This story is by Laura Beiler and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I have a little monster that I keep with me.
Most people don’t know about him, and I rarely show him to others. It is not that I am selfish, but rather people just won’t understand. Some may even try to take advantage of him. I love this little monster dearly and I would say most days he is like a best friend to me.
I know lots of other people have a little monster just like mine, but they don’t talk about it either. And it can be dangerous to mention your monster to other people who have the same one. They may like that yours is stronger and try to take it away from you. But I need my little guy. I really do.
I haven’t always had this little monster, but I can’t imagine life without him now. I would say we met about five years ago, through a friend of his. I was working at my job, making money, paying bills, doing the regular life. I worked this job for twenty years, and I absolutely loved it. It was my calling, you could say. Everyone said I was good at it, and I agreed.
One day in September, right when football games and the fall season were starting up in my small college town, I was on the way home from work when a drunk college kid driving from an all-day tailgating event decided stop signs didn’t apply to her and rammed her Jeep Liberty into my little Honda Accord. Bam, just like that, my car was totaled, hers was flipped in the ditch, and I was losing consciousness before I could even process what happened.
Fast forward five days and I am leaving the hospital in a cast up to my right thigh, a sling on my left shoulder, more stiches than I can count, and glass still coming out of my ears. I thought I wouldn’t be going back to work soon and how much it would suck to be at home by myself with nothing to do until I could drive again.
The doctor wrote me a prescription for some pain killers and boy, was I thankful for those. My arm and head were still aching and I am sure my leg would have been just as bad if the cast would have allowed me to move it at all. As it were I was walking around like I had a giant peg leg and I admit I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. So sorry, in fact, that every once in a while I would take an extra pain killer to ease the internal pain I was feeling. Nothing crazy, just enough to help me sleep, but I was embarrassed to find myself calling my doctor up two weeks earlier than my prescription was supposed to run out, asking for a refill.
Well, of course the doctor asked me to come in first to assess the pain and see if I was really needing the pain killers. So, I went in on a rainy Thursday morning and discovered that what people say about rain and aching joints really is true because my arm was hurting something awful that day. I told my doctor how it hurt more than usual and at this point I was positive I could feel the pain in my leg too. My doctor gave me one of those side-eyed judgmental looks and told me he would write the script for three more weeks or until my cast came off and we could, “reassess again as needed.”
I got the cast off and found a new doctor.
Thankfully, this new doctor was very understanding but also very busy and did not ask too many questions. She took one look at my chart and agreed that maybe something a little stronger could get me through the rehab for my leg and shoulder and ease the chronic pain I was now feeling in my head. So I filled the prescription at my little local pharmacy and trotted away happily, feeling the pills shake in their plastic orange bottle in my hand and feeling like someone finally understood the significance of my pain. When I got home I noticed the pills had a “M” on one side and a “2” on the other. “My little monsters,” I joked. The technical term I suppose would be Dilaudid.
That was three years ago. I have not yet gone back to work as I am still dealing with the pain, you see, and I am pretty sure they did not keep my position open after my initial six-month leave of absence. There have been some other issues too. I have had some bad relationships who were trying to use me for my medicine, and that nice doctor ran out of understanding and now I am trying to find a new one. My little monster is running low and I am in serious pain…
Two weeks have gone by since I revealed this little secret and my monsters are gone. I am sick, physically sick, and in serious pain. I have tried every doctor I know and not one of them can see the legitimate pain I am in. Some have been “kind enough” to offer me some less potent medication, but it doesn’t work. I need my little monsters and no one will give them to me…
I hear there are some people on the street that know where to get them. I have also heard rumors of a powder form I can inject. Poor little monsters. But if that is what it takes to ease my pain, I will crush them…
Now you see why I can’t tell others about my monsters. That whole street thing? A fiasco. Now all those people that said they were my “friend” think I have the hook up and I don’t. Besides, I need the monsters I got. That’s why I keep them close to me in my pocket. I never know when I might need one, when the pain will suddenly be too much to bear. Like when my ex-boyfriend tries calling me and wants to get back together. The emotional pain he caused me is too much; besides he flushed my monsters once. He says they are no good for me. But I love them. Monster is a term of endearment, if you think about it…
I do miss my job though. I miss seeing my colleagues. I really miss my paycheck; I could buy plenty of monsters to keep me going then. Right now I just don’t have enough to function. And these monsters are expensive. If I had the money I could have enough of them to deal with the pain and be good at my job again. But I don’t think I can do it without them…
Most days, if I try hard enough to reflect, I realize that I am often numb. I feel dazed, I can’t think straight. It has to be from the pain. My ex keeps calling, saying it is the monsters, says they are more like demons wearing me down. But he is just like everyone else, he doesn’t get my pain…
My life sucks right now. There is no purpose, no significance. Only pain and pain management. Rinse and repeat. My friends have all moved on, my colleagues stopped calling, my ex even quit texting. It’s a monotonous life I am stuck in at the moment, and I feel the catch twenty-two of my predicament with no way out.
I hate these little monsters.