PL: Barely Hanging On

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PL: Barely Hanging On

Postby Iar Edra » Sun May 10, 2015 5:56 pm

PL: Barely Hanging On
"I used to be so sensible on my own
Now I'm so sensitive, it's a joke
Gettin by on decibles like a drug
Greet every brand new day with a shrug
I'm barely hanging on..."
--a-ha

Edra sat where she'd spent most of her free time for the last week, by Henry's side, holding his hand. She talked to him every once in a while. But at the moment, she just rested her head against the bedside, with her eyes closed. It may have been the most sleep she had been getting since that first day. If you could call what she was doing sleeping. With every noise her head popped up to see if there had been any change, only to find that everything was the same.
No improvement.
The more the days that went by with no change in his brain activity, the more she feared having to do the impossible. At the moment, she felt cried out. She'd imagined all the worst-case scenarios, and dreamt the worst of those. Now, when she wasn't drifting off, she just sat there, staring straight ahead, waiting.
She had no appetite, which had Dr. Whelan concerned. He'd suggested giving her an appetite stimulant, but she wanted nothing to do with any medication or use of a hypospray. Finally, he'd convinced her that it was absolutely necessary--she still hadn't been able to eat anything--and it wouldn't affect the baby at all, except for getting her to eat, and subsequently, getting him needed nutrients. She'd agreed to it one time because she knew how important it was. And she had at least eaten more in that meal than the few days before that.
"Mom?"
Edra picked her head up. The voice came from the main triage area, but it wasn't either of the girls. In fact, it was a man's voice. She rose from the chair, but by that time he was standing in the doorway.
"Chance!" She smiled her first real smile in days. But the look that crossed his face told her she must look worse than she realized. She drew him in for a tight hug, and he returned it.
"How are you?" He asked her, standing a head taller than her.
At any other time, and to almost anyone else, she would have at least given a half-way positive answer. It was a way of trying to stay positive herself. But she had a feeling he wouldn't buy it. His tone told her he was concerned. "It's been hard. There's been no change in his condition or chances." She hugged him again. His presence was actually a great comfort. "Thank you for coming," she said as she pulled away to get a good look at him. "But they were supposed to tell me when you were arriving."
He smiled. "I know. I convinced them to let me surprise you."
"Hmm...ignoring orders. I may have to talk to my transporter chief."
"Would it help if I said it took some convincing to get her to play along? I promised to take the blame, so don't get on her case too much."
"So you're encouraging the crew to disregard orders. Do I have to speak to your supervising officer?" She grinned and realized she was bantering for the first time in days. She smiled and began smoothing things out on him. First, his uniform, slightly wrinkled from travel, no doubt, then his hair out of his face.
But he only stood it for so long. "Mo-om," he comlained.
She held her hands up. "Alright, alright. Sorry. I'm glad you were able to come though. Thank you."
He smiled at her. "No problem," then turned to look at Henry. "What happened?"
She sobered up as she turned to stand next to him. "I don't know, exactly. But he was led into trap. When we were docked at Earth, he was pulled into a meeting while I went to oversee the crew picnic on the ranch. But there was no meeting. While we were at the picnic, the man that orchestrated te plot flew a shuttle overhead and just pushed him out." She took a deep breath, "The results were a broken neck, and Dr. Whelan thinks, paralysis. He's also been in a coma, and they don't know..." Her voice cracked, and she couldn't bring herself to finish the rest of the sentance. Chance pulled her into a hug, and for a moment, she couldn't stop the tears again.
Once she'd calmed a bit, he let her go. "I'm gonna talk to...Dr. Whelan, you said? See if I can look at Dad's records, get anymore details." He let her go. "You'll be okay for a minute?"
She nodded, regaining her composure. "I'll be here."
As he walked away she could tell he had slipped into doctor mode by the tone of his voice. She'd done exactly the same so many times. She was glad he was getting what information he could, and then he would try to find any solution possible. She had the thought that, as a doctor, she should have already done that. Her failure to do so made her feel guilty. Every time anything had happened to her, Henry had been there to rescue her. And now, here he was, fighting for his life, and there was nothing she could do. Normally, she could separate herself from the situation, and do what needed to be done to get him, or anyone else, better. But this was so serious, she couldn't pull her head out of it. She worried that if she left, something might happen, and she'd regret not being there for those last moments. The only reason she'd let herself leave was for the girls. Even with this going on, she didn't want to neglect them. They needed the attention, and the comfort.
Edra didnt know how long she sat there, but Chance eventually came back. She looked at him, wondering if the doctor had given him any news. He must have known what she was about because he shook his head. "Everything's still the same."
She sighed, turning back to Henry, watching the connected equipment do everything for him. She wondered how long this would go on. How long could it go on?
How long could she let it go on?
Prophets, taking him off life support was something she had been trying to not think about. But if things didn't change, she'd eventually have to consider it. There would be no doubt from anyone that he'd never want to be kept in this condition. But the thought of taking him off life support almost made her lose it again.
"Hey," Chance said, interrupting her thoughts, "When was the last time you ate?"
She groaned, pushing her previous thoughts to the back of her mind. "He told you, didn't he?"
He nodded, "Let's go get something." He was quick to add before she could protest, "You don't have to eat much, but you need something. We could get the girls too, if you like."
She had to admit, that wasn't a bad idea. Perhaps having all her kids around her would help, and he was right. She did need to eat, even if she didn't feel hungry. And she especially didn't want another dose of anything. So she nodded, and he helped her up. She stole a look at Henry, praying he'd still be here when she returned.
Edra sat down in a chair in the mess hall. Chance had chosen a table in the corner, and pulled out the chair for her, putting her back to everyone else. He didn't want her to see everyone passing by with whatever looks they had. She needed to be surrounded by family, and he wanted her to be able to focus on that without other distractions.
They had stopped by her quarters to get Karina and Karissa. He hoped the time away from Sickbay would take her mind off the last few days, as much as that was possible. Dr. Whelan had told him how she hadn't been eating, and that he suspected she hadn't slept much either. Chance had found that easy to believe given how she looked. The first thing he'd noticed when he'd arrived was the dark circles under her eyes. There was something missing too. Even when she smiled, it didn't quite reach her eyes.
He wished there was something more he could do. She had done so much for him. Both, she and Henry, had given him what he needed when they'd adopted him. He wished he could return some of that, but at the moment there was nothing to be done. Nothing that he could see, and Dr. Whelan had said as much. It was a waiting game. And if he did come out of the coma, then there was an undoubtedly risky surgery to repair his spine. As a doctor, he understood what the chances of survival really were, as he was sure, Edra did. And the prospects were scary. He and Henry had gone for years believing she had died. It would be tough to go through that again. And Karina had been too young to really know the difference then, but he had to think this time she'd feel the loss, as would Karissa.
Once Edra had sat down, the girls took their seats on either side, and Chance sat across from her. He'd convinced her to get something from the replicators. Even the cup of soup she'd gotten would be a start. He was grateful that he'd gotten indefinite leave. It was clear that he needed to be here. She was so focused on Henry, on being by his side, that she'd been neglecting herself. Dr. Whelan had tried to intervene, but it was true what they said about doctors making the worst patients. So, Chance had quickly decided that he would make sure she remembered to consider herself and the baby. He was going to make sure she ate--even if it was that little bit--and he'd make sure she got some sleep. She'd probably fight back, but he would be ready for it.
On their way to the quarters she'd told him that she had already explained to the girls what was going on and how bad it was. They were old enough to understand, so she thought they deserved to know it, to be prepared for what might happen. She'd told him how she wrestled with that decision, and he couldn't blame her for which choice she made. But he hoped what she thought might be preparation wouldn't be needed.
When they'd all sat down to eat, he kept an eye on her as she was chatting with the girls. He only realized how subtle he wasn't when she looked straight at him as she ate a spoonfool of soup. He grinned sheepishly, knowing he'd been caught.
"You forget," she said, sounding slightly annoyed, "That I'm a doctor too. I know all the tricks. I've done all those tricks."
He shook his head as he finished a bite of his sandwich. "No, Ma'am, I didn't forget. But it does seem to be working." he pointed out.
She grumbled something about sounding like his father as she lifted another spoonful to her mouth. Oh yeah, she was gonna put up a fight.
Edra finished the last bit of her soup. She made sure her scheming son saw how successful he'd been. He had the audacity to grin at her, then wink at the girls. She sighed. It wasn't a bad thing. And he was trying to help. She tried to smile and looked back to Karina and Karissa, trying to keep her mind occupied. "How did your classes go today."
Karina looked back down at her food and shrugged, and Karissa giggled just a bit before trying to cover it up.
Edra looked back to Karina. "Alright, spill, Chicka."
"I got in trouble today." She said.
"For what?"
When Karina hesitated, Karissa gladly chimed in, "She yelled at Ms. Tessor."
"Shutup!"
Edra interrupted sharply, "Hey!" She pointed to Karissa first, "I wasn't asking you." When Karissa looked appropriately contrite, she turned to Karina, "You, don't talk to your sister that way." Her voice softened, "That's not like you. You want to explain?"
"I didn't do a project in class. When she asked me why, I told her I didn't care."
"She shouted it." Karissa piped up, then immediately covered her mouth. Edra shot her a look.
"I just...couldn't concentrate. And I was trying."
Edra could hear the defeat in her voice and sighed. "C'mere." She held her hand out to her daughter, and when she took it, pulled her into her arms. "What if I told you I'm having the same problem?"
Karina looked up at her. "Really?"
She nodded. "We're all worried about your dad. I wish I could say he's going to be alright, but we really don't know." Edra hugged her tight, and looking over at Karissa, who no longer appeared to be in a teasing mood, and held her other hand out to her. Karissa got out of her chair and walked into her embrace. She held them both close with her cheek on Karina's head. She wished she could have shielded them from this, but, if he didn't recover, hitting them with that news with no preparation seemed crueller still.
When one of them started squirming, she let go and watched them scamper back to their seats. "You both done with dinner? Ready to go home?"
They both answered in the affirmative, so she looked to Chance who also nodded with a sympathetic smile. She stood up with one hand on her belly, and picked up her soup dish. Chance piled his and the girls things on his plate. After putting everything in the replicator, they headed back to their quarters where they spent some down time playing a tabletop strategy game. After Karina won, Edra announced the girls' bedtime, and while there were protests, they did as they were told. When the lights had been turned out, Edra returned to the couch and fell into the cushions, exhausted.
But a thought occured to her and she looked at Chance. "Did you get quarters yet?"
He shook his head. "If it's alright, I can take the couch here."
She raised a brow. "Are you sure? I mean, of course, you're welcome here, but is the couch going to be long enough for you?"
He grinned. "I'll be fine, and I'd rather be closer to you."
She smiled, understanding. She couldn't help but think she and Henry had made a good choice in adopting him. And the young man who stood before her was partly the result of Henry's instruction. She could tell in the way he treated others.
She sighed inwardly. She'd managed to keep her mind on Chance and the girls all evening, and she suspected that's what he'd had in mind. But now that things had quieted down again, she couldn't help her mind returning to the thought of her husband lying down in Sickbay. She stood and walked the few steps to Chance. "Look, why don't you lay down. I think I'm going to head back down."
"No."
"Well, ok." she said as she headed for the door. "You can come with me, I suppose, or go wherev-"
"No, I mean you're staying here."
She stopped and looked back at him, smirking. "Excuse me?" To be fair, she couldn't be certain if he was now reminding her of Henry, or herself.
"You need to sleep. You're running yourself ragged."
She shook her head. "I can't sleep. I've tried. I'll get a couple cat naps in while I'm sitting down there with him."
"No, you need more than that. I can give you something."
That remark earned him an incredulous look from her. "Are you kidding me? You know how I feel about being medicated right now."
"Yes, I know. So what do you think it means that I'm suggesting it?"
"I think it means that you-" She stopped. Two minutes ago she couldn't stop thinking of all the ways her son made her so proud. And it had taken such a short time for her to almost voice the opposite. If she were honest, she knew why he was suggesting it, and if it were anyone else in her shoes, she would have told them the same thing. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean that."
He was at her side in a moment, and embraced her in a hug, much as she had done for the girls earlier. "I know this is putting you under a lot of stress, but not sleeping is only compounding that. Do you think there's any way you can fall asleep on your own?"
She shook her head. "When I close my eyes I can only see him laying there as he was after the fall, and then I have to be there. If something happens..."
"Dr. Whelan would alert you the moment that happened."
She shook her head again. "I don't want to be 'alerted.' I need to be there. I should be there, vigilant. Watching over him. Not...playing a game."
Chance guided her back to the couch. "Look, you needed that, as much as the girls did. They need you right now too."
He was right. She'd been a mess and she had to turn that around. But that didn't take away her need to be by Henry's side. She needed to find a way to balance it all. Maybe, if she could get a good night's sleep, she would have a clear head in the morning. "What do you have that will help me sleep?" The more she thought about it, the more sleep sounded attractive.
Actually, I've already programmed the environmental controls in your room to difuse lavender oil. It should help you fall asleep naturally. Not as fast as a sedative, but no hypo either."
She felt a fool for not trusting him to find just the right solution. "That's perfect. I'm sorry I didn't give you the chance to say that earlier."
He smiled. "I'm not blind. I know you're mind and your heart are elsewhere."
She drew him in for a hug. "Thank you for coming."
He wrapped his arms around her in return. "Love you, Mom."
She drew back to look at him. "I love you too." And pulled him closer to plant a kiss on his forehead. "Can I ask one more favor?"
"Shoot."
"If you're not too tired, could you go spend some time with him?"
He nodded. "I'll head for Sickbay as soon as I know you're asleep."
She nodded in return, satisfied with that answer, and turned for her bedroom.
Cmdr Edra Crow--XO--USS Mercutio
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Ens. Aislinn Norson --Sci--USS Legacy
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Iar Edra
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