The phone ringing again woke Bryan from the bath. He’d managed to rig up the drain to let out the same amount of water as was running into the tub, in essence, creating an endless hot tub.
He stood up out of the still running water and stumbled out towards his phone.
“This is Bryan.”
From there, the day went from bad to worse. Shawn’s condition had started to deteriorate. His breathing was labored and his vital signs were unstable. While not entirely unexpected given the length of time before he got care, it didn’t make Bryan feel any better.
As he hung up the phone, he realized it was now almost two in the afternoon and they’d still not gotten Caleb’s truck into a shop. That’s when he realized that Caleb wasn’t there. He looked out the hotel windows and saw that the truck was gone.
He put his phone back on the nightstand and saw the note sitting on the TV.
I had to get away for a bit after our conversation earlier. I found a shop that’s open and could take my truck. I’m going to head out to Schreffler Ford in Urbandale. Rough estimate is about $2400 as the transfer case and the front end will likely have to be rebuilt. I let Patty know about Shawn’s condition. She’s planning on heading down tonight.
Think about what you want for dinner. My treat.
Bryan folded up the note and put it in his pocket. Nothing could have prepared him for what was happening. Finally finding a man who made him happy and man that he’d wanted who had gotten away wanted him after all.
Bryan quickly dressed, putting on his good boots and preparing to stay by Shawn’s side as long as they would let him.
It was a brisk ten minute walk to the hospital and another ten minutes to get checked in and up to the critical care unit where Shawn was being treated. The nurses took Bryan aside and explained what to expect and what he was and was not allowed to do in the unit. After that, they walked him down to Shawn’s room.
Bryan was stoic until he saw Shawn laying in the bed with his head wrapped up with tubes and wires coming out of it. The nurse didn’t leave his side but explained they had implanted a pressure monitor inside his skull and had placed a drain in the event of any drainage.
Tears started streaming down Bryan’s face. All of the battling to get Shawn here and yet he was just laying there. The nurse lightly touched his arm and guided him into a chair. “Bryan, you’ll be fine. If you want to hold his hand, please feel free to do so. It may help his recovery.” she told him as he sat down. “The chairs do move around so move it to where you are comfortable.”
Bryan thanked the nurse and watched her walk out of the room before turning to Shawn.
Taking Shawn’s hand into both of his, Bryan offered up a prayer to his Gods and hoped they were listening.
He squeezed Shawn’s hand and started talking to him as though he was there. Bryan’s beliefs told him that Shawn’s soul was still present and that his subconscious would remember the care he had be shown.
“Shawn, I love you. I know this is a bad time for you but I know you’ll recover. There are so many things we still want to do together. Caleb’s off getting the truck looked at and Patty is planning on trying to get down here tonight.” Bryan paused for a moment and rubbed the back of his hand on Shawn’s cheek. Much to his surprise, Shawn leaned ever so slightly into the touch.
“You can hear me Shawn. Squeeze my hand.”
It was faint, but there was a distinct squeeze back from Shawn.
Bryan couldn’t hold back his tears. Shawn was going to be okay. He knew it. He sat there holding Shawn’s hand and talking to him for an hour or so when one of the doctors came in. Bryan quickly pulled his hands away from Shawn.
“I’m Dr. Deb Maderski and I’m the chief neurologist in charge of Shawn’s care.”
Bryan stood up and introduced himself.
“Bryan, I’m going to be honest here. We don’t know how much, if any, damage Shawn’s brain has at this time. The fact that he is semi-lucid at times and responds to pain stimuli is very encouraging but we’re still guarded.”
“Dr. Maderski, he’s responding to more than that.” Bryan reached over and asked Shawn to squeeze his hand, which he did, “He also responded to me brushing his cheek with my hand.”
“The healing power of touch is what I call that effect. Sometimes, it just takes that touch from a loved one to start someone on a faster and better path to recovery. Given that Shawn is responding to regular stimuli, I want to give him another neurologic exam and see if we can start bringing him out of the light coma he’s in.”
Bryan stood out of the way and let Dr. Maderski do her exam. Shawn’s was responding to light normally, was almost responsive to commands but was likely unable to follow through due to the heavy sedation. Dr. Maderski logged into the computer in the room and updated her notes and issued new orders. After she was done, she told him that Shawn would likely start come out of the sedation in about six hours, so this would be a great time to get dinner as once Shawn woke up, he’d likely be there for a long while.
Bryan thanked Dr. Maderski and thought to himself that she was quite the doctor. She didn’t bat an eye at him being Shawn’s lover and fiancé. He fished his phone out of his pocket and called Caleb.
“Where are you?”
Other Wednesday Briefers posting this week: