30. Good news. Also, Ficwad officially gave me a headache.
Stretching. I think I miss stretching the most. Not counting eating, of course, but I don't even want to think about all the eating I haven't done in the past however many days. Right now, I just want to stretch, to yawn, to walk around. My muscles are aching. Funny, I hadn't noticed that until now. And my elbow itches. I wonder... I try to move my left arm, to scratch my other elbow, but nothing happens. I sigh but don't feel all that bad; I've almost gotten used to not moving. Almost.
"Well, Lex, tomorrow's my day. Tomorrow I finally put to use all the years in school and all the bitchwork as an intern. I'm sad you won't get to see me off, but at least I know you'll be safe while I'm gone." She laughs a little and I'm glad to hear she's able to make jokes again; I'd started getting depressed with all these people weeping over me. "I'm technically only supposed to be in Texas for two days, but I took some vacation time, so I'll be own there about a week total. I'll see you when I get back. I love you." She squeezes my hand, and I feel it. I actually felt something. I can sometimes hear the nurses checking my reflexes or whatever it is they do, but I've never felt anything before. I think this is a good sign.
Shit, it's bright. That's not normal. Everything goes dark again, and a second later, the blinding light is back. This continues for a little while and I start getting confused, not to mention a little annoyed. I'd heard about the light at the end of the tunnel, but no one ever said it was a strobe. Another minute or so passes, and the light suddenly drops into focus. Now it's no longer a hazy white glow, it's a glaring flourescent fixture. I would have thought heaven would have a bigger budget. Then it goes dark, and a moment later, light again. This is getting weird. Is this hell? Was I really that bad? Then, out of nowhere, a realization hits me. I'm blinking. I'm fucking blinking, who the hell doesn't realize when she's blinking? And now the next bombshell drops. I'm fucking blinking! I can see! I try to look around but I can't really move my head, so I have to settle for peripheral vision. I've got tubing all over: one that has got to be an IV, one that I assume is a feeding tube, judging by where it disappears under the sheet, and two more poking out from farther down the bed, that I don't even want to know about. Next to my hand is a white plastic rectangle with three buttons. Two are marked with arrows, which I assume adjust the bed, and the third is a small, round, red one. Oh please, oh please, oh please. I watch as my fingers twitch, then as my arm starts to shift, and finally as my hand lands on the remote. This tiny effort has exhausted me, and I can only pray I stay awake long enough to see someone answer the call.
"I'm sorry, I didn't realize anyone was visiting today... Oh! Miss Andrews! Goodness!" The petite nurse scurries toward my bed, babbling apologies and questions and various exclamations of surprise. I contort my face into what I hope is a smile and try to respone, but only manage a hoarse cough. I close my mouth, embarassed at my failed attempt to speak, and she rushes towards the door.
"Dr. Morgan? Has anyone seen Dr. Morgan? Somebody page Dr. Morgan, NOW!"
And now it's dark again.
I hear movement and hushed voices. I am so tired of being a spectator in my own life. This time, I will my eyes to open and they oblige, and I see the nurse from earlier and my doctor engaged in conversation. I scrunch my fingers and toes, more concerned with whether or not I still function properly than with making my presence known. The nurse observes my movement, her eyes quickly darting to my face, and she smiles when she sees me looking back at her.
He glances up at her voice, then over to me, and his eyebrows raise. "Well, Miss Andrews, we're back. You've had a lot of people worried. Can you speak?"
I cough dryly a few times, then let out a raspy "yes." I smile, pleased with myself.
"Good. How does your head feel?"
I think it over for a moment. "Uh, good." Another cough. "No pain."
"That's a very good sign. We're going to test your reflexes now, make sure you're in good health. Just some routine check-ups." He busies himself poking and prodding me, and finally deems me in good shape. "Would you like to get up?"
"God, yes." I can't get over how rough my voice sounds.
He calls in two orderlies who help me into a wheelchair, then enlists one to push me down the halls as he talks to me.
"Is your throat sore?" I nod. "It's liable to be for a little while, what with the lack of use. The same goes for the rest of your body. We'll, of course, want to run another CAT scan to make sure everything looks alright up here," he taps my head gently. "Once we decide you're in good enough shape, we'll set you up with some physical therapy to get you moving with ease again. We will want you to stay for another week or so, so that we can monitor your progress, but after your physical therapist and I agree, you'll be released as an outpatient. This means you'll return for regular therapy until it's decided you've recovered, and in the meantime, pain medication will, of course, be prescribed. Therapy can be very tiring, especially in the beginning."
I clear my throat. "How long have I been here?"
He flips through my chart. "Approximately six weeks."
I'm stunned. If I'd been asked to guess, I would have said three days. I know in the back of my mind that it was more, that my visits and updates gave me a rough timeline, but it just doesn't feel like it's been that long. But I guess you never remember sleeping; you only remember laying down and getting back up.
"Is anyone I know here? Like, waiting, or anything?"
"No. A few days back your friend, let me see here, Lucy Elliot, said she'd be headed out of state. She did leave a contact number. Would you like someone to get in touch with her?"
That's right, Lucy's in Texas. "No, thank you." If I call, she'll fly home immediately, and she deserves a break from my drama. I'll just let her finish her vacation and I'll see her when she gets home. I debate calling Tom, but figure he'll stop by one day soon anyway. And the guys are on tour and probably completely frazzled already. I can wait.
Finally, a break. I love touring, don't get me wrong, but coming home, even for a few days, is always great. The only downside is my girlfriend won't be home until tomorrow. Oh yeah, and Lexi's in a coma.
As if he was reading my mind, Joe turns the car onto the exit ramp for the hospital. "Nobody minds that we go see her before heading home, right?"
We all agree that she's top on our list, Patrick especially. He really does not want to rush back to face the girl he's been screaming at for the past few weeks. I really feel bad for him. Once the initial relief of getting back in touch with Anna wore off, all he did was fight with her. Over what, I don't know, but I definitely haven't forgotten his muffled shouting filtering up from the back of the bus every night.
"Well..." Joe trails off as he pulls into a vacant spot. We all sigh as we pile out of the car, resigning ourselves to yet another hour spent staring at our unresponsive friend.
The elevator ride is silent, non of us knowin what to say to make this easier. We go about our now-trademark routine, headed toward the vending machine first. Somehow, visiting a comatose girl is easier when you can break up the monotony of moping with a snack. As Andy begins his all-too-familiar gripe about the lack of vegan options, I notice something odd. Lex's door is wide open, and the little red flag lays flush with the rest, instead of stuck out to signify occupancy. I wander away from the group, my mind reeling with horrifying scenarios. We would have known if something had happened, right? Someone would've called. Lucy left her number as an emergency contact; I know she would've told me if Lexi had... you know. I find myself outside her door, eyes closed, too afraid to face the inevitable. When I finally bring myself to look, I'm staring at my worst fear: an empty bed. Fresh sheets, no charts, no IV stand, no heart rate monitor, no Lexi. Nothing.
"What do you mean she's downstairs? Downstairs where?!" Isn't the morgue downstairs? Oh god. The nurse gives me a strange look.
"Physical therapy. It's her third day. She's making excellent progress." The nurse from hell cocks an eyebrow, as if so ask, 'are you satisfied?' She'd obviously like to get away from us and back to her job. Sadly, today is not her day.
"When did she wake up?"
"Why didn't anyone call us?"
"Is she okay?"
"Can we see her?"
She frowns, clearly taken aback by the barrage of questions. "Uhm, sirs? You'll need to calm down." We apologize and fidget, waiting for an answer, any answer. "She woek up four days ago, she's doing quite well. She requested that no one be contacted, I assume she wanted to focus on her recovery. And yes," she looks behind us, "you may see her."
She nods down the hall and we follow her gaze, our eyes landing on Lexi, in ugly-ass owder blue scrubs, flirting with the orderly wheeling her towards us. Lex looks at us, past us, really, then does a double take and her mouth drops open. The four of us stand there in shock as her smile widens, then the orderly whispers into her ear and she nods fervently. He stops and she stands up, gingerly, never taking her eyes off of us. As if a spell had been broken, we all rush toward her, shouting and crying and practically crushing her in an awkward group hug.
"Guys? This hurts." We all step back quickly, both afraid to damage her and surprised by her scratchy voice. The nurse hurries over to us, shooing us toward Lex's room, then leaving with a warning that we have to leave should 'Miss Andrews' get tired.
Once she's gone, Lexi breathes a sigh of relief. "That woman is killing me. She won't let me pee by myself, she won't give me a different colored scrubs, and she makes me eat carrots." She makes her patented 'ew' face and the rest of us sit in awe, amazed by how normal she seems. She gets an uncomfortable look on her face as she watches us watching her.
Joe finds his voice first. "How are you?"
"Tire, bored, craving junk food. Nurse Satan took away my Fruit Roll-ups."
"Why didn't you call?" I immediately wince as the words leave my mouth, realizing how totally insensitive I sound.
Lex wiggles around nervously, adjusting her blankets and playing with her nails. "I knew you were touring, and I knew you'd be totally knackered. And I also knew that if you heard I was awake, you'd still have to finish your shows, so the information would be more of a burden than anything. I figured you'd be home soonish, so I waited. When does Lucy get back?"
"How did you know we were touring?"
"Don't answer questions with questions, Peter," she jokes.
"Tomorrow. Your turn."
"You told me. And if you ever put your balls on my face, I'll fucking kill you."
Andy slaps Patrick on the shoulder and laughs. "I told you she'd like that."
Patrick shakes his head slowly, then seems to realize that he, too, has a voice. "You heard us when we visited?"
"Yeah. I mean, not always, I don't think. I heard Pete yelling at Dr. Morgan once," I blush, "and Lucy a few times. I remember Tom once, and uh, oh Tyra and Maddie came too. And you guys, but only when you came right before your tour. Maybe a nurse here or there, random noises. It was kind of like dreaming. I wasn't there all the time."
Patrick visibly relaxes and I wonder what he could've said to her that he wants to keep quiet. Luckily, Lexi doesn't notice.
"Hey, what day are you being granted freedom?" I can tell Joe's already planning her coming-home party.
"What day is today?"
She counts forward on her fingers and smiles. "Sunday."
Chapter title from Wow (I Can Get Sexual Too) by Say Anything. Good band, good band.
Once again, sorry for the poor editing. love.