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Dee Bostic

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Love, Lies & Lab Coats
by Dee Bostic   

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Category: 

Literary Fiction

Publisher:  Authorhouse Type: 
Pages: 

548

Copyright:  Oct 16, 2009 ISBN-13:  9781449019808
Fiction

A non stop fun filled journey of love. redemption, self acceptance and forgiveness. These characters will show you the way to go.


Love, Lies & lab Coats brings an unusual group of people together at their place of employment.  They share stories that you will recognize as something you've been through or perhaps will teach you something new.  These dissimilar characters tackle difficult, yet realistic issues through soul searching and social commentary. They weave their way through their trials and tribulations and keep you wanting more as they find a place in your heart.


Excerpt

Pandora begins her morning ritual like clockwork. Without fail, rain or shine, she is the one constant in his life. Travis turns over for the last time knowing that as soon she's finished stretching every limb and yawns once or twice, she will begin to tip toe onto his pillow and purr in his ear. He always takes a moment to pet her before dragging himself out of bed. Pandora is the only thing is his life that he loves, although she does have her moments. That's just how cats are but he knows she loves him too.
He picks her up as he gets out of bed, cuddling her close to his chest while stumbling to the kitchen. She jumps out of his arms and walks over to her dish waiting for her food. Travis always reads food labels to be sure that Pandora has real natural food. After preparing her food he pulls a bottle of water out of the fridge, pours it into a clean bowl and places it next to her.
As Travis looks at the clock, the thought of calling out sick is heavy on his mind. Sleep has been elusive lately and it is beginning to take its toll. He puts on a pot of coffee and sticks a bagel into the toaster. This is the only time Pandora doesn't pay attention to what he's doing. At meal time, she has a one track mind. Travis goes back to the bedroom and stares at himself in the mirror noticing that his eyes are puffy and dark circles are beginning to form.
When Pandora finishes eating she walks
back to the room and jumps on the foot of the bed, staring at him. Travis sees her and asks, "Are you watching me have a nervous breakdown?" She just looks at him with that cat expression, the one that says, "I don't know why you keep talking to me because I don't know what the heck you're saying." Finally, the need for more sleep wins. He picks up the phone to call out.
It's a beautiful autumn day. This would be a great day to go for a long walk but even that is getting increasingly difficult as Travis continues to give too much energy to his unrealistic fears. This time he has been diagnosed as Manic Depressive. And the time before that it was Schizo-Affective Disorder and he still isn't sure what that is. Another shrink told him he had seasonal Affective Disorder and to try to get more sunshine. "Yeah right!" he blurts loudly as he recalls all of the misdiagnosis.
Travis walks into the medicine cabinet
hoping to find something to ease the pain and quiet the noise in his head. All he want's is some deep, deep sleep. That always seems to work for him when he feels the edge getting too close. There are different anti-depressants, sleeping pills and muscle relaxers to choose from. After spending almost a year seeing different doctors and filling all of the prescriptions, Travis is amazed by his growing collection of pharmaceuticals. He tried to take the drugs as prescribed but doesn't like the way they make him feel. He really hates being manipulated by little pills. It's so much easier to simply have a few drinks, sit in front of the television, play with the cat and channel surf. Any mindless activity usually helps to calm him down.
Thursdays are always busy in the lab but Travis isn't feeling it today. His unsettled mind is beginning to suspect that others know something is wrong, but no one bothers him. Despite all of his drama, he is brilliant! As the Chief Medical technologist at a prestigious Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, his quirks are accepted. When he gets into one of his moments, the other techs just blow it off as, "that's just Travis." As long as he continues to produce the lab results, manage his section and keep his superiors happy, nothing else matters.
The world is turning into a strange place. It seems no one takes the time anymore, to give a damn about others. People walk around with telephones stuck to their ears and to them, the rest of civilization no longer exists. They'll run you off the road or knock you on the sidewalk, because all of their attention is on their conversation. Most people don't realize how careless they have become due to their preoccupation with technology.
Travis really hates all the noise in his head. There are time it seems that all that is wrong with the world, bombards him all at once. During those
moments, all he wants to do is jump off and find some peace. While taking another look at the drugs, he pulls out the Valium. Holding them in his hand he decides this will be today's drug of choice.
After quickly swallowing the pill, he crawls back into bed with Pandora nestled beside him. Travis turns on the television,surfing rapidly, intentionally avoiding all of the news channels. He stops on the Andy Griffith Show. Life just didn't get much better than it was in Mayberry. He remembers when Spokane was quite similar. There was a time when you actually knew your neighbors. It was safe to go outside and play with other kids or even alone. Just being a kid was cool. You knew not to get into a car with a stranger. You played hard until Mom Called you in for dinner, and you knew that the rest of the family would also be there. It was the part of the day that was set aside just for family. And if you were lucky, Aunt Bea really did come by with a homemade apple pie. Travis smiles at the notion. "It didn't get much better than that."
Travis begins to settle into a more peaceful place as he feels the Valium slowing things down. Work and all of the stress is slipping away into the distance. At this moment, there is nothing in the world that concerns him. He is surrounded by the few things
that he cares about most, Pandora and his small one bedroom apartment with all of its charm and clutter. Laying here enjoying his peace and solitude induced by the little yellow pill is all that matters. Going for a walk now, is out of the question. In his present state of semi-consciousness, he would definitely get trampled by a corporate diva in six inch stilettos, yakking incessantly on a cell phone. He smiles at the thought and is glad he decided to escape the world for a day. As the calm engulfs him, Travis feels his eyelids getting heavy. Pandora is next to him purring contently as he drifts off into much needed sleep.
***
A sound in the distance is disturbing his peace and quiet but Travis can't seem to figure out what it is or where it's coming from. While still trying to get his bearings, the answering machine kicks in and he hears his brothers voice calling out to him. Grabbing the phone he says, "hi Jason, what's up?"
"Hey Travis, are you okay? I was really kind of surprised I didn't reach you at work today." Travis sits up in the bed struggling to wake up. After his four hour nap, he is still feeling a little groggy but so relaxed. At first, he can't recall why he is at home in bed. He looks at the clock and then back at the phone asking, "Jason, are you still there?"
"Ah, yeah bro. What's going on with you? Are you sick?"
"No, not really sick, like with a cold or anything. I haven't been sleeping well and I was getting a little depressed and agitated." Jason is listening patiently, trying not to be judgmental. "So,you're not taking your medication again, huh?" Travis takes a deep breath, "if you called to start lecturing me you might as well get off the phone because I am not in the mood!" Jason hates when he gets like this but isn't going to let him off of the hook. "Travis, I know you hate for me to bring this up over and over again, but you are going to have to accept that we have mental illness on both sides of our family. You have to stay on your medication. This is not negotiable."
"Jason, I don't need this right now!"
"Actually, I just called to tell you that you old buddy, Dr. Brent Jamison, has accepted the position as the Chief Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon at the new open heart center." Travis is wide awake now, breathing heavy and almost pleading to Jason, he replies, "please tell me you didn't just say that." Jason pauses briefly before continuing. "I know things kinda went a little downhill after you dropped out of Medical School, but perhaps this could be a new beginning." Travis feels like he has just stepped into a nightmare. The noise is creeping back into his head. "I'll call you later, Jason. I can't deal with this right now." He hangs up the phone, falls back on the bed and stares at the ceiling.
It's a little overcast and getting rather windy. Travis decides enough is enough and that now might be a good time to take a walk. His apartment isn't far from the hospital so he doesn't want to risk running into anyone who knows him. Despite not calling out sick very often, Travis still feels guilty when he does. He grabs a hooded sweatshirt, which seems appropriate and steps out into the autumn chill.
Jason is worried about his brother. He recalls everything as if it happened yesterday;Travis announcing that he was dropping out of Medical School and Brent calling him "an all time loser." They had been friends forever and promised to open a medical practice together after their residencies. While growing up, Brent was always at the house. Jason remembers running to get their mom to stop them from performing open heart surgery on their dog. That paled in comparison to the time they had blown a hole through the ceiling after mixing some chemicals together in the kitchen. That was the day Travis and Brent knew they were destined to become doctors. They were so tight, that often times it felt like Jason was the kid from down the street and Brent, the older brother. Travis is still in denial about his family's history of mental illness. However, he is beginning to face the fact that it may have had something to do with his inability to finish Medical School. He hates thinking about it. The truth isn't always easy. Travis remembers those times when he was so intensely focused that he could talk about medicine as effortlessly as others discussed the weather. So many people believed that Travis truly had a gift and was destined for greatness. When his first episode occurred, he took some time off and started taking the medication for what was always referred to as, 'noise in his head.' The doctors described it as functional schizophrenia and started him on anti-psychotic drugs. Travis fought hard to keep this curse from affecting him. But when the mood swings, depression and lack of sleep bounced him around, a lesser man would have been driven to madness. The stress in school began to take its toll and after falling so far behind, he hadn't been able to find the strength to get back in the game. He bowed out gracefully and after some time off, Travis put all of his energy into laboratory medicine. It too was quite demanding, but nothing like learning how to perform open heart surgery.
It is a little difficult for Travis to think of Brent as the new Chief of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. Both had been too stubborn to reconcile and Travis never imagined that Brent would come back to Spokane. He looks at his watch realizing that he has been walking aimlessly, with no particular destination in mind. He stops to look around and decides to head back home for something to eat. Travis is glad he decided not to go to work today. His anxiety and paranoia have subsided considerably. The brisk chill, the fallen leaves underfoot and with Mt. Spokane in the distance is the stuff artists crave to capture on canvas. He loves this part of the country more than anywhere he's traveled. The city is growing but still maintains that small town, country living feeling. Travis sees a beer and wine store and decides this might be a great evening to spend in front of the fireplace with Pandora, and a bottle of something soothing and smooth. He goes into the store not knowing what he has a taste for and is promptly greeted by Jim, who is standing behind the counter. "What can I do you for?" he asks cordially. Travis looks around. "This might be a real long shot but I think I'm in the mood for something I haven't had for a long time."
"I've got a nice little collection in here, give it a shot." Travis strolls down the aisles glancing about. "Do you have any Robert Mondavi white wines?" Jim seems surprised by his request, "I actually have several. But I gotta tell you, I never would have figured you to be a Mondavi kinda guy." He extends his hand, "I'm Jim by the way."
"I'm Travis," and dying to know what kind of wine you would pick for me." Jim ponders the thought for a moment. "I would guess you to be a German wine like a Spatlese or Kabinett, or maybe Mad Dog!" They both laugh. "I've actually had all three of those a time or two. "You're pretty good at this," Travis replies. As Jim approaches the California wines, he turns to Travis. "Actually, I remember you and another guy, a little younger than you and I think you picked up a few bottles of Pinot Noir and a case of Heineken." Travis is impressed. "You've got one hell of a memory Jim. Cherish it! Cause when you lose that, you lose your zest for life." Jim shakes his head in agreement. " So what Mondavi wine are you in the mood for?"
"This is really gonna be a stretch, but it's actually something I've had a hard time finding. It's an excellent dessert wine called Moscato d'Oro. It's rather sweet but unbelievably smooth." Jim has his hand on a bottle just as Travis gets the words out and hands it to him. Travis holds onto it like a priceless treasure. "You are really messing with my head, man." Jim starts laughing. "I didn't actually know that was the one you wanted, but I'm a business man and since this is one of my more expensive selections, I figured I'd introduce it to you. Turns out it's a win-win for both of us," Travis replies, "yes it is!" As they walk to the register Travis says, "maybe I should grab another one. This brings back some good memories for me. And tonight, I need something to take me away to another time and place." Jim is listening and responds, "hey man, sounds deep! Just where are you trying to go?" Travis is about to say something when Jim butts in with, "sounds like you need to get laid." They laugh again but Jim senses that Travis is a little shocked or even uncomfortable with that comment. Travis picks up the package and tries to change the subject by asking, "so why is this wine so hard to find around here?"
"It's like anything else, supply and demand. I started stocking it about a year ago. I have two other customers that kept hounding me to try and get it for them." As he hands Travis the receipt, he pulls out his clipboard. "I can put you on the list if like."
"Do that Jim. I will definitely bring my business here. So thanks again and have a good evening." Travis opens the door holding the bottles snug against his chest and steps out into the chilled air. Jim yells out, "the next time you come in, you'll have to check out the Eiswein. The Mondavi will almost pale in comparison." Travis is intrigued with the possibility. "I'll do that."
As he heads home, the thought of one of those wonderful turkey sandwiches forces him to stop at the deli. Travis sees an ambulance racing through the block, heading to the emergency room. His mind wonders about the patient. What happened? Will they survive? Who is running the STAT labs for the E.R.? And the thoughts continue to multiply as the noise tries to force its way back into his head. Travis takes a few deep breaths of the crisp fresh air, trying desperately to get a grip. No matter how intense the turmoil is on the inside, Travis is usually very good at maintaining his composure. He tries to focus on something that will help him relax. Travis always remembers patients' names, their conditions and medications. There is almost no end to the mountain of information he retains. This is what sets him in a class by himself when it comes down to being thorough and precise. He operates on a level that is pure genius and he isn't cocky about it. The role he plays in restoring a person's health is extremely
important to him. When necessary, he never hesitates to go the extra step if the doctors or nurses miss something or possibly order a test incorrectly. This attention to detail helped him to excel above his peers while attending Medical School, and serves him well in the lab.
Travis continues to be very grateful that he has found a suitable means of sharing his compassion and love of medicine. So much of his motivation to help others comes from a place that most wouldn't grasp. Travis actually understands helplessness and incapacitation. And he knows how crucial it is to get the best possible lab results. Life changing decisions are often determined by these results and Travis does it better than most.
Pandora is sitting on the sofa when he walks in with the bags. She jumps down and goes through her stretching routine. Travis puts the bags down and picks her up. She purrs in her ear as he rubs her head. She quickly turns her attention to the bags, as the aroma from the warm turkey sandwich begins to permeate the air. Before taking the bags into the kitchen, Travis grabs one of the sandwiches and pulls a little piece of the turkey out for Pandora. Just as he plops onto the sofa, the door bell rings. After taking a huge bite of the sandwich he goes to see who it is. He opens the door with his mouth stuffed, chewing vigorously. Jason walks in with a bag of groceries, a pizza and some beer. Travis looks at him and asks, "are you moving in?" Jason goes into the kitchen saying, "I know how you get and after talking to you earlier, I had to make sure you're really okay. And then I figured, what the hell! Why not grab some chow and kick back with my big brother." Travis
shakes his head as he watches Jason moving around in the kitchen. As he turns on the oven Jason comments, "you know, you've got to be the only guy on the planet who doesn't have a microwave."
Travis grabs the remote and starts channel surfing again. He decides to have a beer and save the wine for later. Jason grabs a beer and sits on the other end of the sofa. he is glad to see that Travis doesn't appear to be depressed or getting all worked up about Brent, at least not at the moment. But he knows him well. It will happen.
Pandora watches the two of them closely. She never begs but it's obvious that she is patiently waiting for a piece of something to fall in her direction. Travis goes to get the pizza as Jason eats half a sandwich in three bites and gulps a beer. Just as he walks back in, Jason lets out a huge burp. Travis starts laughing knowing what is coming. "We are not having burp wars!" And with that remark Jason lets out another. It is gross! Truly only something a couple of guys can enjoy together. Pandora sees this as a golden opportunity to nibble on a piece of turkey that is hanging out of a sandwich. Travis catches her and says, "hey Pandy! You know better that that!" He rubs her head and gets back to goofing off with Jason. For the moment, neither of them has a care in the world.




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