That meant, after today, Lucia only had three more days of medication left.
It was amazing how well Lucia kept track of her medicine. Once Isabel obtained it, and put it in the cabinet above the microwave in their small room, Lucia took care of it until it was almost gone, and then she told her mother she would need more. Isabel would then ask for money from her husband, Hector, who would give her some money for it from what he had earned. Now Hector was gone, caught by the police and put in jail, where he would be until he served his time or they turned him over to immigration and he got sent back to Mexico.
As they turned to go into the food court, Isabel sighed out loud and Lucia asked her if something was the matter.
"Life is just hard," Isabel said. "It is always so hard."
"Why do you say that? Because Papa is gone?"
"Yes, that and a hundred other things. It is a constant struggle." She sighed again.
Lucia, laboring to walk there beside her mother, reached up with her left hand and patted Isabel's back. "But last night you told me not to worry; you said it would all work out. You mean it won't work out?"
"It's got to," Isabel said. "What other choice is there?"
A thousand things kept going through Isabel's mind, though, including where she was going to get enough money to pay for the medicine Lucia needed starting Sunday.
It had been hard enough the last time they hadn't had enough money to take Lucia to the doctor, who insisted on seeing her first before renewing her prescriptions, and her medicine had run out. They always told him to leave, perhaps, things have changed, and Lucia wouldn't be medicine anymore. The partial paralysis was enough of a burden without the epilepsy, and they didn't think God would go on making Lucia suffer so much with seizures on top of everything else.
Then, after a while, when Lucia eventually did go into a seizure, despite their hopes and beliefs, and it went on and on and wouldn't stop and couldn't be controlled, they had taken her to the emergency room at the hospital --- which had been a trial in and of itself in trying to get her there on the bus without somebody calling the police. They're the medical attendants and doctors finally got Lucia's seizure under control and gave Lucia a prescription that could be filled.
Of course, as soon as things were under control, the hospital discharged Lucia, because Isabel and Hector had no money to pay, and they didn't have any insurance, either. Besides, the hospital said they were not in the United States with documentation that permitted them to be there or get anything more than emergency medical care.
The mall in the food court opened at 10 AM and closed at 9 PM. Isabel always showed up a half-hour to an hour early, and they were always there at least a half hour to an hour after closing. It made for a long day, but there were worse things than living in a mall half of your day. They had all they needed there for all those hours: shelter --- which included warmth in the winter and air conditioning in the summer ---, restrooms, food --- more than they could ever consume ---, entertainment, and security --- not only security and general, but the mall was a good place for Isabel to be able to work and at the same time keep track of Lucia while Lucia was safe and had things to do. On the other hand, it came at the price of Isabel's hard work. During the 11 to 12 hours Isabel worked there, she worked as hard as she possibly could, always worried that she would be criticized and let go from some or all of her assignments except for the few minutes when she took time to check on Lucia during the day or to eat with her.