Cathy Eats Her Words

December 12, 2007

Day Nineteen

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Novel — jeanne @ 5:22 pm

Star took surprisingly well to being locked in her room. She had the run of the house while Cathy and Gray were around, so it wasn’t as if her door as always locked. She slept all day, as usual, and watched TV and played Sims all night. She refrained from using the phone, and Cathy had passworded her computer so Star couldn’t send emails. She was completely safe from discovery. So Cathy thought, anyway. Gray wasn’t so sure.

She began to show. Star had been a skinny little thing, especially after being a cokehead for awhile. Now she was starting to put on weight. Cathy encouraged her to eat, and made batches of cookies and pineapple upside down cakes to tempt her out of the attic. Star developed an interest in cooking, and started downloading recipes from Cathy’s computer.

Cathy was relieved. Star had never shown any interest in cooking before, and now she was insisting on making dinner several times a week. It was usually a variation on fried chicken and cheese mashed potatoes, but that was fine with Cathy. She fond herself sitting in the armchair in a corner of the kitchen, holding one or both of the little dogs on her lap, advising Star on various points of cooking.

Cathy’s food sensitivities meant that Star couldn’t follow the recipes that started with, “Open a can of whatever,” and tho Star bitched about it, it meant she had to learn how to cook the old fashioned way. From scratch. She made macaroni and cheese. She made biscuits. She made soup. She learned how to roast a chicken. She made barbeque sauce and pan gravy and white sauce. She learned how to broil a steak and make tuna salad and fry apple fritters. She learned how to do mirepoix and roux and bouquet garni.

Cathy was very pleased. No matter what else Star took away from her time at home while she was pregnant, she’d at least know how to cook. Before this, all she knew how to do was order out, open cans, and microwave frozen meals. Now she could make anything.

And Star put on the weight. As her belly got bigger, her thighs got bigger, her arms got bigger. Cathy kept running out of vitamin E cream because of the ever-expanding area of potential stretch marks. Star, charmingly, thought she was the same size as ever, except for her belly. Cathy started to warn her about how long it had taken her to lose all that extra weight she’d put on when she was eating for two, but Star couldn’t accept that she was getting chunky. It was the hormones, maybe, Cathy thought. They cause you to see what you want to in the mirror.

She spent a lot of time studying her midwifery texts. There as so much to know. She keep track of Star’s vital signs from week to week, and got a blood pressure cuff and a speculum so she could monitor the baby. She would have loved a fetal doppler, to watch the baby’s heartbeat, but it was $1,000. A fetoscope would have to do.

As time went on, and Star got bigger and bigger, Cathy realized she was going to have to get some bloodwork done for things Cathy couldn’t determine at home. This was a problem. She couldn’t take Star to the doctor’s because she’d already missed too many appointments, and questions would be asked. She could just never mind the bloodwork, but what if Star was developing a serious condition like anemia or diabetes, or had hepatitis, or her Rh compatibility with the baby was wrong? She couldn’t risk not knowing.

So she called up Greane, who was still on pregnancy Medicaid, with an eye toward borrowing her Medicaid card. She got Greane’s mother, who told her that Greane was in the hospital. Not the medical hospital, but the psychiatric hospital.

“Oh,” was all Cathy could say.

They’d done a drug test on her when she went to the hospital to have the baby, and found coke, marijuana, antidepressants, opiates, barbiturates, cotinine, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. That was just about everything that someone could take, except for meth, PCP and GHB. They showed up in the baby’s system, too. So the baby had been removed from her custody, and she was put in rehab involuntarily, and then moved to the psych ward.

“Oh.” So, I guess borrowing her Medicaid card wouldn’t be possible, she thought. It would probably be foolish, because they might decide Star was Greane and call the cops. “Oh.”

Then, on the way to the store later, she and Gray passed a billboard. Any (Lab) Test $29.95. “That’s what we’ll do,” she said, and wrote the number down on the back of her hand.

So she made careful preparations to sneak Star out of the house to go have her blood drawn. She checked with the lab; they wouldn’t let her draw Star’s blood herself, even when she claimed to be a nurse, and insisted that Star was homebound.

go to tomorrow’s writing

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1 Comment »

  1. […] go to tomorrow’s writing Leave a Comment […]

    Pingback by Day Eighteen « Cathy Eats Her Words — October 12, 2009 @ 2:56 pm | Reply


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