FRIED FEVER, Part 2 “Showroom of perfections”

15 06 2011





When I first come to, my doctor is moving the ultra sound machine gently across my belly.

“Listen to this”


“Your babies heartbeat! She smiles. “So far everything seems alright. Look” she points out a bean-shaped transparent thing that pulsates.

I am so emotional that I immediately weep. My baby’s heartbeat! This is real, this is really happening.

“But we need to get your fever down immediately. A fever that high during the first trimester can literally fry the babies brain.” She turns the machine off and touches my arm. I realize that I am connected to a bunch of tubes. A clear transfusion bottle drops whatever it is into my body.

“We have no idea what is wrong with you. I need your consent to test for HIV, Hepatitis C, Syphilis and every other disease that could cause this.”

Peter rushes in.

“She has been tested for everything. Just a few months ago. She’s been clean for two years, so that can’t be” He takes in the machines and tubes and his face crumbles.

“Unfortunately, and I hate to tell you this, but sometimes, HIV takes a long time to show up…”

“Show him the baby, please” I interrupt. I am so weak; it is difficult to say anything. But I have to get her to stop talking about AIDS, if just for a moment.

She turns the Ultra Sound on again and shows my husband what is growing inside of me. He reaches for my hand and grabs it so tightly that I wince. Everything hurts. But I need this touch more than anything right now. He beams when he hears the heartbeat and for a moment, it looks like he might cry.

“Is the baby alright?” he asks.

“So far, it looks good. But, like I told your wife, we are really worried about this fever.”

“Of course, we consent. Test for everything there is!” Peter says.

“If we can’t get that fever down, I need you guys to think about an abortion. You don’t want to give birth to a baby with major brain damage. You are young, you can try again” the doctor sighs.

“No. You have no idea. I’ve had six abortions already and if I don’t do it now, I’ll never have a baby. I just know”

I pass out again.


I am so cold. I am so fucking cold. I’m shivering so hard that my teeth clatter. This is like the one time I shot poisoned Heroin and got what they call “Cotton-Fever”.

Everything around me is icy cold, under me, next to me on every side. I’m lying inside a bed of ice, like a salmon at Gelson’s. Peter sits next to my bed and looks pained and worried but he forces an encouraging smile when he realizes that I’m awake.

“What the hell is this?” I stutter. I can’t talk because I’m shaking so hard. I’ve never been so cold in my life, not even when the ski-lift stopped working for a few hours and my dad and me sat helplessly in a chair that tangled over a gaping landslide far beyond us.

“Why are they doing this to me?” I cry.

“They already tried everything else while you were out. Meds, Infusions, fluids. This is their last chance effort to get your fever down.” He touches my forehead and pulls his hand back.

“You’re so hot. I can’t believe how hot you are.”

A nurse appears from nowhere and sticks a thermometer in my mouth. She counts my pulse and pulls the thermometer out. She shakes her head.

“It’s still 105. We have to put another ice blanket on you. I am sorry. I can see how painful this is for you, but no matter how advanced today’s medicine is, sometimes we have to reach back to old fashioned remedies that are quite cruel. But we want you to leave this hospital alive.”

And with this, another nurse, a male one drags a heavy blanket to my bed. For a merciful second, I imagine a blanket of warmth, but as soon as he drapes it on top of me, I’m back in reality. The blanket is made of ice.

“How. Is. This. Going. To. Help?” I can hardly get the words out. I’m shaking. I want to die. No, not really. I heard my babies’ heartbeat and I want to live, but this is too much. I want to protest and scream, but I’m paralyzed from the ice all over me and I wonder if this is death. My dad used to tell me that hell is not made of fire, but of ice-cold lack of love. Of course, as a sex-addict, that would be his personal fantasy of hell. Cold and love-less, ha!

But my saving grace is Peter. He is love. I’m delirious and he is a hot God saving me from ice-hell. His warm hand clamped tightly around my feverish hand is heaven and the only connection to life right now.

At this moment, I surrender my fight against him. I’m as helpless as an insect under a scientist’s microscope. If he wanted to, he could pull off my wings. He could cut of my legs and watch with childish curiosity how my mutilated body jerks and quivers, totally dependent on his mercy. In my feverish nightmare, he has all the power to save me.

The pain of the cold and the pain of the disease that envelops me are so overwhelming, I don’t know if I’m already dead, but Peter’s hand is the only reality that keeps me here.

I go under again. Merciful darkness and sleep lift me out and up from the ice-reality and the pain in my bones. All there is, is his hand and I grasp on for life.

I wake up with my bowels growling.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” I scream.

“Take it easy!” Peter says in his most soothing voice.

“No! I really have to go” I throw the heavy blanket off me. “I’m not going to shit on myself” I struggle to get up.

“Who cares, baby” peter whispers. “Who cares? You almost died”

“No way!” I say. “Help me to get up”

Peter knows me. He knows that I’m not going to shit the bed, no matter what. He helps me up and guides me to the bathroom with the pole of infusions attached to my arms. I barely make it. I close he door to the toilet and sit down. A stream of liquid pours out of my ass. It goes on forever and just when I think I’m emptied out, there is more. I stare at the bloody and brown mess under me. After years of bulimia, I am used to this kid of mess. It just evacuates from a different opening of my battered body.

“I’m okay” I assure him. “Really, I’m aright”

Finally the crazy evacuation stops and I pull myself up on the handles they provide in hospital bathrooms and I stumble back inside the sickroom. I’m awake now. I crawl back under the torture blanket.

I can feel that I not so sick anymore. I feel a little bit alive. Peter calls for the nurse.

She rushes in and scolds me for getting up. Again, she measures my temperature.

“102’ she examines. “It is working”

Peter beams. “This means she is fighting it off”

“I know,” I say and my voice is so much stronger. But as soon as I say this, anther wave of urgency sends me back to the bathroom. The cramp inside my body knocks me almost out. How in the world is this baby able to hold on when my stomach acts like it is in labor? This baby has guts and clearly wants to be born.

The doctor appears and closes the door behind her. Not a good sign. She sits down and takes both my hand and Peter’s in her own. A very bad sign.

She pauses for an eternity before she says what she came to say and it is clear that she would rather be somewhere else. Anywhere but here.

“Your test for HIV came back positive. I am so sorry”

Off our horrified faces, she adds, not very convincingly:

“Those tests are not 100% reliable. We are retesting. Sometimes, another underlying disease can show up as a positive result. We have to wait until Monday to get the second result”

It is Friday afternoon. This will be a long weekend.

“I am sorry,” she repeats, before she lets go of our hands and adjusts the transfusions.

Then she is gone.



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