Pain Relief Chapter 16


The pills are allowing Hindy to function pain-free. At first she enjoys this,  but then she becomes too dizzy to function. Tzippy recognizes that something is wrong. After Hindy goes to her room for a nap, Tzippy phones her grandparents, who rush over. Hindy’s mother states that she will take her daughter to their family doctor the next day.

*   *   *

The following morning Lena and Max showed up on Hindy’s doorstep at 9:00 sharp. They were met by Yochi at the door. “I’m sorry,” she told the couple. “Mrs. Fishman is not available.”

Lena nodded politely, but made no move to leave. “We’ll wait,” she said firmly.

Max took pity on the well-meaning assistant.“We’re her parents,” he said.

“Oh!” said Yochi, surprised, stepping aside to let them in.

Max took his usual place on the sofa and picked up a sefer while Lena practically charged up the stairs. Assessing the situation, Yochi made her way into the kitchen to wait for Mrs. Fishman. In the meantime she started going through the checklist she’d been given and felt a flush of satisfaction as she checked the items off the list as she went. I can do this, she thought.

Meanwhile Lena was calling Hindy’s name at full volume. “I’m ready, Ma. What time is the appointment?”

Lena, who had been expecting to pull Hindy out of bed, was surprised. “The appointment is at 9:45 sharp,” she said abruptly.

“Good,” said Hindy. “We even have time for a cup of coffee.”

Lena looked at her like she’d dropped from Mars. “Tatty and I have already taken our morning walk, davened and eaten breakfast. You can get an entire day’s work done…”

“Before seven o’clock in the morning, I know. You taught us that,” Hindy finished, smiling.

“I’ll see you downstairs,” said Lena, not returning the smile. “By the way, who’s that young girl?” she asked.

“My assistant, Yochi. Her last name slips my mind at the moment.”

Lena looked oddly at Hindy.

“Well, doesn’t everyone forget things sometimes?” asked Hindy, feeling defensive.

“No,” said Lena, firmly. “I, for one, do not forget things. You should be careful of losing your memory, G-d forbid. Stay away from aluminum.”

Hindy sighed in response to the diminutive powerhouse who was her mother, and followed her down the stairs.

“Max, are you ready?” Lena asked.

“Ma, would you give me a minute, please? I really do need some coffee first.”

“Give her a minute, Lena,” her father agreed, now standing in the doorway of the kitchen.

Just a minute,” was Lena’s terse response.

In fact, Hindy really did need a minute to get her bearings. A very strange thing had happened this morning: She’d woken up pain-free for the first time in a long time. Her back seemed normal and her other aches and pains seemed to have receded. But, despite her feeling physically well, she still reached for the Tylenol Codeine and popped three in her mouth, as she had done every morning since acquiring the prescription. The coffee was to counteract the drowsiness caused by the pills. Truth be told, Hindy liked the calm and detached feeling they gave her. She welcomed the release.

“Um, Mrs. Fishman?” asked Yochi timidly.


“Are you going somewhere today?”

Hindy had completely neglected to inform her assistant of her plans. “I’m sorry. Yes, I am. I’ll be back sometime in the afternoon.”

“What should I do until then?”

Hindy’s thoughts were  starting to become foggy. “Stay put and I’ll text you instructions from the road.” Yochi nodded and returned to the kitchen table “office.” Hindy had worked from the table for as long as she could remember, and wouldn’t even know what to do with an entire office.

She gulped her coffee quickly and left the house flanked by her parents. She was only going to the doctor to humor them, certain — especially with this newfound feeling of well-being — that all the tests would come back normal.

After Lena and Max exchanged warm greetings with Dr. Newman, he shooed them out of the examination room. A nurse was organizing Hindy’s file, so thick from so many years of visits with the trusted physician.

“Now, Mrs. Fishman,” said Dr. Newman. “Tell me what ails you.”

Hindy tried to look directly into the doctor’s eyes, but at the moment she was finding it hard to focus them. “Actually, nothing,” she said with bravado. “I am here 100 percent at my parents’ behest.”

The doctor scrutinized her carefully. “One hundred percent?” he asked gently.

“I took a spill a couple of months ago,” Hindy confessed. “I fell down a flight of stairs in my house and did a number on my back.” She eyed the doctor suspiciously. “But I have a feeling you knew that already.”

“Guilty as charged,” he said, holding up his hands in surrender. “I admit to being briefed before this meeting. I apologize.”

“It’s fine,” said Hindy, waving an arm as though to wipe it all away. She could hear her words starting to slur, but she suddenly felt powerless to stop it.

“Here’s what we’ll do,” said Dr. Newman, who seemed not to notice. “I’ll do a basic physical and some blood work. We’ll see if anything flags…”

“Which it won’t,” Hindy interrupted.

“Which it won’t,” agreed Dr. Newman magnanimously. “But if something doesn’t seem right, we’ll take it from there. How does that sound?”

“Perfect. But. Doctor?”

“Yes?” he replied, distracted with wrapping the blood pressure cuff around her upper arm.

Hindy’s voice turned low and serious and suddenly wary. “I do not give you permission to share the results with my parents.”

Dr. Newman stopped and looked up from his task. “You have my word.”

To be continued . . .