Sunday, July 14, 2019

Two Days in Myeloma - A Short Screenplay

                                                                                                                                     FADE IN:

EXT. PARKING KIOSK AT THE ENTRANCE OF A PARKING STRUCTURE
A car pulls up to the kiosk. The window goes down. From the driver’s point of view, an attendant slides open a window on the kiosk and leans out.

ATTENDANT
Good morning. It’ll be five dollars.

DRIVER
Here you go.
Hands over a card.

ATTENDANT
Will you be coming back tomorrow?
DRIVER
Tomorrow no? Friday, yes.
ATTENDANT
Sorry, if you were coming back tomorrow, it’d be 8 dollars for the two days.
DRIVER
Oh well.
ATTENDANT
Receipt?
DRIVER
Sure.

The attendant hands back the card and a receipt.

ATTENDANT
Have a blessed day.

The gate opens and the car pulls into the structure. It’s early enough in the day that his usual parking spot is available. It’s a corner spot on the second level, near the stairs. 

INT. PARKING LOT STAIRWELL
Matt is rushing down the stairs. A couple of years back he couldn’t make it down the stairs at all, too weak and too shaky. He makes a mental note that catching a deep breath on this day is a bit more challenging than usual.

INT. EXAM ROOM
Matt sits and looks at his phone. On the chair next to him is his hat and sweatshirt. He’s already weighed in and had blood pressure taken. There’s a gentle knock on the door. The doctor walks in, holding an open laptop in his hand. He has a serious look on his face.

MATT
Why the glum look doctor?
DR PHAN
Have you seen your lab results yet?
MATT
Um, nope. Usually I do, but not this month.

Dr Phan sits down across from Matt. He places his lap top on a small rolling table. He rolls the table so Matt can see.

DR PHAN
Ok, well look. A couple of things have changed.
MATT
Uh oh. Really?
DR PHAN
Yeah, see you creatinine? It’s gone up. And your m spike has gone up. How are you feeling?
MATT
Well, I’ve been more tired than usual. And the other day on a walk up the hills of Signal Hill, I had difficulty getting deep breaths. Kind of like when I first diagnosed.
DR PHAN
When did you do your IVIG? There’s no literature to support this, but my theory is the  IVIG can impact the efficacy of darzalex.

(IVIG is an infusion of immunoglobulins to help boost a patient’s immune system.) 

MATT
Well, I did only half the IVIG dosage last week, since there is a shortage. Seems like no one wants to donate anymore. But, you know,  I did labs before I did the IVIG.
DR PHAN
Well, we may want to start thinking about changing things up.
MATT
Yeah, I’ve been on darzalex for over two and a half years. Longest I’ve been on any drug.
DR PHAN
That’s a while.
MATT
Definitely I’ve been on cruise control.
DR PHAN
Well let’s do this. Don’t do another IVIG. Do your darzalex this Friday, then we’ll check your labs and see what’s up.
MATT
Fair enough.
DR PHAN
What else is going on?
MATT
I took a ceramics class. Here let me show you.

Matt grabs his phone and searches for photos of his ceramics projects. He hands the phone to Dr Phan.
DR PHAN
Nice. I wish I had time for something creative. What about the guitar?
MATT
It’s on my list.
DR PHAN
All right, well keep me posted. I’ll see you next month.

EXT. MARINE MAMMAL RESCUE - LATER THE SAME DAY

Matt is dressed in large waterproof overalls and knee high boots. He walks out of a pen, carrying an empty container. Inside the pen are sea lions, eating fish. Matt walks in to the break room.

INT. BREAK ROOM
Matt goes to locker and grabs his phone. He walks to a chair and sits and dials.

MATT
Hi, this is Matt, I’m wondering if I can get in to see Dr Berenson this week.
RECEPTIONIST
Sorry he’s busy all week.
MATT
He doesn’t have anything for a quick visit?
RECEPTIONIST
Afraid not. Plus he is leaving early Wednesday and Thursday, so he is jam packed.
MATT
Argh. Ok thanks.

Matt hangs up. He dials another number.

MATT (CONT’D)
Hey.
LESLIE
Hi. What’s up.
MATT
Can you do me a favor?
LESLIE
Sure
MATT
Call Susan at Berenson’s office and see if she can squeeze me in this week. I haven’t see him in a while and I think I should.
LESLIE
Yeah, let me check.
MATT
Plus. If he has anything, also see if we can get in to the kidney doctor the same day.
LESLIE
Will do. I’ll let you know.

EXT. PARKING LOT OUTSIDE MARINE MAMMAL RESCUE - EVENING
Matt is walking to his car. He makes a call as he walks.

MATT
Hello. I’m done.
LESLIE
Cool. Long day.
MATT
Yep, lots of animals here right now.
LESLIE
I talked to Susan and she was able to fit you in at noon tomorrow. And Dr Froch also had an opening tomorrow.
MATT
Perfect, thanks.

INT. EXAM ROOM - THE NEXT DAY
Matt and Leslie sit and wait for Dr Berenson. They can hear him outside the closed door, talking and walking back and forth, giving direction to his nurses and offering positive messages to other patients. Dr Berenson then enters the room, followed by a young scribe with a laptop on rolling table.

BERENSON
Good morning, good morning. How are we doing?
MATT
Pretty good, pretty good.
BERENSON
Hey, I like your shoes.
LESLIE
Ah thanks. Converse.
BERENSON
So what’s going on? Your labs all look good.
MATT
Um, really? Dr Phan thought he saw some changes.
BERENSON
Hmm. I don’t see it. How are you feeling?
MATT
A little more tired lately.
LESLIE
A lot more tired lately. He’s taking daily naps.
MATT
That’s true. And it takes a while to wake up from the naps.
BERENSON
Well, everything looks fine.
MATT
Even my creatinine and m spike?
BERENSON
Yeah, they’re up a bit, but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.

Dr Berenson turns to the young scribe.

BERENSON (CONT’D)
You should have seen this guy when he first came in. How long ago was it?
MATT
8 years.
BERENSON
He was in horrible shape. We had to really get creative to save his life.
Berenson turns back to Matt and Leslie
BERENSON (CONT’D)
Listen, you’re doing great. Let’s not change a thing.

EXT. TREE LINED STREET - DAY
Matt and Leslie are walking down a steep hill to where the car is parked.

MATT
Well, that’s confusing. Talk about two different messages.
LESLIE
Sure is. I guess you just do your treatment and we’ll see what labs look like next month.
MATT
I guess so. Sheesh, that’s the thing with this fucking disease. It’s such a mind game.

They arrive at Matt’s car. Screen fades to black. A message is displayed: To be continued.
FADE OUT.


2 comments:

  1. Did Matt & Leslie see the nephrologist?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Matt, I love this. You capture the bewildering world of living with myeloma and all of its vagaries plus you might have found your next calling: screenwriter! Keep on writing. Aurelie

    ReplyDelete

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