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"Mr. and Mrs. Williams, I am sorry that we were not able to speak with you upon your arrival. Steven came in with a gunshot wound and was taken into surgery immediately. A .45 bullet entered his left upper quadrant rupturing his spleen, then making its way to his right upper quadrant piercing his stomach and settling in his liver. We had to remove the spleen as the damage was too extensive to repair. We removed the bullet along with a small portion of his liver but not so much that it will be a detriment as the liver can regenerate tissue. He is out of surgery in recovery for monitoring until he is moved to a private room upstairs." the Chief Surgeon explained.
"When can we see him?" Bryan asked.
"Steven is the only patient in recovery at the moment so I will escort the two of you in there for a couple minutes."
"The three of us will be going. Jason will be joining my wife and I." Bryan insisted.
"Very well, follow me." the Chief Surgeon said and escorted the three of them down the hall.
We walked through the doors into a dimly lit room. There were two nurses at a desk with a lamp on and one bay was dimly lit across from the desk. The surgeon told us that he would still be out of it but we should speak softly and hold him hand. Bryan and Debbie went around the curtain first and whispered things to him that only parents can say to their son. They emerged a minute later with Bryan holding Debbie as she sobbed silently. "Go see him for a minute Jason." Bryan suggested.
I walked around the curtain and saw Steven for the first time. He skin was pale under the dim light. There were a couple monitors and IV's hooked up to him. He looked at peace in the bed but then I remembered why he was here and that he was sedated and on pain killers because of his wound and I started to cry myself. I squeezed his hand as I leaned down and whispered in his ear, "It's me. I love you so much. You are one tough son of a bitch to let this slow you down so get better and I will be here every day." I kissed his cheek after I spoke and felt Steven squeeze my hand while my lips were on his skin.
One of the monitors started beeping faster and a nurse came over and said it was time to go and we could see him tomorrow during visiting hours but now he needed his rest. I squeezed his hand and told him I'd see him tomorrow and I walked back around the curtain and joined his parents. The three of us walked back to the waiting room to the group of 20 or so who were still there. "Steven will be fine. He responded by squeezing our hands when talked to. Jason got the best reaction by slightly increasing his heart rate. We can see him tomrrow during visiting hours." Bryan announced.
The room erupted into applause with sighs of relief, hugs and handshakes exchanged all around. The crowd thinned out until it was just me and our parents.
"Is anyone else hungry or is it just me?" Debbie asked.
"I can go for that." Anne agreed.
We left the hospital and drove up the road to IHOP. No one else was there so we had the place to ourselves. I ordered two eggs, two sausage and two pancakes. The five of us sat around and reflected on the situation and how we were notified of what happened. Dustin had seen to it that each of us got a head start on our journey to be with Steven tonight. Our food arrived and I asked Debbie a question.
"What flavor of syrup does Steven like?"
"When we come here he smothers them in boysenberry syrup." she replied.
I did the same for Steven. If he couldn't be here with us then I was going to eat as if he was here. We finished our meal and walked out into the cool air of November.
"I'm going to stay at the hospital tonight." Debbie said.
"I want to stay too mom." I said.
"Why don't you come home tonight and we'll come back down when we wake up. There isn't much you can do for Steven tonight. You won't even be able to see him until tomorrow." Anne insisted.
"He can stay with me and keep me company." Debbie pleaded for me.
"Okay son, you can stay and keep Debbie company. Bryan, would you like to catch a ride home with us?" John asked.
"Sure." Bryan smiled.
We said our goodbyes and soon it was just Debbie and I in the waiting room. We were in the same waiting room as before, the private one having two couches, probably for people like us who insist on staying there all night. Debbie laid down on one couch while I took the other.
"It really means a lot to me that you are here for Steven. I'm sure it means more to him when he finds out." Debbie said.
"We like to be near each other. It's like we are the security blanket for each other." I replied with a smile.
"I remember when Steven first said that he wanted to look into law enforcement. He was 13 and we were heading home after I got off work. He had spent the whole day down at the metal detectors talking to the deputies. One of them mentioned that if he wanted to see what it was like that he should look into volunteering when he turned 16. He was so enthusiastic and ever since then he has watched almost every police show like COPS and other police dramas on TV. We often used to sit up at night and watch murder mystery shows. He was really intuitive when it came to figuring out who was guilty. After he signed up to volunteer, he found out that he could have joined a year earlier but I'm glad we didn't know that. This way he could drive himself to functions. I always wondered and feared that something like this might happen but he put me at ease a bit when he told me that if this did happen, he would be doing what he loved when it happened. He just hoped he had made a difference in one person's life by the time it happened if it happened at all." Debbie thought out loud.
"He made a difference in my life. I thought I was going to be alone for so many years, at least while I lived in town. I never thought I would find a boyfriend like Steven in our small town. When we met at the movies this past summer and the days that followed I knew that Steven was the type of guy that I could be happy with for the rest of my life. I just hope he felt the same. I know that answer now but at that time it was uncertain. When he told me he wanted to be a cop and was going to volunteer I worried too that something like this may happen. I was selfish and didn't want him to sign up. But I loved him and since I love him I told myself that I was a shitty boyfreind for being selfish and trying to hold him back from pursuing something he loves. He assured me he would be fine and we had a close call tonight. Perhaps too close but he will heal and get better. I know for me that after he recovers if he still wants to keep going with the volunteering I will be supportive of his decision because I am not about to make the same mistake twice." I thought out loud.
Code Blue - Recovery an automated voice over an intercom sounded. I made my way quietly to recovery and saw a couple doctors and nurses hovering around the area where Steven was. I tried to get in the door but it wouldn't open. I began to bang on the door and a nurse looked over her shoulder looking past me like I wasn't even there. I continued to slam on the door and shout for them to let me in but the staff ignored me. I heard Debbie talk to me but I was too focused to hear what she was saying. She started shaking me trying to get my attention but it was having little effect on me.
"Jason. Jason, come on. Jason!" Debbie spoke louder.
I turned and saw her face as she was smiling at me. I looked at her in a state of confusion, "Steven is in there dying. Help me get in."
"Jason, you were having a nightmare. We are still in the waiting room."
I looked around me and noticed she was right. There were small rays of light coming in the window and I could hear voices outside of the room. "So he is fine?" I asked.
"Yes, a nurse came in about 15 minutes ago to let me know that he had been moved into his room and that visiting hours would be in 30 minutes. He is sleeping soundly and is still on pain meds which are keeping him out of it but he does have periods of lucidity between his next round of pain management. She said he asked for us an hour ago. Let's go to the cafeteria for a small breakfast then we will go see him." Debbie explained and suggested.
I must have slept for about 6 hours as I got up, stretched and we made our way to the cafeteria. We each had some eggs, bacon, toast and something to drink. We headed towards his room at five to eight and walked in quietly as Steven slept in his bed. There were still monitors next to him, an IV in his arm, a catheter hanging on the side of his bed and another bag with some fluid in it with a tube snaking its way inside his hospital gown, probably something for drainage.
We each sat down next to him with Debbie holding his hand and me placing my hand on his shin. We spoke softly taking turns to let him know we were there and how thankful we are that he is still with us. We expressed the well wishes from everyone the night before. We would probably have to tell him again when he came around but I was willing to tell him over and over if need be. I was just happy that he was alive.
Thank you to my readers and stay tuned for the next chapter to appear shortly. All comments are welcome, please no flames. Also PLEASE try to remain calm if a chapter ends on a cliffhanger. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org