Pain Relief Chapter 12


Hindy convinces Dr. Gladstone to give her a prescription for Tylenol with codeine, and then cajoles him to make it a three-month supply.

*   *   *

The next morning Hindy woke up slowly, and when she sat up, her limbs felt like the blood had been replaced with molasses. It wasn’t an unpleasant sensation, just unexpected.

She couldn’t remember what she had done the day before to feel so odd. She recalled the new medicine she was taking, but didn’t connect it to how she felt at the moment.

Suddenly a voice called up the stairs. “Mrs. Fishman? Mrs. Fishman? Are you home?”

It took a minute for her to recognize Yochi’s voice. Today would be her assistant’s first full day of work. Between Hindy’s lack of energy and her newly recognized lack of interest, Hindy was happy to have somebody take over.

She forced a smile on her face and got to her feet. “Be right down!” she sang.

“Okay!” Yochi called back. “I’ll make the coffee.”

Hindy swallowed two Tylenol with codeine, nearly gagging, and waited for them to kick in a little, glad they seemed to work faster than regular Tylenol. She dressed as quickly as she could and carefully made her way downstairs. Whereas before she had never given the staircase a moment’s thought, except to scold the kids for leaving their stuff strewn all over it, now she eyed it warily, a new adversary on the landscape. She was tempted to walk down one step at a time like a toddler, but that would look embarrassing, so she held on tightly to the banister instead.

“Good morning!” said Yochi, standing up as she probably had when a teacher had walked into the room.

“Good morning,” said Hindy. “Thank you for coming on time.”

“Oh, I was early,” said Yochi. “I was waiting outside in the car until eight-oh-oh, exactly.”

“Punctuality is a good middah,” said Hindy. “You ready to work?”

Yochi’s eyes glowed with excitement. She whipped out her iPad and set it down on the table.

“High tech,” Hindy commented.

“No. Bluetooth,” said Yochi, a puzzled expression on her face. Hindy was actually a techno-whiz, possessing a natural ability to think like a computer. She was able to fix any glitch, hardware or software, and rarely had to call in a technician. This comment was her attempt at a joke, forgetting that to Yochi’s generation iPad was a given.

“What are we working on today?” asked Yochi.

“You know what?” said Hindy suddenly. “Can I trouble you to pour me some coffee first?” Her mouth felt thick and dry, and her head was beginning to list towards her shoulder. She could feel her eyes wanting to close and couldn’t seem to stop them.

“Mrs. Fishman? Are you all right?” asked Yochi, setting the cup of hot coffee in front of her boss. Hindy could feel her shoulder being gently shaken, and she struggled to rouse herself.

“Yes, I’m fine,” she said, finally. “I didn’t sleep well.”

“Oh, me neither. I was so excited when you asked me to start full-time.”

“Good,” said Hindy. “Good.” She took a deep sip of coffee and started to wake up again.

She shook her head again to clear away the cobwebs, and focused on her calendar.

“I have a system,” she began, “but you don’t need to use my system. You can develop your own. But until you do, it would be good if we both stuck to the same routine, okay?”


“The first thing I do every morning is double-check which events are coming up in the next week. See? It’s all laid out on the calendar.

“I’d make a spreadsheet for that,” suggested Yochi.

“I would too,” Hindy agreed. “But I prefer the old-fashioned way when it comes to certain parts of planning. I’m just used to it, and there are always changes. I’m not by the computer every minute, so I need to write things down anyway, so I decided to write everything down on paper, and usually use a pencil so I can erase!”

“Okay,” the girl replied, with slightly less enthusiasm.

“But now that you’re on board, I can give you the changes to input.” Yochi grinned in response.

“This week we have the Stein bar mitzvah, both the Bo Ba’yom and the Kiddush on Shabbos. We have to remember to keep the menus separate, and of course there is an entirely different scheme for each event. Mrs. Stein wants the décor to match her outfits.”

“What a great idea,” chirped Yochi.

Hindy shifted uncomfortably. “Once I see what’s coming up, I go over to my master list. This has all the things that need to be done for the month, and what day everything is due. See? Here is the flower order for Berkowitz. Their simchah is not for three weeks, but the order has to be made in advance, even though the flowers will be delivered the day of the wedding. You with me?”

Despite her enthusiasm, Yochi’s eyes had glazed over. Hindy hoped she would catch up eventually; she hadn’t realized how complicated her business was until she tried to explain it. It had become second nature to her. “Each vendor has its own schedule and you need to familiarize yourself with each and every one…”


To be continued . . .