Gerard finally goes into operation. Frank and Lindsey are surprised to see what role Mikey has in the situation.
“Frank! You didn’t have to come!”
“Of course I did! I had to give Bandit her present!” From behind his back, Frank revealed a wrapped present to Bandit who had woken up when Frank had entered the room. Taking the present from him, Bandit excitedly opened the present. Inside was a brown plush teddy bear, brand new, with a tan stomach and snout. Bandit shrieked happily and hugged the brown bear. “I noticed that your old teddy bear was lonely, and maybe needed some company.”
“What do you say, Bandit?” Lindsey said, putting her hand on Bandit’s head.
“Thank you, Uncle Frankie!”
“No problem, kiddo.” Frank had gotten Bandit the present so she could have at least one joyful memory before a possibly stressful and traumatic day, Mikey sat in the far corner of the room. He was fidgeted and he had his hand to his mouth, biting his nails.
“Hey man, you okay?” Frank said, walking over to Mikey. Mikey looked up nervously.
“Y-Yeah. I’m just a little anxious.”
“There’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure Gerard will be fine.”
“No it’s not that…”
“I- “ Mikey was cut off by a nurse that entered the room.
“Mr. Way, we’re ready for you.” Frank stood up to wake up Gerard.
“Gerard, it’s time,” he whispered, putting his hand on Gerard’s shoulder. The nurse interrupted Frank.
“Uh… No, I mean Michael James Way,” she said, confirming his name with the sheet of paper on her clipboard. Lindsey looked up at the nurse inquisitively.
“Yes, he’s listed here as the donor for Gerard Way.” Both Lindsey and Frank looked over at Mikey, who was still biting his nails.
“Mikey? You’re donating your liver?” Frank said. Mikey looked up and sighed,
“Yeah. The dead liver donor list is really long, and I was told that a live donor, me, would be faster and better for Gerard.”
“Mikey…” Lindsey whispered, tears coming to her eyes.
“I’ve been going through tests and all that to see if I was the right match for Gerard. And, well, I am, perfectly, actually.”
“But doesn’t that mean that you’ll-“
“No, live donors only give a part of the liver, and it regenerates itself, pretty quickly, really, so after about 2 weeks, both Gerard and I will have full livers.”
“Oh my god, Mikey… I don’t know what to say,”
“No thanks needed. I’m scared, but it’s my pleasure to actually have meaning as a brother in Gerard’s life.” Mikey got up off of his chair and started to follow the nurse to the OR.
“We’ll be back for Gerard in a little while,” the nurse said, leaving Lindsey and Frank speechless in the room. Meanwhile, Mikey was dressed into a hospital gown and donned a wristband with his name printed on it. A nurse led him into the OR. Nurses and doctors in blue scrubs were moving around the room, organizing and preparing. Mikey was helped onto the operating table and told to completely relax. A protective sheet was placed over his body, a hole open in the abdomen area. A nurse completely disinfected the area where they would be operating on. He shivered as the alcohol filled fabric made contact with his bare skin. It was bizarre to think that practically his whole chest would be cut open, and a piece of him taken out, to be rolled out on a cart to Gerard’s OR. He was hooked up to a machine that displayed his vital signs and was prepared for the IV line. Once the catheter was stuck inside his vein, the anesthesiologist lowered a mask over his nose and mouth.
“Breathe in deeply,” said the woman who placed the mask over his face. Blue-cloth covered faces bent down over him, surrounded him, until he drifted into unconsciousness.
A couple hours later, Gerard was summoned to go to the OR. He was barely conscious of what was going on around him. His eyes were barely open and his words, assumingly questions as to what was happening, came out as mumbles and gibberish. He was wheeled to the OR and was helped by the nurses to change into the proper hospital gowns. The whole time, he fought, timidly, but fought nonetheless. He had no idea what was happening at the moment and did not know what was going on. Lindsey reminded him over and over what was about to come, mindful that he was going into acute liver failure, so disorientation and confusion was a common symptom. Hopefully, he would be entirely aware by the time the surgery was over. He sat in the waiting room, connected to an IV tube, waiting for them to start the surgery. Another several hours later, while they checked up on Gerard and studied his vital signs and condition, the received word that the surgery would soon start, and Gerard had to be prepared on the operating table. They helped Gerard up on the table, disinfected, and covered his body with the clean sheet. The anesthesiologist lowered the mask onto Gerard’s face. He lazily shut his eyes and the blue-donned figures staring at him from above faded to black.
Mikey’s eyelids idly fluttered for a few moments before completely opening, looking up at a blank ceiling. His mind and thoughts were fuzzy and disoriented, until he heard a voice speak to him from his right.
“Mr. Way? Can you hear me?” Mikey nodded. “Do you feel any pain?” Mikey shook his head. Mikey tried to collect his thoughts and remember where he was and what he was doing. Suddenly, he remembered falling asleep under the vision of the doctors and nurses. Gerard, he remembered. He spontaneously flung his right arm to his abdomen, feeling the bump on his torso, where a bandage was protecting his newly made scar. The man next to him, who had spoken to him when he had woken up, a nurse, removed his hand from his stomach and placed it next to him.
“Don’t touch it just yet. You just can’t feel the pain because of the painkillers.” Mikey cleared his throat.
“Your brother’s in the OR right now. I’m not sure where they are now, but they’ve been going for about 7 or 8 hours now. They should be over soon.” Mikey relaxed. He had done his part, and felt more accomplished than he had ever felt. All his life, he had not contributed to anything or anyone. Now he had a purpose in life, he had a reason to be alive. If it weren’t for him, Gerard could have died just waiting on the list for a liver. His eyes were still heavy with the general anesthesia he was given, and he eventually fell asleep while the nurse was checking his vital signs and condition.
Outside of the OR, Lindsey, Frank, and Bandit sat in silence. Lindsey had barely even moved after saying goodbye to Gerard. Beforehand, Mikey had told Frank about her critical anxiety issues, and told him where he could find her pills. Mikey made Lindsey bring her medication everywhere she went and instructed her to use them wisely, whenever she felt she needed them most. Frank had asked for the pills just in case and had them in his pocket since before Gerard had gone into operation. Pulling the little orange bottle out of his pocket, he studied the little label, reading, “Way, Lindsey Ann”. As he turned the bottle around, the tiny pills inside rattling against each other, attracting Bandit’s sleepy attention. She looked up at Frank tiredly and did not speak, but rested her head on his arm. Lifting up her arm, she started to trace the different tattoos covering Frank’s arm with her small fingers, until her hand fell limp in dormancy. All the waiting in the boring environment had finally got to her. He carefully lifted his arm so she could comfortable rest on his side, and put his arm around her, protecting her. Lindsey glanced over at one point, looking at Frank and Bandit. Frank recognized the expression of softness and gratefulness she wore as she looked over but quickly fixed her eyes on the OR doors again. It had been at least 9 hours now, since they had last seen Gerard. They had received no word on how well or how badly the surgery was going, so Frank assumed that nothing drastic had gone wrong. Suddenly, the double doors leading to the operating room swung open, revealing a gurney. Lindsey stood up and rushed over before Frank even started to get up. Picking up Bandit, he walked over with Lindsey who was following nurses wheeling her husband to the intensive care unit. There, he would be closely monitored for about a week depending on his condition before recovering in a regular room. Finally, after turning into endless hallways and wards, they finally reached Gerard’s destination. Still unconscious from the anesthesia, he was hooked up to multiple machines of which Lindsey had no idea what they did. A tube was connected to Gerard’s mouth, helping him breathe while he was under anesthesia. An IV tube was still connected to him as a nurse added a mystery fluid into the liquid in the clear bag that hung above him. After all of the commotion died, a few technicians stayed behind to monitor Gerard. Unfortunately, Frank was not allowed inside the room, being that he was not immediate family, so Bandit stayed outside with him, and they decided to find Mikey who was in the post-anesthesia care unit, or the PACU. Mikey was still asleep when they entered the room, but the nurse sitting next to him told them that he was about to wake up. Under general anesthesia it would take about 45 minutes to completely wake up. Mikey had woken up, barely, a couple times, but had quickly fallen asleep again within the hour. Deciding to stay with Mikey, Frank sat down on a chair on the opposite side of the room, still holding Bandit. It was completely silent in the room, the door was closed, and so the rattling of stretches and carts that passed by did not make a sound. Every 10 minutes or so, a charming little tune of a lullaby on the speaker was broadcasted throughout the hospital. Though Frank had been at the hospital for a while, and had heard these little jingles, he had never asked what they meant.
“Why do they play that song through the hospital?” he asked to the male nurse, who was currently checking Mikey’s pulse.
“Every time a baby’s born, they play that lullaby over the speakers,” he said. Frank smiled to himself, imaging that somewhere in the very same building, a father was holding his child for the very first time. He imaged the day Cherry and Lily were born, or when Miles was born. When the twins came, he could barely contain both of them at once. The newly born wailing creatures were so foreign to him. Sure, he had seen and taken care of babies many times, but it was surreal to think that those two too-small-to-be-true babies were a part of him, a part of Jamia. Days later, when they had put the two babies in the car, Frank and Jamia sat in the front seats of the car, and looked at each other. Frank remembered saying quietly to Jamia, nervously laughing, “What the hell do we do now?” Being a father had not completely processed through his mind until that moment, and just then, it was like a switch had been flipped in his mind. These children were part of him now, he was completely responsible for every aspect of them, and he wasn’t quite sure if he would be able to handle that weight. Fortunately, it turned out that it came more naturally to him than he thought it would. Sure, waking up in the middle of the night to take care of two screaming babies wasn’t exactly fun, but it was all worth it in the end. Snapping out of his pensive thoughts, Frank saw that Mikey was slowly awakening, hopefully to stay awake for the time being. Putting Bandit on the ground, he neared the bed and watched Mikey’s eyes slowly open. The plastic mask connected to a ventilator that was covering his face was taken off and Mikey gradually came to. His eyes lazily flicked back and forth looking at Frank and the nurse.
“Do you feel any pain?” the nurse asked. Mikey shook his head and cleared his throat.
“Gerard?” Mikey managed, his voice raspy.
“Gerard is fine, Mikey. There were no complications with the surgery that I know of, anyway. Everything’s okay. You did great, Mikes.” Frank said softly. Mikey smiled and tried to sit up. Frank put his hand on Mikey back and helped him up slowly, mindful of his stomach.
“You sure you don’t feel anything, Mikey?” He shook his head again.
“Yeah, I’m fine. It doesn’t hurt at all.” Finally, Mikey was sitting up and completely conscious of everything that was going on.
“How long is Mikey going to be here?”
“About a week,” the nurse said.
“The recipient? He’ll be in the hospital for a couple months. They need to monitor him and for a while and oversee his medications, and he needs to go through physical therapy and learn about the different medication he’ll be taking for a long time, maybe for the rest of his life.” Frank pondered on this, wondering how much months of hospitalization would cost, and remembered that Medicaid would pay for hospitalization. For now, they would manage the costs as they went. Medication would be expensive, but Lindsey would try to find a job and soon they would be back on their feet. Frank talked to Mikey until he decided he would check up on Gerard.
There had been no bad consequences from the surgery. Gerard’s body had rejected the liver a few times, but the anti-rejection medicine helped them finally end the surgery after a grueling nine and a half hours. Lindsey sat beside Gerard, as he rested in the ICU, connected to so many intravenous lines, tubes, and drains. The worst of all, Lindsey thought, was the ventilator. Obviously, all of the machines Gerard was connected to were helping him, but they seemed to be doing the opposite. The intimidating buttons and lights and noises they made seemed to be lifeless, hungry for life, wanting more from Gerard, wanting his life, his soul. The ventilator had a tube stuck into Gerard’s mouth, forcing him to breathe. It seemed like the machine was taking Gerard’s natural breath away, like he was incapable of even breathing for himself anymore. The machines surrounding him were part of him, it seemed, like they controlled him. Silly thoughts, she knew, but her mind was not in the right place at the moment. Unfortunately, Frank still had her medicine. Hopefully, he would come soon with her pills. By coincidence, there was a knock on the door. The nurse opened the door, asking who it was. Frank looked past the nurse and waved at Lindsey.
“I’m sorry, who are you?”
“I’m, uh, Frank Iero, I need to give her something, and her child, too,” he said jokingly, pointing at Lindsey.
“Are you a family member?”
“No, but I just need to give something to her.”
“I’m sorry, we can only let in immediate family at this time.”
“Oh, please. I just need to give her something.”
“Unless you’re a relative, I can’t allow you in.” Frank sighed,
“Look, I paid for the majority of his operation, the least you can do is let me give her her medicine!”
“I can give it to her for you,” the nurse said calmly. Frank massaged his forehead tensely.
“Is there…can I... ,” he sighed again, “Look I have a few 20s with me, is there anyway maybe these can persuade you to-“ Lindsey cut him off, appearing next to the nurse.
“Please, let him in. I don’t think I can take all this alone, and it would mean so much to me.” The nurse sighed, exasperated. She mumbled to herself,
“I really don’t have time for this…” and allowed Frank in the room. Lindsey smiled at Frank, and hugged him tightly.
“He’s gonna be okay,” Frank whispered. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the small orange container and handed it to Lindsey.
“Thanks,” she smiled timidly. It was about nine at night, and they only had an hour left to wait for Gerard to wake up. Lindsey sat back down next to Gerard and put her hand on his cold bare arm, listening to the rhythmic beeps of the machines controlling him.