Appendicitis

“Mom?”

As Daria woke up, she could barely make out the shape of Quinn sitting on the edge of her bed. “Quinn? What's going on?”

“I don't feel well.”

Daria sat up, turned on the lamp, and put her glasses on. Quinn never complained about how she felt. If she said she didn’t feel well something was definitely wrong. As she focused she saw that Quinn definitely looked bad. “Quinn. What’s wrong?”

“My stomach hurts.”

Daria looked at her. She definitely looked bad. When she came home from school she didn’t look right but when Daria asked all she said was she figured was lunch hadn’t agreed with her and went to her room. When she checked on Quinn later she said she felt better so she went on with her business and left Quinn alone. Now it seems she should have been a little more curious. She moved closer to her.

“Do you mind if I look?”

Quinn sighed. “I guess not.”

Daria reached down to lift Quinn’s shirt. As she grabbed the hem she accidentally touched her stomach. When she made contact Quinn let out a scream. That was all the information Daria needed.  Standing up, she looked at her daughter.

“Stay here. I’ll be back in a second.”

After she left the room, Quinn laid down on the bed. A minute later she saw Daria come back with a pair of shoes and her robe. Handing them to her, Daria said. “Sit up and put these on. We need to get going.”

Quinn looked at her mother and asked, “Where?”

“The hospital.” Daria said.

Daria was normally a safe driver but that night she ignored several traffic laws. Her little girl was hurting and she wanted it to stop quickly. The pair made it to the hospital in record time. Luckily it was a slow time in the emergency room and they were taken to an examination room immediately. A few minutes later a doctor came in.

“Hello. I’m Dr. Morton. What seems to be the problem?”

Daria spoke up.

“Quinn says her stomach hurts.”

Walking over to Quinn, Dr. Morton said, “Well let’s see if we can find out what’s wrong. Quinn, would you lay down please?”

Quinn lay back on the exam table. Dr. Morton raised the lower part of her shirt and touched her abdomen. As she winced in pain he got a good idea of what the problem was. He did a few other checks and made his diagnosis. He looked at Daria.

“Mrs. Morgendorffer?”

“Ms.” Daria said.

Dr. Morton corrected himself, “Sorry. Ms. Morgendorffer. Would you come with me please?”

When they both were in the hallway, Dr. Morton looked her.

“Ms. Morgendorffer. Quinn has appendicitis.”

Daria figured that was the problem but hoped she would be wrong.

“How serious is it?”

“I’m afraid if we don’t do something soon it could rupture.”

“You mean surgery. Don’t you?”

Nodding, Dr. Morton said, “Yes. And the sooner the better.”

“How soon?”

“I’ll call up to surgery. The room can be ready to go by the time the surgeon gets in. At most it would be an hour.”

Daria arched her eyebrows.

“That soon?”

“She looks really bad. The faster we get her into surgery the better things will be. Do we have your consent?”

Daria looked down and said, “Go ahead. I’ll talk to Quinn.”

Dr. Morton nodded. “Very good.”

As he went to make the arrangements, Daria went to talk to Quinn. She explained what was happening and tried to reassure Quinn this was a routine procedure and she would be fine. She just wished she felt as comfortable with this as she hoped she sounded. She didn’t want to make Quinn nervous. It wasn’t necessary. Quinn felt so bad she would have agreed to have everything below the neck amputated if that would ease how she felt right then.

When they took Quinn up to surgery, Daria was led off to sign some paperwork. After she finished she realized she needed to call her parents. Reaching into her bag she got out the phone and dialed their number.

Jake and Helen made it to the hospital about as fast as Daria had. When got to the waiting area Daria stood up and hugged them both. As they separated Helen looked at Daria.

“Have they said anything yet?”

Daria shook her head.

“Not yet. The nurse assured me they’d let us know the minute they’re done.”

Jake looked at the two women.

“So what do we do in the meantime?”

Daria sat on the couch.

“The only thing we can do. Wait.”

The three sat there for what seemed like an eternity. Finally a doctor came out. Walking up to Daria, he asked. “Ms. Morgendorffer?”

Daria stood up.

“Yes?”

“I’m Dr. Willis. I performed the surgery on your daughter.”

“So how is she?”

Dr. Willis smiled.

“She’s fine. She went through the procedure with no complications.”

“Thank heavens.” Helen said.

Dr. Willis spoke up again. “However it was a good thing you got her here when you did. Her appendix was so inflamed had you waited much longer it would have ruptured.”

Daria looked at Dr. Willis.

“So when can we see her?”

“Soon. She’s in recovery for the moment but we’ll be moving her to a room before too long. If you like, you can wait for her there.”

Daria looked at her parents and then at Dr. Willis.

“Yes. We'd like that. Thank you doctor.”

Dr. Willis smiled. “My pleasure. Don’t worry she’ll be fine. I’ll check in later.”

All three went to the room and waited for Quinn to arrive. After a while they wheeled her in. She was still unconscious but to Daria she already looked better. When Daria saw Quinn the effects of all the earlier chaos finally caught up with her and she started to pass out from exhaustion. Luckily Jake caught her and managed to get her to a chair.

“Kiddo. Are you okay?”

“Sorry Dad. I'm just tired.”

Helen spoke.

“With all the stress of the past few hours it’s no wonder. Why don’t you go home and get some rest? Jake will drive. When Quinn wakes up we’ll call you.”

Daria looked at her mother.

“No Mom. I want to stay here. I don’t want her waking up in a strange place and not know where I am.”

Helen smiled.

“Fine dear. In the meantime just try to get some rest.”

Looking up at her mother from the chair, Daria said, “Okay.” and dozed off. Eventually her slumber was interrupted by a familiar voice asking for her.

“Mom?”

Daria opened her eyes. For a second she didn't know where she was but soon reality jogged her memory. She sat up and looked at her daughter.

“Quinn? Are you alright?”

As soon as she asked she realized how silly the question was. She had just come out of surgery a few hours ago. How could she feel?

Quinn looked at Daria.

“I still hurt a little but not like before. I guess the doctor did everything okay.”

Daria walked over and sat next to her. Taking Quinn’s hand, Daria smiled and said, “He said you came through fine.”

Helen interrupted. “Dr. Willis came in a few minutes ago to check on you. He said everything looked normal.”

Quinn looked at her grandma then at Daria.

“So when can I leave? I want to go home.”

Daria shrugged her shoulders.

“I don't know but I doubt it will be today. You just had surgery. That takes a little time to get over.”

Although still groggy, Quinn managed to give her mom a cross look.

Daria smiled again, and said, “I’ll ask the doctor the next time he comes around.”

Suddenly Daria looked at a clock.

“Oh no. I’m late for work. I have to let them know I won’t be in today.”

Jake put his hand on her shoulder.

“Don’t worry about that. I called them while you were asleep. They said not to worry. Just stay here and take care of Quinn.”

Daria looked at Jake. For all his supposed cluelesness he really seemed to pull through when she needed him. Smiling at him she said, “Thanks Dad.”

“No problem.”

As they sat there another doctor came in the room.

“Ms. Morgendorffer?”

Daria turned to see who was addressing her.

“Dr. Morton?”

“Sorry to interrupt but my shift is over and before going home I thought I’d check in and see how Quinn was doing.”

“That’s nice.” Daria thought. Looking at him she said, “She came through just fine. Hopefully she’ll be back to her normal self soon”

Dr. Morton chuckled.

“I’m sure she will. Well I’ll see you later.”

As he left both Daria and Quinn said, “Goodbye.”

Over the next few days things settled into a routine. Daria went by the hospital before work and stayed until late in the evenings. When she wasn’t there Jake and Helen filled the gaps. It wasn’t too long before Quinn was back at home to finish her recovery.

Daria sat at the desk in her home office. The craziness of the past few days had let her get behind on a few things. Now that Quinn was back home she hoped she could sort this stuff out pretty fast. As she started opening envelopes the phone rang. Picking up the receiver she said, “Hello.”

“Dr. Morton? How can I help you?”

“Yes Quinn's fine. I’d like to thank you for checking on Quinn every day. That was very nice.”

“You’re welcome.”

“That’s not the only reason you called?”

“Oh.”

“Isn’t that a violation of your oath?”

“Oh right. Quinn was your patient.”

“I’ll have to think about that.”

“Okay. Let me get a pen.”

She grabbed her pen and her memo pad. Once she had everything together, she continued.

“What is it?”

After she wrote the information down, she continued.

“If I decide I’ll call you.”

“Yes. Goodbye Dr. Morton.”

“Alright, Stan. I guess you can call me Daria”

“Very well. Bye.”

Hanging up, Daria couldn't believe what just happened. She was amazed that Stan had come by every day Quinn was in the hospital but she thought he was just being a concerned doctor. It turned out he was also interested in her. She couldn’t believe he had asked her out on a date. She wasn’t sure what to do. He was handsome and definitely nice but he had been Quinn’s doctor. This was going to require a little thought.

It didn’t take too long for Quinn to get tired of lying in bed all day. While she took full advantage of her recovery time she preferred a change of scenery during the day. A few days after getting home she was tired of lying in bed all the time and started moving around the house. That afternoon she was sitting at the kitchen table with Daria when the phone rang. She answered it.

“Hello.”

“Oh hi Dr. Morton.”

Daria looked up at Quinn.

“I’m fine thank you.” Quinn continued.

“You want to talk to Mom? Sure.”

As she tried to hand Daria the phone, Quinn said, “It’s Dr. Morton. He wants to ask you something.”

Daria hesitated for a second. She didn’t want to talk to him but he knew she was there. She soon realized she didn’t have a choice and took the phone from Quinn.

“Hello?”

“Hi Stan.”

Quinn looked at her mother. “Stan?” She thought.

“No not yet.” Daria said.

“I just haven’t.”

“Sure When I decide I’ll let you know. Bye”

She hung up the phone and put her head in her hands. Quinn looked at her. “What was that about?” She asked.

“Nothing.” Daria said.

Quinn gave Daria an annoyed look.

“Come on Mom. I'm sixteen I know enough about reading between the lines to know when it’s nothing and that call was something. So what was it about?”

Daria hated telling Quinn. She was always nosy about any of her dates and was sure Quinn would ask a bunch of questions she wasn’t ready to answer. Taking a deep breath, she said, "He asked me out.”

“For a date!?”

Daria nodded.

“Yes.”

“What did you say?”

“I said I hadn’t decided.”

Quinn was shocked. “What! Why Not? He’s cute and he’s nice.”

“Yes but he was also your doctor.” Daria said.

“For about fifteen minutes.”

“Pardon?”

“Dr. Willis was the one who kept sending nurses to jab needles in me. Dr. Morton just came by to say hello. The only thing he did was tell you I had to have an operation.”

Daria hadn't considered that. It was true. He wasn’t her regular Doctor and he didn’t really treat her. Perhaps it would be okay. She looked at Quinn.

“You really don’t have a problem with this?”

Quinn laughed. “You mean with you going out with Dr. Morton? Of course not.”

“Okay. Give me the phone. I’ll be in my office making a call and if I hear you listening in you’ll be back in the hospital seeing Dr. Willis.”

A few days later Daria pulled up to an apartment building. When she found the right apartment she knocked on the door. A second later Stan answered. He looked quite different when dressed as a civilian.

“Very nice.” Daria thought.

Stan smiled.

“Hello Daria. Please come in.”

As she stepped through the door she was shocked at what she saw. Actually the truth was she was shocked at what she didn’t see. There was hardly any furniture. In the living room there was a couch and a stand with a television. In the kitchen area there was a small table with two chairs. Other than that the place had absolutely no furniture.

Without thinking, she blurted out. “Were you robbed?”

Shocked at her rash statement, she put her hand over her mouth in order to keep from saying anything else embarrassing.

He looked at her.

“Pardon?”

She put her hand down.

“I, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say that. I was just shocked at how little furniture you have. I just thought you might have been robbed.”

Stan laughed.

“No it’s nothing like that. I just moved here and this is all the furniture I’ve bought.”

Daria let out a sigh of relief. At least he wasn’t offended. She looked at him and said, “Sorry.”

Still smiling, he said back, “No problem. Now I have a little bad news.”

Daria looked at him suspiciously.

“What is it?”

“I know I promised to cook dinner tonight but I just got off shift and didn’t get to the grocery store so there’s nothing to eat here. Would it be okay with you if we went somewhere instead?”

“That’s it?” she thought. Speaking up, she said, “Sure.”

Picking up his jacket and keys, he looked at her and said, “Great. I know the perfect place. Let’s go.”

The perfect place turned out to be a Mexican restaurant near the city limits. Daria had gone there a few times. The food was always tasty and they did have good service. The hostess seated them and a waiter came by to show them the menu. After they made their choices Daria was the first to speak.

“So you said you just moved here?”

Stan nodded. “Yes. About two months ago.”

This intrigued Daria. “Where were you before that?” She asked.

Leaning back in his chair, he took a sip of his drink and said, “Many places. I was pretty much a vagabond for the past few years. I never stayed anywhere for more than a year.”

Daria looked at him.

“So Lawndale is just another stop? I guess that explains the furniture. You don’t want too much if you’re on the move that much.”

Stan smiled.

“Actually no. Lawndale is my last stop. That's why I’m buying furniture. I got sick of not having any roots.”

Daria arched her eyebrows.

“And you chose Lawndale? Interesting.”

“Lawndale seems pretty nice. And the hospital has been very generous.”

“I’ve heard emergency specialists are in high demand.”

“That's true but I’m not an emergency doctor. I'm a pediatrician.”

“Really? So what were you doing....”

“In emergency? I was filling in that week while they were short handed. I’m back to my normal hours now.” Leaning toward Daria, he said,  “But that's enough about me. Tell me more about yourself. Are you originally from here?”

Daria smiled.

The rest of the date went very well. When they got back to the apartment Daria was shocked to see Stan get out and open her car door. All night he had done things like that. There was no doubt in her mind that he was a gentleman. As he escorted Daria to her car, she spoke up. “I had a good time tonight. Thanks.”

“My pleasure. I had a good time too.” Stan replied.

As they got to her car, both stopped and looked at each other. Once more Daria was the first to speak.

“Well thanks again. I really did enjoy it.”

Stan looked uneasy.

“Sure. Uh. Would it be okay if I called you again sometime?”

Daria nodded.

“Of course.”

This put his mind at ease. Smiling, he said, “Great.”

They looked at each other. Even after all these years it was a tough call what to do next. It was their first date and this moment was always awkward. After a moment, Daria spoke up.

“Well goodnight.”

“Yea goodnight.” Stan said.

“No kiss tonight.” Daria thought.

With that Daria got in her car and drove home. Entering the house, she saw Quinn sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of cocoa.

Quinn put her cup down, looked at her mother and jokingly asked, “So young lady. Do you know what time it is?”

“Very funny Quinn. What are you doing up this late?”

“Waiting for you. So how was it?”

“Nice.”

“So are you going to see him again?”

“Probably.” Daria said.

Suddenly Quinn started grinning and asked, “Did he kiss you goodnight?”

Pointing down the hallway, Daria glared at her daughter and said, “Get to bed right now young lady!”

As the weeks passed Daria and Stan did see more of each other. At first it was a date once or twice a week but soon it turned into a daily occurrence. As they grew to know more about each other they really knew they had something special.

The relationship continued for some time. Eventually they took one of the biggest steps. They met the others family. Stan's parents accepted Daria immediately. They saw how much he cared for her and respected what she had done for Quinn. The Morgendorffers welcomed Stan with open arms. They had met him briefly in the hospital but as they got to know him they became very impressed with his dedication to both his patients and to their daughter and Quinn.

Quinn was the one that everyone was worried about. For ten years it had just been her and Daria. Now here came another rival for her mother’s attention. Daria had dated before but nothing had ever been as serious as this. One night Daria saw Quinn in the living room watching television. She felt this would be the best time to talk. She went over and sat next to her.

“Quinn. Can we talk?”

Quinn turned off the set. Looking at her mom, she said, “Sure. What’s up?”

“I want to discuss something with you.”

“What?” Quinn asked.

Daria scratched behind her neck. She never was too comfortable with these heart to heart discussions but she knew there was no turning back now.

“You know I’ve been spending a lot of time with Stan lately.” Daria said.

Quinn nodded. “Yes.”

“Well I wanted to apologize for not being with you very much.”

This confused Quinn a little.

“Huh?”

Taking Quinn’s hand, Daria continued.

“I wanted you to know I hope you haven’t been feeling neglected. I love you and want to be sure you knew that.”

Quinn smiled.

“I know that and you have nothing to worry about.”

“What do you mean?”

“I haven’t been feeling neglected. I’m actually happy.”

Daria didn’t expect this reply. Shocked, she asked, “You are?”

“Sure. I mean I’m going to be a junior next year. Before too long I’ll be going away to college. I was afraid I’d be leaving you alone. I’m relieved that you might have someone else to be with now.”

Daria was now truly shocked. She didn’t expect her to feel this way. She had to think about what to say next. She didn’t want to mess things up.

“Thank you Quinn. I don’t know what else to say.”

Quinn turned around and sat back in the couch.

“Then let’s just watch the rest of the movie.”

“Fine.” Daria said.

With that, Quinn turned the television back on and the two started watching the movie. After a while Quinn spoke up. “So are you two really serious?”

“It’s getting that way.”

A few weeks later, Quinn was in the school cafeteria. She and Pam sat down and looked at their lunch. Quinn spoke up.

“Eww. What’s that supposed to be?”

Pam looked over at the tray.

“The menu mentioned chicken in yellow sauce.”

Quinn wrinkled her nose.

“Well it's gross.”

“You should have got as salad like I did.” Pam said.

“Once I got in the line it was too late to change. Oh well. At least they had soup too.”

Pam shook her head.

“You're the only person I know who likes the soup. After all it’s just watered down ketchup.”

“That may be,” Quinn said,  “but it’s tasty.” Pausing for a second, she looked across that table at her friend’s tray. “Are you going to eat all your crackers? They never give me enough.”

Pam handed some of her crackers to Quinn.

“Here. I figured you would want some so I got extra.”

“Thanks.”

As she crumbled them into her bowl she looked at Pam.

“Uh, I need to ask you a favor.”

In an annoyed voice, Pam said, “You can’t have the rest of my crackers.”

An irritated Quinn replied, “That’s not it.”

“Then what?” Pam asked.

“Would it be okay if I stayed at your house Friday night?”

“Why?”

“Stan’s coming for dinner and he wants to be alone with Mom.”

“Oh. Sure. No problem. Just meet me after school.”

“Can’t. Lane has a gig and Uncle Trent wants me to fill in at his guitar shop. I’ll come by after that. It will be a little late but not too bad.”

“You don’t think they’ll be done by the time you get off?”

Quinn looked up from her soup and asked, “You don’t want me to come by?”

Pam shook her head. “No, that’s not it. I just wonder why you don’t want to be around. I thought they didn’t mind you being in the house with them.”

Quinn nodded.

“They don’t mind but Stan asked me to let them be alone then.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

Pam smiled.

“You know what that means?”

Seriously, she hadn’t thought about it. Quinn didn’t know.

“What do you think it means?” Quinn asked.

“He’s probably going to ask her the question.” Pam said.

“What question?”

Pam was amazed. Quinn was the smartest person she knew but she was pretty naïve when it came to this kind of stuff. “THE question.” was her reply.

Reality finally sank in and Quinn figured she was right.

As the realization sank in, all she could say was “WOW!”

Pam looked at Quinn. “Are you okay?”

Quinn shook her head. “Yes. I just had to think about that. You’re probably right.”

“You don’t seem too upset about it.”

“I’m not. He’s nice. I guess he would be a nice husband for Mom.”

“And a Dad for you.” Pam added.

Quinn hadn’t thought about that. She had accepted Daria as her mother years ago. Suddenly she might have to accept someone else into the family as a parent. She had to think about that. Suddenly Pam spoke up.

“Plus you’ll have to change your name again.”

This was more than Quinn could take. She had only been Morgendorffer for a few years and now she might have to give it up. She needed to consider this information. Looking at Pam, she stood up.

“I need to think. I hope you don’t mind but I'm going to the library. I’ll see you in homeroom.”

Seeing how disturbed Quinn was, Pam realized she had said too much. To prevent upsetting Quinn any more, all she said was, “Sure no problem.”

With that, Quinn left the cafeteria to go try to make sense of things.

The next few days were pretty rough for her. She had questions but was afraid to ask Daria any of them. For all she knew Stan just wanted a quiet night with her Mom. Not wanting to mess anything up, she kept her thoughts to herself.

Friday came and went. Quinn stayed over at Pam’s house like she had planned. Saturday morning as she was preparing to leave, Daria called and said to stay. She wanted to take her to breakfast and would pick her up in a few minutes. Soon Daria pulled up in front of the house. Quinn said her goodbyes and got in the car. As they drove away Daria spoke up.

“Did you have a good time?”

Quinn nodded. “Yes. How was dinner?”

“Fine. Uh Quinn, we need to talk.”

Before she could think about what she was saying, Quinn blurted out, “Stan asked you to marry him.”

Daria was shocked. “How did you know?”

Quinn smiled.

“I saw the ring.”

Sure enough, on her finger was the engagement ring. Daria was always amazed at what Quinn noticed.

“Oh. Well I’d hoped to tell you.” Daria said.

Quinn felt bad she has ruined the surprise for her mom.

“Sorry. Didn't mean to spoil the moment. I guess you said yes.”

Daria nodded. “I did. Are you okay with this?”

“Of course. So have you decided when the wedding will be?”

“Yes.”

“When?” Quinn asked.

“Three weeks from today.”

“That’s not much time.” Quinn said.

“It’s plenty of time.” was Daria’s reply.

Quinn shrugged. “If you say so.”

With that the conversation ended. Quinn still had several questions but that wasn’t the time. She didn’t want to spoil the moment with a bunch of difficult questions. There would be plenty of time for questions later. Right now she wanted to share her mother’s happiness.

A few days later Quinn walked into the kitchen as Stan and Daria were making arrangements. She felt enough time had passed and it might be good to raise her concerns while they both where there.

“Hey Quinn.” Stan said.

“Hi Stan.”

“So how’s school?” he asked.

Quinn looked uneasy. Working up her nerve, she finally spoke up. “Fine. I, uh, hate to bother you but I want to ask you both a few questions. Do you mind?”

Daria looked at Stan and then at Quinn. “Of course not. Sit down.”

Quinn took a chair. After a second she finally got enough courage to speak up.

“Um Stan. I want you to know I’m happy you and Mom are getting married but I need to know. Are you expecting me to call you Dad?”

This was not a question he was expecting but he felt he should try to give an answer of some sort.

“Well only if you want to. We still have a great deal to learn about each other. I don’t expect you to think of me as your father but I hope we can get closer as time moves on.”

Quinn looked at him.

“So your answer is?”

He smiled. “Stan will do just fine for now.”

Daria looked at Quinn.

“So do you have any other questions?”

“Yes, one more.” Quinn said.

“What is it?” Daria asked.

“Well I just became Morgendorffer a few years ago. Am I going to have to change my name again so soon?”

Daria smiled. “Don't worry. That’s already been taken care of.”

The ceremony was quite simple. They had it in Jake and Helen’s back yard. Only a few family members and friends were invited. Even though Daria had never asked, Jake kept his promise and walked her down the aisle. When the reached the end of the walk he kissed her on the cheek and sat next to Helen.

As with most weddings the ceremony was short. They exchanged their vows and the rings. Then the pastor said Stan could kiss his bride. As they kissed the pastor spoke up.

“Family. Loved ones. I present to you Dr. Stan Morton and Mrs. Daria Morgendorffer.”

The End.

As usual, Daria belongs to MTV. This was written for my own amusement.