So this is a bit melodramatic and definitely not beta-ed so excuse all mistakes. Especially the lack of medical knowledge. I know how to find information but I don’t necessarily know how to apply it.
I don’t own the OC or any of its characters.
Title: In Middle of the Night
Summary: Nothing good happens in middle of the night.
His head hurt. But not just hurt. It was a stabbing pain in his head and ringing in his ears and he couldn’t make it stop. Sandy knew that something wasn’t right. Slowly and carefully, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. He was deliberate about it and to someone who didn’t know better, it might look as if Sandy were a really old man. He walked to the bathroom, shuffling his feet, squinting, hoping it would block the pain just a bit.
Kirsten rapped her knuckles on the bathroom door. “Sandy,” are you all right, she asked urgently.
He didn’t answer, but she could hear him retching inside the bathroom.
“Sandy?” When he still didn’t answer, Kirsten tried the door, but it was locked. “Sandy,” she cried her voice shrill.
She didn’t realize how loud she must have sounded, because almost instantly, Seth was in her room. “Mom, is everything okay?”
“Go back to bed, Seth.” She turned away from her son. “Sandy?”
This time she heard a fait murmur and she could catch her breath again, if only for a moment.
“Go back to bed, Seth. Now.” Her voice brooked no argument, so against his better judgment, Seth retreated from his mother’s room. “Sandy.” She leaned against the door, pressing her ear to it. “Sandy, are you okay?”
“Call an ambulance,” she heard him say.
She could feel the panic swelling like a balloon filling with water, taking up all her necessary air. She wouldn’t call 911. They would take forever. She’d call the volunteer ambulance company that had been started by the civic minded citizens of Newport who were sick of waiting for the EMTs with a slower response time than snails.
Damn. Where was the number? Kirsten yanked open the top of her night table drawer and threw all its content on the floor. She was supposed to know it by heart. Why couldn’t she come up with the digits, it was as if her brain was freezing. She jogged over to Sandy’s side of the bed and pulled open his night table drawer and of course it was there, adhered to the side of the drawer so that they could easily find it in case of emergency.
She punched in the numbers on the phone so fiercely, she misdialed the first time. She got through on the second try and told them to come quickly. “I don’t know what’s wrong,” she shrieked into the phone. “But please, come quickly.” They assured her they would.
Sandy opened the bathroom door open at the same moment that Seth and Ryan stuck their heads into Sandy and Kirsten’s bedroom.
“You woke Ryan,” Kirsten accused her son from across the room.
But Seth ignored her as he noticed that Sandy couldn’t let go of the door post. As if one mind, both boys rushed to his side and took one of his arms, helping him into a chair.
“Seth, go wait outside for the ambulance. Make sure the outside light is on.”
Seth obeyed his mother immediately.
Kirsten stared at her husband. His eyes were closed now. He leaned his head against the back of the chair. His face grimaced with pain. His pallor was a shade paler than white, if that was possible at all. Ryan was sitting next to him, patting his outstretched right hand. Kirsten thought she saw Sandy briefly open his eyes and wink at Ryan. Of course he would try to reassure his young charge. But Kirsten had dread inside of her and it was spreading like a thick gob spilled out on the kitchen counter, slow but steady.
It seemed like hours, but it was only minutes later that Seth led the two volunteer paramedics into his parents’ bedroom. They both carried their heavy gear and immediately went to Sandy’s side. They checked his vitals, and opened his eyes shining a light at his pupils.
She let them work, suppressing the urge to pepper them with questions.
But only two minutes later, the tall thing olive-skinned paramedic was telling Kirsten that they needed to get Sandy to the ER immediately. “You can ride with him,” said the young man.
Numbly, she nodded and while they prepared Sandy for transport she hastily pulled a pair of jeans and a tee shirt from the pile she had been too lazy to put away the night before.
“Ryan, Seth, you can follow the ambulance in one of the cars.” She suddenly realized that they both looked like they were ten instead of seventeen. “It’ll be okay,” she added softly, but without much conviction.
Seth walked over to his dad. “I love you,” he said.
“I love you too, son.” Sandy weakly squeezed Seth’s hand. “Tell Ryan –“
“I’m right here Sandy.”
“Ryan, it’s going to be okay.”
“I know.” Ryan’s voice was choked. “You just get better.”
But Sandy didn’t answer and the paramedics whisked him away.
An hour later the ER doctor, dressed in green scrubs with the words ‘property of HOAG’ stamped all over in random directions. He sat down in an empty chair across from Kirsten, who was flanked on either side by Ryan and Seth.
“He’s in a coma.”
But Kirsten already knew this, because Sandy had slowly lost consciousness on the ride over to the hospital.
“I don’t understand. What happened? He was perfectly fine today. Tonight. He was perfectly fine.”
“Your husband has suffered from a burst brain aneurysm.”
Kirsten shook her head not understanding.
“Many people have a brain aneurysm and don’t know it. It’s basically a weak spot in one of the blood arteries in the brain. They’re difficult to diagnose and most people, like your husband don’t know about it until it’s too late.”
“Will my dad die?” Seth didn’t feel like beating around the bush.
The doctor looked down at his hands. “Fifty percent of the people who like your father have suffered from a subarachnoid hemorrhage die instantly. Only half of the survivors will ever make a full recovery.”
“My father is going to die?” Seth hadn’t realized that the tears were coursing down his face, until a few fell from his face and to his hand.
“I’m sorry. We’ll do whatever we can to make him comfortable. For now, we can only monitor his condition and run some further tests. Once we’ve assessed the extent of the damage we can see what treatment we can offer.”
“Can we see him?” Ryan’s voice emerged soft, but steady as a rock. He squeezed Kirsten’s shoulders, which were hunched over and heaving as she sobbed in her hands.
The doctor nodded. “It’s best if you go on one at a time. Are you religious?” the doctor asked. “The hospital can arrange for a priest or a rabbi to come say some last rites –“
“Sandy’s Jewish,” Ryan answered after a beat, realizing that Seth and Kirsten were in no shape to answer and couldn’t answer. “But he wasn’t very religious.”
The Nana. Suddenly, Ryan realized that they had to call Sandy’s family in New York. Maybe there was time for them to fly out and say good-bye. He tried not to think of what life would be like without Sandy. The past two years Sandy had been his rock and his salvation.
While Seth led his mother to Sandy’s side, Ryan pulled out his cell phone and called information to try and find the Nana’s number. He let the operator connect him and waited and endless minute while the phone rang.
“Sophie, it’s Ryan.”
“Ryan! What’s wrong?” She heard it in his voice and besides, Sandy’s foster son had never initiated a conversation with her on his own.
“It’s Sandy. He’s in the hospital. He had a brain aneurysm and it burst.”
“The doctors.” Ryan swallowed hard. It felt like there was a huge lump lodged in his throat. “It’s not good. You should come right away. He’s at HOAG.”
“Thank you, Ryan.”
He hung up and watched Kirsten hold Sandy’s limp hand in hers. The tears hadn’t stopped, but she was talking quietly. Seth was next and finally, it was Ryan’s turn.
“Hey.” Ryan sat down in the chair next to Sandy’s bed. It looked like Sandy was sleeping, but there were tubes attached all over the place. It even looked like something was breathing for him. “I –“ Ryan caved in to the tears. “You can’t go Sandy,” he whispered. “You can’t. I need you.” He took Sandy’s hand and it felt pasty. “You saved me. You saved me from myself and you saved me from my destiny. I promise you I won’t let you down. I’ll make you proud.” He hunched forward resting his elbows on his knees and his back curved and heaved as the tears ran unabashedly down his face like water spilling over a dam.
Kirsten was suddenly behind him, gently guiding him from the cubicle. “You need to rest. I’m sending you and Seth home.”
“No. I’m not leaving Sandy.”
“Ryan, please, don’t argue with me. I don’t have the energy.”
“I called the Nana.”
Kirsten gasped. “Sophie. I totally forgot Sophie. Is she coming?”
“That was good of you. I imagine she’ll bring Sandy’s brother and sister with her.”
“I imagine.” Ryan looked down at his feet. He was still wearing the slippers he had stuffed his toes into when Seth came into the pool house to wake him up. He was still wearing his sweats and a wife beater. Suddenly, a shiver ran through him.
“You need to rest,” Kirsten repeated. “You need to put on something warmer. I need you to take of yourself so I can concentrate on Sandy now.”
“I can’t leave him Kirsten, please don’t make me.”
“Okay, okay,” she relented with a sigh. “For now you and Seth can stay.”
They took turns for the rest of the night, even as the sun started to rise and the shifts changed, the nurses and doctors trading information. Each took a turn, sitting with Sandy, sometimes they all sat together, even though the nurses quickly shooed them out.
But suddenly his breathing slowed and the machines went haywire. Kirsten was holding his hand and Seth was at his head and Ryan at Sandy’s feet. The doctors and nurses charged through the curtains, wrenching the stethoscopes from around their necks. One nurse pushed them all out of the cubicle saying they would be updated as soon as they had Sandy stable and pointed to the waiting room.
But less than an hour later, the doctor emerged the fatigue and grief etched in his eyes.
“I’m sorry he told them. We tried.”
Kirsten sank to the floor, heaving so hard, she could barely catch her breath. Ryan knelt down beside her, squeezing her to his side. He eyed Seth who was sat in a chair, with a rigid back, looking ahead stone faced, his eyes never wavering from the doctor, but Ryan suspected he wasn’t really seeing anything aside from the images of his father flashing before his eyes.
Ryan didn’t know how they would survive.
Oh and thanks to Brandy for the nifty icon to match my story.