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.
While Sandy drove at breakneck speed, Kirsten used her phone to get in touch with Dr. Delaveris. She was impatient with the woman from the service who was taking her time taking down the information they needed. She had barely finished on the phone by the time they reached the emergency room, and of course the doctor hadn’t returned their call yet. Kirsten wondered if they should have delayed going to the ER and instead waited for the doctor’s instruction. But one glance over her shoulder; at Seth’s ashen complexion, and Ryan who looked like he was biting down so hard his tongue might come off, she knew they were doing the right thing.
Kirsten led Ryan to a seat in the ER, with Seth at Ryan’s other side. In the meanwhile, Sandy went to talk to the woman at the desk. She was clad in regulation hospital scrubs, with dark black lipstick and skin whiter than Ryan’s unusually pale complexion. She was chewing a wad of gum, and without interest in Sandy’s plight, pushed a clipboard at him.
“You need to fill out this paperwork.” She snapped her bubble gum. “A triage nurse will be with you in a minute.”
Sandy started to object, but the girl just turned to the next person on line, an elderly man holding a bandaged hand with blood seeping through. With a sigh, Sandy turned back where Kirsten and the kids were sitting clutching the clipboard in his hand.
“Did the doctor call yet?” Sandy asked, as he approached his family sitting in a corner of the waiting room. It was packed with people and there was sniffling and sneezing and crying and moaning. It had been a long time since he had been in an emergency room and he wanted Ryan out and back home as soon as possible.
“No, he didn’t,” answered Kirsten. “I’m sure he’ll call in a moment. We have to wait for a triage nurse?”
“I was afraid of this. I’m not going to wait more than fifteen minutes. Then I start calling in favors.”
Sandy recognized the determined edge in Kirsten’s voice and didn’t dare to argue. Even though he despised throwing around the Nichol name, if it meant quicker medical attention for Ryan, he’d do it. The kid looked like he was beside himself with pain. And Sandy had read his file. He knew that Ryan and pain were synonymous. He wasn’t a kid that allowed the hurt to get the better of him. For Ryan to openly show he was hurting– it must be bad.
Kirsten was dialing Dr. Delaveris’s number again when they were called to the triage room. Sandy had filled out the form with the pertinent information: insurance, social security number, and as much medical history that he could fill in. He firmly gripped the clipboard in one hand and with the other, guided Ryan by his elbow. Seth silently walked alongside Ryan, holding up his best friend. Suddenly, Seth’s extended silence was freaking Sandy out more than Ryan’s inability to mask his pain.
Kirsten trailed along behind him, politely, but sternly telling the service that it was imperative that the doctor call immediately. That she had been at his office earlier that day and in touch before office hours ended and that he had promised he’d be available if the situation worsened.
“Well, the situation has worsened,” Kirsten hissed into the phone, trying not to call too much attention to her family. “We’re in the ER and I need his assistance.” She slammed the phone shut and turned her attention back to Ryan.
He was slumped in a chair next to the nurse’s desk. A cuff was squeezing his arm, measuring his blood pressure and there was already a thermometer sticking out from under his tongue. The nurse was reviewing his age, name and symptoms.
“How long have you had this headache?”
Ryan tried to talk, but couldn’t with the thermometer in his mouth.
“Over six hours,” Kirsten said, glancing at her watch. She made a quick calculation. The nurse had called around 1 p.m. and he’d already been in her office for some time. “How’s his blood pressure?”
“Normal,” the nurse answered.
“Oh. Good,” Kirsten breathed. “It was slightly elevated this afternoon in the doctor’s office.”
The nurse scribbled something on his chart, just as Kirsten’s phone rang. She didn’t recognize the number, but answered it anyway. “Oh, Dr. Delaveris!” She expelled a deep long breathe, as if she’d been holding it while waiting for him to call. “We’re with the triage nurse right now.”
The nurse paid no attention to Kirsten, but continued her examination. When she was certain she had all the facts, she said, “You’ll need to wait out in the waiting room and one of the doctors will come get you as soon as they can.”
Glancing at a perfectly coiffed Kirsten, in her silk navy pantsuit and flawless make-up, the nurse couldn’t help noticing how unsure of herself the mother looked. Somehow, the emergency room equalized people from all walks of life. No mother, whether rich or poor, powerful or meek in their day to day business was impervious to being afraid for their child.
Seth glanced at his mother. She had seemed hopeful when the doctor called, even a little relieved. Suddenly, he saw her face darken and he imagined the doctor was not giving her good news.
“It will take you how long to get here? No. No. I understand, Dr. Delaveris. I’m sorry to take you away from your family at this hour. But on your way to the emergency room, can you be in touch with someone here to expedite his waiting time? He’s in so much pain.” She waited a beat. “Thank you. We appreciate everything you’ve done so far.” Kirsten closed the phone and turned to the family, planting a false cheery smile. “Dr. D. will be here soon. He was in Santa Monica with his son. Some school competition. It will take at least an hour for him to arrive.” She walked up to Ryan to offer a reassuring squeeze. He’ll be in touch with one of the ER docs to try and expedite things.”
Seth felt a sudden jolt as he listened to his mother. It was like when you felt the jerk of the car’s transmission switching gears. He felt a click, a switch in his brain and finally, Seth knew what he was could do. While his mom and dad led Ryan back to the waiting area, with the nurse’s reassurance that someone would be with Ryan “as soon as possible,” he walked to a corner and dialed Summer.
“Seth,” she complained. “I told you I had to spend time with my dad tonight. We practically spent all afternoon together.”
“I know. I know,” he said hastily. He sensed she was going to hang up on him. “This is important and I was hoping your dad could help. You know how my mom told me to stay out because Ryan wasn’t feeling well?”
He could hear Summer impatiently tapping her foot on the end of the phone line. “Well, by the time I got home, Ryan was doubled over in pain. It was bad. And we brought him to the emergency room.”
“Oh!” With that one word, Seth knew he had her full attention.
“Our family doctor is on the way, but he’s in Santa Monica and about an hour away. And Ryan doesn’t look so hot and my parents look really nervous. I was just thinking, maybe your dad could make a couple of calls and speed things along. He works at Hoag. Maybe he knows someone.”
“Hold on, Seth. I’ll ask him right now.”
He could hear Summer quietly conversing while probably holding the phone in her hand. Then Dr. Roberts came on the phone.
“Seth, this is Dr. Roberts. Summer told me your friend Ryan is in the ER. Has he been seen yet?”
“By a triage nurse. But now we have to wait for a doctor. Mom’s been in touch with Dr. Delaveris. Ryan saw him earlier today. But he was in Santa Monica when mom called and it’s going to be at least an hour before he can get here.”
“Do you know what’s wrong with him?”
“A really bad headache. But I’ve never seen anyone get a headache like this. He’s white as a ghost. And I heard Mom tell Dad that he was throwing up and didn’t keep anything down.”
“Then he needs some fluids right away and something to ease the pain. Okay,” said Dr. Roberts. “Hang tight, Seth. I’m pretty sure I know who the attending is tonight and I’ll see if they can take Ryan in right away.”
“Thanks, Dr. Roberts.”
“You’re welcome. Do you want to talk to Summer again.”
“I do. But I should really sit with Ryan. For moral support. Can you tell her I’ll call her later to keep her posted?”
Seth thought he could hear the doctor smile on the other end. He hung up the phone and walked back to where his parents and Ryan were sitting.
“Seth! Where were you? Don’t just leave.”
“Sorry, Mom. But I had to call Summer.”
“Summer? Summer? Seth, this is not time to chat it up with your girlfriend.” Kirsten’s nostrils flared as she angrily glared at her son. Sandy put a hand over hers, hoping the reassuring gesture would lower her blood pressure.
“I’m sorry. It’s just that I thought that Dr. Roberts might know someone here that could get Ryan in with a doctor faster. I thought maybe with Dr. D calling on one end and Dr. Roberts calling on another end, they’d realize that they were dealing with someone important.”
Kirsten breathed deeply, already regretting her burst of anger. “I’m sorry. That was a thoughtful thing to do. I shouldn’t have yelled.”
Seth smiled sheepishly. “It’s okay. We’re all on edge.” He turned to Ryan. “I have your back, buddy. Remember, together we’re unstoppable, but apart people get shot.”
“Ryan Atwood?” A young nurse with short red hair came out came out from a curtained area holding a clipboard.
Kirsten jumped up from her seat and waved her arm to show they had heard. The nurse walked towards them as Ryan shakily stood up with Sandy at his side.
“My name is Amanda. The doctor will be with you in a minute. He’s just looking at your chart. I’m going to help you change into a gown so the doctors can examine you more easily and I’m also going to start an IV. We’ll get you fixed up in no time.”