TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
When Steve returned to the waiting room, he had a big smile on his face. Linda knew immediately that everything was good again between her brother and Ghost. She jumped from the chair and grabbed him. "It's all ok?" she asked, anyway.
"Yeah, it's all good. We talked and he wasn't meaning what he said before. So, it's ok now. He wants to see you," Steve said. "I have to go find him some good coffee, and maybe he can get out of here, and..." he babbled on.
Linda got her purse and handed him the keys to the van. "Here, you and the kids go find the coffee. Get them something too, while I go up." He took the keys and the kids, and they went on a coffee search.
"We're on a mission," Steve told Stevie and Mandy. "We're looking for good coffee, so y'all tell me if you see any, ok?" he said, as they pulled out of the hospital parking lot.
Linda made her way up to Ghost's room. She knocked on the door, then entered. "Hey, Ghost, how are you feeling?" She didn't know if he'd accept a hug from her, yet.
"I be ok, Linda," Ghost said.
"Good. Well, Steve and the kids went to find you some coffee...he should be back soon." She grinned, and so did Ghost.
"I didn't mean to make you and Steve worry," he said.
"Oh, I know, honey...it's ok. We were very worried about you though...and I feel like it's my fault in the first place. I'm so sorry for what happened...for how I acted...how I ran out of the room. It was only because I didn't want to embarrass you, after I barged in and you weren't dressed..." she hung her head down. "Well, I shouldn't have done that."
Ghost took her hand. "But, I scared you...I know I did...how I look so bad."
She shook her head. "No, no, of course not. I really didn't even notice. Steve told me, a long time ago, about your scars, and how you think they are bad...but, Ghost...honestly...I was a little surprised, but only because of how he told me, and the way you see them, but believe me, the scars are just barely visible. That's why. I was expecting worse, and they weren't. They must have faded over the years. I wish you could see it - not how you first got them..." she stopped then, afraid to say any more, in case she was saying too much.
"That's what Steve said, too," Ghost said. "I know y'all are right, but it's hard for me. I just see ugly." He frowned, thinking. "You know, they psyched me, and said the same thing. I try to stop it in my head, but I think it's broke, 'cause it's not getting looking better. But, I'm trying...and I have to be psyched some more...and...well, thank you for telling me, Linda."
She nodded. "I'm glad we can talk, Ghost. Sometimes I need some truths and encouragements told to me. Will you do that for me? If you sense me feeling sad, or doubting how I'm raising the kids, or anything like that...will you just talk to me about it?" she asked.
"Yeah, I will," he said, then smiled. "I want you to kick my ass and tell me to knock off the pity party for myself." Laughing then, he said, "And, you can kick Steve's ass too, when he gets all bossy."
Linda was laughing at that, when Steve came in, carrying coffee for all of them.
"What's so damn funny?" he asked. "Oh, the nurse volunteers, down in the waiting area, are watching the kids." He handed Linda and Ghost their cups of coffee.
Ghost opened his, and inhaled..."Ahh, real coffee," he sighed. Closing his eyes he took a big gulp of the hot brew. Steve and Linda watched, amazed.
"It's so hot...I can't even begin to drink it," Linda said. "How does he do that?"
Steve shrugged. "I don't know, but he always does." He looked at them both. "Is everything ok with...everything?"
"Yes, we had a good talk and we're fine," Linda said.
"We were talking about ass kickings," Ghost said. "I said she can kick yours." He started laughing. "And mine, too."
"What?" Steve looked confused. "Why?"
"'Cause I need it when I feel sorry for myself...and you need it when you get bossy," Ghost explained.
"Ahh, I see...so, you think I'm bossy? Both of you?" He laughed, when they both said yes.
"Do I get to kick some asses, too?" Steve asked.
"No," Linda and Ghost both said at the same time.
Shaking his head, Steve found a chair to sit on, then leaned back, thinking about how he loved these two people in his life, and how Ghost was seeming back to normal, with his joking around. He was happy. They all were.
They continued talking about the rest of the trip home. "How many more days on the road, Steve?" Linda asked. "We still have so many states to go through."
"I think I miscalculated," Steve said. "I thought three days. That was way too positive thinking."
"But, we had fun stopping and looking around," Ghost said.
"Yes, we have had an interesting time, so far. It's more like a sightseeing vacation trip, I guess now," Linda said. "I'm having a good time, but I am tired too, and anxious about getting settled, you know."
"I know," Steve said. "Why are we in a hurry, again? Missing Mile will still be there when we get there. The kids are having a blast, and learning about the states, and some history. It's better seeing and doing hands on lessons." He was nodding. "And, Linda...don't even worry a second about finding a job or a house. You wouldn't even have to work ever again, if you didn't want to."
"I know, Steve, and I appreciate you saying that, but I need and want to make it on my own. I like working, anyway...at least part-time. Don't worry, I'll ask for help if I need it...and at first I definitely will," Linda said.
"Ok, you got a deal, sister," Steve said.
They'd been so involved in their conversation, they hadn't noticed that Ghost had gone to sleep. He still had his half-full cup of coffee in his hands. Steve gently took it, and pulled the sheet up higher.
"He's going to be ok, Steve," Linda said.
"I hope so, Linda, but he's so tired...I can tell. I'm still worried."
"Let's wait and see what the doctor says, then if we have to stay longer, then we will," Linda said, squeezing Steve's hand. Steve nodded.
As if right on cue, the doctor did come in, with a nurse. He greeted Steve and Linda, then said, "Steve, I want to examine Ghost, then I'll let you know my recommendations."
"Ok, should we wait in the hall?" Steve asked.
"If you don't mind...it won't be long," the doctor said. The nurse had already woken Ghost, and was checking his vitals exam. Steve and Linda went out into the hallway to wait.
When the doctor came back out of the room, he led them to a sitting area. "Ok, here's how it is, Steve. We've changed his medications. Get the prescriptions filled as soon as you can. I'm giving you enough to get home on, but he needs them on a daily basis. They should help tremendously with his seizures. If he does have one, it should be mild and short...you'll be able to handle it, and so will he." He looked down at his notes again.
"Everything checks out good. His cuts are healing, and the stitches should be taken out in a couple of weeks. You can go to a local clinic for that. Now, he is run down, though. Make him take his vitamins, and encourage him to eat. I know it's hard to eat well on the road, but try, and especially at home. The main problem, of course, is his mental state. That worry and anxiety can take a huge toll on the body. He may seem to be coping on the face of it, but seriously, he needs to be in therapy...long term. I know he resists, but for his mental health, see that he does go.
"I discussed it with him, and he agrees, and the psychiatrist concurs...if he keeps on like usual, he will do harm to himself..."
"But, doctor..." Steve interrupted, "he didn't mean to get cut by that mirror...he told me."
"I know, Steve, and that's the problem...he can't grasp that his thoughts and his actions are two different things. I know we all just met under these circumstances, and I don't know his past history, but am I right in saying this has been an ongoing scenario for years?"
Steve nodded. "Yes, doctor, it has...I just don't want to say it."
"I know, but Steve, you do have to...for him, because he can't, yet, or maybe never. The brain injuries have done damage...irreplaceable damage, looking at the scans, but the therapy and the new meds should be a huge help. Understand? Ok, I'll release him in the morning. He'll be free to go, just get the meds filled, and be patient with him. Take it slow, if possible, but get him into a regular routine at home, as soon as you can," the doctor advised.
They shook hands, then, and Steve and Linda went back in to see Ghost. "Hey, Ghost, you can get out of here first thing in the morning," Steve said. "How about that?"
Ghost smiled. "Good, I'm ready to get out...and Steve, I heard what y'all were saying. I couldn't help it. I'll try real hard to do all that, but you have to remind me, ok?"
"I will...I sure will," Steve said. He gave Ghost a big hug.
"We'll pick you up in the morning, hon," Linda said on her and Steve's way out the door.
Ghost gave her a thumbs up, then lay back on his pillows, closed his eyes, and was asleep before Steve and Linda had reached the elevators.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing