“Mia Perez?” I couldn’t place the name.
“Mia was the women who performed CPR on you for over fifteen minutes. They found her naked and quite high on heroin pumping away on you. They tell me it is the only reason you survived.” She almost seemed angry about my survival.
“Should I give her some money or something?” I again wasn’t sure of the protocol in these matters.
“You would give a junkie money? Might as well put a gun to her head.” Monica seemed pissed for some reason. I was a little shocked at her tone. “It cost a lot, but she is currently recuperating in your house. It took a long time to convince the police not to book her for grand theft and heroin use.” Why did Monica’s eyes seem to be so strained? “You are buying a replacement boat to make sure she avoids grand theft.”
“I didn’t steal the damn boat. I’m not buying a new one.” Who does Monica think she is? “What do you mean I have a junkie in my house?” Now I was getting pissed. Monica wasn’t deterred.
“Look asshole, you screwed up my tenth anniversary trip to outfit the house.” Her hands were becoming animated. “I was literally dragged out of bed when I was making it up to my husband when your heart stopped. We weren’t sleeping if you know what I mean.” She was being a bit louder than usual. I didn’t even know she was married. “If Charlie leaves me, or Ms. Perez ends up in jail or back on the street,” she ticked off her points on her fingers, “I will never answer your call again.” She ended up with her hands on her hips.
I was shocked by her tirade. She worked for me didn’t she? I almost told her to fuck off, but the thought of life without Monica was a depressing one. I calmed down. Money was always easy to get. “Okay, okay, I’ll buy the boat and pay for rehab.” That should take care of it. I quickly had a finger wagging in my face.
“No, no, Mister Selfish. You will be solely responsible for her rehabilitation. No hiring your way out of it.” She had a very determined look on her face. “She saved your life, God only knows why, and you owe her more than a brush-off.” She was trying to screw up my life. “You were lucky enough to be handed a junkkie who knew CPR when you needed it. Now you have deal with it.”
“What the hell do I know about handling a heroin addict?” I was confused why she thought this would even work.
“There is a Dr. Williams taking care of her right now. He’s a detox specialist that you are paying a lot of money for. Ask him.” Her hands were back on her hips.
“This has gone far enough.” It was time to put my foot down. “I don’t want a junkie or anyone else in my house, and I am certainly not going to play social worker.” Let’s see if she is willing to give up on my paychecks. She called my bluff.
“Fine! Then this is the last conversation we will ever have.” Her voice was quiet and her expression had lost the anger. She turned and walked toward the door. I was about to let her go when visions of the hundreds of people I would need to deal with flashed before my eyes. Monica was irreplaceable as far as I knew. Life would begin to really suck.
Before her hand hit the door knob I relented. “Monica…” She turned toward me. “I’ll do it!” I felt like I was ten years old finally conceding to clean my room.
“Yes, Mr. Tomlinson.” She smiled and headed out the door. No need for goodbyes.
I returned home the next day with an armload of pamphlets on cardiac health. I had an appointment with a recommended cardiologist in two weeks. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I feared he would tell me SpaghettiOs were off limits. Of course, if I died, I couldn’t eat them either. Maybe I just needed to stay away from jellyfish.
A young man exited the hall bathroom rolling down his sleeves. “Hi, you must be Mr. Tomlinson. I’m Wally Williams.” He held out his hand. He looked a bit too young to be a doctor. I took his hand and shook it.
“Monica says you’re a detox specialist?” I wanted to verify that I wasn’t going to be doing this without professional help.
“Yep, kind of evolved into the job. I started a clinic in a pretty bad neighborhood. You can say it was on-the-job training.” He seemed pleased with his chosen direction. I sensed he was a do-gooder who was in it for the satisfaction. “I usually don’t do house calls, but I must say, your generous donation to the clinic made me rethink that position.” He chuckled. I tried to not let on that I had no idea how generous I was.
“I’m glad you’re here Doc. I’m kind of committed to seeing that Ms. Perez gets through this.” I tried to sound grateful. I was hoping he would handle the heavy lifting. “I’ve really never done anything like this before.”
“You missed the easy day. Today and tomorrow will most likely be the worst.” His expression became more serious. “It’s like a bad flu with a bunch of very ugly side effects thrown in. Just make sure she doesn’t try to sleep on her back to avoid aspiration of any discharge. It helps to make sure she stays hydrated, especially if diarrhea kicks in.” He was sounding like he wasn’t staying. “I put some Epsom salts next to the tub. If she complains of itchy or crawly skin, put her in a hot bath with the salts.” He was reaching for his suit jacket that was lying over the back of the chair.
“You’re leaving?” I felt like I was being thrown into the deep end of the pool.
“I’ll stop back in tomorrow morning. I left my card on the table.” He pointed to the end table. “Call me if you run into something unexpected.” Obviously, I wasn’t generous enough with my donation.
“I’m really not qualified to handle this, Doc.” I am sure it sounded like I was pleading. I meant it to be more instructive to illicit a guilt reaction. He just chuckled.
“Mia doesn’t need a doctor now. She just needs someone who cares. In a couple of days we can start the real work.” He was heading for the door. I considered tackling him, but discounted it due to recent heart issues. It was just two days he said. I can suffer through it to keep Monica on board.
“Where’s Mia now?” I wasn’t even sure where to start.
“In the master suite. It had the closest bathroom.” He opened the front door. “See you around nine tomorrow.” Just like that, he was gone. It was the first person in many years that I didn’t want to leave.
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