m mad at you?”
“You swore. People who swear at me are mad at me. It has always been that way.”
“Oh, Christ, what am I supposed to do with you.”
“See, you swore again. If you keep this up, I’ll have to stop being your friend. I think it would be best if I take a panic attack pill very soon or my mind will go away and I’ll have a meltdown. I’m sorry I made you mad. Yes, an anti-panic pill. Yes … yes … yes … panic … pill …”
“Oh, Jesus, Eddie, what’s happening to you? Oh, shit. Please hold on. Don’t go away. Oh, good, we’re at your floor. Come on, Eddie, let’s get off the elevator.”
“What’s going on here?” E3 asked.
“Uh, something’s wrong with my friend,” Frankie said. “He said something about taking an anti-panic pill.”
“Quick, we have to get him into his apartment.”
As my awareness was slowly going away, Frankie and E3 each took an arm and quickly walked me to the apartment. E3 must have used his key to open the door. Frankie helped E3 get me inside and to the kitchen. E3 took a glass from the cupboard and filled it with water. Frankie found the pill bottle in my pocket and took out a pill. I stood beside the refrigerator trembling. I was so close to a meltdown, I could taste the change in my mouth.
“Eddie, open your mouth,” E3 said.
I opened my mouth. Frankie placed the pill on my tongue. E3 held the glass up to me. I blinked myself back into a bit of awareness, took the glass, and drank the water. I dropped the glass and it fell to the floor, but didn’t break because it was plastic. I shut my eyes as I continued to tremble.
“We need to get him to bed,” E3 said.
“Sure, I’ll help,” Frankie said.
“Who are you?” E3 asked.
“Frank Higgins, I gave Eddie a ride to work on Monday. I live upstairs with my parents.”
“Are you in school?”
“No, I work for an educational agency that administers the GED program this side of the Cascades. I suggested Ed try to get a GED.”
“Oh, okay, so you were out with Eddie this evening?”
“Yes, I took him to Dick’s for dinner.”
“We can lay him on top of the covers and throw the quilt over him.”
I shut my eyes and allowed myself to go away.
My awareness returned and I opened my eyes. I immediately became aware that I was still wearing my clothes and was lying on top of the covers under the quilt. Then I saw that there was a light on somewhere in the apartment. I threw the quilt off and sat on the edge of the bed. I waited a moment to let my head clear and then stood up. I walked out of the bedroom and noticed the light was coming from the living room. Unfortunately, I needed to use the toilet before I could investigate the lighting situation.
I left the bathroom and walked out in the entrance hall. I saw E3 sitting in the recliner reading my New Zealand history book. Something must have happened, but I couldn’t think what it could be.
“Why are you here?” I asked as I walked into the living room.
“Eddie, how are you?” E3 asked.
“Okay, I guess I almost had a meltdown, or maybe I did have one. But I feel a little bit better, now.”
“I met your friend.”
“Oh, did he come down to see me?”
“No, he brought you home. I guess you went out to dinner with him.”
“I don’t remember that. Maybe the meltdown erased that memory. They do that sometimes.”
“He seems like a nice young man. He said he discussed you getting your GED certificate. I think that is a good idea. If you work hard at it, you might consider going to college.”
“College? What would I do with a college education?”
“Oh, there are lots of things to do with a college degree. I’ve been reading your book on the history of New Zealand. You could get a degree in history.”
“But what would I do with that degree. You know, I’m basically quite crazy.”
“Yes, but if you studied psychology, you could study your mental illness.”
“I can’t study psychology. No, no, I can’t study psychology. No, no, no, I can’t study psychology. No, no—”
E3 jumped to his feet, quickly walked to me and grabbed me by my upper arms. He vigorously shook me, and said, “Eddie! Stop!”
I blinked twice, slowly moved my head around looking if there was someone else in the living room, and said, “Oh, sorry, I don’t know why I said that. No, I think I met a man who teaches psychology at the U, but I can’t remember where that was or if I really met someone like that. I need a glass of water.”
“How much of today do you remember?” E3 asked as he followed me into the kitchen.
“Nothing, no, I can’t remember anything. Let me think for a minute. Um, no, I can’t remember anything.”
“When do you see Dr. Kaiser again?”
“It should be on the calendar. Oh, yes, here it is, next Wednesday at two o’clock. The receptionist was supposed to call yesterday, so I must have written it down then.”
“Do you have Dr. Kaiser’s phone number?”
“Yes, it is on her business card. It is in my wallet.”
“Can I have it?”
“Why? You aren’t her patient. Or, are you? No, if you were her patient, you would have one of her business cards in your wallet.”
“Eddie, please, I’d like to call Dr. Kaiser.”
“Oh, okay, I guess,” I said. I took out my wallet. After I found Dr. Kaiser’s business cards, I handed one to E3.
E3 went to the phone and just as he was going to pick up the handset it began to ring. He picked up the handset, put it to his ear, and said, “Hello … Sorry, I lost track of time. Eddie had one of his spells. He was able to get one of his pills down and I put him to bed. He just woke up. I was going to call Dr. Kaiser because he can’t remember what happened today … No, but I’ll certainly ask Dr. Kaiser … Okay, I’ll do that.”
“Was that Syl?” I asked.
“Yes, she was concerned about you,” E3 said.
“No she wasn’t. Syl doesn’t love me anymore because I’m too crazy for her.”
“Eddie! Your mother does love you.”
“No, Syl can’t handle my inability to live in society in a meaningful way, but that is okay because I’m now trying to live on my own. If I work very hard at this, I’m sure I’ll be a success at living on my own.”
“Okay, have it your way. Now, let’s see if I can get in touch with your shrink.”
“It’s just an expression for psychiatrists as in headshrinker.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Yeah, well, I suppose you wouldn’t,” E3 said as he picked up the handset, put it to his ear, and dialed the after-hours number on the business card.
“Yes, I need to get in contact with Dr. Kaiser,” E3 said. “No, but my son is … He maybe in crisis … Um, Edvard Pedersen and the phone number is, uh, Quadrant 3-4306 … Thank you. Well, I know it’s late, but hopefully she’ll call back.”
At that moment, the phone began to ring. E3 picked it up and said, “Hello … Yes, I’m at Ed’s apartment. He had an episode this evening, took an anti-panic pill, slept for nearly three hours, and now can’t remember what occurred today … Yes. Eddie, Dr. Kaiser wants to talk to you.”
I took the phone and said, “Hello?”
“Edvard, this is Dr. Kaiser, I understand you are having a memory problem. Is that correct? Edvard, are you there?”
“Who do you want to speak to?” I asked.
“Ed, this is Dr. Kaiser. How are you tonight?”
“I’m okay, I guess.”
“What time did you wake up this morning.”
“My alarm is set for seven-thirty.”
“Did you wake up to turn it off?”
“I must have because I’m awake now.”
“What did you have for breakfast this morning?”
“Every morning I have a three-minute egg, a bowl of Rice Krispies, a glass of milk, and a piece of fruit. Um, no, I can’t remember what that fruit was today.”
“Did you have that this morning?”
“Um, I think so. No, maybe not. I can’t remember.”
“What did you do today?”
“I don’t know. I just woke up a few minutes ago. Uh, did Mount Tongariro erupt?”
“I’m not familiar with that volcano, but I didn’t see anything on the news tonight about a volcano erupting.”
“We live in Raurimu now and if Mount Tongariro erupts the ash could fall on us. If there is too much ash, the roof may collapse.”
“Where is that?”
“Oh, yes, you don’t know that I live in New Zealand, now. I’m a citizen of New Zealand, now. I’m getting married next year. Mavis doesn’t want to get married until after the baby is born.”
“Ed, may I speak to your father?”
“That will be very hard because he still lives in North Park, King County, Washington State, United States of America.”
“Who is the man near you right now? I’d like to speak to him.”
“I’m sorry there are no men near me. Do you want to talk to Mavis? She is here.”
“Yes, please, I’d like to speak to Mavis.”
“Here, Dr. Kaiser wants to speak to you for some reason,” I said as I held the handset out to Mavis.
“Dr. Kaiser, what is going on with Ed … Do you have any idea what could’ve caused this … Well, yes, I suppose that’s true … Okay, I’ll do that and get him down to North Park General … Yes, and thank you, goodbye.”
“Did you hear a rumble?” I asked.
“No, but I need to pack you a bag. Dr. Kaiser wants me to take you the hospital.”
“Oh, good, that is okay, yes, that is okay. I’ll put on my parka and wait for you here. No, I’ll sit in the recliner.”
“Good, you do that,” Mavis said.
After a while, Mavis was standing at the entrance to the living room holding a suitcase.
“Eddie, come on, let’s go,” Mavis said.
“Oh, yes, we have to get away before Mount Tongariro erupts and blankets this area with ash,” I said. “Do you know the way to the hospital? It’s dark out right now. If need be, we can wait until sunrise.”
“We can go now. I know the way.”
“Well, if you’re certain, I’ll accompany you.”
Mavis went to the door, opened it, and let me go out first. She shut the door and locked it. I waited for Mavis and then we walked down to the elevators. I pressed the down button. We waited quite some time before the doors opened on one of the elevators. I allowed Mavis to go in first.
“I pushed the 1 button because I know that is for the first floor,” I said. “I hope we don’t have an earthquake because the elevator may get caught between floors. I’m very worried about Mount Tongariro erupting tonight. It’s been quite active recently.”
The elevator doors opened at the first floor and we walked out to the car. Mavis put the suitcase in the trunk of our car and then unlocked the passenger door for me. She went around to the driver’s side and got in. It seemed to be an awfully short drive to the hospital, but maybe I had fallen asleep during the trip. Mavis parked in the Emergency Room parking lot.
“Come one, Eddie, we need to go into the hospital,” Mavis said as she opened her door.
“Are we at County?” I asked as I walked around to the trunk and took out my suitcase.
“No, Dr. Kaiser wanted you to go to North Park General tonight.”
“Oh, okay, I guess. I hope they have a better psych ward than that private hospital. I didn’t like it there. Do you think Dr. Levinson works here?”
“If he does, I’m not checking you in.”
“Good, I don’t want any more of those ECT treatments. They did something bad to my mind.”
We walked into the hospital and up to the counter in the Emergency Room. A nurse looked up and said, “May I help you?”
“Yes, my son’s psychiatrist, Dr. Roberta Kaiser, told me to bring my son here,” Mavis said.
“Oh, yes, I have the admit request right here. If you’ll have a seat, I’ll call upstairs and let them know you’re here.”
“Come on, Eddie, let’s go sit down,” Mavis said.
“Yes, it would be best if we waited in the waiting area,” I said. “Oh, did you feel that tremor? I think we’re having an earthquake.”
“Eddie, we’re not having an earthquake.”
“But I felt the tremor. We need to call the Prime Minister and let him know he needs to issue an emergency proclamation so we can get assistance from England.”
“Here, we can sit here.”
“But the Prime Minister needs to be notified of the eruption.”
“Eddie, that’s being taken care of at this moment. We need to sit down.”
“Oh, yes, okay, I guess,” I said as I sat beside Mavis. “I wonder how long we have to wait for the train. I hope it isn’t too long because I have to meet Mr. Rabi Ibrahim for breakfast at the Dutch Cup Restaurant in Sultan before we go up to Stevens Pass ski area. Mr. Rabi Ibrahim said he is going to take me up to Seventh Heaven. That is the highest point in the Stevens Pass ski area. I’ve heard it is quite challenging to ski down from there. Do you remember the time we went to the South Island to go skiing?”
“Yes, we had a great time.”
“Mr. Pedersen?” a tall man in whites asked. “I’m Fletcher. I work in the psychiatric ward.”
“Yes, this is my son Eddie,” E3 said. “Dr. Kaiser told me to bring him here tonight.”
“This would be Edvard Pedersen, correct?”
“Edvard? Please come with me.”
“Oh, yes, okay, I guess. Are we taking the train this evening or will we wait until the morning to catch the dirigible to Wellington?”
“We’re taking the train, but we must hurry or we might miss it.”
“Eddie, I want you to be good and please take care,” Mavis said.
“Yes, yes, I’ll take care,” I said.
“Eddie, take your suitcase,” Mavis said.
“Oh, yes, I had better do that because the red caps don’t work the graveyard shift.”
“Your son sounds quite delusional,” Fletcher said. “Does he act out?”
“I don’t believe he does, though he may have a panic attack and lose consciousness.”
“Well, we’re certainly used to that. Come along, Edvard, and I’ll take you upstairs.”
“Oh, yes, the dirigible must have come in early.”
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