What everyone had been waiting for finally occurs, but unfortunately, not the way they had hoped it would go.
Frank finished talking to Jamia on the phone, asking permission to give money to help with the transplant. She had agreed to allow giving $100,000. They had been saving to put an addition to their house. It wasn’t like it was necessary. She had also gladly permitted Mikey to stay for as long as he needed. Along with the almost $3,000 Mikey had saved up, they were slowly nearing the payment they needed. While Frank made calls to raise money, Lindsey had asked a receptionist whether personal payment without insurance was possible. She replied yes, but it wasn’t recommended with the price. This included the hospitalization fees and everything else. Nonetheless, Lindsey was hopeful. Gerard would live. Hours later, after gathering information and asking around, Frank had agreed with many other people who had been friends with Gerard to give money and they had raised at least $450,000. The rest could be paid off later. Lindsey was ecstatic. Gerard’s room was no longer filled with bleak distress, but a cautious hopefulness. Lindsey was talking to Frank about cost of everything while Mikey played with Bandit. Suddenly, the EKG line interrupted all conversations. It had flat-lined. No one moved. The sound was still being processed in their minds. It occurred to Mikey first. He jumped up and fled the room to find a nurse. Lindsey threw herself at Gerard’s side. She held his head up, her hand feeling the back of his head. She felt the scar on his head that he had gotten months before when he found out that Mikey was his brother. The torturous beep resonated in Lindsey’s ears deafeningly. She could not hear anything around her or see anything but Gerard. His mouth was slightly open and his face seemed to be relaxed as if everything was released. He didn’t have any regrets anymore. Lindsey felt herself being pulled off of Gerard. She screamed in protest and struggled to become free from the person’s grip. They did not relent. Lindsey watched in agony. Nurses surrounded the bed, setting up a defibrillator. They blocked Gerard off from Lindsey’s view. All she could see was his head.
“Clear!” Gerard’s body jerked violently and his head hung to the side. The process was repeated. Lindsey screamed louder. Someone, Mikey, pulled her closer to him, and wrapped his arms around her. Over and over, they shocked Gerard and for what seemed like forever, Lindsey was screaming for him. Finally, the nurses dispersed. Mikey let go of her hesitantly and she ran to Gerard. Although there was danger of her being shocked, the electricity still pulsating through his body, Lindsey did not care. Again, she held up his head in her hand while the other rested on his chest. Softly, she felt his heart beating. The EKG line was steadily beeping now.
"Wake up, Gerard," Lindsey whispered. Frank, who was holding Bandit, let her down so she could comfort her mother. It seemed that Bandit had finally realized what was happening.
"Daddy'll wake up soon," she said, putting her hand on the bed.
"I hope so, B."
They spent all day at the hospital again, just waiting for Gerard to show any sign of waking. At 10 PM, when they had to leave, Gerard had been put on the recipient list for a liver and would most likely get one the next day or the day after. His condition was below adequate and he was the top of the list. The doctor claimed that they had a donor with Gerard's blood type and they only had to confirm it. He would be in the OR soon. Unfortunately, in the delicate condition he was in, the risks of a liver transplant could kill him. But they would not give up. Lindsey knew they would be paying off the bill of this single stay in the hospital for years to come. But for Gerard's life, it was worth it.
After staying another night at Lindsey's, the four of them returned to the hospital to wait again. Mikey had called work and explained to Mr. Waters what had happened and was gladly given a week off. At around 11 in the morning, they were told that they had received a donor and that Gerard would be in the OR by the next day. After the surgery, he would be put in the intensive care unit to recover. Barely anyone talked. Bandit did not sing and they all sat silently in Gerard's room. They had asked for three more chairs, but only three were used. Bandit lay beside her father and had fallen asleep, her arm slung over her father's chest. His heartbeat had grown significantly slower and they were always on edge in case his heart stopped again. Because of Gerard's sub par condition, both Mikey and Frank knew there was a very slim chance that Gerard would survive the operation, but Lindsey refused to believe anything like that. Mikey had fallen asleep in his chair, arms crossed, and Frank was busy arranging work around Gerard's hospitalization. Lindsey gazed at her sleeping daughter and husband, genuinely hoping this would not be the last time Bandit got to spend time with her father. All if the sudden, Bandit woke and slowly adjusted herself so she was sitting up. Using her hands, she beckoned to her mother to come to her. Lindsey stood up and walked to Bandit's side.
"Look!" Bandit said excitedly. Lindsey looked down to where Bandit was inferring and saw that Gerard's hand was slightly moving. His fingers where twitching lightly. Lindsey gasped loudly. Frank glanced up from his phone. Realizing what Lindsey had seen, he jumped up from his seat and woke Mikey up. Drowsily, Mikey looked around the hospital room, confused. With everyone crowding around Gerard’s bed he realized what was happening. Lindsey held Gerard’s hand lightly and told him over and over,
“Hold my hand, Gerard. Hold my hand.” Bandit held the other hand, silently hoping for her father to finally open his eyes. His fingers stopped moving. They fell limp again and Lindsey sighed in anguish. As much as she wanted to believe that Gerard would live, she knew that in reality, she might never speak with him again if he didn’t wake up before the operation.
“Daddy,” Bandit called softly. Louder this time, “Daddy!” Bandit suddenly put her hands on Gerard’s chest and started to push down on him, attempting in any way possible to wake him up.
“Bandit, stop!” Lindsey cried.
“Bandit, no!” Lindsey picked Bandit off of Gerard. The child started to bawl and kick as Mikey took her from Lindsey. Mikey remembered all of the times he had encountered Bandit. Every time, she was composed, patient, and nothing at all like a young child. She was the oldest three year old he had ever met. She never demanded for anything and was docile and did whatever she was told. But now, she had reached her limit. After being separated form her hero, her father, for weeks on end, she could not bear to see him laid out in front of her, yet unable to speak or converse with her. She didn’t know how to cope anymore. Mikey soothed her while Lindsey and Frank attempted to revive Gerard. Slowly but surely, Gerard’s pulse grew faster and faster. Lindsey urged him to wake.
“We’re here, Gee. We’re waiting.” Gerard’s fingers started to curl into a fist. Lindsey stroked his cheek lightly. “Wake up, sweetie. We’re waiting.” Finally, after what seemed like and eternity, very slowly, his eyes started to open. They were unfocused and bloodshot, but moving and alive.
“Gerard, can you hear me?” Gerard’s vision was blurred and he couldn’t seem to fully make out the figures in his line of sight. He recognized the light, but could not see who was talking to him. Eventually, he realized who was talking to him. Lindsey. His vision and hearing grew clearer and clearer until he was completely capable of focusing on everything that was happening. Unfortunately, he was not yet able to fully control his limbs and the majority of his body. He felt a soft hand lifting his head. Lindsey delicately supported his neck with her hand and stroked the hair out of his face. Her face was ecstatic, but tears were streaming steadily down her face. Why was she crying? What had happened? Why couldn’t he move? Trying over and over, Gerard strained to move his arms and legs, but it seemed like they were glued to whatever surface he was on. Suddenly, what he was laid on started to incline, lifting his torso in a laid-back sitting position. Frank had used the remote control to raise the bed. He was finally able to see everyone. Frank was on the opposite side of the bed to Lindsey and at the foot of the bed, Mikey stood, holding Bandit. Her eyes were red and her puffy face, inferring that she had been crying. Gerard could not remember the last time she cried. In fact, he couldn’t remember anything. Looking around the room, he realized he was in a hospital. What had happened? Why was he in a hospital? He opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out. His vocal chords were not working yet. All of the sudden, Gerard started to move his arms around. They felt heavy and inept. He started to address Lindsey, barely making out,
“What happened?” The three adults exchanged looks. Finally, Mikey spoke up.
“Gerard, what do you remember?” Gerard pondered on this and eventually replied with his most recent memory, though it was vague, he remembered this clearer than anything else before his hospitalization.
“I remember sitting in the car in the parking garage.” It was a very short memory, just and image, but Gerard remembered.
“Anything else?” Gerard shook his head strenuously. “Do you know why you’re here?” Again, Gerard shook his head. Mikey thought for a moment and broke the news to Gerard. “Gerard, a couple days ago, Lindsey found you unconscious in your car. You were extremely drunk; your blood alcohol level was past 0.5%. She brought you here, the hospital, and they took a lot of test and we found out that you’re going into liver failure and you need a transplant.”
“But I --” Gerard started.
“Gerard, I know you got fired. I know we don’t have insurance and I’m going to register for Medicaid that will probably pay for most of the hospitalization, but Frank and a few other people, including Mikey, offered to pay for your operation,” Lindsey interrupted.
“Gerard, you’ll die without it,” Frank said.
“And when you recover from your transplant, we’re going to check you into rehab,”
Lindsey said firmly. Gerard was overwhelmed with confusion. Insurance? Firing? Rehab? Had he really been drinking that long?
“I don’t remember drinking…” he said to himself. Lindsey explained,
“Gerard, you’ve been ignoring your family for months now, I’m assuming drinking, because I found dozens of empty bottles hidden in the car and in the garbage. But you’re not the only one to blame. I’ve been ignoring you, thinking I wasn’t good enough, which explained why you almost refused to talk to me. I’m so sor--” Gerard interrupted Lindsey.
“Lindsey, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Why would you accuse me of doing such a thing?” Gerard grew irrationally furious. “Why would I do anything like that?”
“Gerard, no, wha--”
“I can’t believe you would think I would do something like that,” he growled. Lindsey was hopelessly perplexed. Gerard’s eyes were fierce, and he continued to spit menacing comments. The tendons in his neck bulged and fury took over his body. Struggling to get all of his limbs to cooperate, he attempted to climb out of the bed. Almost immediately after he placed his feet on the floor, he collapsed to the ground. His abdomen was shot with a surge of piercing pain. Gerard cried out wretchedly, his pain disabling him from moving. Frank stood above him, bewildered. He bent down to help Gerard up, but Gerard snarled threateningly at him. He could not seem to control how he acted. Livid vehemence had overwhelmed him just because of a spark of anger that had appeared when Lindsey accused him of ignoring his family and losing his job. He would surely have remembered if he had committed all of these immoralities. Unfortunately, he could not control his anger and sat crouched on the floor, seething and in pain. Moments later, nurses started to pick him up off of the ground. At first, he struggled, but unable to cope with the pain that throbbed through his stomach, he relaxed and allowed them to position his back on the bed. He moaned. The pain in his stomach felt as if someone had ripped open his stomach. Because he had tried to get out of the bed, the IV drip needle had been ripped out of his skin, causing his arm to hurt as well. Black dots started to cloud his vision, he remembered this happening before, although he did not remember why, and he slowly started to fade to black. Before falling into unconsciousness, he heard,
“It’s not his fault…”
Sorry this chapter was so confusing. All will be revealed in the next update.