One Way Or Another

Chapter 48

08/31/2005 Early Wednesday Morning 5:00AM-8:00AM

Chapter Forty-Eight

Nick has been in surgery for six and a half hours now and Reilly has taken a call from Bill Stokes. His and Jillian's flight has been delayed so Reilly passed that information along to Warrick and Greg who are waiting at the airport to pick them up.

Bill had then asked to speak to Grissom, so Reilly handed Gil her phone. She knew they were talking about her and she heard Grissom tell the Stokes' everything that has happened so far. He made no attempt to hide his conversation from Reilly or how worried everyone has been for both Reilly and Nick. Reilly frowned at him after hearing this, but she decided to let it go for now.

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Nick has been in surgery for seven and a half hours now and Reilly has finally become cranky. She has become so irritable and angry at all the waiting that not even Sam can calm her down anymore and she almost storms the surgical room to demand to know how Nick was.

Warrick and Greg are waiting at the airport for Nick's parents to arrive and Brass has had to leave to go give an official statement to Ecklie on the past events. Vega had call Brass to tell him about finding Jason Hendler and his secretary dead in his office.

Grissom has also gone back to the lab to make sure dayshift doesn't mess up anything. Even with all three suspects now deceased, he doesn't want any surprises coming their way after what has happened.

Hillary has come by a couple times in the last hour and has spoken with Reilly. She is staying close to the hospital since Kevin is still an inpatient and scheduled for his surgery soon.

Hodges and Wendy have both gone home, but will be back. Archie has gone out to pick up some food for everyone and Reilly suspects he will be reporting back to their boss.

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At almost eight hours after Nick's arrival at the hospital and going into surgery, a man wearing blue scrubs under a white lab coat came into the waiting room which now only contained Catherine, Sara, Greg, Sam and Reilly. The man focused on Reilly and headed straight for her.

"Ms. Mallone? I'm Dr. Gates. I'm the surgeon who operated on Mr. Stokes." He said by way of introduction as he sat down on the couch next to her.

"How is he? How's Nick?" She asked anxiously eyeing the doctor.

Instead of answering her, the doctor asked, "Has Mr. Stokes' family arrived yet?"

"They're on their way, but you can tell me, please." She begged. "I'm listed as Nick's power of attorney. I'm his next of kin… sort of." She was rushing through her words in a hurry to establish her relationship to Nick as his… what? Girlfriend? Fiancé?

"She is Nick's girlfriend. They're having twins." Sam stammered thinking that should be all the doctor needed to hear to know that her mom needed to know about Nick.

"It's alright." The doctor said offering a small smile. "I know who you are; I just didn't want to go through this more than once." He was tired; and he knew he'd still be here for awhile caring for his patient.

Reilly looked at him closely; the man was tired; bone weary tired. He'd been working on Nick at least eight hours now, she thought. "I'm sorry, doctor. I'm just… I need to know how he's doing."

"Nick is holding his own right now."

Holding his own? What did that mean? Reilly looked up into the doctor's blue eyes. He had nice sensitive blue eyes; like the nurse. Eyes were important to Reilly. They told you everything you needed to know if you just looked deep and this doctor had kind caring intense eyes.

"What does that mean?" She asked fearing the worst.

"Nick was shot at close range in the chest. You do understand what that means don't you?"

"Yes; I know. His chances aren't good." Reilly looked over at Catherine who had moved to quietly sit down on the other side of Reilly. "I was there when he was shot. He was protecting me and our…" She started to say baby, but it was babies. She put her hands on her stomach and left the sentence unfinished.

"I'm sorry; I didn't know that." The doctor paused as he looked up towards Sam. "Perhaps you could go get the nurse and tell her that I may need her in a bit."

Reilly looked up at him as Sam left the room. "I'm not going to pass out or anything. I'm fine." She was really getting tired of telling people she was fine. When would it sink in?

"Maybe, but you are pregnant and we need to be sure we don't upset the baby either." He paused taking another deep breath. "I'm not going to gloss over this; it's very serious. Nick was shot in the upper left quadrant of his chest barely missing his heart; the bullet did cause severe damage to his left lung. We have repaired that damage, but the surgery itself was time consuming as we had to be very careful working so closely to his heart. The time he was in surgery also added to the stress on Nick's already damaged body. He had three cardiac events during the surgery, and his heart has become strained from that adding to the damage and stress. We were able to bring him back each time, but each instance has put an incredible burden on his body."

"His heart stopped three times?" Catherine was shocked at that news.

"Yes. As I said, we brought him back, but with the damage those events caused and the amount of blood loss Mr. Stokes' suffered before arriving here; well, we're looking at a long road to recovery here. The next seventy-two hours are his most critical; during that time we have the possibility of infection setting in. He has to be monitored continuously during the next few days; so we can quickly catch any signs of distress at the onset. We're moving him to ICU soon and hopefully we'll know more over the next day or two."

Reilly looked at the doctor as she suddenly felt a buzzing in her ears. She could see everything in the room starting to spin. She felt like she was on the Tilt-A-Whirl at the carnival. She tried to focus on the doctor, but she could feel her stomach churning and the babies were moving; furiously. She felt like she was going to slip off the couch and land in a puddle at the doctor's feet.

The doctor was quick to see what was happening to Reilly and he quickly grabbed the back of her neck and brought her head straight back to rest against the top cushion of the couch. "Close your eyes." He commanded. "Take slow deep breaths; in through you nose, out through your mouth. Slow down your breathing Ms. Mallone."

"Reilly…" She started to say her name was Reilly, but she could feel the bile in the back of her throat. She swallowed several times until she got it under control. "My name is Reilly, please." She finally got out between breathing and swallowing. She closed her eyes and waited for the buzzing in her ears to die down so she could think again.

"Okay Reilly." He said, then he whispered something to someone and Reilly opened her eyes to see what was happening. "Reilly, I'd like to give you a very mild sedative to help your breathing and nausea. It won't affect the baby; and I want you to eat something."

Reilly looked up at the nurse who came over with a syringe in hand. She smiled warmly at Reilly as she stood back waiting to be allowed closer. Reilly slowly nodded and then the doctor nodded to the nurse who reached out and rubbed a spot on Reilly's upper right arm with an alcohol wipe then expertly inject the drug into her system.

Reilly could feel the effects almost immediately and it kind of felt like it did when you've had two good drinks and your fingers and toes start to tingle. The buzzing in her head stopped and her stomach settled down. She had to admit she felt better without feeling too drugged.

"Reilly you need to concentrate on the positive here. Nick hung on until he got here to the hospital. He made it through eight hours of surgery. We've repaired the initial damage. If we can keep him stable with no signs of fever or infection within the next seventy-two hours, his chances of a full recovery are very good."

Reilly nodded. "Can I see him?"

"He's in a medically induced coma state right now to keep him stable, so he won't know you're there, but yes. Once he's settled in the ICU unit I'll have someone take you to see him. You can only see him for a few minutes on the hour, but I would like for you to think about getting some sleep after that. If you don't want to go home, I can have an empty room set up for you right down the hall from Nick and you can see him every hour."

"You can do that?" Catherine asked surprised.

"It's amazing what we can do when the governor himself calls and tells us to give Reilly Mallone whatever she needs." The doctor smiled at Catherine. "I don't know who Reilly is to him, but she must have some very influential friends in some pretty high places."

"Who told the governor?" Catherine asked looking between Reilly and the doctor.

"My guess? Someone who has him on speed dial. Someone the governor would want to keep as a friend and not as an enemy." He replied. "I'll go check on that room and on Nick." He added to Reilly as he got up.

Reilly looked at him and nodded, smiling weakly. She knew who had called the governor. Her smile deepened as she realized that he was also late bringing back the food too.

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