“Maxmillan, well this is new. First time you’re in here to see me for a concussion consult huh? How are you feeling?” asked the woman with a stethoscope around her neck.
“Hey Doc, long time no see! Uh-oh, besides my Mother, you’re the only one who calls me Maxmillan, which, makes me believe I might be in a world of trouble?” Max chuckled.
“But to answer your question, I’ve got a bit of a headache going on, and I’m feeling a little dizzy and out of it, and really drained. But I guess getting knocked around does that to you right?”
“I’m not sure if you’re comparing me to your mother now…in which case I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, or, if you’re insulting me and indirectly telling me to live my age, or the third and final option, if that’s a compliment Maxmillan.” Replied the good Doctor with a smirk.
“Okay, okay, jokes aside, time to discuss the real reason you’re here. That was quite a beating you took over there Max. You can’t laugh off the pain and injuries as being part of the game. This time around it’s a tad more serious than the other times Max. Not only was this your first knockout in the ring, but you also lost consciousness…. sure it was for a few minutes but, it’s still something that needs to be addressed. You know how I feel about fight nights and the constant harm you put yourself in.”
She threw a pointed look his way emphasizing her point.
“Well, this lecture can wait another day. Getting back to the matter at hand, my initial assessment from the information I received and from what you’re telling me indicates that you possibly have a concussion. In anyone that loses consciousness or passes out, the next 24-48 hours are very crucial. I need to know if you lose consciousness again; if you have any episodes of nausea and vomiting during that time period; if there’s any change in sensation or movement in your body…you know if anything gets numb or weak or you feel any sort of a tingling sensation. Is there anyone that can stay with you and watch you for that time period?”
“Doc it can’t be that serious, can it? I mean I have to get back into that ring, there’s no time for silly injuries and issues like this. I’m sure it’s nothing that a few pain pills and bed-rest can’t fix. Do I really have to be away for 2 weeks? And, well, yeah if I tell Mia then she’ll be there for the next 24-48 hours following all your instructions to the T…that much I can guarantee.” Max replied.
“Do you want to actually compete in the future? Or do you want to call quits on your career right now? Like I said, you need to be out of commission for 2 weeks because you possibly have a concussion. Do you know what a concussion is? You do know that your brain kind of got shaken and stirred from all those blows from that fight right? The only way you can get back out on that ring is if I clear you and declare you’re medically fit to return. And I can assure you Max, if you don’t listen to any of my medical advice I will not clear you, and remember, I’m your official team physician, so my medical advice and opinion with regards to your health matters.” The good Doctor replied rather solemnly.
5 years later…
“Funny I’m back in here again Doc.” Max states rather somberly.
With a sigh the Doctor responds, “Max there’s nothing funny about this anymore. Things are getting worse, you’re not taking care of yourself and I cannot give you the clearance to continue. You have to retire, there is no other way around this. This is the only way to save your life dammit.”
“But Doc, who said anything about being or staying alive? I haven’t been alive in a very long time. The only time I ever feel alive anymore and have the time of my life, is when I’m in that ring fighting.” He chuckles miserably.
“Life as I knew it ended a long time ago, and there’s no way it’s ever coming back. You and I both know this.”
“Dammit Maxmillan! I’ve had enough of this stupid pity party of yours, both as a Doctor and as someone who knows you and cares about you. Stop doing this to yourself. Usually people after going through what you went through turn to drinking or some other habit, you’ve just been on a downward spiral of crazy fights and innumerable injuries. Why are you punishing yourself, when there is absolutely nothing to be punished for?! Hell if all it takes is a word from her, then I’ll call her right now and we can fix this. No problem in this world comes without a solution, and we will find one for this as well. Please Max, you have to understand, the more KO’s and more episodes of you losing consciousness, and your faculties, the closer you are to death’s door.” She explained exasperatedly.
“I know, and you know what Mack?” Max replied in a steely voice, with a tone of finality.
“I’ve made my peace with it.”
Back to the moment from 5 years ago
“Just how much trouble am I in? Has she been waiting long? And most importantly….How much does she know?” came the rapid fire of questions from Max.
“Max you know they show reruns right? You know there’s a TV back there…so it’s inevitable that she would have caught some of that. Or better yet, if Tim is in there, there’s a supremely good chance she got the entire breakdown and play by play of the fight… considering how he can’t avoid answering her questions.” Came the response.
“Oh man, come on! The Universe definitely hates me.” Groaned Max in response.
“Well… If anything, say a prayer for me mate. Time to meet my maker. At least I know who will be the end of me, and I’m totally okay with that.” Chuckled Max, on his way in to the locker room.
He inhales deeply, exhales, and, proceeds to knock the door.
‘This is so strange that I have to knock my own door before going in.’ muttered Max to himself, before entering.
With an apologetic smile on his face, Max enters the room
“I come bearing gifts…well mainly myself and I come in peace, so please don’t open fire of any sort, verbal, physical, emotional or otherwise. I think we can both agree on the physical fire being more than enough for 1 day right?” Max stumbles through his attempt at starting a conversation…quite miserably.
He’s met with a frigid silence… only to be followed up with a tone of voice that sounds calm, yet terrifyingly detached and dripping with uncontainable fury… asking him one simple question.
“How long were you out for?”
Max fidgets with his hair, looks down at his feet, rubs the back of his neck and sighs heavily before he says,
“A few minutes? I don’t know? I wasn’t told how long I was out for, just that I had passed out after that KO.”
Upon saying that, he takes a chance and looks up at Mia, expecting the unexpected.
“You don’t know… I see.” Came back the calm response.
‘Uh-oh Max. Well done, which idiot says I don’t know?! You just had to say that didn’t you? Now deal with this shit-fit.’ He thought, if not groaned to himself.
“Well…I didn’t really ask them. I mean it felt like I was out for a few seconds, max a few minutes. It wasn’t serious or anything, I mean I remembered my name, your name, pertinent phone numbers and addresses. That counts for something right?” Max tried to salvage the situation as helplessly as he could.
“How the hell is that even an explanation for your stupidity?! How can you not ask them how long you passed out for? Do you know what the implications of that could be? You could have had a bleed in your brain; you could have had something serious happen. What if you never woke up again? Would you be as bloody blasé about this as you are now?! Did you even think about how this would affect everyone you know? How it would affect me?! I wasn’t even there to watch your fight, and imagine if I had to find out from Tim that you’d never wake up again!” she spewed question after question his way.
“And don’t you even dare think of telling me to calm down.”
Following her explosion of anger and concern, a silence descends upon the two of them.
“I’m sorry Mia, I really am. It’s just the nature of the game though. This is what I’ve trained for all my life; this is what I’ve pushed myself towards all my life, and if anything it’s the one thing that’s pushed me ahead all my life too. You know things haven’t been easy for me, you knew this is what I wanted to get into…”
He’s met with a fierce glare upon uttering those lines.
“Shit, wait, let me backtrack, this isn’t how it sounded in my head. Okay, okay, listen, what I’m trying to say is that I’ve never had to think about dealing with this sort of a situation before, because I’ve never been in such a situation before. This whole passing out thing, the seriousness and implications associated with it didn’t even cross my mind, because I’ve never been in that position before. Yes, I mean we’re all taught about concussions and it’s effects, but I guess unless it happens to you, you can’t really prepare yourself for it. It’s not like catching a cold where you’re all like ‘Oh yeah so that’s what I have.’ You know?” Max desperately tries to explain.
As he keeps talking to Mia, he draws closer to her. He’s holding his hands up, in that universal sign of approaching with peace and caution.
“I’m sorry that I scared the bejesus out of you. That was not my intention. I know you hate that fighting is where my heart’s set. But honey, this is what I signed up for, I knew the risks and I know I’m really really good at this. Trust me, everything is okay. Nothing is going to happen, well especially not when Mack’s my Doctor. She’ll bring me back to life just to rip me to pieces if need be.” He chuckles.
“There’s a reason Mack and I get along very very well. If anything, that’s the only credit I can give you…you have excellent taste in women Maxmillan.” Mia replies, a watery chuckle slipping out of her.
At least the tension of the moment has been relieved.
“Oh man, not you too Mia. What is up with you people calling me Maxmillan!?!” groaned Max.
“That is your name, isn’t it?” retorted Mia.
Max mumbles and grumbles incomprehensible mutterings and musings.
“Fine, whatever. Can we go home now? Mack has instructions for you; I’ll fill you in on the way. Unless, she hasn’t already emailed or texted you with her set of instructions. My head hurts, my body hurts, my eyes just want to shut down on their own volition. I just want to get some sleep please?” Max states with the best puppy dog expression he can muster.
Mia rolls her eyes before responding.
“Yes Mack already sent me a list of things to watch out for. But I want you to go through whatever instructions she gave you, just to be sure there’s nothing I miss out on.”
She rises to her tiptoes and plants a tender kiss on Max’s forehead, which she follows through by wrinkling her nose.
“Yeah hotshot, you definitely need a shower too. Let’s go home you big baby.”
“Hey watch who you’re calling a big baby. Why don’t you go a few rounds with ‘Hulk’ over there and then come back and tell me how you feel?” Max mumbled to himself.
With that, they slipped their hands into each other’s and headed off to the parking lot to finally head home, after quite an eventful day.