An unusual Sunday Brunch
The two young women had come as soon as the restaurant had opened up, and had dawdled around after their Mimosa and Eggs Benedict were long finished. The beignet's were long gone, and they had almost licked their plates clean. But they were both here for a reason other then just brunch and they didn't want to leave.
"Do you think that's her?" Sally asked her sister.
"I don't know" Denise replied. "She does look like the picture." Denise said, looking at her tablet.
"Well that was taken a long time ago." Sally said.
"Yes, but the name matches and so does the description. I think this is her."
"Well, what do we do now?" Sally asked.
This was the real challenge. How do you approach someone about the stories your father had told you, and try to get the truth about your mother. Especially when it happened a long time ago.
When the owner wandered by their table, as she did every Sunday morning, Denise worked up her courage and asked her "Ms. My name is Denise Wright and this is my sister Sally. Do you have a few moments to talk with us?"
Seeing the woman's face turn towards them with a slight frown, Denise continued "It isn't anything bad. We just want to ask you about our Mom. Her name was Marjorie Wright. Did you know her?"
Slowly, the middle-aged blonde focused at a spot over the women's heads for a moment. Then it came back with a sad smile and a hint of a tear. "Yes. I did. And I guess you have some questions. Why don't you have another drink, and after our crowd thins out, we can sit and talk."
"Really?" Sally asked. "We would really like that. We sent e-mail, but we didn't get any response. I know this is a real imposition, but we wanted to talk with you. Your lawyer said that you weren't talking about anything from that time, and to leave you alone. We didn't know what to do, so we figured we would just come here."
With a small smile the owner muttered quietly, almost to herself "You sure are your mother's daughters."
Gesturing toward a waitress, the owner signaled to have the Mimosa glasses and pastry plate refilled. "I'll be back shortly. Need to let my partner know I will be a bit busy. Grace, why don't you show these two to my table, and bring refills to them there?"
Smiling as she walked away, Christine Mitchell thought back to when she had met Marjorie Wright. And was very sad that she ever had.
Twenty years earlier
"Dorothy, isn't there anything else besides this?" Marjorie asked her oncologist. "Pain management, Hospice, something? Continuing treatment is not how I want to live."
"Marjorie, I am afraid you fall outside the parameters. Your cancer is listed as treatable, and you are too young to move to Hospice or Pain management. I admit the survival rates are pretty slim, and we have done three sessions of chemo, but the government statute still calls this as a treatable condition. I'm sorry."
Marjorie had been through a fifth long and exhausting series of treatments and the stubborn cancer still would not go away. She was thirty six, a successful engineer with two lovely little girls and for the last three years had been wracked with pain and suffering. She was at the end of her rope and couldn't go another round.
"Dorothy, is there anything you can think of that I can do?"
Sitting back in her chair, Dorothy looked around her office and at the open door. Carefully she stood up and walked over to the doorway and closed it, and walked around to her chair.
"Marjorie, here is the issue. Hospice is out of the picture, you are too young. Voluntary suicide is out of the question, even in Oregon today. The bills and expenses we ran up are off the chart. And life insurance won't pay as long as there is any medically accepted treatment applicable to your condition. If you have an "accident" insurance will tie things up forever. I don't have any legal recommendations."
Thinking on her children and her husband and co wife, Marjorie realized the real pickle. She didn't want to strap her family further. Financially, she was a burden that was fast draining everyone. The kids didn't want to see another round of Chemo, and the sickness that went with it. And the medical community was focused on saving every person they could (for as long as the health insurance lasted).
"Don't get too discouraged, Marjorie. We are making strides every day. There is no reason for you to get depressed. We can lick this."
"You are not going through this. I am. And my family is. And this is killing everything that I really love in life. I am just tired." Marjorie said sadly.
"Marjorie, I know what you feel. Not how, but what. And I have to tell you, I get pretty depressed myself. The damn selection act picked my best nurse last month after us working over a year to cure her uterine cancer."
"Now that would suck." Marjorie said.
"Yes. She is on a delay over at Findley's right now, and they are using her as staff. A nurse of her caliber working in a slaughter-house. Can you imagine?" Dorothy said in disgust. "We get mail from her every now and then, and she runs their intake discussion sessions. She went through almost what you did and then after all of that she ended up being selected."
"That does seem unfair." Marjorie replied.
"What is the worst thing is that everything is up in the air until she is terminated. Estate, insurance, everything is on hold. Frozen in time."
"What happens then?" Marjorie asked.
"Well, with any term, insurance has to pay up. There are no exemptions due to the PCA. And I guess they do things differently there. I talk to Cathy almost every night and she seems to be doing pretty good, mentally".
Marjorie suddenly looked at Dorothy with an understanding smile. Dorothy could not talk about any early termination options, due to the Federal Healthcare law. But she could talk about people who could.
Marjorie was scared but determined when she logged into her computer that night. A quick search and she found "Findley's Processing" based in Chicago Illinois. Drinking a glass of wine and looking at the opening page, she felt a sense of control for the first time in years. Now to see what this is about.
"We had one last night that was a bit odd." Cathy said to Candy at breakfast.
"She wanted to talk about voluntary termination. But was worried we would not find her acceptable. Cancer." Cathy said in reply.
"Well, what do you think?" Candy said in response. "You have more knowledge then any of the rest of us in that arena."
"I don't know what the policy is." Cathy replied. "After all, she isn't asking for exception. She already is."
"Well, talk with Carol about the legal angles, and we will fly it by David at dinner." Candy replied. "But that isn't what I asked you. What do you think?" Candy continued.
"I think her situation sucks. But I have to admit we treat people pretty good here. And we are a lot better then being hooked to a set of tubes hacking with the last breath. Should I set up an interview?" Cathy asked.
"Once we have David's take. We have to get the economics fixed, but I will support it if you want. " Candy followed up. "If she left you contact information, set up an interview, and we will see what we can do." Candy said. "It will have to be special handling, but I am sure we can work that out."
"Charles, I am just going over there to talk. Nothing today regardless." Marjorie said.
"Honey, I don't want you going over there. How do we know anything about those places?"
"Honey, we have been over all of this before. The bills and incidentals are driving us to poverty. I won't have you and the girls destitute. Besides, I am just going there to talk with their legal counsel. I won't sign anything. This is probably a dead end anyway." Marjorie said.
Looking at the shock on her husband's face, she laughed. "Honey, I am just going over there to talk. I will be home. I promise."
Arriving at 4:30 in the afternoon, Marjorie was surprised that there was almost no one in the reception area. The large open room with scattered tables and chairs could easily be mistaken for a restaurant. "I guess I seat myself?" Marjorie thought to herself.
One of the nude women at the back of the room looked up from her computer and then got up and approached Marjorie. "How can I help you?" the very young blonde asked as she approached.
"Hi. I am Marjorie Wright and I have an appointment to meet with Helen and Carol?"
"Sure. Have a seat here and I will get them. They are just wrapping up a few things and will be right back up. I'm Candy by the way. Would you like something to drink?"
"Thank you. That would be great."
Returning to the table where Marjorie was sitting, Candy passed her the water bottle and opened up the appointments guide on her tablet.
"Marjorie, I looked at the notes on you and I see you are not here for a normal intake. If you don't mind my asking, how can we help you?"
"I have a Metastatic Glioma that has not responded to treatment. I have had three runs of Chemo and I am tired. But I can't self terminate or go for hospice because I am too young and we have too much in bills to keep going this way." Marjorie said as she started to break down.
Candy nodded her head. This was obviously the case Cathy had talked about earlier and evidently this was about follow up.
"Well, it seems we have a bit to talk about. Assuming we can help you, do you have any ideas of what you would like your end to be?" Candy asked.
"Painless. I have had enough pain in my life. I just want it to end."
.... There is more of this story ...
Science Fiction /