Title: Headache (Part IV of ?)
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 [info]helen_c - Ryan has a headache; someone offers some TLC.
Previous update can be read here.
The doctor arrived as soon as Ryan finished changing into a hospital gown with the help of Nurse Amanda. While the doctor tried to interview Ryan, the nurse started and IV. Kirsten was surprised to notice that Ryan really didn’t like needles. He couldn’t take his eye off the tray the nurse was preparing, even though the doctor was trying to get Ryan to gauge his pain level. Nurse Amanda patted Ryan’s head right before she tied the rubber tubing around his arm.
“Don’t worry,” she assured him. “I’m a pro at this.”
But Ryan didn’t look assured. The doctor gave the interview up for a moment and turned his attention to Sandy and Kirsten. He told them that Dr. Delaveris had called and was on the way. That he would be in contact with him, but that it was best to care for Ryan while they waited.
“In the meanwhile, I’m going to start by hydrating Ryan with saline.”
“What about any medicine to alleviate the headache?” Sandy asked.
“We’ll give something for that too, but I’d like to first finish my interview and examination so I can determine the best course of treatment.”
“There, doll. All done,” the nurse softly cut in. Kirsten thought she detected a hint of a British accent. “See, I bet it didn’t hurt at all.”
“Only because the head hurts worse,” he muttered.
Nurse Amanda laughed and patted Ryan again. “You’ll be fine, dear.”
Dr. Christy thanked the nurse and turned his attention back to Ryan. “On a scale of 1 to 10 how bad is the pain?”
Ryan held his arm straight and rigid, afraid the needle would move the wrong way. “Off the charts,” he said through gritted teeth.
Kirsten detected a bit of a snide tone in his answer and was starting to think that maybe Ryan was getting a little better if his belligerent side was starting to emerge.
“And when did it start?”
Ryan repeated the story he had told the nurse at school, Kirsten, and then to Dr. Delaveris. His face showed his displeasure at having to repeat it again, but he kept the snotty tone down to a minimum. Ryan was looking at the doctor when he first started recounting the day’s events, but about halfway through Kirsten saw Ryan close his eyes. Not to go to sleep. She could plainly see that the lights were bothering him again. But Ryan answered all the questions. What had he eaten? How much did he drink today? How much weight was he lifting and what was his norm?
The doctor then proceeded to examine Ryan. He looked at the boy’s throat and ears. He felt his neck and abdomen. He waved a small light in the eye, but Ryan was visibly bothered by it. Then Dr. Christy jotted some notes on a pad. “I’m going to prescribe a mix of Toradol and Reglan intravenously. It’s been known to work with migraines. I’m also going to order a CT scan. My gut tells me this is just a really bad migraine. I understand that you’ve never had this before, but we don’t know all that much about headaches, though we do know some of the triggers.”
“What are those, doctor?” Sandy asked.
He had returned to the curtained off area while the doctor had examined Ryan. When Kirsten had seen the amount of space they had in the little cubicle, she had insisted Seth sit in the waiting area. Their son had not been at all pleased with being banished, so Sandy had walked him to the chairs assuring him the whole time they’d update him regularly.
“Some of the triggers can be a change of sleep pattern, foods, or stress. My concerns are the sudden onset of this headache, the intensity, and the length of time this headache is lasting. So I’m going to put you through some annoying tests, just so I can send you home and tell you, you have a migraine. And while we wait for the machine to be free, I’m going to put you in a dark quiet room, Ryan.”
“Doctor, what are some of the possibilities you’re thinking about?” Sandy’s voice came out thin and raspy. Suddenly, he was rattled by the doctor’s assertion that it was probably just a migraine. If it was just a migraine, why weren’t they medicating the kid and sending him home?
Dr. Christy’s gaze flitted to Ryan and back to Sandy and Kirsten. It was as if he was assessing if Ryan was old enough to hear the whole truth or if the doctor needed to take the concerned parents out for a private conversation.
“It could be there’s a bleed in the brain, or a tumor pressing and causing the pain. It could be a burst aneurism. But these are all far fetched. I don’t want to needlessly worry you. Think of this as a CYA moment or doctors ordering unnecessary tests so they’re not sued for malpractice later on.”
“You are not reassuring us,” Sandy said through gritted teeth.
“And you’re definitely not making me feel any better.” Ryan shifted uncomfortably in the narrow bed. “When do I get the drugs?”
“The saline has arrived,” chirped Nurse Amanda. She nudged the doctor aside so she could get at Ryan’s IV. Nurse Amanda hung a bag of clear liquid and connected it to the needle in Ryan’s arm.
“If you could please get Ryan some Toradol and Reglan.” He handed the nurse a sheet of paper. “I wrote up the orders here. And I’d like some bloods drawn. It’s all on the paperwork.”
“Right away, doctor.” One more time she patted Ryan on the head. “I told you, we’ll be fixing you up in no time.”
The nurse had returned unusually fast. Kirsten suspected the young nurse found Ryan easy on the eyes and was enjoying his brusque and bad-mannered behavior. As soon as the drugs were hooked up, Nurse Amanda was pushing Ryan into a small room that had no windows, no lights, and a door that could shut out most of the noise in the busy ER.
“What if he needs us?” Kirsten asked worriedly.
“That’s what this is for.” The Nurse held out a thick long grey chord that was topped with a grey plastic piece and red button in its center. “Keep it at your side. Just buzz us for whatever you need. Mom,” she looked pointedly at Kirsten. “It’s best if you let Ryan rest. Let’s give him 15 minutes or so. If he’s feeling better, I’ll put a chair by his side.
She’d nodded. What choice did she have? Throwing a loud fit would just embarrass Ryan and in his state probably cause him more pain. So she followed Nurse Amanda out of the room and stood guard right outside the door while Ryan rested. Thirty seconds later, the amount of time it took Sandy to peck her on the cheek and to tell her he was going to update Seth, Kirsten started to pace. She walked back and forth the length of the hall, stopping each time she passed the door to make sure Ryan wasn’t calling for someone.
Ryan was relieved to be alone. He was glad the pretty nurse insisted that Kirsten leave him alone. It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate her care. He did. The only one who had every cared for him like that was Trey. The problem was that Kirsten was just like Seth. She wore her emotions on her sleeve. She tried to hide her apprehension, but it was there, plainly written across her face.
And Ryan just wanted the pain to go away. He didn’t want to think about all the worrying possibilities that the doctor had suggested. Though it figured with the Atwood luck, just as he was getting his life together, just as things were good for him, just as he had people who genuinely cared for him, he would he get sick with some sort of deadly illness.
Sighing, Ryan closed his eyes and tried to block out the muffled hospital sounds, the thudding in his head, and the perturbing thoughts that crowded his thoughts. The doctor hadn’t said how long it took the drugs to take affect, but he was hoping it would be soon.
Seth found Kirsten ten minutes later with her ear pressed to a door.
“I knew it! I knew you listened into Ryan and me when we’re having our Seth-Ryan Time. You know, Mom, that’s just plain wrong.”
Kirsten started at Seth’s voice. She hadn’t seen him walking down the hall and the noise took her by surprise. She suppressed a smile, but was secretly glad that Seth had come to keep her company. She was tired of the same hall, and looking at her wristwatch only to see it hadn’t moved a smidge. Seth would distract her.
“Where’s your dad?”
“He went to get some coffee and snacks. He said he’d bring for all of us.” Seth looked glanced at the door. “How is he?”
Kirsten shook her head. “I don’t know. We’re supposed to let him rest. They’re hoping a dark quiet room and the medicine will alleviate the headache.”
“Dad said that they’re going to do a CT Scan. That the headache could be from a tumor or something else.”
“They’re just dotting there i’s and crossing their t’s.” She patted her son’s arm.
“I know. It is. But have faith. We need to put a brave face for Ryan.”
Seth breathed deeply. He knew his mom was right. But he really wanted to see Ryan. The guy had changed his entire life and he just wanted to be there for him. Even if it meant being quiet and keeping his mouth shut.
At that moment Nurse Amanda came down the hall. “How’s our patient?”
“I don’t know.” Kirsten couldn’t hide her exasperated voice. “You wouldn’t let me stay with him.”
“Then we better go and see for ourselves. He’s probably sleeping. Headaches can really tire out a person.”
Seth followed his mom and the nurse inside the dark room. It was dark, the only light coming in from the hallway.
“Ryan, doll, how are you feeling?” The nurse prodded.
“So so.” His voice was groggy as if they had just woken him from a nap.
“Well, that’s certainly better than before. How’s the pain?”
Ryan paused, considering the question. “A little better,” he finally offered.
“Good. You see, I told you we’d fix you up in no time. Your mom and brother would like to stay by your side. Is that okay?”
“Only if you make Seth promise not to talk.”
Nurse Amanda smirked. “Of course.” She pushed two chairs closer to the bed and then turned to Seth. “You heard Ryan. Absolutely no talking.” She wagged a finger at him. “If you’re naughty, you’ll answer to me.”
“Swear on dad’s eyebrows,” Seth whispered. “No more talking.” He pursed his lip and pantomimed locking his lips and throwing away the key. He took one of the chairs and held onto the side-rail on Ryan’s bed. When Kirsten sat down next to him, Seth put his other hand in hers. Somehow, they’d make this okay for Ryan.