Gerard gets the results from his blood test.
Gerard sleeps for a long time after that. I stay by his bed the whole time, just watching him breath. Soon he starts whimpering and crying in his sleep, he must be having another nightmare. I shake him awake, not wanting him to suffer any longer. His eyes snap open and he looks at the ceiling then at me. "Frank?" He looks scared and disorientated.
"Yeah?" I reply, leaning over.
"W-where are we?" He says, looking up at me.
"We're in a hospital Gerard, don't you remember?"
"Oh! Oh right, yeah I remember... Yeah, I just thought..." he trails
"Thought what?" I ask.
"I thought I was back... There... Just for second when I woke up." He pauses, and then says quietly. "That’s where I was in the dream."
I don't know what to say to that so I just I hold his hand and rub it with my thumb, trying to be comforting. I could tell him he's safe now, but he knows that. There's no point patronising him. We sit in silence for a while. Gerard eyelids keep drooping like he wants to go back to sleep but there seems to be something stopping him.
"I need to pee." He says suddenly, scrunching up his nose.
"Okay, the, um, bathroom's there." I say pointing to a door on the other side of the room. He tries sitting up, but clearly doesn’t have much success, and I can see it's causing him pain by the look on his face.
I move to help him up, and with a lot of effort between the two of us, he manages to get out of bed. He stands on shaky feet. I have an arm wrapped securely around his waist, holding him up. Despite the fever he looks paler than ever.
Gerard goes to take a step forward but instead, his eyes roll to the back of his head and he falls down, passing out on me. Although I have my arm around him already, I wasn't expecting him to faint and accidentally let him fall.
His head hits the floor with a sickening crack. "Shit!" I curse. Finding the strength from somewhere, I manage to get him back up onto the bed. Looking at him, I see he has blood running down the side of his pale face and in the process of fainting, has wet himself.
I continue my string of curses as I press a button by the bed to call the nurse. Kate arrives soon, her mascara-clad eyes widening as she sees Gerard. She presses a button on a pager attached to her pocket. "He said he needed to pee so I was helping him get up, but he fainted and his head hit the floor. I-- I didn't mean
to let him fall. I'm sorry."
"It's okay Frank," She says as Doctor Winters walks in. "Why don't you go get something to eat while I'm seeing to him? You've been in this room for hours."
"Yeah.. Yeah, okay I will." I say before taking on last look at Gerard and walking out of the door.
I eat quickly in the hospital canteen, anxious to get back to Gerard. I'm just about to return to his room, when I remember Ray has no idea about Gerard being in hospital. I better fill him in on what's happened. Since you're not allowed to use phones inside the hospital I go outside too make my call.
It's freezing cold outside and there's even a few snowflakes drifting to the ground. It’s already started getting dark. Wow, have we really been in the hospital that long? I stamp my feet on the frosty ground and rub my hands together, trying to get at least a little bit warm. I get out my phone and find Ray in my contacts.
"Hi, it's me." I say.
"Hey, what's up?" He replies.
"Well, um, basically Gerard woke up with a fever and I convinced him to go to hospital, and they're doing some tests and shit... Yeah, he's.. He's not doing to well." I explain.
"Shit, that's terrible. But he'll be okay won't he? I mean there going to help him."
"And how're you holding up Frank?”
"I.... I'm just so scared for him." My voice is strained and I feel like I could cry any minute.
"Hey.. Frank, he's gonna be okay I'm sure of it."
"Yeah I hope so. Anyway I better get back to him."
"'Kay, call me if you need anything."
"Will do, see ya." I hang up without even waiting for an answer.
I need to get back to Gerard, see how he is. I quickly go back to the car and get the blanket I gave him on the way here, he might be cold even inside. When I get to his room, I see what changes have been made.
Gerard is still passed out or sleeping, whatever one. He has an IV stand next to his bed with a tube running from a bag of liquid, to a needle in his arm, he also has a tube coming from underneath his bed covers and ending at a plastic bag, attached to the side of the bed. Well, no more getting up to pee now. Someone has taken his clothes and replaced them with a hospital gown and he has a big white bandage around his head, making his raven hair stick up in an adorable fashion.
It's not long before Gerard starts talking in his sleep like he so often does, although this time it sounds like he's trying to protect someone. "Please don't hurt him, please.." He begs. "Mikey..."
I hear him mumble. Who the fuck is Mikey? Gerard hasn't mentioned anyone before.
Gerard wakes up of his own accord for once, and as soon as he does, he starts crying. Not sobbing, just big, hot tears streaming down his face. His eyes are filled with such heart-wrenching despair; I have to look away for a second.
"Gerard what's wrong?" I ask desperately. He merely shakes his head in response. I take hold of his hand and he takes it tightly in both hands and holds it to his chest. Eventually he stops crying but his eyes are still blood-shot, and the skin around them is pink and puffy.
"So.. How’s your head?" I ask, looking at him with concern. "Does it still hurt?"
"My head?" He says, a hand flying up to the bandage. "Yeah it does hurt a bit actually."
"When Kate gets here, should I tell her you need some more pain
"Yes please," He replies, before asking a question of his own. "Why am I wearing this?" He says, looking down at his hospital gown, frowning in confusion.
"Well, um, when you passed out you kinda, um... pissed in your
pants." Well done Frank. A nice way to put it.
"Oh..." He looks embarrassed. He shouldn't, it's really not his fault.
We don't have time to converse any longer because we are joined by Doctor Winters; she's holding a clipboard. "Good evening," She greets us, then says in a quieter voice, "Gerard, I have the results from your blood test. Do you want me to tell you what they are?" He nods with determination, although I can see he's holding back tears.
”Well, the tests have shown that you're HIV positive, it's also shown you have hepatitis C,” She begins, talking slowly. “Basically hepatitis C is a virus that is carried in the blood, and predominantly affects the liver. But there is treatment for this, although, having HIV and hepatitis C together means the virus can progress faster and the treatment can be less effective. The medicines that are currently available for the treatment of hepatitus C are called pegylated interferon, and ribavirin. Pegylated interferon is delivered by a weekly injection and ribavirin is a tablet that is taken twice a day. The taking of these two medicines alongside one another is the most effective treatment at present; this is called combination therapy. Look," she says, taking her eyes away from the horrified and confused look on Gerard’s face and looking at her watch.
"I have some very important business to attend to, another doctor will come by to start you on the treatment. I'll be back as soon as I can with more information." She says then walks out the door. I run after her.
”Wait! You can't just... Can't just fucking say that then leave!" I shout.
"I'm sorry Frank, but in case it's escaped your notice there is other patients here." She hisses, then says in a softer tone, "We're extremely under staffed and we're trying to do everything to help everyone, but we can't do that all at once."
"But it's not fair!" I say, even though I know I’m not thinking properly, that there's nothing else that can be done about it at this moment.
"I know it's not fair, and I’m sorry, we're doing the best we can." She begins to walk away, but there's something I still don't get.
"But.. You said you have treatment for hepatitis C, if there's already a treatment.. Why would they give him the illness?"
"The treatment is only partially effective, I suppose they were trying to improve it."
"What I don't get is.. You try and make the treatment better to help people, but all they've done is Gerard ill. What's the point?" I say, speaking slowly.
"I guess they thought what they were doing to him was for the greater good." She says sadly.
The greater good, huh? I nod as she walks away, I'm thinking about all the animals I've seen, all of them dead or dying. What makes human life so much more important that theirs? I don't think it is. Then I look through the door at Gerard, he has his face buried in the blanket I gave him and his shoulders are shaking, and I wonder how anything 'greater' or 'good' could possibly come from causing so much damage, to something so beautiful.