Hey, y'all! I'm doing my best to get the chapters out faster without compromising the story. Here's chapter 17. Please go back and read the revised version of chapter 16 first.
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Please enjoy chapter 17!
Right after lunch, Doctor Foster paid Greg and Dave a visit, along with a man they hadn't met before. "Greg, how do you feel about going home today?" he asked.
"To be honest, Doc, I have mixed feelings about it. I really want to go home, but I don't want to leave Dave here by himself. I'm also a little scared about being alone to fend for myself without having my full eyesight back."
"Greg, you should go home. You need to take care of Chiara and your fish," Dave told him.
"I don't want to leave you alone in here."
"I know you don't, baby. I don't want you to leave here either. But as Dillon said, as much as I hate to admit it, you would be a distraction. I'd be concentrating more on you and how you were doing with your eyesight. I wouldn't be able to concentrate on the PT.
"You're right, of course. You know I'll be there as soon as they'll let me." Greg assured Dave.
"I know, baby. Just know that I won't be able to make it through without you."
"I know, and I promise I'll be right by your side. I'll even help with the therapy if they'll let me. The thing is; how am I going to manage on my own until you're able to come home?"
"I have that covered." Doctor Foster jumped into the lull in conversation. "Allow me to introduce you to Pete Carsoni. He's a home health aide who will be assisting in your daily routine. I have an appointment scheduled for you with the optometrist the day after tomorrow at 11am. He's going to check your eyesight and see if glasses will help you see better; at least until your full eyesight returns."
"And if it doesn't?"
"Let's not worry about it until we absolutely have to. How do you feel about wearing glasses or contacts?"
"I'll do whatever it takes to be able to see again like I used to. If it means I have to wear glasses, then I'll wear glasses."
Doctor Foster looked up and noticed Commissioner Burke standing in the doorway. "That's the right attitude. I'll be back later with your discharge paperwork. Pete will also be back this afternoon to drive you home and get familiar with your home, that is, if Chiara will let him." Doctor Foster winked then left the room.
"Hi, Greg, how are you doing? I hear you're going home this afternoon. That's great."
"Hi, Commissioner; how's everything?
"Not as well as it will be when the four of you are back to work."
"I wanted to talk with you about that. If I don't get my full eyesight back, what could I do? I'll be practically worthless. You certainly wouldn't want me as a lieutenant."
"Greg, your knowledge and experience is still valuable. I overheard your doctor say that glasses may help your vision. Even if they don't, you can still help train new recruits. You could also provide sensitivity training to new officers and refresher training to our existing force. You still have a lot to offer the department and I'd be a fool to let you go. The decision, of course, is yours, but I hope you'll stay on with us."
Greg mulled this over for a couple of minutes. He looked at Dave who gave him an encouraging nod. "Ok. I'll stay, but what about Gwen and Kevin?"
"I've been assured that Gwen will make a full recovery. It's still unknown whether Kevin will be able to walk again or not. If he is, that would be great. If he can't, I have a couple of ideas."
"I don't think he'd be happy shuffling paperwork."
"I don't either, Greg. Like I said, I have a couple of ideas. One would be to send him to forensics school then put him in the lab. The other is an idea I came up with a couple of years ago, but couldn't spare the manpower for it. I'm talking about making him a researcher.
"He'd research into the backgrounds of criminals, suspects, etc., which I believe would help the task force immensely. Even though he wouldn't be in the field, he'd still be actively involved in the cases."
"I like that idea. Have you talked with him about it?"
"Not yet. I'm waiting to see what happens."
Dillon popped his head in the door. "Dave, are you ready for the fun to start?"
With a touch of trepidation in his voice, he responded, "I guess so."
Dillon waved his hand at the doorway and an orderly came in pushing a gurney. With his help and that of a couple of nurses, they got Dave transferred onto the gurney. Greg gave Dave a thumbs-up as they wheeled him out of the room.
Dr. Foster came in shortly afterwards. "Greg, do you want to go home now, or do you want to wait until Dave comes back from PT?"
"I'd rather wait, if that's okay."
"Okay, Greg. Ring the bell when you're ready to go home. I'll have the discharge paperwork ready for you."
"Okay, Dave. Here's what we're going to do. I'm going to put the prosthesis on you then we'll see how you do standing on it. First, we're going to sit you up and get you used to being upright. You'll feel lightheaded and dizzy, but that will pass. If you feel nauseous, let me know. Ready?
"As ready as I'll ever be. Let's get this show on the road." Dave said with more bravado than he was feeling.
"Okay, let's get that leg on you." Fitting action to his words, Dillon fitted the prosthetic leg on Dave. "How does it feel?"
"Kinda weird, but I guess I'll get used to it eventually."
"Okay, let's sit you up. Slowly, we don't want to sit you up too fast." Dave was slowly until he was sitting upright.
He closed his eyes and moaned, swaying a little. "Easy, Dave. Feeling dizzy and lightheaded?" Dave nodded. "That's totally normal. It's because you've been lying down for so long. It'll pass. What about nausea?" Dave shook his head no and immediately regretted it. If it weren't for Dillon's quick reflexes, Dave would have ended up on the floor.
"Easy, Dave, easy. No sudden head movements. How's the head?"
"It's starting to settle down."
"There's no rush. Take as much time as you need. I'm not going anywhere."
A couple of minutes later, Dave said he was ready.
Grabbing hold of his arm support, Dillon had Dave carefully slide to the edge of the gurney.
"Okay, easy does it. Slide forward and put your feet on the floor. How's the pain?"
"It hurts a little, kinda like a mild headache."
"Okay. Slowly slide off the gurney, putting your weight on your right leg. Try not to put any weight on your left leg yet." With Dillon's help, Dave slid off the gurney. "How's your head? Dizzy? Light-headed?"
"Not really. Maybe a little dizzy."
"Okay, good. Now, slowly start putting weight on your left leg. If it really starts to hurt, back off."
"Okay." Dave started slowly putting weight on his left leg. A couple of seconds later, he groaned in pain and slid back up on the gurney, sweat beads forming on his forehead. "I'm sorry, Dillon. I tried."
"It's okay, Dave. You did great. Believe me, it will get better. It's not going to happen overnight."
"How long's it going to take?"
"It will take as long as it takes, and I'll be with you every step of the way."
Dillon couldn't count how many times he'd been down this road. "Dave, in the initial stage of your recovery, it is absolutely essential that you get into the right mindset and not be distracted. Being distracted will deter your recovery, and at this stage of the game, Greg will be a distraction. I can understand you wanting Greg here. If I were in your place, I'd want my husband with me. Please, trust me on this."
"Yeah. His name is Pete. He's a home health aide."
"His last name wouldn't by chance be Carsoni, would it?"
"Yeah. Why do you ask?"
"He's going to be Greg's home health aide."
"No shit. That's crazy. One gay couple taking care of another gay couple."
"I think it's pretty cool. I can't wait to tell Greg."
"I can't wait to tell Pete. Anyway, let's try it one more time. Then we'll take you back to your room." This time Dave was able to put a little more weight on his leg. "That's good, Dave. The key is to go slow and not overdo it. Let's get you back to your room and you can give Greg the news.
Back in their room, Dave gave Greg the news. "Guess what, baby? Your home health aide and my physical therapist are husband and husband."
"Really; how cool is that?" Dr. Foster walked in at that moment. "Hey, Doc, guess what? Dave's physical therapist and my home health aide are married."
"I know. When I found out that Dillon was going to be your physical therapist, I requested Pete from the agency. The two will be good for you."
"We'll certainly do our best," Pete said, walking into the room. "Ready to go home, Greg?"
Greg looked over at Dave. "Not really, but I guess I can't stay here forever."
"Okay, let's get you ready to go and get you out of here." Pete said with a smile, looking forward to working with Greg.