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VOICEMAIL | Carla Deleo

"You've reached Carla. Leave me a message, and I'll be in touch. Oh, and if this is either of my boys, please don't just hang up. Your Mom isn't a mind-reader."

[For muse and mun]
Chris was maybe all of 30% awake as he sat in the recliner chair beside Rick in the chemo clinic. He had sweet-talked one of the nurses into moving it from the next bay over and pushing it up against Rick's. He had managed to get dressed in some at least presentable clothing of black track pants and a Marlins football jersey with a hoodie over the top, and it was all on the right way this time, but that was about the extent of it. Rick had an early-ish start with the next round of chemo, with Bella asking him to be here at eight thirty. Chris had stubbornly insisted he was going along, even if Carla was already going to be there. There was no getting rid of Chris now that he decided to be a human-sized hemorrhoid. He was still struggling himself, though. Despite the fact he had checked himself out of hospital and he was no longer a patient, returning to 'normal' life immediately obviously wasn't going to happen. He still had pain, and between checking out of hospital and now, he had slept about eighteen of the twenty four hours that passed.

Still, it was about to be an impossibility for anyone to get him to stop completely...Collapse )

Word Count | 7,411
[Follows THIS and THIS]

Serena really did have to see the amusing side of things. Where once she and Chris had indulged in long showers after being distracted a little too easily during the act of washing each other, she was now relegated to waiting outside his room while he took too long in the shower for other reasons. The nurse had been quite clear on the fact that she wasn't allowed in the room while Chris was bathing. Something to do with another patient and his wife getting into hanky panky and causing the guy to get a head wound from slipping over while getting over excited.

Serena wasn't looking to get Chris hurt. She could have quite easily perved from inside his room and keeping her hands to herself. She might have been back at work, but most of the time she wasn't working she was still hanging around Chris' room like a part of the furniture. Carla had taken Rick home which meant Chris was by himself, and the boredom was already sending him stir crazy. It was all she could do to get him to sit still in bed while they watched movies when Serena had the time.

She unclipped her pager just to check it hadn't gone off without her noticing and glanced up just as Mrs Deleo was coming down the corridor...Collapse )

Word Count | 3,711

just_muse_me | 31.9. John Lubbock quote

31.9. "A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work."
Quote by John Lubbock

Co-written with imheretolive
[Follows THIS and THIS]

It was true that Chris’ family and friends had seemed to fall into some sort roster of sitting with him while he slept. The relief of him finally coming to after the Propofol dosage had been almost crippling, but he hadn’t stayed awake for very long. The high dose of painkillers soon had him drifting in and out of sleep again, sometimes without him seeming to realise he was going out, and Serena’s brother dragged her off to take her home for a shower and something to eat at least, even if Carla knew the young blonde woman would be back at her son’s side as soon as she managed to escape her brother’s clutches again. Despite the initial uncertainty, this fact meant a lot to Carla. It meant even more that Serena seemed so taken by Chris that she was willing to do anything to take care of him. There wasn’t any more that she could want for her sons. It was also ironic for her to witness that Serena’s relationship with her brother seemed to be the polar opposite of what Rick and Chris had, even though there were indications there that it could be changing. She desperately hoped it was changing, at least. She knew Chris really needed Rick to keep his word this time. She knew it would be the disastrous end to her family if he didn’t.

Carla now found herself sitting at Chris’ bedside alone as she watched him sleep...Collapse )

Word Count | 2,382
[Follows THIS]

Dave had made the tough decision the evening prior to have the Propofol dosage stopped to give Chris a chance to wake up naturally. It hadn't been an easy one. Carla knew this. She had been there, not too far away, when she had seen Dave in serious talks with his boss and also with Rick's doctor. They then all seemed to take a united front in a decision with the other doctors. Dave looked ill, like the weight of the decision was as heavy as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. She could just see in his eyes that deciding on Chris' medical matters was probably one of the hardest things he was facing. When she had asked him how he was after it, and after the dosage had been stopped, he admitted to her had been vomiting all afternoon just trying to get his head around it. But it came to a point where he didn't want Chris to be kept in a coma any longer than he needed to. If he had strength to be awake to heal, it was better than messing with his brain to keep him in a chemical sleep.

But Chris had just continued to remain unconscious...Collapse )

Word Count | 4,679
It had been one extremely long day and it was now after eleven pm at night. Bella had just spent the last hour and a half talking with Serena and Drew in her office, discussing various options and outcomes in regards to Chris and Rick. Rick had given consent for Bella to access copies of Chris' medical records so she could keep up on his case. Seeing Chris in the condition he had been and after the failed attempt to contact Mrs Deleo, Serena had been in a bad way, almost losing it from worry and lack of sleep. Bella ended up intercepting so she could just talk to Chris' girlfriend and help her at least a little. It seemed to help being able to talk about it and Serena offloaded a little. There was some inevitable guilt there, that she hadn't remained in the OR with him, among other things. But even by the time they finished chatting, Serena was still on edge. Drew had gone off to find some coffee when Serena refused to leave Chris' side just yet, so Bella agreed to keep her company until he returned.

Only, they were just stepping off the elevators at the Surgical ICU when Bella's pager went off. It was one of Rick's nurses. He wasn't feeling well, and Bella needed to assess him. She did have a slight hint of suspicion that it might be just a ruse to get her to his room, but at the same time, he was still too soon post-operatively to take any risks. With a soft squeeze to Serena's arm, she apologised and promised she would be back as soon as she could, leaving Serena standing alone in the corridor... the first time she had been alone since everything took a horrible turn.

Carla's head was aching. It was like it was one of the worst headaches she had ever experienced in her life...Collapse )

Word Count | 4,693
[Follows THIS]

Dave was standing at Chris’ bedside, one arm wrapped around himself as he chewed his thumbnail of his other hand. He was close to tears and let his eyes fall closed as he exhaled sharply and inevitably just soon let them fall. Just minutes before, he had authorised a request from Chris’ ICU doctor to give him a bag of IV antibiotics. There was no infection, but they were worried about the possibility of something like a UTI. Without Chris awake and able to kick his body into gear to start functioning with only one kidney, they had to be ultra aware of any further complications. The antibiotics were precaution only, but they were a good idea. They would support Chris’ immune system to fight off any bugs that might settle and give him an infection. His blood pressure was still low, and another transfusion was being run through. Dave just felt totally helpless. There wasn’t anything anyone could do right now but wait for Chris’ system to strengthen so he could wake up.

Just letting the tears fall, Dave watched his best friend unconscious on the hospital bed. He hadn’t been able to fight off the urge to check all the machines and tubes himself to make sure they were all in the right place and doing what they were supposed to do. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust the Intensive Care physicians, but as a doctor himself, it was just reactionary. Apparently Serena had done exactly the same thing when she got here, once the distressing shock of seeing Chris in this condition eased off just a little. Dave hadn’t been here at that point to know how she coped with it, but Drew had spoken to Aimee when Serena had been too upset to call her herself, and that was how Dave had heard how Serena coped with it. The truth was, no one was really coping very well at all. They were just doing the best they could in the crushing, painful worry for both Chris and Rick. Rick seemed to be recuperating well. Bella had her finger on the pulse with Rick’s progress, and as ironic as it seemed, Rick was thriving with Chris’ kidney. His body seemed to be accepting it and it was functioning as it should be. But Chris couldn’t even know how much he had helped his brother. It just all seemed so wrong.

Dave had to do a double take when he was suddenly not the only visitor in Chris’ room...Collapse )

Word Count | 2,368
[Follows THIS]

Thanksgiving and motorcycles.

It was all that seemed to be able to rush through Carla's mind as she drove as fast as she could without getting arrested to Miami. The last time she had spoken to Chris on the phone, he had told her both he and Rick were coming for Thanksgiving, and made a joke about trying not to give her too much of a heart attack when they got on their motorcyles to drive around the property at full throttle. They had repeatedly given her a stroke with that when they were in their teens, and she was repeatedly yelling at them or chastising them for not being more careful. It was how it had been since she had given birth to them. They were always little rough nuts, always on the go, always getting into something or another. Life had never been easy. Never. But they dealt with it, and there were even some nice memories along the way. Just not as many as there should be. She knew she failed them. They should have been happy boys, and should never have had to go through the pain they did, but it was beyond her power of control. At least, she thought it was. She was mentally suppressed with it all. She never knew she could just easily divorce the bastard until Chris was standing in the living room at twenty two years old begging her to finally get out and save herself from the pain. She stood there and listened, bloody and bruised after yet another encounter with their father following the news they were about to lose the house. She could still hear the sound of Chris vomiting in the drive from shock at the condition she was in right before he took her to the ER to get patched up. It was sitting on the side of a hospital gurney with that clinical smell prominent that she decided it was time to claim her life back... albeit, with her youngest son's help.

Things had looked up from then, but relationships were damaged. The boys didn't live in Lake Wimico anymore, and seeing them often was difficult. Often Rick would disappear for months on end and she stopped worrying about him long ago. He always seemed to land on his feet. Chris kept in touch, even if he wasn't able to visit often. She didn't earn a lot of money, so she couldn't afford to trip to Miami a lot to visit him. The split between brothers just seemed to continue to grow to the point it didn't seem to be able to be salvaged. She stopped asking them about that too. A lot of things in their family just stopped, and before they knew it, time just kept ticking by.

But a mom's biggest and most terrifying nightmare was always that they were going to get a call one day out of the blue to say her children were in danger...Collapse )

Word Count | 5,398