She knew she was alive. There were voices around her; soft voices speaking the usual hospital talk she was starting to get used to. Apparently, she was stable, just not ready to properly wake up from last crisis’s slumber. The pain was starting to come back, but it was manageable, so she kept pretending she was asleep until the voices went away.
After a few minutes of silence, a soft voice spoke directly to her.
“I know you are awake, darling. And I know you are in pain, so if you need me to get you something, I’m here for you.” The soft voice also had a soft touch, soft fingers ran delicately through Regina’s hair, an act of kindness she was not used to, making her want to cry and respond nicely to that act, but instead, she just turned to the other side, paying attention to not mess the IV stuck in her left arm.
“Silent treatment, huh? Okay, I can work with that… My name is Freddie, I am your nurse. We’re out of female nurses due to a strike, and they are right to stop working, I supported them doubling my hours, so you’re stuck with me for the day, but I promise to be careful and to earn your trust one second at a time while you’re here.
To earn your trust she repeated in her mind. Regina never really trusted anyone, the world never gave her reasons to believe in kindness, the only love she knew came from her mother, and even that was filled with an unexpected rage from time to time.
“I brought you to a room you won’t have to share with anyone, to give you some privacy…” Freddie continued. “Doctor Brian is coming in a few minutes to check up on you, and we’re waiting for the lab results we did while you were off. I’m sorry about that, it’s protocol considering the state you arrived here…”
“It’s alright.” She replied on the lowest tone possible. “Thank you, for everything…” she felt tears blurring her already impaired vision.
“Oh no, no need to thank me honey. I’m just doing my job, you deserve some dignity under all circumstances, and I’m here to make sure your recovery is gonna come the best possible way.
The headache was getting stronger, Regina's face grimaced with a wave of pain and nausea arching her head fast and painfully at the iron top of the hospital bed.
“I’m gonna get you something for the pain, I’ll be right back, sweetheart” Freddie announced, adjusting the pillow under Regina’s head, and leaving the room.
Outside Regina’s room Freddie found Brian studying some lab results carefully.
“The new patient, darling? He asked. “She’s in pain, I need to know what do you think it’s best for her now.”
“Get her on Ibuprofen, minimum dosage, and then we’ll go from there, Freddie.” Brian said, not taking his eyes off the lab results he was reading. “Is she awake and responsive?”
“As awake and responsive as a depressed person can be, honey. I’m afraid we’re gonna have to be extra careful with this one…”
“Did you found her name?”
“No, I was thinking on starting the anamnesis with you there, what do you think?”
“Let’s go then…” He grabbed some files and a pen from the infirmary reception and walked side by side with Freddie through the corridor.
“Darling, can we come in?” Freddie asked from the door, one had fully occupied with the medicine and a syringe. There was no response, so they got in anyway.
Regina turned her back to the door as soon as they got in , tried to clean her face from the stubborn tears that kept falling, tears of physical and emotional pain.
“Hi, my name is Brian May, I’m your doctor. We’re gonna need to ask some questions, basic information to put on your file, just ‘cause you arrived here undocumented, and it’s part of the protocol.” Brian said, trying his best to see the patient’s face from where he was standing by the bottom of the bed.
With a deep breath, more like a sigh, Regina decided to face them, eyes still teary, dirty hair, and a few bruises over her lips and cheeks.
Freddie wanted to point out how beautiful she was, how those blue eyes were the brightest ones he’s ever seen, but one look from Brian detained him, and maybe it was for the best.
“What’s your name, darling?”
Still with some reluctance, Regina decided to cooperate, she only had them to rely on anyway…
“R-Regina. Regina Meddows Taylor.” she responded shyly, turning into bright red when Brian smiled at her.
“Pleased to meet you, my dear.” Freddie couldn’t stop a happy grin coming from his lips, that was a good start, and he really wanted to help Regina.
“And how old are you, Regina?” this time Brian made the question while Freddie could focus on filling the IV bag with the medicine he prescripted.
So young… both doctor and nurse thought.
“Do you smoke? Drink?” Brian continued, scanning her bruised body with his eyes.
“Both, yes…” Regina’s eyes couldn’t meet theirs now, a flood of shame brought back the will to cry, and she tried her very best to stay strong, as strong as it was possible.
“It’s not a good thing now, you understand?” Brian said calmly, feeling like he was walking on eggshells, like if at any minute, Regina could just disappear, abandoning her recently started road to recovery. “We’re gonna need you to be strong, and make some serious changes…”
“I know…” she sighed, looking all consumed by guilt.
Her life choices, if they could be called choices, were always seen as shameful, all the drinking and smoking, not to mention the unusual sexual behavior she used to have, all of this part of a facade, a mask she used to show strength when there was none, a way to reach the end of her solitude, even if just for a few hours. Life was never kind to her, and even though she couldn’t see her victories, Regina was undoubtedly a fighter, a lonely wounded deer surviving the struggles of a concrete jungle called London.
“Do you have someone you want us to call? Any emergency contact?” Brian asked, more out of habit than anything else, he knew the answer, he knew she was his responsibility from that moment until she could leave the hospital.
“No, there’s no one…” What she meant was there’s no one I trust . No real friends, only stoners and abusers, no one that saw her for who she was.
“What about documents, my dear?” Freddie asked.
“I left them on Kensington Market… I lived there.” She murmured, weak, but relieved the medicine was starting to work its magic.
“You LIVE there?” Brian questioned, trying to remember the few times he was over there with his friends and not imagining how someone could live inside one of the tiny stalls, or worse, along one of the corridors of that place.
“Yes, I sell clothes there, when I find something worth selling…” she said, rubbing her throat, trying to make her voice sound a little less fragile. “If you discharge me I can go pick up the documents to get the hospital bill, these things are complicated…” she tried her best to sound convincing, it would be a good scape, of course she wouldn’t be back, unless she fell sick again.
“No, don’t you worry about it now, sweetheart, it’ll all be sorted out later, you need to rest…” Freddie was smarter than she thought he was, reading her fears and intentions in the air.
“You are too weak to be discharged right away, now you only need to take care of yourself. When was the last time you had a meal, Regina? Your blood sugar levels are incredibly low…" Brian checked her results one more time, being as practical as he could to not get too involved, again.
“A few days ago, I guess… Can’t remember…” She whispered, loud enough for Freddie to hear, feeling her stomach growling in pain, but too humiliated already to ask for something as basic as food.
“Oh God, that’s enough then. We’re gonna get you a decent meal right now!” Freddie said in a loud fake-cheerfulness,trying to be strong while witnessing such horrendous level of pain. “I’ll take care of you, sweetheart, Brian will stay here and run some physical exams on you, and I’ll get you some food. Only the best for my patients, my dear…” he completed in a hurry to leave the room.
“No, Freddie… Stay here, please…” Regina pleaded, fearing her own reactions while alone with Brian. “Please… I’m not that hungry, really!” She held her arm, making both doctor and nurse feel a heavy weight on their chests.
“Nonsense, darling, you need food. I won’t be away for more than 10 minutes, promise. And Brian here” he said running one hand of the man’s long black curls “I trust Brian with my life and soul, he’d never hurt you. He’s just THE BEST” he enphasided “doctor we have here, you’re in the best hands, really!”
“And I’ll be very fast, I just need to check your lungs and heart again, to see if there’s any difference from yesterday…” Brian took the lead, approaching the bed a little bit more and smiling at his patient. “Freddie, you can go.” and so he left the room, walking with large steps towards the cafeteria.
“Regina, I need you to sit down for a while, can you do that?” he asked, and she tried, feeling her broken ribs move inside her body, wincing in pain. “Let me help you….” he said, setting one firm arm on her back, to help her move with no more difficulties, trying his best to not be invasive. “Good, that was very brave of you, well done. Now I need you to be braver, ‘cause I’m gonna check if I can hear any intrusive fluids on your chest though your back and my stethoscope is extra cold today… I’m sorry in advance.” he played a little bit, and she smiled, he felt so good with that small victory. When his stethoscope touched her nude skin she left out a fearful sigh. “I’m sorry…” he said one more time.
“It’s not your fault, you warned me…” she smiled at him discreetly.
“Take a deep breath and hold it for me, 3 seconds, please?”
She did as he said, holding her breath a little bit too deep due to the pain. After that, she was back laid on the bed, staring blankly to the ceiling, with Brian squeezing her belly to check for some painful spots. She winced a few times when he squeezed down her belly button, but when he asked her to grade the level of the pain from 0 to 10 she just said 0 so he thought it was something he could check on later.
“I hear no fluids, you’re not swollen as much as I thought you would, that’s great news.” he said enthusiastically. “I need more exams, like an x-ray and a head CT, but I will let you have a meal first, and I’ll be back after my other visits, okay?”
“I’m not sure if I can afford all these exams, doctor Brian…” She said trying to avoid the exam, it wasn’t time for that, they were doing a lot for her already.
“Don’t worry about this now, okay, we’ll figure things out at a slow pace, for now you just need to rest and let us take care of you.” he said, on an understanding tone, like he knew her struggles. But there was no way for him to know.
Regina just nodded, watching Brian leave the room. She knew what was wrong with her body, she knew exactly why she ended up there with those bruises around her face and all this pain, but it wasn’t worth to tell them, to get them all worried and working on something they wouldn’t heal… Her neglected body was already giving up, it was a matter of time. She hoped and prayed the exams would turn out to be inconclusive, that the growing evil thing that was taking her life away would hide itself from the doctors and allow her to be discharged to live the rest of her life like she deserved to.
A few minutes later, Freddie enters the room carrying a huge tray with all sorts of food and placing everything at the tray attached to Regina’s bed. Regina’s eyes turned bright with that sight, she had never seen so much food at once.
“Freddie, you really shouldn’t have…” She tried to say, being interrupted right away.
“Shush, darling, it’s time to eat. The toasts look delicious, but I’d recommend you this wonderful muffin first, our friend Rosemary does them, and they are to die for, go ahead.” He said pointing to the muffin before serving her a hot cup of tea.
With a little hesitation she grabbed the enormous muffin, taking a first delicate bite, but as soon as the taste of the food reached her mouth she just couldn’t stop eating, very fast.
“Whoa, dear, slow down, the food is not going anywhere!” Freddie exclaimed jokingly. “Your body needs to get used to all of this, take your time. Here, get some more tea to wash things down..” he served her again. Regina took a few sips of tea, again ashamed of her condition, she didn’t know how to behave properly like her mom always wanted her to. Feeling her embarrassment, Freddie was quick to make things clear.
“Honey, there’s nothing wrong, okay? You tried to deny it, but you were hungry, and I believe you’re still, so just take your time with the food. I will leave you alone to enjoy it properly, don’t be ashamed if you can’t eat everything, I overreacted a little, I must admit, so calm down, the most important thing for me is that you won’t feel sick again, my dear.” he took a napkin and cleaned Regina’s chin delicately. “I need to make some rounds and see if Brian needs anything from me. I’ll be back later for your medication, and if you feel comfortable, I can even prepare a special bath for you, our shampoo is better than that cheap thing from the other hospitals, you’re gonna love it!” he smile fondly.
Freddie was like a proud momma bear, and all the patients were her cubs, he aimed to please with every word and every kind gesture, and Regina was his new baby. He knew there was something special about her, something he couldn’t reach yet, but he’d get there, oh he will get there… One day at a time.
“Freddie, you are incredible! Thank you!” she said, stuffing her mouth with a buttered piece of toast, filling the tired nurse’s heart with joy.
“So are you, Regina...” Oh those little moments that would make all the 80 hours/week worth every sleepless day… Freddie lived for these little wonders.
Outside Brian was already scheduling the exams.
"Regina has X-ray and CT scans at 4 and 5 PM, can you take her there, please?" he asked. "Make sure she goes on a wheelchair, I might have exaggerated her situation a little bit to rush things up." He explained.
"Oh, of course you did, honey. You always get things done your way, right?" Freddie winked at him.
"Yup, and it feels great!" He joked back, leaving the nurse alone with a pile of patients' files to read and visit.
"Thank you for the extra work!" Freddie shouted while Brian disappeared on the corridor.
Regina finished her meal feeling stuffed, she only left behind some grapes, crackers, plum jelly and cheese that would be useful during the day. It was good to feel like someone cared, Freddie is a good person, and for a second she thought how nice it would be to have Freddie as a real friend . Only a thought, of course, she is too much of a burden to be friends with such nice people as Freddie and Brian. She knew they were only doing their jobs, and that they’d treat any other patient just the same way, but for only a second she wanted to nurture the illusion that she was special to them. Thinking about that, when mother nature called and she needed to rush to the loo, she didn’t think about calling for help, the less she needed help, the more they’d like her. Trying to get up with a head injury making her dizzy, a sore belly and a tea-filled bladder was a task like no other, she felt stupid as she tried to move her body out of the bed while holding the IV bag stand way up high, but any option was better than pressing the red button and taking Freddie out of all the more important stuff he was doing at this time. She couldn’t stand still completely due to the growing pains from both her last fall and her too-damn-satisfied belly, and walking slowly to the bathroom with the IV stand make her look like a 95 years old grandma, but at least she made it to the bathroom with no big problems, the IV seemed to be okay and all she needed was to lower her panties a little bit. The problem was the dizziness that was not giving her a break. She lowered her head a bit to take a look at her panties while lowering down, ashamed of her bruised body, and for a second the world made a loop. Whoa. Deep breaths, weird thing, you don’t need help to pee, remember?” she tried to warn herself, and finally managed to find enough balance to sit on the toilet and finish her business, taking a few more seconds before repeating the way back to the warmth of her hospital bed.
When Regina was a few more steps from considering her mission accomplished, however, the IV stand that she was holding so carefully got one of its wheels stuck on the chair that was kept beside her bed and she lost her balance just a couple of steps away from safety. She fell on her arm, messing with the IV that bled instantaneously and knocking her head on the chair, falling semi-unconscious on the cold floor. Defeated and even more sore than she was before she tried reaching for the emergency button on the wall using the IV stand, but it was useless due to her shaky hands. She called out for help a couple of times, but her voice was too weak so she just cried, feeling drained and frustrated with her lack of strength. Dumb useless bitch, look what you've done. Who's gonna help you now?? Don't you dare to call them again, you deserve the pain for being so stupid and clumsy. Stupid whore, no wonder why you're gonna die alone, you fucked up everything. Her thoughts were too damn loud, she wanted to shut them down, she needed to shut herself down, to just disappear, but where? There's no place for someone like me in this stupid world. She cried herself out on the floor, feeling the pain get stronger each second, unable to call Freddie, she was so ashamed of her shitty mistake, he'd be so angry at her for ruining the IV and getting hurt, he'd never like her again…
I know this is very slow, my initial plan was to make it as a one-shot, but I figured it would be a a super long one-shot, and you probably wouldn't like it...
One thing I must say: All that I know about hospitals comes from my personal experience as a neuro patient and the fact my mom was a nurse for 34 years, I'm trying to make this as accurate as possible, but I know I will fail at some point, so just try to forgive me, ok?
As I always say, I still have no idea what I'm doing, so keep being very patient, please?
I love getting comments, so if you got here by accident and liked it, talk to me, I promise I don't bite!
I have this chapter ready for a while now and I was ready to post it only on Friday, but I was talking to the incredible @chelseagirlly (go read all her stuff, it's addictive!!) and she helped me change my mind and post it earlier, so thank her and enjoy it!!
As usual, motivation is all I need... kudos and comments make my world go 'round!
Freddie came back from his rounds, to medicate her and send her to the exam team.
“How was the food, my dear? Hope it didn’t make you feel bad…” he said pushing a small cart of medicines, gloves, syringes needles and all sorts of things he'd need. It took him a second between settling the cart beside him by the door and looking for Regina's empty bed for him to rush to the other side of the bed to find her crying on the floor. "Oh my Lord, sweetness, what happened to you?" He stood on his knees, involved her into a tight hug and crossed his fingers through her sweaty hair, checking on her crying face. "Oh my goodness look at you, my dear. It's okay, it'll be alright now, I'm here." He whispered softly while she buried her face on his soft embrace. "I'm gonna have to pick you up and put you back on the floor to get a better vision on everything, tell me when you're ready to be moved." He kept his voice low and smooth, when she nodded, still crying, he grabbed her full body on his arms, and using the wall for support, he stood up, placing her body gently back on the bed.
"I'm so sorry, Freddie, please forgive me… I…" she cried, sobbing quietly, hiding from his worried approach. "I went to the loo, everything was alright, and when I came back I tripped over the chair, I'm so stupid, I'm so sorry…" Regina was heartbroken, not only for the fall that happened minutes ago, but for all the other ones as well, all her failures, all the times she couldn’t keep the facade of the self-sufficient person she always had to pretend to be
It broke Freddie’s heart to see her like this, he wanted to hug her one more time and keep her safe from whatever she was feeling, but his shift was soon to end, and he needed to be practical and help her as much as he could. “Oh my dearest, don’t feel bad about this, alright? I’m gonna help you with the new IV, if you allow me to, then I’m gonna clean you up and get you the meds, you’ll be fine in minutes!” his soothing voice calmed her to the point of controlling her sobs. “Brian wants to get you on some exams by the end of the day, I really hope you don’t mind.
“He talked to me about them earlier…” she explained. “I still think the are too expensive for me to afford them.” once again, she attempted to persuade them to give up. And furthermore, who can assure you I’m gonna be around to pay these bills? I’m dying… I’m gonna die no matter how hard you both try to save me. Regina wanted to say, but for the sake of some more minutes of peace, she decided to keep her mouth shut while Freddie worked fast on the new IV and the medication.
“Useless worries, my dear. It’s a necessity, and we’ll figure out all the bureaucratic stuff later. If Brian is worried about something, we need to check it out.” he sighed in a sign relief when she seemed to accept their help. “Now let's get you cleaned up before I get you upstairs, ok?! When we come back I will work on that bath I promised you."
While Freddie rushed on cleaning her only the minimum to make her discomfort a little less troubling she couldn’t stop observing him, his gestures, fast and delicate all the same, the way he did all of his work with a gentle smile on his face. She could see his tiredness, that must’ve been a long day, and she didn’t make things easy for him, but nothing could break that sweet smile. That was the kind of soul she should’ve been surrounded by, but all the people around her was too involved with their own needs to show her some affection.
After taking her to the wheelchair Freddie broke the silence after considering his job well done, looking at a clean and calm Regina.
“I’ll take you to the exam center now, it’s gonna be quick, they know they shouldn’t mess with my patients!”
The exam room was cold from the powerful air conditioner, a long blank corridor with only one room to its left side, Regina started shivering to the emptiness of that place, it reminded her of bad times and loneliness stroke her like a punch, this time she was really physically alone, not even her mother would be there to fake-support her through what was to come, and fear took over her.
“I’m gonna leave you here and I’ll be back in about an hour, dear Regina, you’ll be okay.” Freddie said, delivering her file to a new doctor and turning around to leave the room.
“No Freddie, please, don’t leave!” she cried, eyes going wild with despair, fear consumed. “Please. Stay here, please… I-I can’t… please, just don’t leave me…” Regina continued between sobs and confused words, holding Freddie’s hand tight, looking at him with the most fragile face Freddie’s ever seen. If you leave me I will not survive, please, you’re all I have.
"Ok, fine… I'll stay. You point these blue jewels at me again and I'll give you my heart on a silver plate, I swear… can't resist them, darling…" Freddie tried to sound playful, cupping her crying face with both hands and sending her a reassuring look full of comprehension, even though he didn’t comprehend very well what was going on inside the girl’s mind.
“You can’t stay in the exam room, Freddie, you know the rules…” a bald man with a big mustache and a prominent belly under his white vest says to Freddie that gumbles something inaudible in response.
"You heard her, darling, she wants me around. I'm like her emotional support nurse, right, my dear?!" The black haired nurse responds with a grin.
"Oh, fuck it. Let's get it over with, my shift is almost done."
"I don't like him…" Regina mumbles to Freddie as soon as the radiologist turns his back to them.
"He'll do no harm, my dear, I'm here. Just relax and it'll be over soon."
The exams were fast, Freddie stood by Regina's side all the time, keeping her calm and relaxed, having no chance to get a good glance at the results while everything is happening. He'd look at them later anyway. This shift seems to have no end…
Back to Regina's room the poor girl was almost asleep, the intensity of the day was too much for her.
"Just sleep, my darling, you'll feel like brand new tomorrow…" Freddie said while placing a new blanket on top of her body, petting her leg gently and silently leaving the room.
Outside, Freddie was received at the infirmary's reception by a rather worried Brian.
"Have you seen these scans, Fred?"
"No, Bri. She had a quick meltdown at the exam room, I had to stay close to her… is it bad?" He responded, still not looking up at the files Brian was holding.
"Regina has cancer, Fred... Brain cancer, temporal lobe tumor, it's not going to grow much, but it's causing a lot of trouble..." Brian carefully said, finally grabbing Freddie's attention, while the tired nurse looked at the scans with a shocked expression.
“And what’s the plan?” Freddie whispered, his voice cracking a little.
“The plan is to give her the best care we can, I’m not a neurologist, but I will study her case a little bit further, see if there’s a treatment that’s not going to be so aggressive.” he responded, clearly absorbed by the situation. “She obviously knows about it, and she was trying to hide it from us…”
“The reluctance is kind of obvious now that I think about it… It’s not just that she can’t afford the treatment, she thinks she won’t survive it…” the male nurse dropped the files at the counter in front of him and left Brian alone with his own thoughts.
Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!! I hate my job sometimes… Hate it. How I’m gonna look at her now?! The poor thing is battling to keep herself up with this… this… oh fuck!! He cried, locking the nurse’s rest room and letting himself go through all the emotions of this first day with the lovely new patient. Being there for his patients through all the ups and downs proved to be the only right way to practice nursing. Getting too attached very quickly and sympathizing with their sorrows along the way was a consequence he knew too well, and this time it wouldn’t be different. Freddie cried for all the things she’d have to face along the treatment, if there was a way to get her a full treatment with no coasts, because even that was an uncertainty at this point.
“Freddie?? Is that you??” a familiar voice called, making Freddie unlock the door and run to the younger nurse embrace, hiding his face on the guy’s neck to feel some relieving warmth.
“Oh my… it’s alright, Fred, let it out…” John said while the older man sobbed, wetting his shoulder with warm tears. “It’s alright now”
Only a few minutes later, while Freddie tried to calm down one second at a time, his friend observed him cautiously, afraid to make any wrong move.
“Hard shift? I arrived earlier after Brian called home saying he won’t be there for another 12 hours.” John asked.
“The absolute hardest, my dear… Get ready!”
“I am, spent the day watching cartoons and taking naps!” John smirked playfully.
“That’s my boy! Momma is so proud…” Freddie forces a smile, making the younger man laugh.
“Jokes aside, it’s your time to leave, hurry up… I left pancakes and toasts for you, and there’s still orange juice in the fridge, I’ll buy tea and coffee when I leave, you need to catch some sleep.”
“You’re an angel, Deacy, what would we do without you?”
“Starve, get sick and probably die before the age of 35…” the young man replied sarcastically.
“Bitch!” Freddie said, faking a sneeze.
“Love you too! Now go get your stuff and get out, my shift starts in 10 and I need to get changed." John blew a kiss to his friend and pointed to Freddie's locker. The older nurse grabbed his stuff and walked out of the room.
Medical accuracy?? I have no idea what you're talking about...
Tell me if I need to add more tags...
Next chapter is ready, and I'm amazed by how much time I spend thinking of this story...
Enjoy, and try not to hate me that much...
Comments and kudos are highly appreciated.
Freddie didn’t obey right away, though. Before gathering his stuff and leaving the hospital, Freddie made some notes on a post-it and glued it on Regina’s medical record, such as “I promised her a proper shower, Freddie’s style, but I didn’t have time… MAKE IT HAPPEN!” and “If anything serious change, give me a call and I’ll be back in one step. I MEANT IT, DO NOT HESITATE!” and also “Protect her with your life, or I’ll poison your toast!”. After he finally left, John found the post-it and laughed at his too-damn-protective friend. Overly attached arse… Here we go again! He thought, knowing that whatever bad thing that happens with this new mysterious patient would break Freddie’s heart, just like it happened dozens of times before.
The night shift was always calm, usually things didn’t get much agitated since the patients were mostly sleeping and the majority of them were so high on painkillers they barely could notice the few times John got into their rooms to check up on them or fill change their IV bags. John liked to be the unnoticed one, the silent helper that was fast enough to care for them and leave them to heal. There was a special curiosity that night, though. With Freddie leaving the hospital super exhausted and Brian locked at his office studying god knows what, John was left alone with the usual two patients that were in post-surgery care since last week and the new patient, Regina Meddows Taylor.
According to her medical report she arrived at the hospital with a series of minor injuries, complications from a fall she had at the streets of Kessington avenue. She was brought to the hospital by a passenger that saw her apparently having an OD. But the blood test was clean, a few deficiencies of vitamins and iron, signs of mal-nutrition, but not signs of recent drug use. She had a seizure…
When he looked at her by the door, he saw a blonde woman with pink cheeks sleeping peacefully, snoring lightly, not a single worry in the world. Stay like this, please… Otherwise, Freddie’s gonna kill me.
When he was finished with the other rounds he gathered the medicine cart and went to Regina’s room. The lights were down, the only source of light there was from the bright corridor outside, he turned the bedside lamp on to make it possible for him to inject the medication, a heavy painkiller, into the IV bag attached to her body, making the fluid in the bag turn light yellow. She didn’t make a move, probably not even realized he was around. That gave him time to observe her more closely.
There were bruises on her face, small ones, starting to turn dark purple, but her blonde messy hair gave her an agelical look, something that resembled to fragility, but with a strong hint of resistance. This one went through a whole lot before she got here, this I’m sure… he sighed deeply. There was no medical history, no documents, her medical report was all based on that day, which basically meant that if he wanted to know more about her case, while Brian was locked in studying her head CT scans and blood test, he’d have to make some phone calls to other hospitals in the London area, just to see what they have, if they have something.
John was ready to leave her room when she started seizuring. Eyes wide open and rolled out, body shaking heavily while her muscles got all tense, tossing and turning inside of her, she was drooling hard while he turned her body to the right side so she wouldn’t choke. He pressed the red button to call for help, luckily, Trevor, the new intern was nearby.
“Call Brian, now!” John claimed.
“2 miligrams of felbamate, now!!” Brian yelled to the younger man beside him. John rushed with the medication while Brian took control of Regina’s trembling body so she wouldn’t hurt herself. Minutes later, Regina was going back to normal, breathing deeply and heartbeats slowing down with every second until it reached a normal pace. The medication kept her down while the young nurse with the big fluffy hair relaxed a bit.
“That was a rush…” John whispered to Brian, taking a moment to observe the terror being washed away from the doctor’s eyes as he placed the patient back to her original position.
“And it was just the easiest one…” Brian replied.
“What do you mean?” John asked, trying to understand what was on the doctor’s mind.
“That we’re gonna have to fight for her…”
“Like we do for every patient, Bri. It’s nothing new…”
“We’re gonna have to fight the system for her, Deacs, and we’re going to start right now!” he exclaimed firmly. “I want to find if there’s any medical report for Regina Meddows Taylor on every hospital in the London area or outside. There must be something we’re missing. There’s a list of them on my desk, go fetch it and let’s work on it…” Brian commanded.
“Great minds… I was going to start that when she crashed.”
List in hands, both of them worked on a bunch of pages, the list covered most emergency hospitals all over the United Kingdom. Maybe Brian went a little too deep on his research, just maybe, but it was a risk worth taking.
Brian kept calling all the emergency rooms around London until some light shone at the end of the tunnel. A clinic far away, in Truro, returned his call with information about Regina.
"She was here a few months ago, a lot of seizures and appearances, it was quite complicated, we contained her and administered anticonvulsants, made the proper tests, but it was impossible to keep her here, she escaped at the middle of the night… Our security staff is still beating themselves up for letting such a fragile girl escape unnoticed..." That skinny creature is a bloody mischief… Brian thought in response.
The woman on the other side of the line explained everything patiently, while Brian stared at her scans one more time. “You probably saw her tumor, right?” she asked.
“That’s why I’m calling, we got her case today, but she seems to be avoiding the treatment, so I need to know what I’m working with…”
“You’re working with a temporal lobe tumor, something between stage 1 and 2, small but dangerous, since she’s presenting weakness and seizures. I presume she’s been living with this tumor for at least 2 years with no basic care at all...”
“Oh, okay. We’ll take over from here, thank you for your cooperation.” he responded with a deep sigh.
No basic care at all Brian kept those words in mind. How they expect her to engage in a treatment for cancer when she can't even afford to have food in her belly every day? His worries were legitimate, as far as he knew, Regina had nothing. But for this same reason he knew she also had nothing to lose, which meant that they'd have to give her all the good reasons to fight if they wanted to save her.
After that call, Brian received a couple more answers from hospitals around their area, both with the same answers, Regina was being found on the streets and sent to hospitals basically every 10 days, each seizure striking her stronger than the previous one, causing more weakness.
“We’re gonna keep her here under all costs!” Brian said to John when he got to the nurses’ rest room where John was taking his first break.
“How and why?” he responded, taking the blanket off his face and looking at Brian from down to up.
“She went through this same things over and over, being discharged twice with no treatment and no orientations on what to do, and escaping once, completely frightened…” Brian lowered his torso and sat down on the buckle bed with John. “I’m not going to forgive myself is she’s discharged because of the financial cost of the treatment… I can’t send her to a clinic that’s not going to have enough resources for cancer treatment to a patient like her.”
“And who’s gonna pay for it here?? You know our system is broken, mate, how do you think she’ll get access to the best treatment possible if we can’t pay for it ourselves and she’s undocumented?” Deacy pondered, trying very patiently to bring some rationality to the situation.
“I’m gonna list her to a pro-bono treatment here, see what happens…” That was basically the first idea he’d had, maybe the only chance he would ever have. All of this was new to him, he never cared about a patient like this. Of course there were times he felt broken when he couldn’t save a patient, and this would never change, but he had hope they could really save her if at least they could keep a close eye on her, and that’d be his first step.
“God bless you heart, Bri, but the chances are minimal… Right now we are facing a strike because the female nurses are not being paid enough, how do you think the director’s is gonna face the solution for the strike and the request for a very expensive pro-bono surgery all at once? I love you, Bri, and you are the best doctor we have here, but I don’t think more people are going to agree on treating a patient for free out of nowhere…” It was just unrealistic, they work on a good hospital, but the patients are treated according to their social security number, and only patients that pay their taxes regularly could afford more than the basic care, Regina was surely not on this list.
“We still could try…” Brian responded with a deep, fearful sigh, unsure of his persuasion skills, but sure of his right to at least try.
“Of course we will, I’m with you on this no matter what, I just don’t want you to get your hopes too high, I can’t bear to see you down…” John sighed at these last words. One of the most painful things for him was to see his adorable friends having their hearts broken, he’d go through hell and back to see them happy, and if that meant risking their careers to save one life, let that be it.
Regina slept for over six hours, waking only when her belly growled loudly. She tried to sit up but felt dizzy almost instantly. Shit, not that again... Her stomach growled again, she put her hands on her stomach and sighed deeply to ward off the stomach ache that was starting to bother her.
She looked at the clock on the wall and saw it was close to 8am, she's slept for 10 long well deserved hours.
The memory of what happened the night before came to mind like a punch, flashes of a young nurse cleaning her up after she had one more seizure, the worried look on Brian’s face when she was still trying to go back to full consciousness, the warm feeling of his hand on her forehead while her mind gave in to the heavy meds and she fell asleep. Now he knows I’m a freak… That odd feeling of shame invaded her chest and tears burned hot in her eyes, the memory of Brian's warm care and the idea of never feeling something like that again crushed her, it was obvious that from now on Brian would treat her differently, she was a freak, a monster, and she'd never have a chance with a guy like him, especially when she knew she was dying.
Brian knocked at the door and asked her if he could come in, to which Regina responded drying her tears before she could see him.
“Hi, Regina, how are you feeling today?” He asked, trying to ignore her tear stained face.
“Better, I guess…” Regina said, her voice sounding raspier than she expected it to be.
“You gave us a hell of a scare last night…” He responded, not really controlling how worried he sounded, and Regina received his words of worry as a punishment for not controlling her damn seizures.
“I’m really sorry, Doctor Brian, I really am…” Regina hid her face in both hands. “It’s just my stupid body, I’m so weak… I hope I didn’t cause you any trouble, I’m…” Brian interrupted her, realizing his tone was a little too severe, he needed to be absurdly more careful with his tone if he wanted to keep her safe for the longest time possible.
“No, no, it was not a problem, Regina… It was just alarming, but you know, that’s what I’m here for, to take care of you whenever that kind of thing happens, okay?” Brian assured her that that was nothing wrong, and somehow, she truly believed him... His low caring tone, the gentle hand on her left ankle, those lovely hazel eyes, Regina tried to ignore those damn butterflies in her stomach with his warm presence there, it couldn’t be happening, she couldn’t be so needy to the point of nurturing feelings for someone she knew for a little bit less than 24 hours.
"I just don't want to bother you…" she replied, face hidden in her blonde locks, avoiding his eyes. Eyes that could read her very well…
"Once and for all, you're not a burden, Regina. I'm your doctor, I'm here to take care of you. And if one day you need me as a friend, I'll be here as well…" He got close to her patiently, leaning over her just enough, gently pushing her to his side so he could fix her pillow and give her more comfort, their eyes met for a few seconds, their faces were close enough for their noses to touch while she straightened herself up. Brian lost the battle with his mind for half a second, making a tiny move towards those natural pink lips of hers, but moved away right on time to avoid crossing the border, Regina felt her face blushing heavily and turned her face down again.
“I’m sorry…” she whispered again. Sorry for blocking your sweet attempt to make me feel human, sorry for not being more of what you deserve… I wish I could be yours, and it hurts so bad…
“I will get your breakfast, and then we can talk about your health, alright?” his face was bright red of embarrassment, he left her there with a confused face and a million thoughts on her mind.
Brian was different from all the other guys she knew, he was sweet, with only one look he’d make her feel safe, something that she's never felt before. It was a beautiful feeling, but it was also so wrong…
Brian came back a feel minutes later with a bright smile on his face and a tray with a full english breakfast on top of it.
“Here it is… John is busy with an emergency at the maternity, but your food is ready, I just had to pick it up…”
“Who is John?” She asked with a puzzled face.
“Oh, I forgot you were already sleeping when he started his shift… Deacy is mine and Freddie’s roommate, he’s like our baby brother” he explained. “We made our internship at the same hospital, when me and Freddie were on our last year we met him and we’ve been living together ever since…”
“Like brothers, right?”
“Better, I believe… I’ve seen Freddie having fights with his sister that he’d never have with none of us… We love each other… Deacy will be here soon.”
“Oh, Good…” she said, disguising how jealous she was, they are a beautiful caring family, he sounded so proud of his friend. “You can serve yourself some of the tea…” she tried to wave the jealousy away and create a reason for him to stay a little bit more.
“I’ll accept the tea, only because I had no time for breakfast today…" he got one of the plastic cups and served himself a small cup of tea from the tray he left in front of her, sitting in silence on the chair on her right side.
Brian was confident that he was gaining her trust in small bits. The sight of the young lady in front of him taking bites of toast was adorable, he felt a warm feeling on his heart, something he hadn't felt in ages of being single and dedicating himself entirely for his work. The silence between them had a lot to say, it was like Brian knew her for a long time, like he didn’t need to make any questions about her past. Her present was telling him enough, and he’d make sure her future would be as good as it could be. Why does she need to be this gorgeous? He thought, finishing his tea and getting up to leave the room.
“I’m gonna get Deacy!” Brian left the room feeling his cheeks burn in embarrassment from his silly feelings.
Back to the infirmary reception, Deacon was updating medical records from the other patients when Brian arrived.
“Triplets were born last night at the maternity, they are freaking adorable, go see them when you have time!” John said, not looking up to the doctor.
“I’ll definitely go there later today, thank you! I need you to go see Regina now, she’s finishing her breakfast, might need a bath soon, and the meds I prescribed yesterday. I adjusted the dosages after she had the seizure and added the anticonvulsant she needs to take, we’re gonna start with twice a day.” Brian handed Regina’s medical record it to John.
“I’ll be right there! Wanna come with me?” the nurse offered.
“N-no… I need some time…”
“Are you okay, Bri?” John noticed his friend’s nervousness.
“Yeah, I’m just tired… 4 more hours to go.” Brian replied, faking a yawn.
“Go home earlier. You’re here since Friday night, it’s Monday. Get the hell outta here! I’ll cover up for you if anyone asks...” John demanded.
“I will, in 4 hours, not less…” The doctor
“Stubborn bastard…” John mumbled. “If I ever get gray hair before my thirties, I’m blaming you and Freddie!” The young man replied, heading towards Regina’s room.
“Hi, you must be Regina…” the young man with the beautiful mushroom styled hair complimented her.
“And you must be John…”
“Call me Deacy! I’m gonna be your nurse today.” John placed the medicine cart alongside her bed and started. “Bri told me to give you your medicines, and then I can help you with a proper shower, what do you think?”
“Will it be a problem? I don’t wanna take much of your time…” She replied shyly.
“A shower? It’s basic care, a right, never a problem… You’ll feel brand new… Give me your hand.” He said, finishing to fill the syringe with the medicine and plucking it on the IV entry for medicines and unplugging the IV bag to save it for later.
“You sound like Freddie… I miss him…” She murmured, observing how fast he was with the procedure of freeing her from the IV bag.
“I know I can’t top Freddie with his velvet voice and charming looks, but I learned a lot from him, I’m not that bad.” He said, looking Regina in the eyes, making a little bit of space for her to move her body and sit at the side of the bed. “Now place your hand on my shoulder, I’ll help you to stand up.” He placed his hand on her back. “When you’re ready…”
“I am…” Regina said, wincing a little because of the pain in her belly and back. “Aren’t we moving to the bathroom?” She asked, finding strange when he directed her to the left, out of the room, instead of the right.
“Another bathroom, Freddie told me to give you the VIP treatment, so we’re going downstairs for a moment.” John replied, walking slowly, side by side with the patient through a shortcut that leads to the lift. Downstair, John unlocked a blue door that opened to a private bathroom bigger than her bedroom at that same hospital, much bigger than the stall she lived and worked in.
“Sit down here…” He said, pointing to a chair beside the wall of lockers, each one containing the usual hospital clothes and some warm flannel pajamas. John caught her staring at them “I’m gonna get you one of these before we leave, don’t worry…” he said. “Now I’m gonna fill up the bathtub with all the bubbles you deserve, turn away while you undress and and after you’re covered in bubbles and cleaned up I’m gonna wash your hair, just like Freddie instructed me to… Do you agree?” He just smiled when she nodded in response, turning around to face the big white wall. “Tell me if you need my help.”
Regina undressed her thin body carefully, trying not to undo the needle in her arm, wincing every once in a while with every hard move. Slowly she got in the bathtub, sitting down and letting her body get used to the warmth of the water. There was a pink sponge on the side of the bathtub and a bottle of liquid soap. She spread a little of the soap on the sponge and touched her skin with sponge softly, the feeling on her skin and the water flowing through her body made her eyes watery. She felt her muscles relaxing, each by each, leaving her with a sensation of humanity she’s never felt before. She was alive, her body letting go of the pain for the first time in ages, no one to beat her down, only a lovely nurse to care for her and respect her like she was a normal woman… a normal woman. Maybe there was still a bit of the woman she always wanted to be that survived the struggles Regina faced till that moment. The dream of normality was not so far away…
“Deacy, thank you so very much…” She murmured in a low, tearful voice.
“Thank Freddie, it was his idea after all.” The young man, who was still obediently facing the wall, replied in a proud tone. “Can I turn around now? To wash your hair?” He asked gently.
“Y-yes… If you want to…” She was not ready to be touched, her gnarly hair was too dirty.
“Here I go then…” he said, turning around fast. He looked at her pretty face carefully, her thin body covered by bubbles, showing only her naked shoulders and a beautiful nuance of her breasts, just enough to feed his imagination. He placed himself on his knees, sitting behind her with the bottle of shampoo in hands, spreading a fair amount carefully on his own hand.
“Ready?” He asked.
She nodded firmly.
He placed his fingers carefully on her head, spreading the shampoo on her blonde locks, making a soft massage, lingering his moves till he could feel her body relaxing completely.
Regina moaned instinctively, softly, shortly, laying her head at the edge of the bathtub.
Deacy could see her eyes closed, a big smile on her face, he felt a deep feeling of gratitude for moments like this. It was amazing to provide her this sweet moment, she deserved to have her dignity, she was an incredibly gorgeous strong woman. He took his time cleaning her head carefully, not wanting to hurt her head, feeling the bumps raised on her last fall and some apparently old stitches. He finished his job and asked her to sit still so he could rinse her head.
“Close your eyes, Regina, keep your chin high up for me, please?” She did what he said right away and he could give her a last massage, cleaning and rinsing her skull deeply but slowly. When his work is done and Regina had started to yawn, he got up on his feet again and went to the lockers, where he got a big fluffy white towel, and a pair of pink flannel pajamas, a match of female underwear that he thought would fit and soft pink slippers. He placed the towel and the clothes on the chairs beside the bathtub and went back to his place facing the wall.
“There’s a big fluffy towel and clean warm clothes on the chair beside you, you can get up now and get yourself dried up. Take your time, Trevor is covering up for me upstairs and I have no better place to go in the next 8 hours.” he patiently explained.
Regina got up, slowly, turning on the shower to get rid of the extra bubbles then quickly turning it off and leaving the bathtub. She grabbed the towel and took her time drying her arms and legs and every part of her body, then she got the underwear and described that they fit perfectly, and so did the pajamas, the top had a zipper up through the arms for the IV access, they were so warm and comfortable it made her want to cry. It was definitely the best care anyone had ever given her, it almost felt like being loved.
“I’m ready.” She said, making him turn to her.
“You look great!” He said. The combination of the sleepy relaxed face, the big pajamas and the messy hair was a total eye-candy.
“I feel great… You have no idea of how much I needed that…” She sighed in relief, making a turban with the towel to dry her hair faster and wearing the slippers. “Oh, these are like clouds for the feet!” She whispered to herself.
“I’ll get you back to your room…” he told her, placing his hand again in her back and encouraging her to walk outside the room slowly.
The Regina that got out of that shower was different, she was relieved, confident, feeling less like a frightened deer and more human. The small things… They still could change someone’s world… the young nurse thought, decided that from that moment on he’d do all her small dreams possible until the end.
Back to her room, he attached the IV bag on her arm again, and helped her get back to bed.
“Brian said I scared you all yesterday… I don’t remember much…” she said, trying to apologize.
“Don’t think about it, Regina, you need to rest… We were trained to be here for you no matter what. And that’s what we’re gonna do…”
“I think I’m gonna take a nap…” she murmured.
“It’s alright, I’ll make my rounds and come back later.” he announced.
“Thank you again, Deacy, for every single thing…” she said in a louder tone, pressing the sheets tightly over her body.
He only nodded and left the room.
The infirmary was a mess, all medical records were spread on the counter table. There was a note from Trevor. “ICU needed me, you’re on your own… Sorry, man.”
Oh, I miss the girls. This place is going bonkers without them… At least Bri went home and is free from this chaos... He thought, not observing that at that same moment Brian was leaving his room and going on his direction.
“Hey Deacy!” Brian shouted from the hall, scaring the younger man.
“Fuck Bri!! Do you wanna kill me, you fucker!” He shouted back.
“Sorry… I just wanted to tell you I got in touch with an oncologist that agreed to see Regina on Wednesday.” He spent a few hours making phone calls. “If we’re lucky, Reid is gonna hire him to work here…”
“And who is he?”
“Jim Beach, he had a fantastic work with Brain tumors last year, his research on temporal lobe cancer is so intriguing!” Brian sounded hyped, electric, hopeful, for John it sounded both amazing and terrifying.
“Good, now explain to me why the heck you haven’t made this phone calls from our flat?”
“We can’t increase the phone bill, here I have unlimited phone hours…”
“Good point, I’m gonna give you that… Now you have 1 hour to leave before I donate your acoustic guitars to the pediatric area… GO!” John was visibly annoyed. Brian looked like a zombie, he had dark circles around his eyes, his lips were dry from dehydration and his curly hair looked messier than usual.
"You wouldn't dare!"
"Don't tease me!" John had an evil smirk on his face.
Brian obeyed, going back to his office, getting together all the stuff he had brought to the hospital for his super long shift and leaving work two hours earlier than expected, facing the sunlight for the first time in 03 days.
At their flat, Freddie didn't have to be at the hospital for another 08 hours, and it was driving him insane, when he heard the front door being unlocked it almost made him jump on the couch from excitement.
"Bri, sweetheart, please join me for a cup of juice, for the love of God! Boredom is destroying me…" he pleaded. "You look so tired, my dear. Is there anything I can do for you?
"I'm exhausted, I was covering up for geriatric to get some extra hours, the emergency is doing good so far so I'm expanding… nothing happens there, Freddie. Nothing! I don't even know why we have a geriatric alley that has no patients. They should transform that into an oncology alley because it seems to be all we have." Brian was still agitated from all the work, it was always a struggle for him to calm down. "Mr Watson, the one from the post op of ulcers?? Almost passed out after dinner last night. Apparently he was hiding a diagnosis of cancer from us and his wife. She found out and asked if he could be transferred to another hospital, and I had to agree because we don't have a proper oncologist since Stew was cut…" Brian stopped to breath, sighing tiredly before taking a small sip of the juice, that was a little too bitter for his taste.
"And how are we going to do with Regina? She can't be transferred, everything has to be done there, slowly as a turtle's race." Freddie wondered.
"I did one silly thing…" Brian’s eyes went a little wilder, a mix of excitement and fear.
"Brian Harold May, what did you do?" Freddie straightened his body on the kitchen's chair and frowned. Intrigued by his best friend's mysterious actions.
"I begged Jim Beach to take a look at her case…" Brian covered his eyes with a good chunk of his black curly hair, still exposing a big cheeky grin.
"Jim Beach, the onco God?? The man who waved the Queen's last cancer rumors away?? That Jim Beach??"
"This one. And if we're lucky enough, he's gonna be our co-worker very soon." Brian pointed his fingers to the sky like he was sending a wish to the heavens.
"And how you're gonna make this miracle, Saint Bri?" Freddie responded ironically.
"The guy has low self-esteem, he's working at an interior hospital for a ridiculous price!! He's gonna love us!! But I'm gonna need your help..." the doctor asked, shamefully
Freddie rolled his eyes, knowing the kind of impossible missions Brian could throw at his lap like surprise bombs that required a lot of courage. "I'd kill and die for you, just ask…"
"Reid needs to hire him, and since he has a major crush on you…" the younger man insinuates something, not putting into words Freddie’s real mission.
"Consider it done, Bri! Now finish your juice and let's go to bed… all this talking was exhaustive." He exclaimed, grabbing Brian's hand, waiting for him to finish his juice in one gulp and directing him to his bedroom.
"You can sleep here for now, if you want to…” Freddie points to his bedroom. “you know, my room is darker."
"It'd be lovely, Freddie, thank you…" he nodded, grateful for his friend’s caring attitude.
Both men get undressed with no ceremonies, Brian staying on his underwear and white t-shirt while Freddie takes off his pajamas, exposing a strong chest. Then they laid on the dark mattress and covered themselves with the same bedsheets and one and a half pillows, falling sleep rather close to each other like it was usual, face to face, one letting the other man’s soft snores be the lullaby that would wave their worries away. There was still time to take action, hopefully.
I need tons of feedback on this one, I read it a lot before uploading it and now I don't know what to think. I know what happens next tho, so don't worry about the future, I'll keep it going until it's all beautifully done...
I'm still working the next chapter, it's stuck in my head and only shows up in tiny pieces, it might take a while to come out the way want it to, and I could use a few days off to deal with real life, so probably next chapter will be uploaded in 10 to 15 days, but yeah... I hope you understand.
I know I'm late... Like real late. This chapter was supposed to come out about 10 days ago, but real life got me, and then this kept growing and growing, the ideas kept on coming, and suddenly I ended up with a 5490 words chapter in front of me. This, considering my lack of time to write and all the things that happened, it's a miracle.
I wish I was a better writer, with a writing schedule and everthing, but my brain doesn't allow me to be better than this, so yeah... Here I am anyways.
I also thought on splitting this in two chapters, but I couldn't decide how to do that, so HAVE IT ALL. hahahahaha
As always, give ,me your opinions, ideas and suggestions, I'd love to know all your thoughts on this.
Get up, you useless piece of shit!! - the voice groaned with her, filled with some sort of fury that she didn’t understood at age 6. - you were a mistake, you know? I should have listened to my mom and left you there, you’re too much trouble. - the woman sighed, seriously disappointed with the little girl - Come here, Regina. Look at you. Have you peed yourself again?? Oh fuck it… we’re late, I will not clean you up again. - there was a hand squeezing hard her thin arm, it hurt. She wanted it to let her go, but she didn’t know how. The hand rushed her through the door and they walked to the streets, leaving their tiny dirty flat behind. At least she knew that she wasn’t going to be beaten up again because all the people around them, her mom only got angry when they were alone. They sat on the corner of the street, Regina keeping her focus on the doll she managed to bring on her school bag. School, she liked it there, it was a shame she couldn’t go to school this year. She kept a close eye on her mother, a beautiful young woman with dark blond hair and the body of a barbie doll. Regina could see when a man approached her mom with a dirty smile on his face, grabbed the woman by the waist and forced her into a kiss.
Who was he? Regina cried a little but hid her face on the doll so she couldn’t see any more of what was happening to her mom.
She’s working. - the poor girl thought. - It’ll be over soon. - she hugged the doll and sat on the floor, a little far behind her mother, waiting for her to be over with work so they could go home again.
Regina woke up crying, those flashes didn’t seem to be fading like the rest of her memories. As soon as she opened her eyes a pounding headache reached her with a punch, she shut her eyes again, pressing them closed as hard as she could.
John was by the door, giving instructions to another young nurse about the patients that came during the night while pushing forward the medicine cart, he then turned to her and realized she was in deep pain, crying and visibly dsturbed.
“Oh Regina. What’s going on? Talk to me, please…” he asked, pushing away the blond strands of hair of the blonde woman face so he could take a look at her more carefully.
“Headache.” she whispered, still not opening her eyes. “The light”
John got the hint and turned off the lights in the room, working well enough with the light that came from the corridor and the half opened blinds, asking Regina if she felt better.
“No, it hurts, Deacy, make it stop.” she begged, crying from the pain in her head, terrified that that could be the end of everything. “Help me, Deacy, please?!” she was feeling so sick, nauseous, the pain grew wilder and wilder with every second.
John quickly grabbed a syringe with a strong painkiller he had previously prepared on the medicine cart, somehow he felt this coming and was prepared. “You’re going to be fine, take a deep breath for me, Regina, stay with me.” he exclaimed while inserting the content of the syringe on her veins. She cried like her head was burning, eyes fully shut, contorting and arching her back with the radiating wave of pain through her spine. He watched her body distending in heavy sobs while the pain left her head. “From 0 to 10, how’s the level of the pain now, Regina?” he asked.
“It’s lowering… 7, I guess.” she still sobbed, resting her head more comfortably on the pillow John had adjusted for her.
“7, and how that felt before, can you measure that for me?” he asked, taking mental notes to include a pain-level sheet on her medical report.
“It was a strong 10, I thought I was dying…” she said, voicing the last part on the lowest tone she could find.
"Well, it can only get better then…" he sighed, relieved that the meds were working. “I'll give you another dose in two hours if the pain persists… You’re gonna be just fine…”
Regina was still nervous; she wanted to talk, to tell him about the memory that overcame through her before the pain stroke in one shot, but Deacy had other patients to care about and her childish fears are not important to anyone but her. But still, she felt as lonely as that 6 years old girl, afraid to be, to exist, and to feel any sort of self-pity, even though it was all she had left in her mind. She couldn’t stop the silent tears from flooding, her face tried to lie, but John wasn’t naïve, after getting her properly medicated and well prepared, he knew her problem wasn’t physical anymore.
“Is the pain still bothering you, Regina?” he asked, more out of protocol, a discreet way of not hitting straight to the point.
“No, Deacy, I’m fine.” she lied, a single tear still flowing down her pale face, timidly leaving a bright mark like the course of a drying river.
“Are you sure?” he wanted to give her a chance to speak, but he surely wouldn’t force her to do anything she didn’t feel comfortable with, so he just sat there by her bedside. She just blushed in response to his act, scrubbing one hand on the other, cracking each one of her fingers on a clear sign of anxiety. If her mom was there she’d be so embarrassed of her “You know we are friends, right? Friends don’t let friends cry if they can help, so if I can help you with anything, please, tell me…” he said, making a new mental note to ask the hospital’s psychologist to come see Regina, just in case.
“Yes, Deacy, I know…” she said, between sniffles and soundless sobs. But of course I won’t annoy you with such rubbish… “And you’re a good friend, thank you, really.” I just don’t like to be alone when I feel sick, but you have your other patients, it’s alright… she confessed her neediness to the universe, hoping John didn’t pay attention on the sad expression on those big blue eyes.
“In fact, two of the male nurses that stopped on the strike came back to work today, so I have a few extra time for us to talk, if you want to…” he smiled at her, reassuring her that he’d be around, protectively, just like Freddie taught him to be. “I’ll grab you some snacks and I’ll be back with some tea and biscuits as well, what do you think?”
“You don’t have to… It’s alright.”
“I’ll be back in a minute…” he affirmed.
Minutes later, the brown haired nurse was at the hospital’s kitchen, placing the boiling tea carefully on a plastic mug, a big bowl full of biscuits and some chocolate cream on a tray and leaving the kitchen fast, trying the hardest to go back to Regina before she’d start worrying.
But when Deacon was going back to Regina’s room, pulling the tray of food on a medium cart, together with the patient’s medical report, the insistent noise of an unattended phone at the reception called his attention. He pulled the cart on the reception direction and picked up the phone.
“Saint Mary Hospital, Nurse John Richard Deacon, how can I help you?”
“Hello John, I’m Jim Beach, oncologist on Saint Thomas. May I speak with doctor Brian May?” a strange raspy voice spoke to him.
“Doctor May is not here at the moment, but I can make a note for him if you’d like, he’ll be here in about 12 hours.” John replied enthusiastically, looking forward to the appointment and the beginning of the blonde girl’s treatment.
“12 hours is perfect, just tell him I’ll need to reschedule the appointment I have with his patient, Regina Meddows Taylor, I’m going to be at Saint Mary earlier, at 08am, if he doesn’t mind”
“I’m sure he will be waiting for you, sir. Regina’s case is very important to all of us here…”
“Don’t worry, young man… See you tomorrow.” the doctor assured him.
“See you tomorrow, sir…” John responded, turning off the phone, and going back to Regina’s room with a grin on his face.
When he opened the door, he couldn’t find the patient. Panic instantly washed over him as he got into the room. “Regina?! You okay?”
John couldn’t hear anything, so he went to check the bathroom and found out it’s door was locked. He pushed again and again, but the door didn’t move, so he did the next best thing to do, he kicked the door strongly, with a single impulse, and it broke, revealing the young blonde woman fainted on the floor.
Gently he placed one arm around her neck and talked softly with her until she came back to consciousness.
“You’re fine now, I’m here and everything is right, Wake up, please…” he whispered, sitting on the bathroom floor, he leaned close to Regina, making of his body a cozy support, firmly holding her neck and back so she could return to consciousness as smoothly as possible.
His calm, sweet whispers brought her back, she looked at him with numb eyes, but still she tried to thank him, although her voice failed. He understood her, more than he could explain, for a second, both of them had tears in their eyes, but the always so rational young nurse disguised his teary eyes quickly, drying his eyes and face with the sleeve.
“Don’t try to speak, not yet, Regina. It’s all alright, rest your body on me and relax a little before I pull you up, okay?” He placed and straightened his body behind her head, making her head rest on his right shoulder and her torso on his, for support.
More minutes had passed and he felt her body relaxed against his, she was drowsy and weak, carrying her would require strength and coordination. He gently left his place behind her and talked "Regina, I will get you on my arms now, it will be fast, but I'll try to be careful, right?" He looked deep inside her eyes, observing every kind of reaction she could have, and only proceeded to move her when she nodded.
On his arms Regina felt safe, it was a good feeling, and while he managed to get up with her on his arms she buried her face on his neck, a big wave of blonde hair covering her face almost completely while she absorbed the dry fresh scent of his body.
The way she breathed deeply into his neck sent shivers down the young man's spine, but he kept himself professionally aware that she was almost asleep and waved away that warm feeling.
He placed her back on the bed and examined her for probable wounds.
"Does anything hurt?" He whispered.
"My head." She responded, unable to open her eyes due to the change of lights.
"I'm gonna take care of this." He said, looking at the medicine cart he left at the right corner of the room earlier that day. "Now, can you explain to me what happened in the bathroom, Regina?" Right after saying these words, John realized how inquisitive he sounded, and he cursed himself for that mistake. "Please… you know? So I can help you, I need to understand what happened." He said, blushing both from embarrassment and the heat of having carried her so fast.
"After you left I went to the loo to wash my face a little, I swear I was careful with the IV, I was just feeling tired. I used the loo slowly like I always do and was cleaning my hands when I…" she paused, not knowing how to continue with the explanation. "I looked at the mirror and I couldn't recognize my face… it was strange, that wasn't me, but I remember now she looked just like me… the girl in the mirror…" she paused again, sighing. "And then I just fell…"
Memory loss, damn it. He thought.
Regina changed, from tired to sad. She laid properly on the mattress, covering her torso with the green blanket carefully placed by her left side, she turned to John's side exposing her hand on which he'd put a new IV on.
"Thank you, sweetheart, it won't hurt, but we need to be careful because it's the third time we change the location of the IV, right?" His voice was gentle and amicable, almost like he was talking to a child, and maybe he was, judging by the nightmare she had earlier.
"I'm gonna behave, promise!" She answered.
John finished her IV replacement and applied her medicine on the IV bag, always checking if she was okay with his moves, then he adjusted her bed to a sitting position and considered his job done at that moment.
"Now the tea must be cold…" he smiled, pointing to the other cart with tea, biscuits and chocolate and bringing it to her bedside.
"We'll drink iced tea then… people said it's very popular in America…" she shared the mug of ice cold tea with him, putting his part on a plastic cup and offering it to him.
Timidly, he accepted the cup, and watched while she sweetness her tea.
"Very meticulous, you…"
"It must have 1 and 3/7s of sugar. One of these small packs and 3 pinches of the size of the top of my nails. My mom used to do this when we had tea..." She answered and then got silent, reflecting on the information she just left out, one more piece of her history that no one else knew.
"Must be good…" he said, taking a small sip of his cold tea. He observed her, the beautiful young lady with a thin figure, natural pink lips, slightly dried by the lack of care, but still beautiful. Body delicately toned under her pajamas, almost like her thin body was dancing inside the cozy fabric. He saw on her face she enjoyed the biscuits. Dipping them on the chocolate cream, she closed her eyes after taking every bite, deliciously savoring the sweet taste.
After a while the silence between them started to feel uncomfortable and John made an attempt to break the ice.
"Tomorrow morning you'll have a visit from an important oncologist."
"Is this really necessary? I told you I can't afford it…"
"Yes, and I told you many times that you shouldn't worry, sweetheart…"
"You know I trust you, Deacy, but I really don't want to cause any more trouble…" she said. "And to be very honest, I've been here for way too long…" she sighed, bringing back to memory the last time she escaped a hospital, it was effortless, no one there cared about her like they did, no one made her want to get better…
"Not long enough, unfortunately, I wish you'd have come to us earlier. We're not the best team, this is not by far the best hospital, but we surely care…" his voice was so calm, so perfectly smooth, it made her want to cry.
They really are the best, I don't need nor deserve anything better than this…
"You all are more than just good enough, Deacy…" she responded, grabbing the last biscuit from the bowl, dipping it into the chocolate and offering it to him. "Here, you earned it… these were the best biscuits and chocolate I had in a very long time."
John took the biscuit from her hands and ate it in one bite, nodding thankfully with a silly grin on his face.
After he had swallowed the biscuit and washed it off with the remaining tea, he got up off the chair on her bedside.
She started to yawn, languidly lounging her body like a lazy kitty.
"I think it's my time to go… the meds are starting to work, and you need to sleep…"
"You can stay a little longer, if you'd like…" she said, not really admitting she wanted him to stay.
"Duty calls, it'll take a while for things to go back to normal, and I need work if I want to keep my job…" he sighed.
"Can I call you when I wake up?"
"You must… in fact, I'll be here for your appointment early in the morning, do you think I can help you take a shower before the doctor arrives?"
"Sure… will Brian be here?" She asked hopefully, missing the curly haired doctor with the beautiful brown eyes.
"He will arrive as soon as you wake up, he's very interested on your case…" he said, hiding the small feeling of jealousy that came to him.
In response, a quiet smile came out of the blonde girl. That was all John wanted to see.
"Now I'll leave the light of the bathroom on, if you need me, press that red button beside your bed and I'll be right back." He said, fixing her bed back to a horizontal position, turning the lights off and gently leaving the room
Regina felt sleep taking over her, felt her body relaxing under the warm green blanket, tucked herself in the bed like she was her own child, which was not at all a lie…
The next morning she was waken up with another memory loss. She looked around and couldn't recognize where she was.
When she was on the verge of tears, John arrived at her room.
"Who are you?" She asked, confused. Immediately John recognized what was happening with the girl.
"Regina, it's me, John Deacon, I'm your nurse. You are at Saint Mary's Hospital." He spoke in a firm tone, between pauses, tense and worried about her situation and the imminent arrival of doctor Jim Beach. Awful timing or perfect one, God knows.
She was shivering more and more every second, part of her mind knew she could trust that young man who was talking to her with so much care on his voice, but she couldn't escape from flinching every time he gave a step at her direction. The man was not giving up, he kept repeating the same information over and over until her mind gave in and she started to repeat the sentences for herself.
"My name is Regina Meddows Taylor, I'm 26 years old, I'm at the Saint Mary's Hospital and this is my nurse John Richard Deacon. My name is Regina Meddows Taylor, I'm 26 years old, I'm at the Saint Mary's Hospital and this is my nurse John Richard Deacon…" she repeated the informations and tried to absorb the most of them every time, her face had no expressions, it was a blank space, and she kept this procedure until those words started making sense again, and when it did, Regina smiled shyly to the nurse.
"Deacy..." She whispered loud enough to make him smile.
When the memories of who he was were slowly coming back to her together came a flood of tears, and only at this moment John could get close to her, he allowed himself to skip the protocol and hug the young woman, she needed some human contact, and he needed to feel her there, in the moment.
When both nurse and patient let go of each other there was still a lot of confusion on her face, John figured out that memory loss episode would take a little longer to go away. Fortunately for both of them Brian arrived at the hospital room and John could update the doctor on what had just happened.
"Deacy, Regina, is everything alright?" Brian asked, tensing up on the vision of the two worried faces in front of him.
"Regina had a memory loss episode just now, it's the second one in 12 hours, I don't know what we could do." John explained.
Brian rushed to her bedside, forcing John to leave that spot and go to the other side of the bed. John was confident that he had all the information and that he had made all the observations that would help the doctors figure out how to help Regina, he had rescheduled his whole day so he could be available all morning.
Regina looked at Brian still a little confused if she had met him before, and then she looked at Deacon, hoping to find some answers.
"This is Brian, he's your doctor and our friend, we trust him." John affirmed, making the girl smile at the sound of the doctor's name.
"Brian" she whispered more to herself than for their amusement.
"Yes, Regina, it's me, Brian. You're doing great." He got closer to her, sitting by the very edge of her bed side, and touched her hand with his, silently asking for permission to hold it, to which she responded holding his hand timidly but firmly, blushing with the sudden courage to make that move.
They held each other's hand for a few seconds, not really sure what was right or wrong at the moment, when reality brought them back.
"She needs to get cleaned up before Jim Beach arrives…" John said, looking at his watch.
Brian nodded in agreement stepping aside from the girl.
"I'm afraid we don't have enough time for a shower upstairs like the last one, and you are too weak to walk that long, but I can get you a very special bath right here, a very efficient one, and as soon as possible I promise to get you upstairs again for the bath you deserve" John
"Brian, will I see you again soon?" She asked.
"I'm gonna be waiting outside, Regina. You're going to need a breakfast…"
"I'm not hungry, don't bother bringing me anything, I really don't feel like eating, not even grapes…" she interrupted him, placing one hand on her sore belly.
"We'll think about it later, ok? Deacy will take care of you…" Brian responded. "I'll get the new sheets and hospital gown for her, Deacy. They'll be outside on a cart."
"Bring her one of the jammies, one of the big ones from the maternity, medium, pink. Regina likes the pink one." John said to the doctor, looking at the young girl who had a smile on her face. He's spoiling me, that's for sure…"
And then Brian left them behind and John started working on moving the patient to the shower.
"I'm your support, put the weight on me and I'll do the rest, ok?"
She just nodded in agreement, wincing at the pain in her head and the remaining damage on her belly from the disastrous falls.
"Now hold the bar and don't let go, I'm gonna wash your hair first and give you privacy to do the rest on your own." He applied a little amount of the shampoo on his own hands when the patient was already undressed, enjoying the first contact with the warm water. Regina still looked tense without the bubbles that covered her body on the previous experience. "Don't worry, I'm not looking at anything I shouldn't see! In fact, I'm gay, if it makes you feel more comfortable…" immediately his brain reminded him that it wasn't completely true. In fact, you're bissexual, but no one is really paying attention, right?!
He washed and rinsed off her hair just like he did before, trying to not look at her private parts, focusing his attention on her head. He examined every piece of her scalp with his fingers, looking for injuries from the incident she had the previous night, and took a deep breath when he realized it was just the same as yesterday.
All the time Regina kept herself steady, holding firmly to the safety bar at the wall, but when she felt John's powerful fingers crossing through her head, cleaning her hair from the roots to its full length, that weakened her just like the first time. She left out soft moans, not fully conscious of how sexy that was for the young man standing behind her.
At the first lovely moan, almost like a thought that escaped her mind and came to life, John had to keep all his concentration on what he was doing, keeping his moves and his thoughts as professional as they could be with such a wonderful female body exposed in front of him.
Fearing not keeping his control anymore, John finished his part of the deal, discharged the empty bottle of shampoo, handled her a bar of soap and turned away so she could finish her shower..
Regina was fast on finishing up the shower, even using only one hand, the warm water was starting to get unstable and she figured out it had taken too long.
John went to the door and grabbed the things Brian had left there for them, a pair of pink pajamas, one extra for later that day, panties, socks, towels and a hairbrush. Seconds later he was back to the bathroom and not long after that Regina was fully clothed, warm and back to her clean bed that Brian changed himself while she and the nurse were busy.
"Brian did a very good job here, he even got you an extra blanket…" John pointed out to the fluffy folded blanket on the top of the small cabinet.
At that same moment Brian gets in accompanied by a tall middle aged man.
"Hi, I am Jim Beach. And you must be Regina." The older doctor gestures for a handshake with the girl and she responded holding his hand delicately. He was strong, had a voice that was too strong for the young lady's taste, something about him wasn't trustworthy. Regina's gut feeling was sending an alarming feeling to her anxious brain, but she stood quiet, ‘cause she understood how this consult was important to her caregivers.
“Regina, doctor Jim is a famous oncologist, he’s a specialist on cases like yours, and he’s here to help you.” Brian said, with a soothing voice, more like an audible whisper, trying not to scare the young woman.
Regina looked at them like a scared wounded animal, her body tensed up instinctively, and she felt fragile and frightened with all that attention.
“I’ll leave now, and I’ll come back later... Regina, you’re in good hands.” John said, saying goodbye to the girl laying a sweet kiss on her forehead. “Don’t go.” she whispered to him on a weak tearful tone. “Please”. Regina squeezed his hand that was placed gently on her shoulder, and suddenly all the other things the nurse had to do were meaningless. Fuck it, Noah is here and Trevor can take care of the emergency for a while. She needs me here, I’m gonna stay… the young man changed his mind, confusing Brian, that couldn’t see how nervous Regina was, because of his own intimidated mind.
That was the first time Brian had help from another doctor from a different hospital, he feared the doctor would question his abilities, even though he knew he did all the things right, asked for the right exams, and gave the patient the healing time until the right time to start the real treatment.
“Brian was right to call me, young lady. You have a great doctor there, you know?” Jim said, waiting for some response from the young lady so he could start working. When Regina smiled timidly at him and nodded he proceeded.
“Regina, according to the exams you have a temporal lobe tumor. This kind of tumor usually is very aggressive, and the symptoms are quite random, it can affect your vision, speech, memory and mobility. Right now, as it’s reported on your files you’ve been presenting weakness, brief memory loss and seizures. From all these symptoms, the seizure is the one I worry about the most. How many of them, approximately, have you had?” He asked, making a pause to pour himself a glass of water from the bedside table.
“Since the very beginning?” She asked, rhetorically. “I don’t know, actually, it started when my mom was still alive, 5 years ago, I believe… I don’t remember much, to be honest…” She was ashamed to say, but the fact is that she kept track of all the seizures, the ones she had while she was sober, and they were exactly 25 with the one she had at this hospital. Twenty-five is a big number, it would make them worry.
“5 years, I’d say around 20 then, they are less common at the beginning, and only get real dangerous when the tumor is physically growing and taking more space…” He guessed almost right, what impressed Regina, and also scared the hell out of her. “There’s were lays the damage, when it takes more space it forces the brain to rearrange itself, because it starts to get real tight in there…” he said, pointing to the girl’s head. “Can I measure your head?” he said, already taking a measuring tape out of his back pocket.
Regina looks at Brian for guidance, once he nods, she allows the older doctor to come close to her and measure her head. Once he
“This is just a detail. From now on doctor Brian May will take care of these, measuring your head every fifteen days, to make sure there are no major changes. He’ll also have to repeat the exams, a head ct, an x-ray and a tomography, just to make things easier, but only in 15 days as well, since the last ones are so fresh.” he talked while making notes on her medical report. “I know this kind of treatment is expensive, so I’ll save doctor Brian here from another bill with me and I’ll decide which meds we're going to start with for the chemotherapy, and then I will keep track of your case from afar based on the information doctor Brian will send to me weekly , alright?” He threw out the words and her mind dissociated on the flood of thoughts, not processing the awful bunch of information he left out.
“What do you mean with another bill?” She asked, all tense and sad with the idea that came to mind, not wanting this to be right.
“Oh, young lady, didn’t you know? Your amazing doctor here is so deepened interested on your case he paid me himself and basically begged me to be here today. I was in Amsterdam with my daughter…” Jim Beach explained, smiling wildly to Brian like a proud professor.
“Brian, why? How many times I’m gonna have to tell you that you all are doing way more than you should already??” way more than what I deserve. Her mind completed. “You really shouldn’t have, I don’t like this…” She was definitely mad at him, not because he acted behind her back, which was an understandable reason to be mad about, but because of all the nice people she had met in her life, and she could count them on one hand, he was the one she was nurturing feelings for. She seriously thought that with time he'd get tired of helping her for nothing…
"I did it because I care about you, and I don't regret it, Regina. Because I fully believe this might help you, we have a chance here, please, don't throw it away…" he asked, cursing himself for the tears that fogged his vision.
"She needs some time to process everything, but I promise you, doctors, that she'll follow all the treatment you asked her to, or I'll give my nurse license away." Freddie said, from the doorway, getting into the room like a breeze after the summer rain. "Now go outside to talk about the chemotherapy, while I take care of this baby girl…” Freddie made space until he reached his patient, sitting on the edge of her bed, beside the girl, and holding her tightly until she buried her face on his neck and he could hear the girl’s heavy sobs. “It’s alright, my dear. All this talk is scary, but you will be alright…”
“I will die, Freddie, there’s no point in doing all of this…” she confessed between sobs when only Freddie and John were in the room.
“We don’t know about that yet, darling..” he let her go for a second just so he could wipe her tears and kiss her forehead. “And we’ll fight, it’s all worth a try, and you’re not alone.”
For a single second she wanted to believe him, she wanted to believe that Freddie’s faith was real, she wanted to make Brian proud, and she wanted to grow old seeing John’s caring smile, and for only one day she’d give hope one more chance.