I’ve been sitting in a damn hospital room for the past four hours. I’ve had test after test done, and everything has come back normal. Only a tiny abrasion on the top of my head, nothing a few stitches didn’t fix, and I’ll be sore and bruised. Travis was just as lucky with a small cut on his forehead and a busted hand, but come to find out; he busted his window out because he couldn’t get the car door open from the inside. The one person I want to know about, I’m being left in the god damn dark. Travis is even starting to become annoyed and impatient, and so is Val, who’s been here for about an hour or two. Unfortunately, she found out by way of the media before Travis could find a phone to call her.
“Sooo....since we’re all just patiently sitting around and waiting for some damn news, will someone please tell me what the hell happened?” Val asks for the fourth time. A part of me wishes that Jonathan was able to keep Val in her damn hotel room until he got word from Travis. Still, I know Val, and I know she threatened to take a taxi to the hospital unless he or Heather drove her.
“I don’t know,” I say through my teeth, and I don’t really feel like talking either. We can turn on a damn news channel, and I’m sure we will find some form of the truth being reported.
“Valerie now is not....”
“No,” she warns, pointing a warning finger at Travis. “Tell me now! Because my best friend is currently in surgery, and we have no idea what the hell is happening since we can’t get a lick of fucking information from anyone in this hospital. So, tell me now, or I’m turning on the damn television.”
Getting to my feet, I leave the room that we’ve been placed in. One, I’m not sure if it’s for privacy or because they’re going to attempt to keep me as an inpatient for observation. Which they’re sadly mistaken if they think I’ll be separated from Ryann any longer.
I walk out of the door to the sound of Travis and Valerie bickering over the information she should know, but information that he feels should wait to be shared until we’re in a more private area of the hospital. I think he’s being a tad bit paranoid about the potential of any leak information. But I’m not in any frame of mind to argue with him or agree with Val. Walking up to the nurses’ station, I find the same nurse that I’ve bugged for the last two hours.
“Ahh, Mr. Copeland, I was wondering when I would see you back out here.”
When I first came out here, she had just arrived on duty and promised to find out any information, but she hasn’t been as lucky as I think she’s hoped. “Anything new?”
“Miss. Anderson is still in surgery,” she whispers. “A doctor should be coming to talk to you here shortly and give you more of an update, but she’s stable.”
“Can you give me any more information besides she’s stable? I need more information, please.” I practically beg as I feel myself grasping for straws because what I really want to hear is that Ryann is awake and asking for me. That is all I want to hear. It’s what I need to hear.
The nurse sighs as she looks around her surroundings. Getting to her feet, she walks around the station and guides me into a vacant stock room, “She had some internal bleeding that they were able to stop. She also has a dislocated shoulder, and I think her arm may be broken, But I’m not a hundred percent sure. Overall she’s lucky to even be alive. But....”
She trails off, pausing as she chews on her lip, “But what?”
“Mr. Copeland, a doctor should really be talking with you about this. Not me. I could lose my job, and I need this job. I’m sorry.”
Waving my hands to stop her from rambling too much because I don’t want, nor do I need, a guilt trip added to my already guilty conscience. “I’m sorry. You’ve done enough. Thank you. Can I have a moment to myself, please?”
The nurse nods, “Of course, if you need anything, let me know.” I watch her leave the stock room, and I sink down to the floor and allow my head to collapse into my hands. My walls are slowly breaking, and I’m not sure how to be strong for the woman who helps keep me together. Who keeps my walls from caving in on top of me.
Getting back to my feet, I try and shake off this crimpling feeling of hopelessness and make my way out of the little stock closet to find Val waiting for me outside of the room. Tears running down her face, which only sends my body to shake with dread and my heart to summersault further void that isn’t known in this realm.
“Thomas, the doctor is in the room. He has an update.”
Okay, you can do this, Copeland, you can do this. Placing a hand at the center of Val’s back, I walk us back into the room, and I see an older doctor in green surgical scrubs standing at the end of the bed talking with Travis. I watch the two shake hands before all eyes are on me.
“Mr. Copeland, I’m Dr. Turner. I’m one of the doctors in charge of Ryann’s care. I think you should sit.”
Ya, I’m not sitting anywhere. I’ve done enough of that waiting for a damn update. “I’m good. How is Ryann doing? What’s going on?”
“She’s stable and out of surgery. She’s currently in recovery, where she’ll be a few hours until we can move her to ICU.”
“I want to see her,” I nearly yell out. The despair and desperation aren’t lost in my voice.
The one thing I hate about doctors is the inability to read their damn expressions with the poker faces they wear.
“I’m not sure seeing her tonight.....”
Shaking my head, “I don’t think you understand. I will see Ryann tonight.”
I watch the doctor sigh as I watch him gently rub the palms of his hands together, “Mr. Copeland, Ryann had some internal bleeding....”
“What!?” Val screeches out, trying to contain a sob. “You were able to stop it, right?”
“We were able to stop the bleeding. But, unfortunately, we had to do a blood transfusion due to the amount of blood that was lost. She also had a dislocated shoulder and will be in an arm sling for at least a week. The x-rays did not show any signs of broken bones. But she will be in a neck brace until we’re able to extubate her.”
I’m sorry, this isn’t a known fact when she’ll be extubated, “What do you mean?” I hear Val let out a soft whimper as her hand rests against my forearm. “How long will she be intubated for?”
“We don’t know,” the doctor says with an uncomfortable amount of honesty.
Come again? What does he mean he doesn’t know?
“The MRI showed that there is some swelling along her brain. We believe she must have hit her head during impact from the swelling and the abrasion she has. She will be in a medically induced coma to allow her body time to heal.......”
With each word leaving the doctor’s mouth, I feel like I’m now underwater or in a damn tunnel. Ryann is in a medically induced coma. She’s not awake, and she won’t be breathing on her own, and she’ll be hooked up to machines that will assist her until she’s awake. My mind immediately goes to the worst possibility imaginable. This is my mom all over again. But Mom never woke, will Ryann?
“Thomas,” I hear Val whisper beside me. “Thomas, hey, did you hear the doctor?”
Forcing my attention towards Dr. Turner, I find him staring at me. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“Our hope is to have her off the ventilator by the end of the week. It really depends on how fast her body heals and responds to treatment.”
“I’m staying with her,” I say again because I need it to be understood that I’m not leaving her side.
Dr. Turner gives me a sad look, “I’m sorry, Mr. Copeland. Hospital....”
“Listen, I don’t give a fuck what hospital protocol is. I’m staying with her.” I interject.
“Thomas, maybe we should go back to the hotel and rest. We need to call her family.” Val reassures.
And I’m sure her family already knows and are on their way here as we speak. I’m not interested in talking with anyone until I can see Ryann for myself.
Shrugging out of Val’s hold on my arm, “No.” I state evenly and making sure I’m heard and not questioned further. “I’m not leaving Ryann. I’m staying.”
“Mr. Copeland, I understand.......”
“No,” I growl. “You don’t understand. I’m not leaving this hospital, and I want to see Ryann.”
The hospital policy can go and fuck itself because I’m not that scared teen boy, and I won’t be pushed over like one, either.
I watch the doctor deflate slightly in surrender, “Okay, okay. You are Miss. Anderson’s emergency contact. I’ll make arrangements for you to stay with her while she’s admitted. But I cannot allow you into recovery. I will have a nurse bring you up to her room in ICU.”
As much as I want to argue and protest further, I accept the fact that I won’t be able to see Ryann until she’s moved to her room, but I’m not sure I’m mentally ready to walk into a room with Ryann hooked up to essentially the same machines that kept my mom alive.
“Thomas,” Val whispers next to me. “Thomas, this isn’t like your mom. Ryann is alive. They’re just helping her body heal. She will wake up.”
“And if she doesn’t?” I snap. “What if she doesn’t, Val? Then what? I’m supposed to go on as nothing happened. Move on with my life?” My hands fly into my hair with angst, regret, and sorrow. None of this should be happening. If I weren’t so selfish, Ryann would still be safe. She’d be back at the hotel with Val doing whatever girl time Ryann needed.
I should be the one laid up in the hospital bed. Not her.
“Stop,” Val orders as she pulls my hands from tugging on my hair. “Don’t say shit like that, Thomas. This is Ryann we’re talking about. She’s always one to fight. She won’t give up, and don’t you dare give up on her.”
I know Val is right. My reaction is starting to become dramatic, but I’m not sure how to deal with all of these emotions wanting to explode all at the same time. Well, I do know how to deal with them, but I’m really struggling from not bending to that craving.
God, all I want to do is hold her hand and tell her how much I love her. Even if she can’t hear me, I need her to know that I will always love her, that she’s my missing piece.
“There’s also something else that I need to tell you, and I suggest that you do take a seat for this.” The doctor’s words come out in a rush of desperation.
I’ve heard this tone before, and it’s almost always followed by bad news and more bad news, and the sobs coming from Val, I’m afraid to even know what it is. I’m not sure my heart can sink any lower.