Here is a preview of a scene in book 10…
“Dr. Stephens? I’m glad you’re here,” a nurse smiled as she saw him.
“Where is my wife? What happened?”
“They are running some tests. You can go in. She is in room 4B.”
He thanked her and ran to the curtained area. The neurologist was running tests when he walked in.
“Jack,” she said and he walked to her.
“Hey. What happened?” he leaned in and kissed her forehead.
“I don’t know. I’m scared and I don’t want to get worse,” she wiped her eyes and the doctor looked at them.
“We need to run steroids and try to help the inflammation go down,” he said. “You are in a full fledged exacerbation.”
Jack sat down and took her hand in his. “What changed? You were okay earlier. Were you not telling me the truth?”
“I was. My foot is better, but when I was driving here to go to my office, my body felt strange, like I was floating. When I got here, I had trouble moving my leg. My strength is fine, but my movement is off. I am having some spacicity.” She took a deep breath. “I’m okay.”
He looked at her and asked the doctor to give them a minute alone.
“I’ll get the steroids ordered. We will put in an IV and you can run the IV at home if you would prefer.”
“Thank you,” Stephanie said and the doctor left.
Jack stood up and paced before he turned and saw her trying to get up.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m okay, Jack. Please don’t worry,” she said and limped over to him.
He turned and pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her and holding her.
“I’m sorry,” he said and backed up to look at her.
“For making you think you had to hide this. For making you worry about my reaction,” he said as he helped her to sit down.
She took his hand and held it. “Jack, this has a lot more to do with me than you.”
“What do you mean?”
She sighed and sat down. “I’ve been really lucky with this disease. I haven’t really had a lot of physical issues, and when I did, I could mask them so most people don’t know.” She blinked and her tears spilled over her cheeks. “I realized something while I was sitting here.”
He couldn’t bear seeing her so upset and it killed him that he didn’t see this. “What’s that?”
“When I lived with Josh and Nikki, I had to hide every aspect of this disease. I had to do my injections in secret and when I had any kind of reaction, I had to stay in a hotel so they wouldn’t see.” She shook her head. “Jack, I was so stupid. Nikki always asked me how I was and I had to lie over and over so she wouldn’t know how horrible Josh was. I owed her so much better than that. I deserved better than that, and now, he’s back and hurting us again and I can’t stand it,” she sobbed in her hands and he sat down next to her and pulled her into his arms.
“It’s okay, baby. I’m so sorry,” he said and rocked her. All of this suddenly made sense to him and he could have kicked himself he never saw it before. “You’re going to be fine.”
He let her cry and then she sat back and wiped her face with a tissue. “I’m tired Jack.”
He moved to sit across from her and put his hands on her knees. “I know you are. But I also think I finally realized what’s going on.”
Her big brown eyes met his and he continued. “When did your numbness start?”
“I don’t know, a little while ago.”
“It was soon after we learned of Josh’s connection to all of this.”
She hadn’t thought about it, but it seemed right. “So what, you think this is all in my head?”
“No, not at all, but I think the stress of what you’ve been through has been haunting you and it’s coming out in physical symptoms. It makes sense, Stephanie. You never give yourself a break. You take on so much that your body finally is telling you to let someone help you.” He hesitated. “I think you should talk to someone.”
Her eyes filled with tears. “You think I need professional help?”
“Stephanie, I think you’re struggling with everything and you refuse to allow anyone to help you. I just want you to feel better. I want you to know how strong you are.”
“I see.” She stood up and walked to get dressed. “Why don’t you go back to work? I’ll talk to you later.”
“Stephanie, please don’t shut me out. I just want you to be okay.”
“Do you know what it’s like when I tell someone I have MS and they say ‘you don’t look sick.” Do you know how hard it is to answer that? This disease is with me every moment of every day and you know that. I don’t belabor it because it serves no purpose, but to hear you tell me you think it’s a manifestation of unresolved issues with Josh, well it’s insulting. I wish I could just make it go away, Jack, but there isn’t enough therapy in the world that will do that.” She walked to the door. “I need to be alone.”
He watched her walk out and he knew she was right, but he didn’t know what to do.