TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
The doctor continued talking to Steve, asking questions, and explaining some of the treatments Ghost would be receiving.
"Now, Ghost had cuts from glass. Do you know how it happened?" the doctor asked.
Steve shook his head. "No, I wasn't there."
"Ok..." the doctor wrote something on his paper. "The cuts are superficial, mostly, but there are two that needed a few stitches, but weren't too serious. What we don't understand, is why he has not been responsive. He hasn't regained full consciousness, though he is moaning, and mumbling your name, so far. Is he on drugs? Is he, or has he been suicidal?" He looked up, waiting for Steve's answer.
"What? No, no, no, none of that...ever. He has seizures sometimes. An old head injury causes them, and he takes medicine for it. He probably had one, and fell into the mirror." Steve took a second to think. "He loses his vision when it happens, but it always comes back...and usually has a bad headache...but, he's never been out this long before."
Nodding, the doctor said, "Now we're getting somewhere, Steve. That explains a lot. I'll tell my colleagues what is likely going on, and we'll be able to treat it. Thank you. As soon as he is stable, and in a room, you will be able to see him." He turned to go back through the double doors.
Looking over at Linda, Steve asked, "He's gonna be ok, right?"
She hugged him. "Yes, he'll be fine, I'm sure. Now we just have to be patient and wait." She led him over to the chairs.
An hour passed, then another. Steve paced and worried. Linda got the kids a snack, and coffee for herself and Steve. Other emergency cases came in, were treated, and left, but there still was no word about Ghost. After a little more waiting, the double doors swung open, and the doctor came to talk to them.
"Ok, here's the latest. I know you've been worried. Ghost has been admitted to a room." He gave them the location and room number. "He's regained consciousness somewhat...he's still groggy, and medicated, but is stable. You can go up and see him, but only for a short time. He's had a very serious seizure. We did a brain scan, and he'll be put on stronger meds after his discharge. He's still being monitored, of course. I expect at least one to two days here." He handed Steve a paper map, with directions to the room, then left. Steve stared at the paper, unsure what to do.
"Go on, Steve," Linda said. "I'm staying down here with the kids. They're not allowed up there."
Steve nodded, looking around. "How? How do I find him? Where is this room?" He looked so lost.
"Steve, just go over to the desk...ask the lady." She turned him in the right direction.
"Ok," he said, going over to ask. The woman took the paper map of the hospital rooms, and highlighted the path Steve should follow to Ghost's room. He thanked her, and followed the directions, finding it with no trouble. His heart was pounding, though, as he slowly pushed open the door.
"Oh, God..." he said to himself, as he saw Ghost lying there in the hospital bed. There was an IV hooked up to Ghost's arm, and his eyes were closed. He quietly went over to the bedside.
"Ghost...it's me, Steve." he said.
Ghost cracked open his eyes a bit. "Steve?" he whispered, then tears ran down his face.
"Oh, Ghost, it's gonna be ok. The doctor said so, and you'll only be here a day or two...until you feel better." He took Ghost's hand, squeezing softly.
Ghost tried to talk, but was still having a hard time with his words. "I call you..."
Steve nodded. "I know...I heard you. I came as fast as I could."
"Why? You hate me," Ghost cried out.
"What? What are you talking about? Of course I don't hate you...I love you, Ghost."
Ghost shook his head, as much as the pain would allow.
Before Steve could say anything else, a nurse came in. "You'll have to leave, now...Doctor's orders...only a short visit for now. It'll be longer this evening," she said, as she ushered Steve out.
"I'll be back," Steve said, as he looked back at Ghost, and left the room. The nurse was sympathetic . She reassured him they were taking good care of Ghost, and he could come back at 7 p.m. He retraced his steps back to the main waiting area, to find Linda. She looked up as he came back to sit beside her.
"How is he?" she asked.
"I...I don't know...I was only allowed in for like five minutes. He knew I was there, but he looked so..." He turned closer to Linda, laying his head on her shoulder, as tears ran down his face. She held him tight. After a few long minutes, he said, "He said I hate him. Why would he say that?"
Linda was at a loss for words. It didn't make sense to her either.
"He was calling for me, Linda, but when I went in, he said that to me. Then the nurse made me leave. I can go back at seven."
"Well, did the doctor, or a nurse say anything else...like his condition or when he can leave?"
"No, nobody said anything...except come back later."
Linda sighed. "Well, we need to make some kind of a plan. We need to get something to eat, and I need to get the kids out of here. Come on..." She got up and went to Stevie and Mandy. "Let's go, you two. We're going for lunch," she said.
"Yay," Mandy said, as she jumped up and down.
"Where's Ghost...isn't he coming?" Stevie asked.
Linda tried to think how to explain it to them. "Not this time. The doctor wants him to stay here a little longer. We'll be back tonight, though," she said, as they walked over to Steve.
"Uncle Steve, why can't Ghost come with us?" Stevie asked.
Steve looked at Linda, but she shrugged. "Stevie," she said, "I just told you why, remember? Now let's go eat."
Driving around the town, they found a McDonald's, so pulled into the parking lot. "This will be fine, and the kids can burn off some energy playing in the kid's area." They ordered their food, found a table, and the kids ate everything. "Y'all must have been hungry," she laughed.
"Yeah, and can we go play?" Stevie asked.
"Yes, go on." She watched them head to the play yard. Then, she noticed that Steve had barely eaten anything. "Ok, let's talk," she said.
He looked at her, and his eyes said what he was thinking...then he said it out loud, "There's nothing to say, Linda. Ghost thinks I hate him."
"Now look here, Steve, I don't know why he'd say that. He's had a trauma, he's on strong meds...he could say anything, and not even know it. So, you need to pull yourself together, and forget about it, for now."
"But, do you think he...tried to kill himself?' Steve asked, hating that he even said those words. "I mean, it really didn't look like an accident to me...falling into the mirror, that was bolted to the wall? That would've been impossible, Linda...and those EMTs knew it, too."
"Oh, Steve, I know what it looked like, but we haven't heard it from him, and he may not even remember. So, we don't know...may never know. We'll just deal with the situation how ever it comes to us, ok? But, we do have to go forward...think it through..."
Steve nodded. "I know..."
"Now, I do know we have to go to the motel and tell the manager something," Linda continued. "And we'll have to pay for the damages to the room. You can stay in our room until we can leave," she said, trying to think of what else. "We'll get y'all's things from the other room, then come back up here at seven, see how things are going, and when he gets released, I guess get back on the road. She closed her eyes, and rubbed her forehead. "Steve, we're still so far from home...we can't give up now."
"I know," Steve said, giving her a hug. "God, I hope we can figure this out."
"Me too," Linda said.
"I'm sorry this trip is turning into such a disaster...this road trip, it's been mostly good, but more days on the road...I don't know...you probably regret it already, and I wouldn't blame you if you turned around and went back," Steve said.
"Nope, I'm in it all the way, brother. Family sticks together, for better or worse," she said, smiling.
"No matter what?"
"No matter what," Linda said. "Ok, then, let's get going." She got up to go get Mandy and Stevie.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing