It's Always Darkest Before Dawn

The Procedure

The clock on the counter read 7:03am, as Rachel was sitting on the chair, watching Emma peacefully sleep. She decided to let her sleep as long as she could, and a nurse entered to say the doctor was running late and everything should be ready by 10am. Rachel nodded, and as the nurse left she quietly went to the sink in the bathroom and poured her a glass of water, taking care not to drink in front of Emma, as she was not supposed to have anything to eat or drink.

Rachel had a splitting headache, and took two aspirin, and didn't know if the headache was because of stress, lack of sleep, or possibly a combination of both. She turned off the light, sat back down next to Emma, and 15 minutes later as she was dozing, the door quietly opened as Monica entered, tying some balloons to the railing of Emma's bed as Rachel woke up. "Go back to sleep, Rach" Monica whispered as she sat down on an empty chair.

"Hey, Aunt Monica", Emma greeted as she woke up. "Hey there, sleepyhead", her aunt said as she lightly kissed her. Emma thanked Monica for the balloons, Monica asked how she was doing. Emma shrugged saying she wished everything was over, already. "I know you do, Brat and and it will be soon", she replied. "Where's Ross at", Monica asked and Rachel replied that he went to get some coffee downstairs. Monica said that Chandler went to find a place to park and dropped her off at the front, and Joey and Phoebe were on their way as well.

Rachel, Monica, and Emma talk and a few minutes later, Joey and Phoebe enter, as Phoebe hands Emma a teddy bear, which she clutches tightly. "I'm hungry", Emma said and Rachel said "I'm sorry, but the doctor said not to have anything to eat or drink right now, but once your feeling better we'll go eat anywhere you want". It was close to 9:30, when the orderly came saying it was time and the doctor was ready. Rachel held her daughter's hand, forced a smile as she whispered "Show these people what a brave girl you are". The orderly said there was a waiting room just down the hall, and the doctor would be keeping them informed. Emma asked if she could bring her teddy bear and the orderly said "That's not a problem, angel", and slowly wheeled her out of the room and down the hall.

"Everything will be ok, sweetie and we'll see you soon", Rachel said to Emma as she was being wheeled away, and they turned a corner and disappeared as Rachel, who tried to remain strong in front of Emma, broke down sobbing, as Ross held her tightly trying to dispel her fears and worries, as tears ran down his own face. "She just HAS to be ok", Rachel said thru the tears, and Ross forced her to make eye contact with him, saying "Hey, she will be". They walk to the waiting room as Joey announces he was going to the cafe for some food and asked if anybody else wanted to come.

Chandler replied that he would go with him, as Monica suggested Rachel needed to eat as well. "I can't eat, until I know Emma is out of surgery", she said. "Rach, you really do need to eat something", Ross coaxed and Monica offered to bring something up, but Rachel insisted she didn't have an appetite. "You don't mind if we go, do you", Monica asked and Rachel shook her head and said "Of course not, you guys. I promise that I'm fine". Everybody but Ross and Rachel head to the elevator, as Ross pours some coffee for himself and Rachel as they both anxiously wait for the doctor.

Emma was wheeled into the operating room, as Dr. Peterson was already there, wearing a bright blue smock and mask. "Good morning, Emma. My what pretty balloons you have here. You must have great friends" he greeted, smiling behind his mask. He told Emma he was going to remove the balloons and place them at the nurses' station and she can have them back, when everything is done. "Can I keep my teddy", she asked as Dr. Peterson said "Of course you can, honey".

He places an oxygen mask over her, telling her to just breathe normally. He could tell she was scared and tried to take her mind off everything, by talking with her, asking about school, favorites movies, and they even share a few jokes and riddles. "Ok, Emma, I have to put an I.V. in your arm. It may sting for a moment, but it will help you relax". He gently held her hand, as she let out a light whimper, as the needle was inserted. Dr. Peterson said she may feel a little dizzy as the medicine was taking effect

It was a few minutes later and Emma was giggling and told the doctor she was seeing two of him. "You're seeing two? Which one do you like the best", he joked and said "Hey, Emma do you know how to count" and Emma nodded, saying she can count up to 20. Dr. Peterson replied she was a smart girl to be able to count all the way to 20, and asked her to count. Emma made it all the way to 7, before the full effect of the anesthesia kicked in. After making sure she was under, he nodded to the operating room technician and said "Ok, let's do it".

It was about 2 hours later, as the doctor informed Ross and Rachel the operation was a complete success and Emma was being taken to recovery, and would be able to see her later. Everybody thanked the doctor as Rachel hugged Ross tightly, glad the operation was a success. Rachel said now she felt like eating, and Monica said she would bring something from the cafe. "Thanks for everything you have done", Rachel said as Monica smiled and said "We're just glad to help, any way we can".

It was about an hour later, and the doctor asked if they wanted to see Emma. Ross and Rachel followed the doctor to a room, where he had them put on scrubs and masks, and led them to a room, where Emma lie sleeping. Rachel wasn't sure which was worse... the operation, or waiting for the results. "Hey, I think she's waking up" Ross commented as Emma slowly opened her eyes, as the became adjusted to the light. "Hey sweetie, you did great", Rachel said with a smile.

"Are you feeling ok", Ross asked and Emma replied she was thirsty. Rachel across the hall to the nurses' desk, asking if it was ok for Emma to have something to drink. They poured some water in a small cup, and hand her a straw. Rachel holds the cup, as Emma sips thru the straw, as Dr Peterson steps in, to see how Emma is doing and says "I think these belong to you", as he ties the balloons to her bed railing and Emma asked when she could go home. "I'd like to keep you here, just one more night. We just need to be sure there is no infection".

"Can Emma have anything to eat", her dad asked, as the doctor asked Emma if she was getting hungry and she nodded, asking if she could have a hamburger. About 15 minutes later, and an orderly arrives with a freshly cooked hamburger, applesauce, and glass of milk. She ate about half, saying she couldn't eat any more. "That's ok, sweetie", her mom said, suggesting that she try and get some sleep. As she slept, Ross and Rachel stepped into the hallway, as Rachel said "So what do we do now".

Ross sighed, saying there was nothing they could do, except wait for the results

- To Be Continued -

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