The first few weeks after Cannes received her diagnosis from Dr. Stiles were rough, to say the least
Not really knowing how to go about managing her diabetes, she figured that all she had to do was to cut back on sugar, cut back on salt, cut way back on the portions of food she ate, and all would be well. She had the right idea and all, but she cut back way too much on the amount of food, tho. And as a result, a new problem emerged that Cannes hadn’t quite counted on; nighttime insulin attacks.
They were keeping her awake at night, Mary!
She’d be in a deep sleep when all of a sudden a spasm from inside of her bronchial tubes would violently awaken her, and then the adrenaline would sear through her arms. She had no idea what to do about it. I don’t think she got very good guidance from anyone at the time, really.
This went on night after night after night, and it wasn’t long before Cannes was out of her mind with fatigue and despair. “How much more of this shit can I take?” she thought aloud. Right about then, Stella happened to be walking past the bathroom where Cannes stood in front of the mirror, contemplating the bottle of glyburide.
Something in the pit of her gut told Stella to investigate this.
It was a good thing she did, because she got there just in time to hear Cannes say aloud as she held the bottle of pills at eye level – the look in her face scared the crap out of Stella , “I bet a person could kill themselves on these, couldn’t they.”
Shocked, frightened, and outraged, Stella wasted no time snatching the bottle of pills from her sister’s hands and smacked her hard on the face. “You stupid bitch!!!” She yelled. “How dare you even contemplate such a thing! I went through Hell trying to survive this disease; The spikes, the lows, ridicule, being taken for a junkie, being told what I cannot eat all the time… You think I’m gonna let you off the hook? Aw, Hell NO!!!”
With that Stella pocketed the pill bottle and concluded. “You’re getting no more than what the doctor prescribed and you damn well better eat something when you do if you know what’s good for you!!! Do I make myself perfectly clear, Candace Margaret Yossarian???’
Cannes didn’t know what to say; she was absolutely speechless. It’s rare that anyone slaps her, especially Stella.
“And another thing,” Stella added, yelling. “Don’t even bother giving me that ‘You don’t know what it’s like’ crap, because I just spelled out 18 years of Hell in a fucking nutshell, and it’s not just me that went through it. Do you think Mom and Dad would stand for any of that suicidal shit from either of us? Think again!!!”
That same night Clay decided to check up on Cannes. He hadn’t seen her in awhile, at least since Halloween, anyway. He wondered how she was coping with this disease, wondered if there was anything she needed, anything he could do for her. He was used to it, after all he’d been watching both his mother and step father battle it out over the way she’d been managing her own type 2 diabetes…or not. He couldn’t just let her stumble through this alone somehow.
He let himself in just in time to hear Stella verbally ream her sister from upstairs in the bathroom. “What’s going on up there?” He called upwards.
“The stupid bitch!!! She was this close to killing herself already!!!” Stella yelled back. She was pissed.
And soon so was Clay. He’d been through too many nights seeing Milo shake his mom awake to keep her from going into a hypoglycemic coma in the middle of the night. Too many nights hearing him shake her into consciousness and trying to pour orange juice down her throat and damn near sobbing, “Fee Fook’s saek, woman…EAT SOOMTHIN!!!” He could only imagine how Milo would hit the roof if ever Punk Mother were to do something irretrievably stupid like even contemplate suicide!
Well, he’s so not having that!! No fucking way!!!
He stormed upstairs and found Cannes still in the bathroom looking like she was at the last level of Hell. Grabbing her by the arms he screamed right in her face, “Dammit, Candace!!! Don’t you even think of pulling a stunt like that, I mean it!! I’ll kick your ass if you ever try it!!!” He looked her dead in the eyes and would not even let her break eye contact with him. She could only look back into his blue eyes and she saw anger of course. She also saw terror and hurt, she saw tears welling up in his eyes, and behind all of that, such a deep love that absolutely could not be denied. The tears that welled up in his eyes mirrored the tears that welled up in her own. The sight of this intense mutually shared emotion touched Cannes deeply. Just before she broke down crying, she was moved to say this to him.
“I’m sorry, babe.” She’s beginning to sob as she’s saying this. “I just don’t know what to do. I mean, this is so new to me…I’ve never experienced such misery…and such anxiety and confusion…It’s just too overwhelming to me, and I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I’m scared, babe!! I’m so fucking scared…Baby…”
The two of them broke down in each other’s arms. “Babe…” Clay began, “This is so not like you. This isn’t the same girl who raped Jarvis Gonzales to punish him when he tried to rape you!” And then he began to kiss her tears off her cheeks.
“Please let me help you, Cannes. Please don’t shut me out.”
In the end it was Stella who saved Cannes from all the nighttime insulin attacks.
How many nights in a row was it that Cannes had been losing sleep, for fuck’s sake? She was so fatigued from enduring these episodes night after night that she couldn’t be bothered to keep track. In any case it was really getting to her. There was no point even contemplating suicide now, after Stella and Clay read her the riot act that one night. She was so depressed at this point, all she could do is gawk at the mirror with tears in her eyes.
It was during one such moment that Stella calmly entered the bathroom. She needed a leak really bad and luckily for her the door was at least slightly ajar. So she relieved herself and as she did she couldn’t help but notice the state her sister was in. How obvious it was that this once self-assured bad girl of Magmaville was degenerating into a zombified train wreck in front of her eyes. It reminded Stella of the many nights she endured the insulin attacks, and it took her awhile to learn what to do about that. So she took pity on her younger sister as she wiped herself off and flushed.
She stepped up to the sink in front of the bathroom mirror where Cannes stood weeping, and washed her hands thoroughly. Then taking her sister’s hands, began washing them as well. She took a clean towel and dried both pairs of hands and then set the towel down on the counter. Stella then reached for her glucose testing kit, unzipped the black case and drew out the meter, the lancing device, the sharps, and the vial of strips. The sharp was secured in to the tip of the lancing device, then the shield cap was twisted off, and the lancer cap was screwed back on. As she prepared to test her sister’s blood, she hummed an old Cure tune – Boys Don’t Cry. She inserted the strip into the meter, took hold of Cannes’ left hand as she sobbed, and placed the tip of the capped lancer on her sister’s index finger. Then she pressed the button on the lancer that released the tip of the lancet needle into Cannes’ flesh. At this, Cannes let out an “Ow!” between her sobs. But Stella continued humming as she squeezed a drop of blood with which to feed the waiting strip. Within seconds Stella stopped humming and let out a short whistle very similar to the way Donald Sutherland whistled in the film M.A.S.H. at the sight of the reading she got: 54!!!
“Oooy!” I might add that she showed Cannes the meter and the reading it displayed with a tsk tsk tsk. With that, Stella turned off the meter, put her right arm around Cannes shoulders and led her out of the bathroom and into the living room. There she sat Cannes on the sofa and headed towards the kitchen.
It was a small but impressive feast that Stella prepared for her sister. A couple of sheets of graham crackers and a Hershey bar had almost a tablespoon of peanut butter smeared between them. This was a variation of a S’more with the peanut butter in place of the cooked marshmallow. The bitch needs her protein, too, after all. Additionally, she found a couple of oatmeal raisin cookies and a glass of vanilla soymilk.
While Stella prepared the snack plate, Cannes absentmindedly turned on the television. The movie Animal House was being aired on whatever channel it was left on the last time anyone bothered to watch anything on it. The scene where the Delta House brothers arrived at this blacks only nightclub was playing out and Otis Day and The Knights were performing “Shamalama Ding Dong…hit it!” on the small screen.
“If you ever want to get a full night’s sleep again, you’ll eat every single bite!” Stella informed Cannes as she set the plate of snacks in front of her. “Trust me on this; time and time again this has saved my life and my sanity…at least what would pass for that.” With that, Stella returned to the bathroom to do a glucose check on herself, to see if maybe she was low enough to justify preparing a similar happy feast for herself.
So Cannes just decided, “Fuck it.” and began to eat.
By the time Stella got a reading of about 85 from her own blood, and returned to the kitchen to put together a plateful of the same kinds of food for herself, Cannes was starting to feel a whole lot better after eating one of the two cookies, half the “s’more” and drinking all of the soymilk.
Returning with a plateful of food, Stella sat besides her sister and began to eat. Only a couple of bites into the cookie she began to talk. “Y’know, you wouldn’t be the first to have been left feeling suicidal by this dread disease. I tell ya, “ She then took a bite of her “s’more,” “If it isn’t the extremes in the b.s., and note that I’m not just referring to the blood sugar levels, either, it’s the mixed messages that you get from society…” Another bite and then, “They want you to keep the weight down, but when you take the insulin you end up gaining the weight. And then, stupid peer pressure…” She then paused to take a sip of soymilk, “they say, stop taking the insulin and you won’t get fat. Which is really stupid because even though you do lose the weight, you start drinking like a fish and pissing like a horse.” She then followed that with a bite of a cookie.
“Talk about being shoved between a rock and a hard place. Maybe it was a mistake not to set all the sick people among us adrift on an empty raft…like they did in the old days.” Stella took in more soymilk and added, “I’d’ve at least had some time to think…without all these other idiots getting in my way.”
At that Stella heard a light snore and turned to Cannes. A little more than half way through the plate of food and already Cannes was sound asleep. Stella shrugged and continued to watch Animal House while she finished her snacks.
“This is a good night.” She thought to herself. She had to admit, after all the years of being rescued by Cannes, it was a nice change of pace to be the hero for once. It was the least she could do anyway.
About a couple of weeks later…
The night started out wonderfully enough. Clay and Cannes had been practically devouring and savoring each other for about at least a good 45 minutes before the two of them had climaxed together. Then they napped for about an hour or so. After that Cannes woke up feeling very aroused and wanting seconds. She cuddled up to Clay and began caressing him in his sleep. His eyes opened, and he began returning the caresses to her as they began to kiss each other. It wasn’t long at all before Clay became aroused by the foreplay, and each and every touch took on a greater urgency.
Ten minutes into it, as Clay was penetrating her while she gave him a hickey at the base of his neck, Cannes began to feel a spike come on. A rush of adrenaline coursed through her veins, and although the two of them had been working up a sweat during the course of their lovemaking, the absence of sufficient amounts of glucose made her sweat all the more. Cannes tried to ignore this, and continued to move to the rhythm they had generated together.
But the spike was coming on far too fast, and at the mercy of her own desire and Clay’s she could do nothing about it.
“Oh God…Clay…” She began.
“That’s it, baby; say my name again.” Clay whispered back. Since her choice of words was common during their coitus, he saw no cause for alarm.
“Clay…I…” was as far as she got before she suddenly went unconscious and limp in her lovers’ arms.
At that point, Clay suddenly stopped. It would’ve made sense for her to pass out had she been drinking. But she prefers to make love when she’s sober so that she can remember how good it feels to make love. That she passed out so quickly after waking up and wanting more alarmed him.
“Cannes…Cannes…Wake up baby! Wake up!! Cannes!!” Clay gently slapped her cheeks to arouse her out of unconsciousness, calling a little louder each time…to no avail. She was suddenly dead weight in his arms.
He let her fall back on the bed, switched the lamp on, and reached for his cell phone to call 911.
The ambulance rushed Cannes to Magma County General Hospital. She had lapsed into a coma. She had simply forgotten to get something to eat before making love to Clay a 2nd time and her glucose levels went dangerously low because of that.
As she lay on the hospital bed, Clay and Richard Yossarian were seated beside her and facing each other. Of course Richard wanted to know how this happened.
“One minute we were making love, and the next minute she passed out!”
“Didn’t she ask to stop so that she could get something to eat or drink?” Richard was too familiar with this kind of health issue not to ask the right questions.
Clay sighed. “No, she was feeling me up as I was sleeping!”
“Okay, let’s see if I got this straight; you two were going at it for awhile, then you both slept for a bit, and then she woke up wanting more without bothering to take care of herself beforehand. So did she try to stop you or say anything when she started spiking?”
“She only said, ‘Oh God, Clay..’ right before she passed out cold.” Clay teared up. He felt terrible to have misunderstood what Cannes was trying to say.
Richard wanted to be angry, but instead he was impressed. “Damn, boy! You’re good!” was all he could say.
As Clay sat by the hospital bed waiting for Cannes to emerge from her coma, a potentially terrifying thought ran through his head: How was he going to explain all that peanut butter smeared on her bedsheets back at the house?
Back at the Yossarian “Mansion”, Janet and Richard were looking at the sheets. Oddly, instead of being outraged and upset to think that their daughter of all people (* gasp! *) would be into that sort of thing, the sight of the peanut butter stains invoked the spirits of coitus past. Evidently, the two of them enjoyed dining off each others’ body parts from time to time themselves. And yet, Richard couldn’t help but wonder how it was – as much peanut butter might’ve been eaten between the two of them – that their girl had even lapsed into a hypoglycemic coma at all.
“The only thing I can think of,” Janet offered, “is that there probably wasn’t enough peanut butter to go around…especially considering how much of it Stella eats every night.
“She eats it with a Hershey bar and graham crackers, though.”
“Yes, well by the time the two of them may’ve thought to experiment with it, they might’ve had to scrape the sides of the jar.” Janet pointed out.
“Oh, come on, woman! Stella doesn’t make that much of a pig of herself. She certainly doesn’t look as if she does at all!”
“Sooner or later we’d run low on peanut butter regardless of whether Cannes would start getting any funny ideas or not.”
Stella had been in the room with her parents and was really getting outraged and not about the fact that they were completely out of peanut butter, either.
“For fuck’s sake, you guys, would you listen to yourselves?!? A member of our family is lying in a coma, and you two are talking about peanut butter!!!”
Richard got the message. He sighed, “You’re right…you’re absolutely fucking right, sweetheart. Why don’t I feel like kicking his ass for this? I didn’t think I was that weird!”
“She could’ve died, after all.”
“He did man up and called the ambulance and alerted us to this emergency instead of plowing away at her while she was passed out cold, though. It’s possible that he saved her life, that he values her more than great sex.” Janet pointed out.
“Well, besides that, this hits a little too close to home considering our own erotic experiments over the years. It’d be a bit like trying to kick my own ass, wouldn’t it.” Richard added.
“God, tell me about it, you animal!” Janet replied. She couldn’t help wickedly grinning at that.
“Anyway, if we were to lower the boom on him, she’d just rebel and the two of them would just sneak around behind our backs…like we did after you broke up with that football guy.” Richard pointed out.
“Unless she decides she hates his guts after she comes to.”
“We’ll have to leave it up to her, I suppose. She’s a grown woman and has to learn from her own mistakes. Let’s hope this one doesn’t kill her.”
“What the fuck am I doing in a hospital, babe?”
Cannes had come to at last. She must’ve been in a coma for about 2 hours at least.
“You went comatose on me while we were screwing.”
“Damn! I really didn’t wanna stop!”
“I know! Fucking horndog here, I’m surprised you didn’t kill me!!”
“God, this is embarrassing!”
“I’m never gonna fuck you on an empty stomach again!”
Cannes sat up, and eyed her boo quizzically. “Are you mad at me?”
“Fuck yeah, I’m mad! Damn near dropping dead on me in the middle of it!!”
“Aw, you poor man! You didn’t get to finish!”
“Aaah, shut up!”
“Hey…c’mon, babe…” Cannes said, consolingly. “Let me make it up to you. It was probably my fault anyway.” Then she put her arms around him to hug him. He didn’t push her away, thank God, coz she’d’ve felt really bad if he’d done that.
“Besides…” she added, praying she wouldn’t be walking on eggshells with him for the rest of her life, “You saved my life, didn’t you. I owe you that much.”
Clay decided not to be pissed off any more, and the two of them kissed…
And then they started screwing right there on the hospital bed.