AN: I considered asking someone to beta this update for me, but I decided, I'd probably never post. So Forgive me. All mistakes are mine. And I'm sure there are plenty.
This was originally posted for the OCSFC #4. My sentence from helen_c - Ryan has a headache; someone offers some TLC.
Previous update can be read here.
Dedicated to chazper and cheekymice who need a speedy recovery... as does Ryan.
Kirsten couldn’t help hovering near the doorway of the living room, surreptitiously peeking in on Ryan and keeping him in her line of vision. He had made it abundantly clear that he did not want her to fuss over him and since she had won the argument about where he would rest, the couch or Seth’s room, she was trying to honor his wishes. But the doctor’s words kept niggling at the back of her mind, popping into her thoughts like an annoying fly. So she kept going up to the doorway and looking in just far enough so she could see him but that he wouldn’t see her.
He looked pale and tired as he languished on the couch. His eyes were closed and though he clutched the remote in his hand, the television was off. Of all the thoughts that had weighed on Kirsten’s mind when they first took Ryan in: would he stay out of trouble? Would he fit into school? Could she give him the love and affection he so deserved? Could she make him feel safe? It had never occurred to her that he might one day get sick. Not the flu or common cold sort of sick that all kids, teens and adults had to contend with, but the real kind of sick. The ones that had you scurrying from doctor to doctor and calling in every favor you possibly could have and owing a few more, so that you can get the best medical attention. No, Kirsten had never imagined that one day Ryan might become that sort of sick.
When she saw the steam rising from the pot and the clear yellow broth boiling, Kirsten shut off the fire and ladled some of Rosa’s chicken soup into a bowl. She put the bowl on a tray, with a bottle of water and a slice of toasted whole-grain bread and brought it to Ryan. She knew he was in no hurry to eat, but Kirsten sat across from him, shooting her own dirty looks until he complied.
“It’s what the doctor ordered,” she reminded him as he reluctantly slurped the broth from his spoon. It will give you some nourishment, but it isn’t too heavy.” She pointed to the water and the assorted juices that she had left on the coffee table when they first came in. “Don’t forget to drink.”
“I know you have a lot of work,” Ryan said, wincing, alerting Kirsten that he was still in a lot of pain. “You don’t have to watch over me all day and play nurse.”
“I’m not playing nurse,” she huffed. “I’m playing mom. That’s what I do.”
He looked away from her, down at his soup, concentrating on the yellow liquid. “I just don’t mean to be any trouble.”
“Get that out of your head. And while you’re at it, see if you can chase that headache out of your head.” She smiled at him, hoping that he saw the intended humor, even though inside her stomach was in knots. She saw him try to smile and for a brief moment, Kirsten was able to ignore the wan expression on the teenager’s face and she thought to herself that maybe everything would be all right.
Ryan didn’t see or hear Kirsten get on the phone. The first phone call was to the doctor. She wondered if there was anything stronger than Tylenol he could prescribe. Upon hearing that Ryan was still in a lot of pain, though the symptoms had not worsened, the doctor agreed to call in a prescription to the pharmacy.
“It’s a standard drug for migraine patients. It should alleviate the symptoms. But Mrs. Cohen,” warned the doctor. “Severe migraines can last for a week. And if you can, find out if he knows if there’s a history of migraines in his family.”
The second call was to Sandy. She thought he needed to be home early tonight.
“I came as soon as I could,” Sandy said, putting his briefcase on the counter. He took a white paper bag from inside his briefcase. “Here’s the prescription the doctor called in.” Sandy peered into the living room where Ryan was still lying on the couch. The boy’s face was pale and his eyes were closed. The room was darker than usual, and Sandy noticed that the drapes were drawn. They hardly ever pulled the drapes.
“He asked me if there was a way to make the room darker,” Kirsten explained. “The light was bothering him.”
“I see why you were so worried. Did he eat at all? Did he drink?”
Kirsten nodded. “But he threw it up.” She tried not to cringe at the memory. She had been about to leave Ryan’s side, because she knew he hated her hovering when suddenly he made a retching sound. Ryan tried to sit up, but the sudden motion must have made him dizzier and he leaned forward covering his mouth.
Kirsten grabbed the first thing she could find, a crystal bowl with decorative fruit made out of fabric. With one hand, she held the bowl under him and with the other hand she gently rubbed his back in circular motions. It used to calm Seth when he was little.
After a few minutes, Ryan shifted positions, letting Kirsten know that he had finished and no longer needed to throw up. She put the bowl aside and gave him a bottle of water.
“I’ll bring you a wet cloth to wash up.”
That had been ten minutes ago. Ryan still wouldn’t look at her. She wanted to believe that it was because he couldn’t keep his eyes open and the light was bothering him, but the way he held his body, his back towards her, his face hidden, let her know that he was embarrassed by the whole episode. She was at a loss – she never had to try so hard with Seth. Somehow, she had thought just as the nurturing had come instinctively when Ryan got sick, so to would Ryan respond as if this was all natural.
Sandy squeezed his wife’s shoulder. “He’ll be fine. I’m going to try and get him to take one of these pills. I wish the doctor had prescribed this right away.”
“What’s done is done,” said Kirsten.
Sandy nodded, knowing his wife was right. He took the bottle of pills and was about to step into the next room when he started to look around, scrunching up his thick brows. He peered into the room and strained his ears towards the stairs before finally asking, “Where’s Seth?”
“By some miracle,” said Kirsten, “Summer dragged him to the mall. When he called I suggested he stay out as long as possible because Ryan wasn’t feeling well. I don’t think Ryan could handle Seth’s TLC right now.”
Sandy laughed. “I knew I married a genius.” He lightly kissed Kirsten on the lips and with a sigh, and said, “Let me get the kid his drugs.”
The sight of Ryan clutching at a thin sheet with his eyes closed, and curled into a fetal position made Sandy’s heart crack into a bunch of little pieces. He wondered how often Ryan had suffered like this before and if anyone had been there to take care of him?
“Hey, Ryan,” Sandy called softly. His voice was barely above a whisper. “Ryan. Kid. The doctor called in a prescription for that headache. I want you to take it. It should make you feel better.” He resisted shaking the boy, because Kirsten had said that the slightest motion made him grimace. But Ryan was lying so still that Sandy was having a hard time not shaking him. He leaned in closely, relieved to hear regular breath sounds. He was probably sleeping. That was a good thing. If he could sleep then the pain was manageable. He’d wait on the medicine.
Just as Sandy was about to retreat into the kitchen, Ryan stirred. The boy looked at Sandy through squinted eyes and waved. Sandy saw he was trying to put on a brave front. It wasn’t working.
“I take it the head still hurts.”
“Like a bulldozer going wild inside my head.” Ryan’s voice was scratchy, hoarse and unused.
“I have doctor sanctioned drugs.” Sandy held up the pill bottle and shook it. The tiny sound, like a baby’s rattle, made Ryan cringe. “Sorry about that.” He opened the bottle and fished out a pill with his fingers, rather than turning it over. He hoped to avoid any unnecessary noise. “Here.” He handed the pill to Ryan and poured a glass of water. “Hopefully, you’ll be able to keep this down.”
“Thanks Sandy. I’m sorry I’m being so much trouble.”
“This is not trouble. I just want you to get well. Just work on that, okay? Try to drink and keep yourself hydrated.”
“I’m trying,” Ryan whined. “It just doesn’t stay down.”
“I heard, kid.” He rubbed Ryan’s arm. “If it doesn’t get better soon, then we’ll go back to the doctor. Hopefully, this will work.”
But the migraine medicine didn’t work. By the time Seth came home from the mall two hours later, Ryan was holding his head between his hands, bent over so that his nose was practically between his knees. He was shaking so hard from the pain, that Seth, who was normally ready with a flippant remark, turned in his tracks, ran to his parents and cried, “Something’s really wrong with Ryan!”
Sandy, who had been looking up information on the computer for a case he was trying the next day, jumped from his seat and ran into the next room. As soon as he caught sight of Ryan, he called out to Kirsten, “Honey, get the car. We need to go to the emergency room.” Within seconds, Kirsten came into the room and was right next to Ryan, helping him up from the couch.
“I’ll be fine,” Ryan tried to argue. But his voice was hoarse and tight. It was obvious that he was far from fine.
“No arguments,” Kirsten whispered. “You have to trust Sandy and I to do what’s best for you.”