Visiting Gerard can be stressful and emotional.
“Do y’think we can visit next weekend?” Mikey asked hopefully.
“Sure, I’ll drive us down there. I just wish we could get ahold of them. I’ll try and call them tomorrow.” Mikey nodded. He regretted that he had forgotten about Gerard, but for now, he was beyond elated to even be considered as the bassist of one of the biggest bands at the time. Frank left Mikey with his thoughts and his bass, while he set up the audition plans with the rest of the band. Minutes later, he heard Jamia and the kids come back from their long day out. Life was quiet here. It was still surreal to Mikey. How could some place as dangerous as Belleville even be in the same state as such a harmless town like Ridgewood? Soon, dinner was being made, and the whole house was filled with clamor from the whole family. Cherry and Lily ran around the house playfully while their father chased them, and Miles sat shrieking happily. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, he left the basement, and laughed with Frank about the ridiculously cute statements one of the twins had said earlier that day. Mikey lived in blissful ignorance until he found what was about to come.
Lindsey had somewhat carried Gerard’s body into the emergency room. In panic, she had forgotten all about ambulance services and had driven Gerard to the hospital herself. Though he was much lighter than she had expected, she could not handle the weight started to fall. She was almost immediately accompanied by a group of nurses with a stretcher. Another nurse helped her stand and guided her through a form for her husband. At the front desk, she was asked what form of insurance they had. Lindsey was glad that Gerard’s work had the perks of health insurance. As unsatisfactory and low-paying the job was, the insurance paid off. The receptionist typed the information into her computer to confirm the insurance account.
“I’m sorry ma’am, can you repeat the information? There seems to be a problem with the server.” A little on edge now, Lindsey restated the information and waited for confirmation.
“Ma’am, it doesn’t seem like you have insurance at all. Are you sure all the information is correct?”
“Yes, of course it’s right. That’s impossible,” Lindsey mumbled, “His work is suppose to pay for it…”
“For now, I’ll just mark you down with no insurance and we can fix it later, okay?” the receptionist smiled sweetly and spoke calmly to relax Lindsey, her voice enticing her to believe that everything was going to be all right. Another nurse escorted Lindsey to where Gerard was kept. In the room, a curtain was drawn to conceal the portion of the room Gerard was in from the rest of the patients. Lindsey pulled back the curtain slightly to see a nurse inserting a needle into Gerard’s forearm. She drew blood from him and hooked him up to an IV. She looked up at Lindsey and told her that she would test his blood and the doctor would be with her shortly. Gerard was still unmoving, seemingly dead, from where Lindsey could see. The only thing that stopped her from thinking her husband was dead was the EKG line that steadily beeped. She watched her husband lying there, possibly even dying, and wondered, was this my fault? Could I have prevented this? She didn’t near the bed. Soon, she had not known how long she had been standing there, but a doctor had walked in and asked her if she was all right. She noticed that she was sobbing quietly and gripping the front bottom of her shirt. She nodded and tried to contain herself.
“We tested your husband’s blood. It seems that he’s in an alcohol induced coma. The alcohol level in his blood was 0.56; too high, really, to not do any damage. So we’re going to test his liver for damage or failure. I’m going to get him into an CT scan and we’ll check out what’s happening. In the mean time, we can see from the blood test whether there’s serious damage. Until then, I can’t properly tell you what’s wrong.” This was all so foreign to Lindsey. Alcohol induced coma? Liver failure?
“How do you know he’s in a coma?” she asked.
“We tested him and he didn’t respond to any stimuli. Mrs. Way, you have to know, he might not wake up.” Lindsey did not respond. This was all too devastating and shocking for her. Too much for her to handle at the moment with her anxiety problems. As she tried to brush a strand of hair from her eyes, she saw that her hands were shaking violently. She grabbed her wrist to try to get them to stop shaking, but they wouldn’t stop. The doctor left the room. She glanced at Gerard again and felt a wave of extreme heat wash over her. It was too hot. The thumping, heavy sound of her heartbeat filled her ears and nothing else was audible. It grew louder and louder until she started to breathe heavily, not able to stop the beat from resounding in her mind. She felt her throat contracting and it was difficult for her to breathe. She slowly collapsed to the floor. Sitting on her knees, she ran her quivering hands through her hair and rocked back and forth slowly. For what seemed like hours to Lindsey, thought it was only several minutes, she kneeled on the floor, he legs aching, until a nurse who was passing by, rushed in and helped her onto a chair next to the bed.
“It’s all right, sweetie. Everything’s going to be fine.” Lindsey burst out sobbing.
“But its not! What if he never wakes up? What if he dies? It’s all my fault,” she blubbered. The nurse rubbed her back and told her to breathe slowly. Lindsey took deep breaths and started to calm down a little bit, but was still a little laced with panic and anxiousness. If Gerard died now, she wouldn’t know what to do with the rest of her life. She couldn’t imagine a future without him. Suddenly, she realized that she had left Bandit home alone. It had at least been two hours since she left the apartment. Her parents were away on vacation, and she didn’t have any friends in the area. The only person that she could think of calling at the moment was Frank. She thanked the nurse and stood up to call him from her small cellphone. Dialing his number, Frank picked up after the first three rings.
“Yeah, Lindsey, how are you?” Lindsey’s voice cracked with stress as she said,
“Can I ask you a favor?”
“Yeah… Lindsey, is something wrong?” Lindsey tried to compose herself and told Frank,
“Um, I need someone to take care of Bandit because…” she sighed deeply,“well,because, I need to take care of Gerard. We’re at the hospital.”
“What? What happened to Gerard?”
“He- he’s in an alcohol induced coma. I found him in the car and… I think- I think he tried to kill himself.” The last words Lindsey spoke were choked off. She was sobbing again. Saying it aloud was so much worse than in her mind. Out loud, it seemed real. It seemed like it meant the truth when spoken, as opposed to in her mind, which could just be her imagination. She heard Frank gasp into the phone. The line was silent for a moment.
“Mikey and I are going to come down right now. I have your apartment key from a while ago. I’ll bring Bandit to the hospital with Mikey and I. Is that okay?”
“Yes, yes that’s fine. Just please hurry, I don’t want Bandit to be alone.”
“Hang in there, Linds. Gerard’s gonna be fine. He’s strong.”
“I wish I could believe you,” she whispered. Frank stayed silent.
“We’ll be there soon.”
Mikey sat in the family room with Frank. It was about 8 at night and they were watching the news until Frank was interrupted by a phone call. When Mikey heard Lindsey’s name, his face lit up. He could not take his mind off Gerard since they last called him and he could not wait any longer to see Gerard again. This was until Frank asked what happened to Gerard. Something had happened to Gerard?
“Hang in there, Linds. Gerard’s gonna be fine. He’s strong,” a pause, "We'll be there soon," Frank said and hung up.
“What happened to Gerard?” Frank exhaled loudly and placed his phone on his lap. He rubbed his face with his hands for a few moments and told Mikey who was anxiously waiting for an answer,
“Gerard’s just went to the hospital. She said that he’s in a coma. Apparently he tried to kill himself through alcohol poisoning. I mean, we wouldn’t know, because he’s not awake, but… I don’t know. We have to go down there right now to take care of Bandit. Mikey sat in astonishment. How had Gerard, the outwardly compassionate person he had seen him as, wanted to turn to alcohol? He then understood that he did not know Gerard at all. He had barely spoken to him whatsoever. Just because he had found out they were brothers did not drastically change their past relationship in any way. If anything, Mikey knew more about Frank than he did Gerard.
“We- we need to go. Now,” Mikey stood up from the couch and walked straight towards the garage. Frank followed close behind after telling Jamia that they would probably return the next day. Mikey climbed into the passenger seat of Frank’s modest Hyundai. Frank got into the driver’s seat and started the car.
“I have the keys to the apartment. We’re going to pick up Bandit first and go to the hospital. It was completely dark outside, and they drove down to Belleville.
About thirty minutes later, Frank pulled up in front of Gerard’s apartment complex. Mikey and Frank jumped out of the car and ran up the stairs to the apartment. Frank unlocked the door. Frank pushed the door open and found Bandit sitting in the middle of the floor in from of the door, reading a comic book. She seemed unfazed by the absence of her parents and was simply waiting for them to walk through the door. Seeing Frank, she got up and ran to him and embraced him.
“Hi, Bandit! You wanna go see your mommy?” asked Frank.
“Yeah!” Frank picked up Bandit and they returned to the car after locking the door behind them. Frank pulled out his phone and called Lindsey. She picked up on the first ring.
“Yeah, we got Bandit. You’re at the Belleville hospital, right? What entrance?”
“Yes. Meet me at the east entrance.”
“Okay. See you there.” Frank hung up. Mikey strapped Bandit into one of the car seats the twins used. In a matter of minutes, they arrived at the east entrance. Frank parked, Mikey unstrapped Bandit and the three of them went to meet Lindsey in the building. All of this was done in complete silence. Through the glass doors, they saw Lindsey standing, disheveled and panicked, waiting for them. Mikey let Bandit down from his arms and she ran through the doors into her mother’s arms. Frank and Mikey followed her and confronted Lindsey. Frank embraced Lindsey supportively and told her that everything was going to be fine. That Gerard would make it through. That he wouldn’t do such a thing to his beloved family. Lindsey led them to where Gerard was. Mikey gasped softly at the sight of Gerard. His lifeless body was significantly and unnecessarily thinner than he had been before. His face resembled a corpse’s. His eyes were sunken and his skin was slightly yellowed.
“They’re testing him for liver damage,” Lindsey said suddenly. Frank and Mikey stood unmoving. Bandit was clutching her mother’s hand, staring intently at her father. All of the sudden, Bandit let go and walked to the bed where Gerard lay. Lightly touching her father’s hand, she turned around and asked,
“What’s wrong with Daddy?” No one answered for endless seconds until Mikey spoke,
“He’s sleeping. He’ll wake up soon though, and he’ll be fine.” Bandit was skeptical but had no choice but to believe what her uncle said. As Mikey said this, he was not only trying to convince Bandit into thinking this, but himself and everyone else in the room. Gerard was going to be okay. He would wake up. They all stood and watched Gerard, hoping that he would wake up. About an hour later, the same doctor than had came before re-entered the room.
“From your husband’s blood test results, it seems like he does have liver damage. Tomorrow, I’ve set him up for a CT scan in the morning and we can evaluate whether he needs treatment or even a transplant.” No one spoke. “Unfortunately, visiting hours are about to end, so you have to leave. You come back as early as eight in the morning tomorrow. Gerard’s scan will be at 9 AM.” Lindsey stepped forward to kiss Gerard goodbye, holding back tears. Mikey held Bandit’s hand, who had grown more and more accustomed to him, and they all left the room reluctantly. All four of them would have gladly stayed up all night and watched Gerard. It could have been the last they saw him alive.