Dr. Feelgood’s jello syringes don’t always leave you feeling good.
The chill of the air passing through my nostrils was the first thing of which I was aware. The second was the stomach-knotting throb that sat in the back of my jaw. My eyes reluctantly opened and I blinked, staring at the beige ceiling as the light filtered into the living room from the grand windows. I was home in my makeshift bed on the couch. There were no IVs in my arm. There was no one prodding me and asking questions while I hastily scribbled answers down on a notepad. No nurses asking about the genetic condition behind my double jaw surgery, sympathizing over my inflated mouth and staring at my wired braces.
Momentary relief settled over me, and the air didn’t seem as frigid. It did not last long, however, as the agony of my jaw asserted itself. My stomach growled in discontented hunger as my tongue sat shriveled in my mouth, calling out for water. I moved slowly.
Nausea from the slightest shift in my body held me still as I took in the room. Empty. My brother’s plane left yesterday after he helped me settle into the house, and now, I was on my own.
Holding onto the furniture as I walked, I made my way into the kitchen. The counter was covered in broths and juices that I would live off for the next five weeks. The refrigerator stood with all the food I was unable to eat. I set my shoulders back and opened it, keeping my eyes strictly on the shelf with my pain medicine bottles that my brother organized before he left. Then to the cabinet for the plastic syringes with the thin black lettering: Dr. Feelgood’s Jello Shots.
I poured a can of broth into a pot and turned on the stove. The motivation I had to make the food was gone and the hunger turned into a cloud of yellow nausea over me.
Each movement took more energy than I was willing to give it. This simple task had become exhausting.
I set the table with the syringes filled with Oxycodone, water cups, and my cup of broth. My hand trembled as I lifted the water syringe to my mouth. Holding my cheek away from my teeth, I slid the syringe into the back of my mouth, slowly pressing down. It rushed in through my braces and forgetting to swallow, it splashed back out over me. Gasping, I set the syringe down and decided to try the pain medicine. The thickness clogged in the wires, building up along my lip. My hands shook and pressed the syringe fully down. The Oxycodone flooded into my mouth. Gagging from the taste and amount, it drizzled down off the side of my numb chin and onto my jacket. The syringe fell from my fingers into the cup of broth, which sloshed across the table. Tears surged out of my eyes with frustration at the inability to even do this simple task of feeding myself. My body’s ability to function was something I took for granted, and now it failed me.
I pressed towels down on the spilled liquid and removed my jacket. Wobbling from stress and pain, I went to the sink and rinsed off the Oxycodone. It took a few trips to clean the whole mess. By the end, I was too worn out to even try the broth, and morosely I stuck it into the fridge on my medicine shelf.
Heavy eyelids and exhausted body, I made my way back to the couch, curled up, within my blankets, and napped.