Frank’s voice was barely audible but was enough to get the young bassist’s attention. Opening his eyes half way, Mikey offered a faint smile as he saw his friend.
“I’m sorry, Mikey. I’m sorry you got caught up in all of this.”
Too weak to speak, Mikey raised a finger, then another. Frank clutched at his hand, his eyes misting.
“You’ll be fine, the doctor said so,” he said encouragingly. “So you just rest and do everything they tell you. You’ll be well in no time.”
Mikey smiled again.
“Anyway, I gotta go, we can only stay a couple of minutes and Bob wants to see you too.”
Mikey closed his eyes briefly; his only other way to acknowledge Frank’s statement.
“You’ll be fine soon,” Frank squeezed Mikey’s hand before stepping away from the bed and heading out of the ward.
“How is he?” Bob asked, as Frank appeared looking drained.
Frank inhaled deeply. “He’s okay, I think. He’s too weak to talk, or anything for that matter. He can move his eyes and smile a little, I took that as a good sign.”
Bob nodded and patted Frank’s shoulder before heading into the ward.
Mikey greeted him with the same weak smile and Bob returned with a broad grin.
“Come on you malingerer! I know you’re only here because you’re lazy!”
Mikey’s smile widened as he tried not to laugh.
“You rest up, Mikes, we’re all okay and so will you be too, you just need a little time.”
Mikey tried to say something, but it was inaudible; the fact that Bob was unable to understand seemed only to upset him more.
“Mikey, everything’s fine, don’t worry.”
He wouldn’t give up and tried again and again, growing more and more agitated with each attempt. Bob lowered his ear next to Mikey’s mouth and finally caught the faint whisper.
“Gee?” Bob nodded, annoyed with himself that he had not realised what his friend would be asking. “He got a little hurt, but he’s okay, really. He’s just here for observation.”
It was only a small lie, the rest was true and it was important that Mikey didn’t worry.
“I better go, let you rest. We won’t go far though, so don’t worry.”
Mikey offered the best smile he could muster, but it was clear even these small exertions had taken their toll on him.
Over the next few days, things started to pick up dramatically. Ray was the first to be released from the hospital’s care. Then only a few days later, much to everyone’s relief, Mikey was moved from the C.C.U. into a private room. Still weak and attached to drips, but he was getting stronger with each passing day. A few days later, Gerard was released. It would be a few weeks yet for his ribs to fully heal, but he was more then ready to leave the hospital. They all, of course, remained a regular sight around the hospital, taking it in turns to stay to be with Mikey. It wasn’t necessary from a concern point of view any more; it was more than clear that Mikey was making a quick and complete recovery, but they wanted to be on hand for him, someone there, all the time.
By the end of two weeks, Mikey too had been discharged. Leaving the hospital in a wheelchair with instructions to rest for a minimum of two more weeks. Follow up appointment cards were thrust into his hands with more instructions on how to take care of himself and what to do if he needed assistance or had any doubts or concerns about his recovery. And, his heart sank, absolutely no bass playing for two weeks, minimum.
“Great!” he grumbled.
“Come on, Mikes!” Gerard leaned over the chair, then regretted it as he felt a stabbing pain in his chest. Straightening up, he paused before continuing. “We can write some new songs instead.”
“Oh yeah,” Ray laughed as he nudged Gerard away from the chair. “I’ll push, you can’t even bend, you certainly can’t do this! And somehow, neither I can see you hunched over a guitar.”
“No, maybe you’re right?” Gerard nodded. “So we’ll sing it to you and you can work out the chords.”
Bob chuckled; Ray had really walked into that one.
“Come on,” Frank cut in. “Let’s get Mikey home, and we can really start to put all this behind us.”
“Yeah,” Bob agreed. “Let’s roll.”
Mikey sighed at the terrible pun as they headed for the exit, all more than happy to leave a terrifying chapter in their lives behind them.