Categories > Celebrities > My Chemical Romance > I'm Just Soggy from the Chemo, My Blood's Just Thin from the AZT2 Reviews
Cancer. HIV. Two of the worst diseases out there. What happens when two people, each infected with a deadly virus, come together? But with happiness, comes pain. A life for a death. Find out ...
"Hey Remmy, thank you" I replied. She helped sit my weak body up in bed and placed a tray in front of me. My voice was weak, and my lips were pale and chapped as I lifted the glass of water to them with struggle. "How are you feeling?" she asked, placing a hand under the glass to steady me. "Oh, you know" I replied, and Remmy sighed, looking at the clipboard hanging on the wall above and by my bed. "Oh my, that is quite unusual" she muttered absently, bringing a finger to her chin as she scanned the paper. "What?" I asked hesitantly. "Unusual" usually wasn't good.
"It seems that the hospital has become more crowded over the course of several months. You're getting a roommate" she said, turning to me and smiling. She knew how lonely it could get in this place. "Who?" I asked, a smile forming on my cracked lips. "I think I should let you find that out" she said with a smile. "At least give me some information" I begged, going back into my old attitude for a moment. "All right, all right" she said, making calming motions with her hands.
"Name?" I asked, hoping to get it out of her. "Nope" she replied, leaning against the wall cockily. "Alright, what does she have?" I asked. "He can tell you that" she responded. I noticed she had said he instead of she, but I let it go, figuring it was a slip of speech. "What can you tell me?" I asked, becoming more and more like my old self every second. "Well, they've just been accepted here, but apparently it's for something serious. That's why they're gonna be up here with you" she said. "When's she getting here?" I asked, eyes flickering with hope.
Remmy was about to answer when she got a call on her walkie-talkie. It basically told her to hurry up and move along with breakfast. She hurriedly bustled into the hall, but not before looking back and uttering a quick, "Soon" before she disappeared out the door.
I sighed and slumped back down into my hard hospital bed. The white walls, the white blankets, the white everything hardly bothered me anymore. There was a television put in my line of vision, as well as a new stack of books. It was Monday, I think. That's usually when I get new reading material. I sighed and picked up a random book and plugged my iPod in, letting it play whatever random music I had switched it to last time. The book didn't particularly capture me, as nothing seemed to these days. I missed my family, my so-called friends. I hardly ever saw my family, and I hadn't seen who I had assumed to be my best friend in almost seven months. I missed good, healthy conversations that lasted longer than five minutes with a passing nurse or doctor.
I must have dozed off, as I had a habit of doing now in my weakened state, because the next thing I knew I felt my ear buds be pulled out and a slightly gruff voice. "Ms. Randall, I must insist you wake up now. It's time for your chemotherapy" my doctor said, doing his best to be gentle with my easy to bruise form. I was loaded into a wheelchair by him with the assistance of two other doctors or nurses (I couldn't tell which) like I was a pack of meat being loaded onto a cart. How degrading.
I was pushed down the hall, up or down some floors to the chemo room. I couldn't make out where it was anymore, each visit made it seem more feared, and I tried to block it from my head. They loaded me onto a table and gave me a dose of some drug that numbed me, along with some anesthetic. I drifted off to sleep as they made the final preparations to try and cure me with a kill.
I woke up later, sore all over. I wished I were dead, really and truly. I groaned loudly, making my chest throb more. "Hey, you okay?" I heard a concerned voice of a stranger, and for a moment I hoped I was passed out. That this whole experience had been a dream. I had been hit in the chest roughly and passed out on the cold sidewalk. Yes. If only, if only....
I could feel the tears run down my face, my sad sobs desperate for a fantasy in another time. Yes, in another time I was still normal. I longed to be there, longed with every infected cell of my body. I felt a cool hand on my head, and instantly my eyes flashed open. A stranger was standing above me. He had short, bleached blond hair. I knew it was bleached because his eyebrows were dark. He looked slightly peeked with pale skin, but his straight nose, slightly full lips, and friendly eyes helped make him look all the better.
"Do you want me to call a nurse?" he asked, hand already hesitating in front of the large red button. "No, no I'm fine, I'll be fine" I hissed through clenched teeth, trying to convince myself past the burning in my lungs. I tried to sit up, but my arms were far too shaky and the entirety of me burned. "Here, let me help you" the stranger said, and with surprisingly gentle hands he helped me into a sitting position. "Hold on for two seconds" he said. I watched as he dashed to his bed and got his two pillows. He combined his pillows and mine to create a soft prop.
By his gentle hands I would've guessed he was a doctor, but seeing his hospital pajamas I knew differently. I also knew he'd be here for a while, like me, because he had pajamas and not the flimsy paper gown. "So, what brings you to my room?" I asked, weakly motioning around with my arms as if showing off the inside of a house I was trying to sell. "Well, actually, I'm your new roommate" he said with a chuckle, sitting on his bed.
"Do you get used to the uncomfy beds?" he asked, looking slightly hopeful. And for once in a long time I let out a hearty chuckle, sounding foreign to even my own ears. "It depends on how long you're in for" I replied. "It'll be a while" he said, and I could tell he was saddened. "Oh, well, then yeah. You'll probably get some stuff to read too. Do you have any CDs or anything?" I asked, trying to shift the conversation. "Nope, they didn't let me bring anything. Though, it was kinda sudden" he said, flopping back in the cot.
He didn't look hurt at all, at least physically. With the way he was throwing himself about, you'd think he didn't belong here. "Well, in that case, you can use my iPod whenever you want, and we'll share the T.V. and whatnot" I said, trying to be hospitable. I knew what it was like, to be new to a frightening environment and not know anybody.
"So, what's your name?" he asked. "Oh, sorry. I'm Crystal Randall. And you are?" I asked, trying to be suave. "Gerard Way" he responded. Hm, the name sounded familiar. I was probably supposed to know him. "So, Crystal, would it offend you at all if I guessed why you were in here?" he asked, sitting cross-legged in his bed. "Not at all" I replied. "Do you have...cancer?" he asked timidly. He looked completely ashamed right after. "Breast cancer. Did the bald head of a girl in the I.C.U tip you off? I know I'm awful to see. Sorry." I said lightly.
Yup, I was balder than a new-born baby. I once had very thick, curly brown hair. But now all that remained were eyelashes and the faint outline of eyebrows. "Sorry, it was wrong of me to do that" he said bashfully. "No, it's perfectly fine. But, since we're on the subject...why are you here? If you don't mind me asking, that is. It's just...you don't seem hurt, weak, or mentally unstable. So I'm just curious..." I said.
He sighed lightly. "Oh, you don't have to tell me, or feel obligated to or anything!" I assured quickly. "No, no, it's fine. You deserve to know. Um, I was tested for HIV, and guess what? God hates me" he said sadly. "Oh..." I said softly. "How'd you-?" I started, but cut myself off. Now I was being rude. But Gerard seemed fine. Well, as fine as he could be. "Well, I guess I just slept with the wrong girl" he said, eyes downcast.
'I need a change in conversation' I thought. "Would you mind terribly if I took a nap? I had chemo today" I said. And it was true; it had been hard to stay awake just these past few minutes. "Oh no go right ahead. Do you want me to take my pillows and lay you flat?" he asked, sitting up from his bed. "If you want them, go ahead, but I could care less" I mumbled, eyes half closed. "Keep 'em" he said, lying back in his bed. "Hey Gerard" I mumbled, half asleep. "Yeah?" he asked, not sounding tired in the least. But it couldn't be past noon, I knew. "Thanks for giving me some much needed friendship" I muttered before instantly going to sleep. Gerard knew I was asleep, so he only smiled to himself and laid back, wondering if his disease would take over or if he would be able to get the cure.
I woke up later, probably am hour or two, to the sound of voices. I instantly knew they weren't here for me, because the voices for me would probably be coming on Christmas in a few weeks. Well, that's what they'd told me on their last visit. "We'll be here for Christmas" my mother had promised before disappearing out the door.
So I cracked open my eyes, the light from the large window pouring in. I may have been in the hospital, but my parents had gotten me the best room on this floor, and it was expensive. But with Mom a major Broadway director and Dad the head of a well-known oil company, I guess you could say we're filthy stinking rich.
The voices I heard were cheerful despite the gloomy surroundings, and I longed for them to be for me. My eyes were squinted tightly against the bright light and the view outside the freshly cleaned bay window. "Gee, man what's up?" "Do you feel okay? Want some coffee?" "Mom and Dad send their love" "I hope you like roooosseeesss" "Aw, guys, thanks. But hush up a bit, you'll wake up Crystal" Gerard said. 'He's sweet' I thought, slowly opening my eyes all the way. "She's awake" I announced as cheerfully as possible, stretching to the best of my ability.
"Oh, um, it's a girl" someone said in a surprised tone. "Shut the fuck up! That's rude" someone quickly reprimanded, and several smacks were heard along with an "Ow!" I laughed slightly, surprising myself. I was laughing a lot lately. Yes, twice is a lot. "It's fine, really. I know it's probably really shocking" I said. I was in a better mood because I was not as sore, and the clock on the wall indicated it was almost lunch. "Are you staying for lunch?" I asked the group of four new boys.
"Well, sure" one of them answered. "I'm Crystal Randall. Thank you so much for introducing me, Gerard" I said, teasing. Gerard reddened slightly and giggled, yes giggled, while scratching the back of his head. "Well, he's not gonna do it now, either. I'm Mikey Way" a boy with glasses and what could only be described as "emo" hair said politely. Next, a tall, strong looking guy with full lips and outrageously curly hair stepped up. "Ray Toro" he smiled, showing nice, straight teeth.
Next was a guy who wasn't exactly skinny, but was in no way fat. He had blond hair with a "swoop" over his right eye and a lip piercing. "I'm Bob" he said, seemingly shy. Last was a guy who was rather short, with several piercings, tattoos, and black hair. Also, he was holding a bouquet of red roses. "Frank Iero, better known as Gerard's fiancÃ©!" he said, leaning down and giving Gerard a wet, sloppy kiss on the cheek. I inwardly sighed. 'Why do all the hot ones have to be gay?' I thought resolutely.
"Aw, come on, Frankie! She probably thinks I'm gay now!" Gerard whined, wiping Frank's saliva off of his face. 'He's not gay!' I screamed in my mind, a smile taking place on my lips. "Oh, erm, I was just kidding" Frank said in a deadpan tone, maybe embarrassed or maybe not. I couldn't tell. "So, when's lunch?" Gerard asked. "Well, it should be arriving right about-" I was cut off as Remmy came in, wheeling a food cart.
"Oh, you have company!" she said. I had told Remmy how my family and friends never came to visit. "I can only give these lunches to our patients, but it's Mix and Match Day in the cafeteria, where you can basically get all the leftovers for once price. It's the best deal we have, but a word of caution: don't eat the ham. Ever" Remmy said. I remembered when she complained to me about getting food poisoning from the ham when she forgot her lunch one day. "Alright" the guys chorused, slightly freaked out by the mini rant.
Gerard sat up against the wall at the head of his bed and I sat against the combination of our pillows as a tray was set across my lap. It had chocolate soy milk, a turkey sandwich and cheese on wheat bread with little mayonnaise and mustard packets, a mini bag of Lays potato chips, half a banana, and a small Jell-O container of vanilla pudding for dessert. Gerard had the same thing, as did everyone else who wasn't fed from a tube. I knew I was almost to that point, so weak I could barely feed myself.
"So, you folks okay?" Remmy asked, getting ready to go. "Yup" Gerard answered, and I just smiled and nodded. As Remmy passed to get to the door, she bent down and whispered, "He's a good catch" before walking out. With all of the color that rushed to my cheeks, I probably looked like a normal person instead of a pale ghost. "What'd she say?" Mikey asked, stealing Gerard's chips. My reply of "Nothing" was interrupted by Gerard's shouting of "You jackass! Those were my chips!" "Uh, Ray?" I called over quietly. He came over in a few quick strides as Bob, Mikey and Frank all devoured Gerard's chips as he guarded the rest of his food, especially the pudding.
"Yeah?" he asked, and I noted he had a slightly reedy voice. "This is embarrassing, but...could you open my mayo and mustard?" I asked, looking away. I needed help to drink water, so no way in hell could I open those stupid little packages made of steel plastic. "Oh, yeah, sure" he said, obviously shocked at my lack of ability, but doing it nonetheless. "Thanks" I muttered shyly. "Hey, no problem" he responded. Ray lingered for a second, as if he would feel weird leaving me alone when Gerard had all of his friends. "It's fine, you don't have to baby sit me. Go say hi to your friend" I said and shooed him off. Ray still seemed hesitant, but soon enough he took off across the room again.
I only ate about half of the relatively small sandwich and drank a bit of the milk, forcing down the whole half of a banana for nutrition. "Who wants pudding and chips?" I stated loudly, interrupting something the guys were discussing. Fangoria or something like that. "ME!" they all shouted simultaneously, jumping up and stretching their arms. I may have just met them, but I felt good around the boys. Like they were friends I just hadn't seen in a while.
"Alright, Gerard gets the chips cause you jipped him out of the ones that rightfully belonged to him" I said, and tossed the bag at Gerard, who intercepted it before his brother and friends. "And Ray, you get the pudding cause you're a helper bee" I said, and Ray gladly accepted the pudding and spoon before licking it and slurping it teasingly. I realized that, with each passing second, I was becoming more and more like my old self.
I yawned. I didn't want to go to sleep yet, but this was way more activity than I was used to. So I slowly let my eyes drift close, the chatter of the boys turning into a dull hum.
"Dude, you're roomy's cool and all, but..." Bob started. "But what?" Gerard asked. "She just seems kinda off, that's all. Like she didn't even know we were famous" he said. "Well, who knows how long she's been here with just basic cable. Maybe she doesn't know we're famous" Gerard reasoned rationally. "Her shiny head freaks me out, especially with those green eyes" Mikey said, leaning on the side of Gerard's bed. "Dude, did you not get it? She has breast cancer" he said, for some reason feeling he needed to defend Crystal.
"Oh, I know, but it's still kinda weird" he said, taking his glasses off and cleaning them with his shirttail. Gerard smacked him lightly on the head, earning a vague complaint. "She's really weak" Ray said absently, looking over towards Crystal's form. "What do you mean?" Frank asked, following his gaze. "Well, she gave me pudding for being a "helper bee". But really all I did was open her mayonnaise and mustard cause she couldn't" he said, and popped a potato crisp in his mouth as if for emphasis, earning a look from Gerard because he had stolen the last one. "Yeah, with the way she looks, I don't know if it'll be long until someone moves in here to take her place" Frank said mournfully. "Don't say that!" Gerard practically growled, and everyone was silent, not wanting to admit that they were sharing the same morbid thoughts.
I woke up to a quiet room. I opened my eyes to find it dark outside, the clock reading about eleven forty-five at night. Ray, Mikey, Bob, and Frank had long since left I supposed. I glanced over at Gerard's bed to find him sleeping on his side facing away from me, his breathing deep and loud, but softer than a quiet snore. This is what I hated about taking naps in the day; I always woke up at night.
Silently, I picked the remote and turned the television on. I quickly made the volume very quiet, and watched Dateline: To Catch a Predator, one of my favorite late-night shows.
Around the third guy, who was married and brought his young son with him, I heard a stirring in the bed only a few feet from mine, Gerard's. I quickly muted the T.V., hoping the noise wouldn't disturb him further. But it was too late as his groggy voice asked, "Crystal? Why are you awake?" He sat up on his elbows and shook his head slightly, before sitting up fully. "Oh, I slept too much today. Sorry I woke you up, you can go back to sleep now" I said quickly and apologetically.
"No, no, I'm not tired" he said, and he kicked his sheets off. That's when I noticed, "I still have your pillows!" "I didn't want to wake you up" he said simply, standing and stretching. "Oh, I'm not that important. Here, take them" I said. I managed to sit up and take off one of his pillows before my muscles totally gave out and I collapsed back. "Just gimme a second" I said, embarrassed. "I'm fine with one" he assured quickly, taking it from my hands gently and tossing it haphazardly onto his bed.
"So, what're you watching?" he asked in a conversational tone, still standing. "You can sit down, you know" I said, avoiding his first question. "Oh, I know, but what are you watching?" he asked again. I almost blushed. "To Catch a Predator" was a guilty pleasure of mine, and almost no one knew about it. "Uh, Dateline. To Catch a Predator. These past two years, it's what gives me good entertainment" I said sheepishly.
"Whoa, you've been here for two years?" he asked, obviously surprised. "Oh, er, yeah. Well, to be honest, it's been more than that. Four years, I think, but the first two I would just come in, get some quick stuff done, and go. But that didn't work, so they moved me up to more heavy duty treatments, you know? More chemo and stuff. That was about another half year, and I started to feel sick. So I would start to stay a few days after treatments, and they boosted me up not too long after that. So I've been staying here full time for a while" I said, basically pouring my whole story to Gerard, who probably didn't care.
"Wow, uh, sorry I rambled" I said quickly, avoiding Gerard's stare. It wasn't sympathy, exactly. I'd had way too much sympathy for this life time and two more. If you only knew how many cards and dead flowers I had thrown away. "No, it's fine. It's good to get to know more about my awesome roomy, considering you'll be stuck with me for quite a while" he said with a smile. "So, do I get to know about you, then?" I asked. The T.V. was still on mute, and it provided the only light to be seen in the room.
"Well, okay. Should I start at the beginning?" he asked, and I nodded. "Um, well, I'm in this band that's kinda really popular, I dunno if you've heard of us, but you know" he said. I interrupted him, even though it was rude. "Oh! That's why your and the others' names sounded so familiar! Before I came in here for good, I'd heard your song, "Vampires Will Never Hurt You". No wonder you seemed familiar. So you're pretty popular now?" I asked, changing the subject. "Yeah, just came out with a new record, "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge"" he said, giving me a look I couldn't comprehend, but it was definitely a good one.
"Have you heard it?" he asked. I sighed sadly. "I've been listening to the same songs on my iPod for six months now, so sadly, no. But I'm sure it's awesome!" I said. I suddenly felt strangely honored to share a room with Gerard.
"Anyway, sorry I interrupted. Story?" I asked like a small child.
"Well, you know how I'm in a popular rock band? Well, it gets lonely on tour, so sometimes I, er, you know..." he said, looking away bashfully. "Yeah" I said, looking away too. It was awkward. "Well, Mikey really urged me to get tested for STDs and stuff a few weeks ago, ya know? So just a couple days ago they came back positive for HIV, but not AIDS" Gerard said morosely. "Wow, I'm sorry. Are you going to risk that new treatment?" I asked. In the very near past, scientists had come up with a real cure for AIDS, but it was very expensive and very risky. It had yet to be perfected, and if Gerard wasn't careful, he could end up like me; weak, fragile, frail. But probably not bald.
"Yeah, but you know how it makes you feel. Like..." he said, trailing off at a loss for words. "Like chemotherapy, which is what it's a lot like. But without the radiation. It's something else they zap you with, right?" I asked, not knowing a whole lot about the subject. "Yeah, pretty much. But for right now, I'm starting the AZT" Gerard said, and I could pick up the nervous vibes in him. AZT thinned your blood, making you practically anemic, which was very dangerous, especially if you needed to go into surgery or got a bad cut or something.
"When are you starting with the heavy duty crap?" I asked, wondering how much longer Gerard would actually be able to move about by himself in the middle of the night. "A few days after Christmas" he said, and I just realized that, during our conversation, he had sat on my bed. Furthermore, he had sat very close to me on my bed.
"My parents are supposed to visit me on Christmas" I said with a small, sad smile. "That's cool! I hope mine come soon. Maybe when the guys come and visit next" he said happily. "Hey, wait, do you and your parents not get along?" he asked, noticing my face. "Well, I haven't seen them in a couple months, the person I thought was my best friend even longer" I said, eyes downcast. "Oh, I'm sorry. But look on the bright side: now you have me!" he said, and gave me a seemingly compulsive, yet surprisingly gentle hug. And Gerard was right: I did have him. And I had the feeling, he's all I'd need.