Chapter 12: Her Secret is Out
They called us back to recovery. Shaina looked so peaceful still under anesthesia, just sleeping.
“The surgery went really well.” Doctor Stephen told us.
Janine cried gently “Thank God.”
“She should heal up really well. You can go ahead wake her up. She may not wake up completely quite yet.”
“Shaina...” I cooed softly, stroking her cheek. “Shaina, come on. It’s time to wake up.” Her mom rubbed her arm gently.
Shaina groaned and slowly opened her eyes. She looked so confused. It was kind of cute. She blinked a couple more times and shook her head a little. She turned and looked at me.
“Welcome back, Sweet Pea.” I said grinning down at her.
She smiled back groggily but slowly closed her eyes again.
“Alright, we’re gonna go ahead and go,” Janine whispered to me. “I’m positive she’s safe with you. Just be sure to get some rest.” She kissed my head as if I were her own son.
“I will. Good night.”
I turned off the lights and settled in a chair beside Shaina. I took her hand in mine and slowly drifted off to sleep.
I woke up to Shaina gently squeezing my hand. I sat up, stretched and rubbed my eyes. “Hey, Sweet Pea.” I greeted lazily. I leaned over and clicked on the lamp beside the bed bathing the room in light. “How are you feeling?”
“Pretty good.” She yawned.
“Well the surgery went well and the doctor said you’re healthy and should heal pretty quickly. You’ll be released from the hospital sometime tomorrow probably but you won’t be able to go back to school till next week.” I informed her.
“So the surgery went well? Nothing... bad, happened?” she asked sounding scared.
I furrowed my eyebrows and shook my head. “No,” I said slowly, “Why?”
Shaina bit her lip and looked down at the bedding.
“Shaina?” I pressed.
She sighed. “I almost died.”
Well that’s a bombshell. My eyes widened. “What?” I gasped.
She launched into her story, “When I was thirteen I loved to sit on the roof outside my house, like you did. I was out there one day and my best friend, who moved away after it happened, came to see me. I was just standing up when she stuck her head out the window and yelled at me. It scared me. I lost my footing and fell off my roof. I hit my head. My parents rushed me to the hospital. I fractured my skull. I had bone fragments in my brain. The doctors decided I needed emergency surgery. They gave me anesthetics and during the surgery I was slowly becoming unresponsive and then I flat lined...” She sucked in a shallow breath and continued. “They didn’t think I was going to make it. I was in a coma for a week. I damaged a portion of my brain which causes me to have trouble learning. That’s why it takes me longer to understand things. That’s why I’m always studying. I have to constantly study to learn it. I got to therapy to help too. Anyway, when I woke up they didn’t think I was ever going to be the same. But here I am. Pretty much same old Shaina.” She finished. I looked down and noticed her hands were shaking.
I was stunned. “That’s why you’re afraid. Of heights and anesthetics.”
She nodded. She tried to take in a deep breath but it stopped short.
I jumped up worried. “Shaina? Are you okay?”
She closed her eyes and nodded. “Panic attack.” she said, her voice shaking.
“What can I do?” I asked urgently wanting to help her.
“Sit with me.” She rasped.
I climbed into bed beside her and wrapped her tightly in my arms. She clung to me.
She closed her eyes and heard her breaths getting slower.
I felt her muscles relax and she started talking again, “I have, what I like to call, 'calmers'. It’s things or people that can calm me down when I have panic attacks.”
“What are they?” I asked curious.
“Uh the only ones I have discovered are my mom and Chad.”
“So why did you ask me to comfort you? I could’ve called Chad and had him come here.”
“Well you see,” She began to explain, “The action depends on the person. My mom, to comfort me, holds me tightly like you did. And Chad just has to talk to me and it calms me. You, it was just a hope that you holding me would help and it did. You may become one of my calmers.”
I smiled glad she trusts me. “I’d be honored.”
I kissed the top of her head. “Get some rest, Shaina.” I told her softly.
She nodded and snuggled into my arms.
I waited for her to fall asleep before falling asleep myself.