She saw lights again. Well, what looked like lights, anyway. It might have been one big light, since there didn’t seem to be any space between them. More a fuzzy sort of half light, almost as if her eyes were nearly closed or something. Or maybe it was all just a dream, the lights or non-lights above and the voices, the feeling that she was moving but having no idea how…
“It’s okay, Shane,” she heard, in a familiar voice. Jenny was talking to her, and for some reason that message had gotten through the fog of the other voices. She had the sense that Jenny was still talking, somewhere, but she couldn’t make out the words anymore. She couldn’t see the light things anymore either, and everything else was fading too, including the sharp pain in her head. Deciding it couldn’t be too important if it was all going away anyway, Shane decided to stop worrying about it, and everything mercifully went black.
“It’s fairly common after an overdose of this magnitude,” the on-call doctor told Jenny as she stood in the small waiting room outside the surgical ward. “We’ve stopped the bleeding and she looks all right from what we can see, but we’ll have to monitor her for a while to make sure there’s no lasting damage.”
Jenny heard the words, but they didn’t mean much to her at the moment. The whole thing made no sense. Shane had been getting ready to come back home in a couple days, and they’d been talking about some movie or other pretty happily when Shane had suddenly slapped her hand to her head and grimaced in pain. A few seconds later, she’d collapsed back onto the bed and hadn’t answered Jenny’s increasingly alarmed questions. She’d called the nurse, who had taken one look at Shane and ordered some code or other. Jenny had been ushered out of the room by the very nurse she’d called in, and had watched as Shane had been wheeled out to surgery.
“I thought she was doing well after the heart attack,” Jenny mumbled, still not feeling very with it as she spoke to the doctor, who looked at her sympathetically. Jenny barely noticed and had no energy to care that he seemed to pity her.
“She was. Her recovery from it was much faster than expected, but a cocaine overdose can also raise blood pressure. She’d had some spikes in her readings over the past few days and we were keeping an eye on it, but none so high as to indicate bleeding in the brain was a possibility,” the doctor said, shifting nervously from one foot to the other.
Jenny didn’t do more than nod at him, though. She was still trying to process how suddenly it had happened. One second she’d been talking to Shane like everything was normal, and the next, things were just as bad as they’d been the first night.
Not that she blamed Shane, of course. She didn’t feel that she could, even in spite of the overdose. Maybe if she hadn’t been such a bitch about the whole Niki thing, none of this would be happening. She knew it was a bad idea to blame herself, but at the moment, she couldn’t seem to help it. Although she’d been assured that the bleeding had been stopped and that Shane would recover once again, she couldn’t shake the fear she felt.
It didn’t get any better when Kit arrived, although she had to give her credit for trying. Jenny watched her talk to doctors and nurses and pull out her phone to call the others and tell them what had happened. Jenny wondered if that was a good idea, then realized that Shane would probably be in recovery and the ICU for at least a day, so there shouldn’t be a huge influx of people right away. Which was good for her, at least. She felt slightly guilty for feeling that way until she remembered that Shane needed all the rest she could get and that she hadn’t much wanted to see the others during the time she’d been in here anyway.
“Jenny, baby,” she heard Kit say, and looked over at her, startled. “I think you might be in shock. How about you come with me and we’ll go sit down in Shane’s room? They’re not gonna bother letting someone else have it, Shane should be back there before long.” Jenny nodded, but made no move to go anywhere until she felt Kit’s arm go around her shoulders. She realized she was being gently directed back to Shane’s room and let this happen, not really caring and feeling too detached to care that she didn’t care.
She didn’t really remember how the rest of the night had gone. All she could really recall was that Kit had gotten her one of the blankets at the end of Shane’s bed when they’d gotten back to the room, and wrapped it around her tightly. Which was good, because she was colder than she’d realized. Then she was instructed to lie down on the cot she’d been sleeping on, and she obeyed, turning away from Shane’s empty bed and falling asleep almost immediately, having a vague recognition that Kit was in the armchair beside her.
She woke with a start the next morning to find the bed empty, and had to push down a feeling of panic in her stomach at the sight. She knew it was ridiculous to worry, since she’d been told by both the doctor and later Kit that Shane would be kept in recovery overnight and possibly longer before she was brought back to the room. Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling of dread, especially when she noticed that Kit was no longer in the armchair or the room at all.
She came back before long, though, carrying two cups of coffee and a bag of muffins from the cafeteria. “Doctor says she’ll be up there for the morning so they can keep an eye on her, then they’ll being her back here. Gonna have to put some new machines in though, so I don’t know if you’ll be able to sleep on the cot anymore,” Kit told her as she set the food and coffee down. Jenny just nodded to show she’d heard, unable to process the information yet. It was too soon for her brain to function, especially without coffee. She stood and shuffled over to the little table, taking one of the cups gratefully. The coffee itself was disgusting but strong, and it helped to revive her a little.
She was still somewhat cloudy, though. In a detached way, she wondered if she might not still be in shock, then figured it didn’t make much difference even if she was. Shane and her health was all that mattered right now, and despite hearing that she was all right and resting in recovery, Jenny had the urge to see her immediately.
Kit seemed to understand, but ordered her to eat one of the muffins and take a quick shower first, promising that she’d go find the doctor and ask if it was okay for them to be in the recovery room. Jenny almost asked her why it wouldn’t be okay, then thought better of it when she saw Kit’s expression. Deciding to do as she was told, Jenny forced down a very dry baked good and more disgusting coffee and locked herself in the small bathroom.
She stayed longer in the shower than she would have liked, without really realizing it. She was in such a daze that she didn’t feel the time passing, and by the time she got out, got dressed in some of the clean clothes Kit had gotten for her at some point – this morning? Last night? – and stepped back into the room, almost an hour had passed. Kit didn’t seem to mind, though. She was sitting there watching the news and looking tired but not very stressed.
“Doctor says we can go up anytime. They don’t wanna move her until after lunch is over tomorrow, and she’s sleeping off the anesthesia anyway.” Jenny nodded, refusing to think about what anesthesia had been used for. She knew, intellectually, but thinking about it sent her into a mild panic and she didn’t think she could handle it right now.
Kit seemed to notice how upset she was, because she patted the chair next to hers. When Jenny obliged and sat down, she found herself being pulled into a big hug. She tried not to cry, but a few tears snuck out regardless and she hugged back with all her might.
“She’s gonna be just fine,” she heard Kit assuring her, but it didn’t help much. She didn’t argue, though, and just stayed where she was for a minute or two until she felt a little more pulled together. When she sat back up, Kit handed her a sandwich and insisted she eat it. She wasn’t hungry in the slightest, but Jenny obeyed and actually did feel a little better after. Not much, and she was still worried and somewhat detached, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been before, and she counted it as progress.
She’d slept fairly late and since her shower had gone on longer than she’d intended, it was time to go see Shane before long. Jenny felt a little conflicted as she followed the nurse and Kit to the post-op ICU area. She was worried about Shane and wanted to see her more than just about anything, but at the same time she wasn’t sure she’d be able to handle seeing her all bandaged up and unconscious again. She hadn’t had time to deal with the heart attack yet, and here she was again, this time worse than before. Well, it might not have been worse, but since she’d seen it happen Jenny felt like it was.
The nurse stopped at the side of a bed that had a curtain drawn partway around it for privacy, smiled, and told them to take their time. Jenny heard Kit thank her, but she wasn’t paying much attention herself. All she could focus on was the lump under the blankets in front of her that the curtain didn’t completely hide from view. Before she really knew what she was doing, Jenny had pulled the curtain back and gotten as close to the bed as she dared to.
Shane didn’t look too bad, all things considered. Her face was a bit more pale than usual and the bandage around her head didn’t do much for her looks, but aside from that she looked all right. Jenny didn’t want to get her hopes up from this alone, but she couldn’t help it. She’d been so terrified that Shane would be visibly unwell that she was incredibly relieved to find the opposite, however senseless that really was. She was fully aware that bleeding in the brain wouldn’t have many outward signs, but it still did her good to see that Shane looked pretty close to normal.
“I don’t think we should wake her up…” Kit said softly. Jenny gave a slight nod; she hadn’t been planning on it, although she was vaguely aware that her right hand had been edging closer and closer to Shane’s without her having realized it. She pulled it back to herself quickly and heard what sounded like a stifled laugh.
It hadn’t come from Kit. Jenny had to lean in to hear her, and she was rasping, but Shane’s amused “I’m awake,” was one of the best things Jenny could remember hearing.
Shane was brought back to her own room late the next afternoon, still groggy from the emergency surgery and the effects of the anesthesia. She appeared to be in good shape from all the readings and tests, and although she was sleepy and kept drifting in and out of consciousness, she assured Jenny that she was going to be fine. She didn’t elaborate on that, but it was said with such an air of determination that Jenny didn’t doubt her. There were a hundred things she wanted to say, but was completely unable to care about Shane’s attitudes toward therapy and recovery at the moment. She was far too relieved and tired for that, although she knew there would be a lot of talking later. Not that it mattered now; she was way too tired to care, and Shane wasn’t able to stay awake long enough to do much anyway.
Kit drifted in and out of the room, leaving a few times to go get Jenny more clothes and things she needed from the house, and bringing back food and good coffee. Jenny appreciated it. She was so busy watching Shane like a hawk that she barely dared to leave her side or sleep, and without Kit looking after her she’d probably have wound up an inpatient too. Kit never bothered her and seemed to understand that she wanted to be alone with Shane, because she rarely stayed after letting Jenny know that Sounder and the house were fine and asking if there was anything she needed. Jenny hardly ever did, because Kit was great at anticipating what she might need. When she had the time to think about it, usually after Shane had drifted off once again, she was grateful for being taken care of in such a way and made a mental note to get Kit a nice gift when this whole thing was over.
It wouldn’t be for quite some time, though. The incident and surgery after had set Shane’s recovery back a great deal, both physically and mentally. They’d been told that her prognosis was good, that they’d been able to stop the bleeding fairly quickly and that there should be no lasting brain damage. The medications to get her blood pressure levels back down to normal were increased, and after that, there wasn’t a whole lot that could be done. The doctors recommended she take it easy for a good while and allow her body to recover from all the stress it had been under before they started treatment for the addiction issues.
Jenny agreed. Shane’s physical recovery up the point of the incident had been a lot faster than she was really comfortable with, and it was more than obvious that Shane resented having to see the psychologists and other therapists. She’d hated Molly telling her that her reactions to things were often fucked up and extreme, and while Jenny understood the way Shane felt on that matter, she had to admit she agreed with Molly. Shane’s self destructive patterns when things went wrong were worse than the ones Jenny was so familiar with, as the fight that had started this whole mess had proved. She knew she wasn’t exactly a pillar of strength and sanity and good coping methods herself, but to her, Shane was far worse in that regard and definitely needed treatment for it.
She was still angry over all the recent events, and knew that she needed to deal with that in a more productive way. Shane was never going to get better if Jenny kept harboring this sort of resentment toward her, and she was tired of how things had been. She didn’t feel too bad with the direction her own life was heading, but she wanted Shane in it and was ashamed of how she’d acted that night, although she’d never have admitted that to anyone out loud.
She had no idea how things were going to be after this. If they’d even be able to salvage anything after the fight they’d had. They’d had the usual roommate disagreements, but never a full fledged fight like that, and Jenny didn’t know how deep that damage was going to go. She’d forgiven Shane, and looking at her sleeping now, she wondered why she’d been so upset in the first place. Or at least why she’d taken it out the way she had.
She sighed. There was really no point in continuing to analyze it; what was done was done. All that mattered now was making sure Shane was all right. They could deal with the rest later.
Shane seemed to feel the same when she was finally able to stay awake most of the day. There were always doctors and nurses coming and going since she’d come back to the room, to check various things and to ask her questions. It was still annoying, but not nearly as much as it had been when she’d woken up from the heart attack. She wasn’t able to do a whole lot, and couldn’t really stay awake more than a few hours at a time without feeling the need to take a nap, but somehow the many questions and tests during the time she was awake didn’t seem to matter much at all.
She didn’t feel bad, exactly. Sometimes she was really lightheaded and sometimes she had a headache, but it wasn’t anywhere as bad as the one she’d had right before the surgery. They’d told her that pain had been because of a blood vessel bursting, which is why she’d needed the surgery, and why they were keeping such a close eye on her now. She didn’t remember being wheeled to surgery or really anything at all after the pain had hit, but she did have a vague memory of Jenny standing at her bedside looking almost as worried as she did now, and had ever since Shane had been brought back here from the surgical ward. She remembered telling Jenny she was awake, but everything after that was a blur.
Jenny was still very worried now, and it was hard for Shane to take. While she knew the heart attack had been her own fault, she’d been very resistant to any kind of therapy for it, since she only used drugs for recreation and didn’t see herself as an addict at all. She hated the talk therapy and the addiction counseling, and the thought of having to go see an outpatient counselor when she was released had really bothered her. After this surgery, though…
She’d been scared. Scared that this time, she really might die. She hadn’t been scared at all during the heart attack or after, probably because she couldn’t remember much. But this time was different. She still didn’t remember all that much, but she knew it had been bad, and the pain had been excruciating. She knew she’d been talking with Jenny about some trivial thing before it had hit, and she’d been happy. They seemed to be doing okay, and she was hopeful that things would work out. But seeing the worry in Jenny’s eyes when the pain had hit and when they’d waited for a nurse to come help had hurt even worse, and Jenny’s pain was because of her overdose.
She had no idea why the second incident made her think that way when the first hadn’t, but it did. She knew it would be a long time before she’d be released, and that she was going to have to redo most of the therapy she’d already gotten through, but it didn’t upset her in the least. She owed it to Jenny to do whatever she needed to do to get better. She still didn’t consider herself an addict in any way, but the things she did when she was upset were hurting more than just herself, and it didn’t exactly feel good to her anyway.
She tried to talk it over with Jenny, who waved her apologies away and told her to rest and focus on getting better, that they could worry about the other stuff later and that things would be fine. This frustrated Shane a little, but she knew better than to press the issue. She was too tired, anyway. But she wanted to be better, and she wanted to make sure Jenny knew that.
She wasn’t really able to tell her, though. While she knew she was getting better every day, she wasn’t exactly in good shape yet, and had been told by several doctors not to try to talk about anything stressful. Jenny had taken this advice to heart, and whenever Shane was awake, all they did was watch movies or talk about random things. She was never able to talk long without getting extremely tired, which she’d been told was to be expected after her surgery, but it was still frustrating.
She was more worried about Jenny than she was about herself, though. While they’d been told that she was recovering nicely, it was obvious that Jenny was scared. So much so that when Shane woke up sometimes in the middle of the night, she glanced over and saw that instead of sleeping, Jenny was looking at the wall. She would always come over to the bed and ask if Shane needed anything, and wouldn’t answer any questions about why she was up so late or what she was worried about. Shane’s reassurances that she was fine didn’t seem to do a lot of good; Jenny simply told her to go back to sleep and that she was perfectly all right.
She didn’t know how many days after the surgery it had been when she woke up yet again to find the room dark, with just a bit of light coming in from the hall. She wondered what had woken her until she heard a small noise from the floor beside her bed. With some effort, she managed to look over the edge of it and saw Jenny lying on her back, struggling against hiccups every few seconds and looking really pissed off about it.
Shane couldn’t help laughing, and did it again when Jenny looked up at her, wide eyed and startled. Then she hiccuped again, and Shane laughed harder.
“I’m sorry I woke you up!” Jenny exclaimed in hushed tones, slapping a hand up to cover her mouth as yet another hiccup escaped.
“It’s fine,” Shane said, still laughing a little. “You can’t exactly help it.”
“They’re just so annoying!” Jenny said, a bit more loudly, once again looking startled as she hiccuped even louder than before.
“Did you drink some water?” Shane asked, thoroughly amused.
“Yeah,” Jenny said sadly. “Didn’t help.”
“How long has it been?”
Jenny appeared to ponder this for a moment while letting two more hiccups escape, managing to shake the entire cot as her whole body joined in the movement. “About half an hour.”
The look of sadness on her face made Shane laugh again, and this time she found it much harder to stop. At first, Jenny seemed to be a little upset by it, but as she kept hiccuping she started to see the humor in it. They turned the TV on and while the hiccups didn’t stop for a couple hours, it seemed to make both of them feel a little better anyway.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Wrote this for my Epic NanoWrimo Fail 2010. As always, it's for DD.
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