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The “L” Word

The ends of my skirt flitted in the steady stream of wind coming from the fan. I couldn’t tell how long it had been running in hopes of staving off the heat, but it felt as though all it was doing was circulating uncomfortable air.

It was hard to breathe.

I scratched at my arms nervously as Dr. B stared at my electronic medical record; plotting a new course of action.

He lifted his feet off of the desktop and turned his chair towards me.

He didn’t have to say anything.

I just knew.

The “L” word.

******

David and I were throwing chunks of erasers at each other when Mrs. C approached our desks with our French Language quizzes in her hand.

“Kim, I didn’t see you at the cross country try outs yesterday. Were you sick?”

“Mrs. C, I don’t know if I want to run.”

“Well that is silly! You need to run. You’re good at it. You have a lot of endurance in all the other sports. Of course you’re running.”

“I don’t think that I can do long distances though. Besides, it sounds boring.”

“Hmph,” she grumbled as she snapped the quiz in my face,  “You are the ‘L’ word.”

“I’m what?”

The ‘L’ word.”

David laughed into his elbow.

When he regained his composure he said, “She means you’re lazy!”

My eyes widened in disbelief.

Mrs. C’s chest puffed arrogantly as she smirked, turned her heels and then walked away.

At recess, I signed up for the cross country team, grinding the letters of my name deeply into the sheet.

“You never know if you’re going to like it if you don’t try it Kimberly,” Mrs. C shouted down the corridor.

That season I placed 2nd and 4th.

Surprisingly, I loved it.

*******

“Lithium,” he said.

The “L” word rolled in my stomach.

I wiped my sweaty palms down my skirt and had wished that the air conditioning worked.

What do I remember about Lithium in nursing school?

Salt.

Toxicity.

Kidneys.

Thyroid.

Bloating up like a dead raccoon on the side of the road.

” Very crazy”

The last drug I had made Dr.B promise that we would try.

My last hope.

I held my breathe and vehemently shook my head no.

“It puts a ceiling on your moods,” he said as we both look upwards.

I wanted to stand up and see how far I had to reach my arms before my fingers grazed the ceiling.

“I…I don’t know. I mean, this is the last drug I wanted to try.”

“I know. That’s why I haven’t put you on it. You can think about it.”

He began to discuss Lithium at length as  I eyed the ceiling and my feet planted firmly on the ground.

Sitting on his tacky couch, I suddenly had hope of my moods being sandwiched between two level planes.

Stability.

“Dr. B I feel like I’m on a fence asking myself if I want to jump over. I keep thinking that the grass can be greener on the other side and I’ll never know if I don’t try.”

“That’s exactly right.”

“This is such a hard decision for me Dr.B. I just wish that someone would come up behind me and push me over. That someone would just say, ‘Kim, just take the Lithium’.”

“Kim,” Dr. B smiled, “just take the Lithium.”

*******

On July 10th, 2012, I jumped over the fence with both feet.

And I’m running until I find the greenest fucking grass I have ever seen.

*Note: Dr. B did not force me into taking Lithium. I am thankful that he always gives me complete control of my care.

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