Put your seatbelts on, the ride gets a bit bumpy from here.
And before anyone asks, no this isn’t from left field… it was in the outline from day one.
Being sick gives me alot more time to write! So I could get two long chapters to you in one day.
Hope you like it,
Sharon had just come inside from putting the messy diapers in the trashcan out back, when she heard both of the boys crying. She hurried to the livingroom where she saw Bobby sitting on the floor crying, holding one of the cars from the Raceway set against his chest. Billy was standing over him yelling “That’s MINE!” with tears streaming down his face.
“This doesn’t make sense.” Sharon thought. This wasn’t acceptable behavior for Billy and he knew that. “Billy!” she said firmly, “What are you doing?”.
Billy turned, ran crying to his mommy saying “He won’t give it back Mommy, it’s mine.”.
By that time Rachael had gotten to Bobby and had him in her arms, asking what happened.
Sharon knelt down to talk to Billy, and suddenly time stopped. It was if someone had put the world in slow motion.
Billy suddenly stood straight as a board, his eyes rolled up in his head, and he fell straight back onto the carpet.
“OH MY GOD, RICK!” Sharon screamed.
Rachael quickly put Bobby on the couch and was on her knees at Billy’s side in a flash. He was stiff as a board with his arms held out in front bent at the wrists. Thinking quickly, she turned him on his side, grabbed the pacifier and held it in is mouth, pressing his tongue down just as he started to rhythmically open his mouth all the way and then clamp his teeth shut hard.
“FRANK!” Rachael yelled. “Sharon, get me a blanket!” she said. When Sharon didn’t move, she barked “SHARON! The Blanket NOW!”.
That snapped Sharon out of it and she got up and ran to the hall closet. Yanking the first blanket she could find from the shelf, she ran back to the livingroom finding Frank and Rick already there. Tears flowed as she listened to Rachael.
“Frank, call the ER and tell them I’m coming. Tell them I’m bringing a four year old with a prolonged undiagnosed Grand-Mal Seizure.” she told her husband. Turning to Rick, she said “Get me four bags of ice as quick as you can. Preferably ziplocks. One with a little less than the other three.” holding her free hand on his forehead and then moving it to the back of his neck.
Frank had gone to the phone and was already talking to someone on the other end.
Rick came back shortly with the bags of ice. Rachael told Sharon “Hold him on his side for me Shar.” as she move her hand to his little leg.
Sharon touched her little boy and almost pulled her hand away, his skin was so hot. “He’s burning up!” she sobbed.
Rachael managed to get Billy’s right leg up so she could get to the crotch of his diaper. Pulling one tape free, she pulled the diaper over enough to get the ice between his legs and then brought the diaper back up over the bag and re-taped it. That done, she put one bag under each arm and gave Sharon the other and told her to hold it against the base of his neck. “Rick, spread the blanket out, quickly.”
Rick did as he was told. “Thank god she’s a nurse!” he thought.
“Hold that ice where it is Shar, I’m gonna move him.” she said. Sliding an arm under his left side and his left leg, she picked him up and moved him over to the blanket, slightly to one side. “I know it’s cold out, but he needs to cool down so we’re gonna move him with the blanket handy, but not wrap him in it, understand?” she asked.
Both Rick and Sharon nodded at the same time.
“OK, Rick, get the car open and running. Open the passenger back door.” and he was moving. “Shar, you’re going to have to back into the car seat, can you do that?” she asked.
“Yes.” Sharon answered.
“Frank, is he ready?” Rachael asked.
“He’s pulling the car seat out…alright, go.” he told her.
“Lift.” Rachael told Sharon and she picked up his legs. Both of them stood, Rachael at his head still holding the pacifier. They moved through the front door and to the car with Sharon backing into and across the backseat. “Call Mom and tell her what’s happened. Ask her to come stay with the kids.” Rachael yelled to Frank.
“I will. I’ll meet you there.” he called back.
She waved and closed the door and they were off to the ER. Rick was driving like a madman. “Slow down Rick! It won’t do him any good if we never make it there.” Sharon told him.
Rick got hold of himself and said “Sorry, your right.” as he let up off of the accelerator until they were down to fifty miles per hour.
They were there in seven and a half minutes and Billy was still seizing. There was a gurney waiting in the space between the entryway double doors and the staff rolled it to the car as soon as they recognized Rachael. Pulling Billy free of the blanket, he was soon rolling down the hallway to the Pediatric ER bay. On the way, someone dragged Rick away to give admission information.
“What happened?” one voice said.
“He just fell out and started seizing, he was playing, got upset about a toy and then his eyes rolled up and he went over backward. Shortly after, his temp went through the roof. He hasn’t stopped seizing since. I put ice in his diaper and under both arms.” Rachael told what Sharon would later come to know as Dr. Brandon.
Looking at one of the staff as they moved, he barked “I want a ventilator in the bay stat. Get me Succs, Versed, and…” looking down at Billy, “both a three, and a three and a half French ET tube with bag now, and a miller blade.”. Two staff members ran down the hall ahead of them. Turning to another, he said “Get the cooling blanket down there now.” and she took off.
They got to the door and as they moved inside, Dr. Brandon looked at Rachael and said “take her out to the waiting room now.”.
“But Doc…” She started.
“You know the rules, you’re involved, go.” he replied and turned toward Billy.
Rachael took Sharon’s arm and led her out of the bay and to the waiting room. They sat down as Sharon started to cry. The trip had required her to keep it together, but there was no reason to now. “I’m scared Rach.” she said through her tears.
“I know, I am too.” Rachael told her as she held her sister.
“Why did you tell Frank to tell them he’s a four year old?” Sharon asked.
“Because he’s the size of a four year old. All of the medications are given by weight, Hon. So If they were prepared for a forty to fifty pound child, it would save time.” She answered.
“Thank God you were there.” She said suddenly realizing she wouldn’t have known what to do.
“Everything happens for a reason Shar.” She said hugging her tighter. Seeing Rick come back from admitting, she nodded for him to come over. As he moved closer, she asked “You two want some coffee? It could be a little while before we know something.”
Both nodded yes. It had been a rough morning. Rachael gave her sister a squeeze and stood. Rick hugged her and said “Thank you.” with a thick voice.
“Your welcome, big brother.” she answered using her pet name for him.
As she stepped away to get coffee, Rick sat down and held his wife, both of them quietly in tears.
Five minutes later, Frank walked into the waiting room. Finding them, he walked up behind them and putting his hand on each of their shoulders, asked “Any news?”
Rick, patting his friends hand in thanks, said “Not yet.”
With that Frank moved to sit down next to Sharon and wait.
Rachael came back with three cups in hand and said “I didn’t know you’d get here this fast Hon or I would have gotten you a cup.”
“Don’t worry about it Rach, I’m fine.” he answered.
Just then a nurse came out to them and asked “Do you want to go back now?” as she handed Sharon the pacifier that had been clipped to Billy’s shirt.
“Of course we do.” Sharon answered immediately, holding on to the pacifier as if it were a sacred object.
“You need to know that he has a breathing tube in place.” the nurse said.
Rachael quickly explained “They’ve paralyzed him with medication temporarily Shar, so that his muscles don’t cause damage to each other. A machine needs to do his breathing for him while the paralytic is in his system. They’ve also knocked him out with narcotics to stop the seizure, so he will be out of it. All of these are normal procedures under the circumstances.” she finished.
After taking a deep breath, she said “OK, lets go back.”.
As they rounded the corner of the doorway and Sharon got her first look at Billy, Rick grabbed her in a tight hug as her knees buckled and she began to sob hysterically.
Most of his body was covered in a blue plastic sheet that had tubes running from it with liquid moving through them. His little head and his left hand were the only parts not covered. He had a tube taped to his upper lip that disappeared into his mouth and was connected to a larger corrugated tubing that led to a big machine with a series of digital readouts on it. The machine made a rhythmic sound like air moving through a tube and with each one, Billy’s chest would rise and then fall. There was a monitor on the wall showing numbers and what Rick thought to be his heart rate. There were bags of fluid hanging on both sides of his gurney, with tubes that ran over the length of the blue sheet and then under it.
The nurse told Rick “They’re going to take him back for a CAT scan in a few minutes. You can sit with him if you’d like.” and then moved up the hall to give Sharon privacy.
Rick moved Sharon to the chair beside Billy’s bed. When he got her sat down, he took her hand and put it on Billy’s and she took his little hand in hers.
“Is he going to be alright Rach?” she asked. When Rachael didn’t immediately answer her she said louder “Rachael?” with fear in her voice.
Rachael moved over to kneel in front of Sharon and said “I would be lying to you if I told you I knew one way or the other Shar. We won’t know until the tests are done.”
“Oh God, Please let my baby be alright.” she whispered as the tears started again.
The nurse came in then. “We’re gonna have to ask you to go back to the waiting room while they do his test.” she told them.
Sharon stood, leaned over his bed, making sure not to disturb the tube, and kissed him gently on the forehead saying “I love you Baby, please don’t leave me.”.
Rick kissed him as well before he took Sharon’s hand and led her back to the waiting room, Rachael followed behind.
After thirty minutes, Sharon asked "What’s taking so long?"with fear in her voice.
Rachael took her hand and answered “It takes time for this test Hon. Do you remember when they had to do scans of Billy’s bones to see how the growth plates looked?”
“Yeah.” she answered.
“Do you remember that took almost three hours for all of the scans to be done?” Rachael continued.
“Yes, but they were scanning just about his whole body.” Sharon objected.
“The scan they are doing now is a lot finer than the one they did then. And for this one they do it twice, once as he is, and once after injecting contrast into the IV. That makes anything weird show up better. They compare them and it helps them figure out what is going on.” Rachael explained.
“Billy hates needles!” Sharon replied.
Knowing she wasn’t exactly thinking clearly under the circumstances, Rachael explained “He won’t even know he’s getting one Hon.” as she gave her sister a hug, letting her cry on her shoulder for a while.
Fifteen minutes later, the nurse came out. “Can you come with me please?” she asked.
Sharon immediately asked “Is something wrong?”.
“Dr. Brandon and Dr. Jennings want to talk with you about Billy.” she answered trying to calm her.
At the opportunity to get answers, Sharon didn’t ask anymore, but stood with the other three and followed the nurse into what looked like a conference room.
Just as they entered the room Dr. Brandon stood and offered his hand first to Sharon and then to Rick as he said “I’m Dr. Brandon, the head of the ER department and this is Dr. Jennings.” as he finished he shook Frank’s hand.
Dr. Jennings then offered his hand to all of them as he said "Good to meet you, wish it would have been under better circumstances.
Sharon noticed Rachael looked pale as she shook Dr. Jennings’ hand. “Rach, what is it?” she asked tears flowing again and fear gripping her gut.
Rachael looked to Sharon and told her “Honey, lets hear what they have to say, I’ll explain later.”.
Dr. Brandon looked at Rachael and as they all finished taking their seats, told Sharon “The reason Rachael was a little pale is, Dr. Jennings is our Director of Neurosurgery.”. Before Sharon could fully process that he quickly added “He doesn’t have a tumor, or any malignant growth if that’s what worried you Rachael. What he does have is a large Cyst.”
“What are you talking about?” Rick jumped in.
Dr. Jennings explained “He has a large pocket of fluid in a very dangerous part of his brain. The fluid needs to be drained if nothing else or he may die.”.
When nobody said a word, he pulled a model of a child’s skull across the table toward him. Pulling the top part of the skull off, the brain inside was visible. Pulling the model of the brain out, he said “This is a model of the human brain. The different parts of the brain have different functions that allow us to function as people. One of those areas called the Hypothalamus is down here,” as he pointed to the base of the model halfway between the left and right sides, and about two thirds from the back to the front. “It controls a lot of things, but most importantly right now, it controls our temperature. If this is not working, we get too hot or too cold to sustain life. Your son has a bubble of fluid pressing against that area. Not only does it control temperature, it controls a lot more that he cannot afford to have messed up.” he finished.
Dr Brandon explained “Your son was brought in here wearing clothing more suited to a toddler than a nine year old. Can someone explain to me why? Is there something I need to know about his development that’s not in his medical records?”
Rick took ten minutes to explain what happened, and how they chose to deal with it. When he was done he said “We consulted a psychologist named Cathy Fenton, that helped us with his development needs before so she is familiar with Billy and what his needs are.”
“Mr. Avery, don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging your decision to treat any psychological issues going on. I just needed to understand the whole picture, that’s all.” Dr. Brandon offered.
Dr. Jennings spoke up. “You say this is new?” he asked.
“Yes,” Sharon answered. “We just overheard it three days ago, why could this be the cause of it?”
“No, I don’t think so. What the Cyst he has would do however, is take a latent issue that he was hiding from you and perhaps make it seem unbearable to him. For instance, it won’t make you…afraid of water for example. But if you are afraid of water, it could make you deathly afraid, to where you wouldn’t go near a full sink, fearing for your life. Or it could make the fear disappear along with the normal fear that keeps us from jumping into deep water when we don’t know how to swim, you see?” he offered.
“Yes, I think I understand.” she answered.
“So what now?” Rick asked.
“He needs surgery, and soon, like tonight. We can only help him regulate his temperature, we can’t do it completely for him. What I want to do is to try to remove not just the fluid but whatever is causing it. If I can do it safely without undue risk to his function, then I will, if not then I will just siphon off the fluid and we can see if there is another way to get at what is causing it.” Dr. Jennings answered.
“What are the risks?” Sharon asked.
“I’ll be straight with you, there are serious risks of infection any time you enter the skull. There is a possibility that we won’t be able to regulate his temperature long enough to do the surgery, and he may not survive it. There’s also the possibility that he could have some deficits when this is over with. As it stand now, he may have deficits, we won’t know for some time. But I can almost guarantee if we do nothing, or wait too long, he will die.” He answered.
Sharon looked to her sister and asked “Rach?” with terror in her eyes.
Rachael took her hands and answered “Honey, he’s the best around. What he’s telling you is correct. Unfortunately, this needs to be done as soon as possible.”.
Rick looked at his wife. She gave him one nod before bursting into tears and clinging to her sister. “Do it.” he said barely able to get the words out.
“I’ll get the nurse to come in with the paperwork, please stay here for a moment.” Dr. Jennings told them.