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In the Blood

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In the Blood |

‘Sit on the bed with me,’ I say.

We sit down together and he looks very worried.

‘There’s something I haven’t told you. I know I should have done. I know it’s huge, but you’re the first person who’s close to me that hasn’t taken pity on me, that hasn’t wrapped me up and suffocated me. I wanted it to last a bit longer.’

‘What is it?’ He actually looks terrified now.

I take his hand. ‘I have a heart condition.’

His face grows very serious. ‘What sort of condition?’

‘I have a weak heart. I’m not allowed to get too excited or do anything even remotely stimulating or it could kill me.’

‘What? What’s your diagnosis?’

‘That’s it. What I just told you. I have a weak heart.’

‘Well, what’s caused it? What are they doing about it? You need to tell me everything.’

‘It’s just a weak heart. I’m just unlucky. I have to take these pills.’

I get the little tub out of my bag and David takes it from me.

‘Penny, these have nothing to do with your heart. What are you taking these for?’

‘What are you talking about? They’ve been prescribed for me. They’re for my heart. They keep me calm; keep my heartbeat steady.’

‘Yeah, they’ll keep you calm all right. You realise what the active ingredient is, don’t you?’

I shake my head.

‘This isn’t heart medication. They’re inhibitors. They’re like anti-depressants. They control your mood. Yes, they’ll steady your heart, but not because you have a defect. They affect your brain.’

‘What?’ I can’t believe what I’m hearing. ‘No. No.’

‘How long have you been taking them for?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘How long?’

‘About four years.’

‘Four years?’ He stands up and paces the room. ‘I need to know everything, Penny. I need to know exactly what’s been happening with you. For starters, who the hell told you to take these?’

I hesitate for a moment, before meekly replying, ‘My GP.’

‘Your GP?’ He stops in his tracks and glares at me. I feel like I’ve done something really wrong. This is awful.

‘I was told to take one a day or I could die,’ I say, feeling the desperate need to defend myself.

Still with his ferocious face, he shoves the tablets in his jeans pocket. ‘I would never normally advise anyone to just stop taking drugs like these. They’re so strong, you really should be weaned off them. But you are not letting another one of these drugs pass your lips until we get you checked out. Properly. By someone I trust.’

‘What are you going to do?’

‘Penny, these tablets have been controlling your mood not your heart. So the first thing we need to do is find out if there really is something wrong with your heart. Either you’ve been given totally incorrect medicine, which is highly dangerous...’

He looks gloomy and I feel my heartbeat quicken as if it’s trying to tell me something. ‘Or?’ I nudge.

‘Or someone is trying to keep you sedated.’

This is an extract from my novel In the Blood

© Lindsay Woodward 2021-05-06


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