Death do us Partbycpete©
Thanks to editor mikothebaby for making this story readable.
I drifted back to consciousness with an annoying beeping off to my left and an irritating itch above both breasts. Opening my eyes, I saw I was in a medical facility of some type. Wires were attached all over my body. When I tried to lift my arms, I found tubes stuck into both limbs connected to various bags of fluid.
"How did I get here?" I thought with my mind still foggy. I heard a noise and turned to see a bed on the other side of the open curtain. My husband, Anthony, was half sitting, half laying on the bed with a laptop computer propped up in his lap, supported by a couple of pillows. Anthony had a look on his face that reminded me of our wedding ceremony over seven years ago. I recall he had that same look standing next to his brothers at the altar as I walked down the aisle to him that day.
I tried to speak but only a feeble croak came out of my throat. Anthony put down his laptop and limped over to my side. He poured water from a pitcher on a stand near my bed into a cup. Inserting a straw into the cup, he placed the straw between my lips.
"Kate, you need to sip slowly."
My throat was parched so I ignored his warning and drank greedily. I began to choke and cough. He pulled the straw from my lips and wiped the excess water from my face and neck with the edge of the bed sheet.
"Kate, I told you to go slowly," he said gently, before returning the straw to my lips "There is plenty of water, no need to gag."
I sipped more water and felt my dry throat come back to normal. I shook my head moving my mouth from the straw. Anthony placed the cup of water back on the short table and sat back on the adjoining bed.
"How did you get here?" I quizzed him. "What am I doing here?"
He paused a second before answering. "ICE"
I gave him a puzzled look.
"ICE Kate. You remember I-C-E, IN CASE of EMERGENCY? My brother had all of us put I-C-E in front of the phone numbers in our cell phones that had family members to be contacted in case of an emergency. It helps both paramedics and law enforcement.
I thought "Oh yeah, his brother the big bad cop. My husband's whole damn family thinks that piss-ant poser is Dirty Harry. That little dago just sits behind a desk every day."
"Dago-Spic," I heard my husband say.
"What?" I said coming a bit out of my fog
"Kate you called my brother a little Dago. My mother is Cuban and my Dad is Italian, so technically my brother and the rest of our family are Dago-Spics."
"Damn," I thought. "I did not mean to say that out loud. These drugs must really be screwing me up."
"And Kate," He continued "While it is true my oldest brother does work a desk now at Metro PD, that is because he got shot in the leg ten years ago shielding a bunch of tellers during a bank robbery. He didn't just take disability, but went back to school and got an accounting degree. Now he is head of the Metro PD Forensics Accounting Division. He has put away more drug dealers and gang bad guys with a pen and spreadsheets then most cops do with a gun."
"Whatever." I really didn't want to talk about his F'n family. "What am I doing here? How did I get to this hospital? What is wrong? When do I get out?"
Anthony paused again, which was really starting to tick me off. He and his family were always doing things like that to annoy me. I think they did it on purpose just to piss me off."
"Kate, you had a really bad reaction to a drug. Bad news is it destroyed your kidneys and liver plus damaged your heart. Good news is Mom made the whole family get tested as donors. Both me my brother and oldest sister Mary Beth were matches."
"About time you and your family was good for something!" the words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop myself. I had to really watch myself the drugs were really giving me loose lips.
"Well Kate, it is good to know how you feel about.."
He was interpreted as just then a tall doctor in surgical scrubs came into the room. The doctor still had on his cap with the mask pulled down around neck. "Fontaine?" The doctor asked consulting a clipboard.
"Yes," both Anthony and I answered.
The doctor eyed me for a second then added "Mr. Fontaine?"
My husband raised his hand.
"Mr. Fontaine, I was the lead surgeon on the transplant team. I wanted you to know everything went fine. The recipient," doctor glanced at his chart, then over at me. "is expected to make a make a full recovery, although there will be a lot of follow up care. But I am confident we are out of the woods. However there was one complication."
I saw Anthony wave his hand at the doctor interrupting him. "Thanks Doc. Your administrator explained it to me after the surgery in the recovery room. We appreciate you stopping by."
The doctor looked at him then at me again. He started to say something, but stopped and just nodded before leaving the room.
Even in my semi drug induced state I breathed a sigh of relief. I was going to be OK. After the doctor left the room Anthony limped over to his bed. I called out to him. "Did you hear that? I am going to be fine. Doc said a full recovery."
Anthony just grunted, and then he turned around holding a set of legal papers in his hand.
"Kate, you want to explain these?" While my vision was a bit blurred, I could read the title PETITION FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE.
"Yes Kate, you can imagine my surprise that after getting the call that you were in the hospital, my brother and I were rushing out of our office building when some joker in the lobby calls my name and sticks these in my hands." He dropped the sheet of papers in my lap. "You care to comment?"
"OH Anthony, Honey," I started
"Kate, please do not call me that. I am not your Anthony Honey." His voice was cold, matter of fact.
"Hon," I stopped, and then started again. "I know how much you love me. This transplant you gave up just proves how much. But I never really loved you like you loved me." I tried to gather my thoughts, but the drugs were making it difficult to put together a good line. "When I married you it was a mistake. I was at a low point in my life. My parents had just passed away, my finance, Trey, had just broken up with me. I felt all alone. You were just a rebound that went too far."
"Yes Kate, I got that from your letter." He held up another sheet of paper. "Could not even end the marriage in person? You had to write a letter? Excuse me TYPE a letter! Who types and prints out a Dear John, I mean Dear Anthony letter?"
"Kate, I asked you not to call me that name. I am not your Anthony Baby either." His tone was completely devoid of emotion. "Just tell me how long have you been screwing around on the marriage?"
"You got it wrong... it was not like that Anthony darling."
"Kate, can you PLEASE not call me that." He leaned back on the bed. "Was it a year after? A month, a week? This is the last time we are going to see each other. You might as well tell the truth for once in the relationship."
It must have been the drugs because suddenly I did not care anymore. "OK you want the truth? Here it is. At first it was just a bunch of brainless college boys. They were nothing, mere young toys I let play with my body. Just flings to make me feel better, less lonely. But then Trey came back."
Anthony interrupted me. "How long after the marriage did you start fucking your old former finance, Trey, who you claimed broke your heart?"
"Don't talk that way about him. Trey and I are soul mates. I now it sounds strange as I cheated on him and he cheated on me. But Trey contacted me about a year after the wedding. Trey apologized for breaking up. Said it was the worst decision of his life. I knew I was a married woman, but I knew that deep down Trey and I were meant to be together forever. Anthony dearest, you must understand."
"Kate, I told you I am not your Anthony dearest. But answer me this, then why stay married for close to a decade? You could have walked at anytime, why cheat for so long?"
"Anthony, baby." I stopped when he gave me a cold stare. "It was just exciting, and you were never going to know. Kind of like the saying about if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it then it does not make a sound."
"Kate, are you trying to tell me if a spouse screws around on their partner and no one sees them fuck, it is not cheating?"
"When you put it that way it sounds so scummy. Besides don't tell me you have been mister goody two shoes all the time. What about that "hunting" trip you and your brothers go on every year. HUNTING! Bullshit, some of you do not even bring guns. And what about that hot little chink girl always hanging around you at every family event. Don't tell me you have not banged her a few times."
"Kate, you are worse then I thought. For one thing, the quote unquote hunting trips are just a get away to the family cabin for the guys. Nothing worth hunting up there. A few of my brothers take firearms just for target practice." I saw him shake his head. "That 'Chink' girl has a name. It is Kim. My parents sponsored her after Kim escaped from Myanmar bringing her to this country at age seven after Kim saw her family killed by government troops. My whole family looked after her. Kim followed my brother and I around because we were closest in age growing up."
"Yeah right, your youngest brother. If he is not stoned all the time, he is sitting at home reading all day."
"Kate, I hope it is the drugs making you talk that way. Because I would hate to think our family welcomed in such a bitch. That was not the brother that little Kim was always me around with. Also for your information my kid brother you despise, has a bad back and damaged lungs. He got those after carrying a pregnant lady and her child down six flights of stairs during a fire in his old place of work's office building. As far as sitting home reading all day, he records books for vision impaired school kids. He claims if society is giving him payment he needs to give something back. Can you say the same for your boyfriend Trey?"
Now I was getting mad. How dare talk like that to me. "That is your way. You and that family of yours. Half the time we go out it is always some fundraiser or charity event. Even when you snagged the Governor's table at the New Year party all he wanted to talk about was about all the money we raised for his son's cause. What a bore!"
"If I recall Kate you took that money and spent it on yourself."
"So what, I raised all that money. Why shouldn't I get something out of it? Anyway you paid it back. No one ever found out. You never understood it is important to make yourself happy first, then you can see to others."
"So Kate, are you happy now?"
"I will be once I get out of this damn hospital." I tried to sit up a bit more, but it was like moving in Jell-O. "Trey has a great plan. We are going to triple my trust fund money. If you want the real truth, that is why I finally ended the sham marriage, I don't need you as a back-up plan anymore. Trey and I need to be free to be happy. I am tired of my trust money supporting us." I then softened a little. "But now that I see that I might have misjudged you. So consider all the trust money you have enjoyed all these years payment for the organs you have given me now."
"Kate, Kate, Kate." I saw him shake his head. "Your Trust money was long gong years ago. Most all of the trust money was in mortgage backed securities. Those funds evaporated during the housing meltdown. Add to that your spending and your trust went bust almost before you came back from the honeymoon."
"Anthony, you are such a child." The drugs were making me mellow. "No need to lie about the trust money to try to hurt me. It is not like you did not get something out of our relationship. Let us be honest, I am way hotter a lady then you could have ever gotten if I was not on the rebound. Totally above your pay grade, anyone could see that. We were Ok in the bedroom. I mean not near as good as like Trey when he," I caught myself. "Anyway try to look at our time together as getting better then you deserved. Karma payback for the 'good' deeds you and that whacked out family of yours keep doing. Meanwhile Trey and I will be together as we should. Two soul mates paired for eternity. All we need is each other."
"Is that so Kate? Then why did you empty out the bank accounts and ask for half of the house in your divorce?"
I looked at Anthony hard. Something was different about him. "Oh Anthony, dearest." I saw him sneer. "I should get something out of the time I was stuck with you. You know compensation for being with you all this time. You and that..ugh..family of yours. Those countless get togethers, Thanksgivings, Christmas and birthday parties. Thanks God that is over. It will just be me and Trey now for the rest of our lives."
My mind started to drift thinking about the future of Trey and I together, when another doctor entered the room. This man was shorter and older dressed in the typical white lab coat.
"Mrs. Fontaine? May I call you Kate?" The older doctor addressed me as I nodded. "I want you to know that we are not giving up on you. We have several calls to donor agencies, so I do not want you to lose hope. Time is short, but we may still have few cards to play."
Now I was confused and addressed this new doctor. He might have me mixed up with someone else. Give up hope? Other donor agencies? "Doctor that other surgeon guy said the transplant was complete success, claimed I would have a full recovery."
The older doctor looked puzzled. He looked at me then at my husband a few times before talking again. "Kate, this other doctor, was he a taller gentleman, dressed in scrubs?" I nodded "Um..ah.. Kate he was head of the transplant team. I mean to say that your husband's organs, a kidney and portion of a liver were successfully harvested and delivered for transplant. The transplants were in fact successful."
Bad thoughts started to seep into my drug addled mind.
The doctor put his hand on my arm. "Kate, you were on the table. We were all set to open you up when word came down that um..your..ah husbands organs were going to another patient."
Even the tubes and wires could not keep me down as I sat straight up in bed. "What are you saying?" I almost shouted at the doctor. I turned to my husband, Anthony, sitting on the side of the other bed.
"ANTHONY WHAT IS GOING ON?"
"Kate, I am telling you for the last time, stop calling me Anthony."
I looked closer at the man sitting there and saw that it was not in fact my husband, Anthony, sitting on the opposite bed, but his older brother Mark. Of all the brothers, my husband, Anthony, and his brother Mark looked the most alike, same hair color and style, almost identical builds. They even talked alike using similar expressions. I often got them confused if I drank too much at his family gatherings. The drugs must have blurred my mind.
"Mark, is that you?" I said trying to come to grips that it was not my husband, Anthony, in the room but his brother, Mark, I had been talking to the whole time.
"Yes Kate, it is me, Mark." Anthony's brother Mark said to me. "I told you half a dozen times I am not Anthony."
Damn I should have known it was Mark. That damn limp, an injury from the Iraq thing should have clued me in. How drugged was I? I dismissed Mark from my thoughts and turned to the doctor in the room who was staring at the scene uncomfortably.
"Doctor, please tell me what is going on. I need you to start at the beginning."
"Well Kate, I will do my best." The Doctor said sitting down on a chair. "I got called when you arrived at the emergency room. Seems you had consumed some recreational pharmaceutics. We thought it was crystal meth or crack, but whatever was in the drugs you ingested was even more toxic, a very nasty brew."
Now it was coming back to me. Trey and I had been celebrating my serving of divorce papers and the start of us being together forever. Trey said he had some "killer" blow. I remember Trey urging me to take a hit off the pipe. I had a wild rush from the inhale of smoke. It was like the best feeling of my life times ten. My last recollection was snorting a line of that stuff off of Trey's chest.
I tuned back in as the doctor was finishing up my story. "Kate tests showed your kidneys were damaged beyond repair as well as your liver. We had several challenges, as even if we could get a donor board to find you a kidney and liver, your heart was also injured so badly a full transplant was needed. Thus no donor board would even consider you. The risk was too great"
Even with the pain medication, I had a surge of panic. "Doctor what is going to happen to me?"
The doctor got up and walked over to an IV line, adjusting something before he spoke again.
"There Kate, let us just up your dosage a bit more. I do not wish to stress out your heart any more than necessary." He sat back down again. "Kate, without the kidney and liver you had less then 72 hours. But when your husband agreed to donate a kidney and part of a liver that gave us hope we could convince the Hospital Donor Board you were a good Heart Transplant Candidate. You had a strong family backing, solid support system at home and all that. This change of plans by your husband, err, ah, donor at the last minute really threw our plans for a loop. I'm sorry. We will try to keep you as comfortable as possible."
Suddenly his beeper started going off. The doctor studied the number before silencing the shrill sound. "Look Kate, I need to go, but I will send in someone else right away to explain to you some options."
Looking relieved to get away, the doctor quickly exited the room.
That just left my husband, Anthony's, brother Mark and I in the room. Mark was my least favorite of Anthony's family. Everyone thought Mark was some big war hero just because the moron did not have the common sense to leave a bunch of wounded guys in some battle, even after he had run out of ammo and water. That is how he had lost his leg. What kind of dumb ass is too stupid to not know when it is time to cut and run, look after number one?
I felt like yawning, the increase in pain meds was having an effect. A mellow calm was coming over me. "Well," I thought. "What did you expect from Anthony's family? I recall Mark had gone to law school with his government disability money. Just what the world needs, another lawyer helping others duds. He was such a loser. Mark would never learn you had to look out for yourself in this world."
I wondered if I could get some straight answers out of him.
"Mark, why did Anthony change his mind about the donation? Anthony had gotten the divorce papers, why couldn't he just give me the organs so Trey and I could be together?" I was really feeling no pain.
I thought I heard Mark snort before he answered. "Kate, my brother, Anthony, never got your divorce papers. Anthony and I work in the same building. Your stupid process server served me the divorce papers. Anthony does not know anything about the divorce papers, or you cheating on him all these years, and that is the way it is going to stay. "
Mark limped over to my bed and picked up the divorce papers. "Kate, my brother, Anthony, was already at the hospital before I got there. In fact he was already under. But lucky for me, Anthony had given me medical power of attorney, me being the lawyer in the family."
I watched as Mark folded the divorce papers, putting them in his pocket. "Kate, I could not stop the donation of Anthony's kidney and a portion of his liver. But the medical power of attorney papers had a clause that allowed me to change the recipient if the original transplant recipient proved unstable."
Even thru the fog of sedation I knew this was not right. "Mark, you can't do that. Those organs were MINE! My husband, Anthony, wanted them to go to ME!"