The feeling of a cool hand carding through my hair causes me to stir as I realize it’s just Doug and I relax. I’m in the nurse's office,the one place I don’t want to be,but I know I need to be here. I got sent after being barely able to stay awake during class,or sit up straight for that matter because my stomach hurts so bad. I was up all night with my stomach hurting,but felt like I still needed to come to school,with the undercover assignment I kinda had to. Doug sensed something was off with me this morning,I swore I was fine,but he made me promise that if I started to feel worse to go to the nurse,and we’d get it settled so I could go home.
“Easy Tommy,it’s alright little brother,Mom says we can get you home”he murmurs gently as the nurse watches,unsure. To her we’re the rough and tough Mcquaid brothers,so for her to see him,the oldest brother,be gentle with me,and quiet is a surprise. I know she called mom at some point,in the number from my file. The number was for Judy,and as far as she knows she’s our step mom,which is good enough for her. “OK Doug,I feel awful”I murmur as I let him sit me up,and I see him grab my backpack from beside the cot. “I know kid,let’s get you out of here”he murmur softly as I let him help me stand,and he wraps an arm around me,to keep me steady. I let him guide me out as the nurse bids us farewell,then we go to the office,where he signs us out. The secretary gives us no trouble,like she normally does,I think she knows a sick kid when she sees one,and knows better to leave well enough alone,even if we’re known as troublemakers.
I let him guide me to the car,and once there he opens the door and helps me sit down,which jostles me a little,and makes me wince in pain,god it hurts,something Is wrong,really wrong. “Easy little brother,just how bad is it Tommy”he asks softly crouching to be down on my level. “It’s bad,I can’t stand it,it feels like someone keeps punching me in the stomach over and over”I murmur as I feel tears inadvertently stain my cheeks. “How long has it been this bad”he asks placing a cool hand on my shoulder, “Since last night,it started yesterday afternoon,but it was kind of more of a stomach ache then,it woke me up about 3 this morning and I couldn’t get back to sleep”I murmur softly,afraid to meet his eyes,lest he’s disappointed for me not admitting it sooner. “OK,you’re burning up,I think it’s time for the ER kid,just to be safe”he says gently,”I trust you”I murmur softly,”you better”he murmurs softly as he buckles me in,then goes over to the drivers side.
We take off,and I find myself laying my head against the window,the coolness of it feeling good on my feverish skin. Before I know it we’re at the ER,I must have dozed off a little bit,because he’s shaking my shoulder to wake me up. “Shh Tommy,let’s get you inside”he says gently as I nod,too tired to say anything. I let him undo my seatbelt,then he helps me stand. He closes the door,then he helps me inside. We go to the nurses station,and he talks to her,we’re still going as the Mcquaid brothers,keeping undercover till it’s safe. He explains what’s going on,saying that I’m sick,that we came from school,that my stomach is hurting so bad that I can’t stand it. She makes her way around the desk,and grabs a wheelchair and comes over to us. I let them sit me in the wheel chair,wincing in pain,as I feel her grab my wrist gently to get my pulse. “Hey there,I’m nurse Julie,we’re going to take good care of you today Tommy,can you tell me what’s going on”she asks gently, “it just hurts,my stomach has been bothering me since yesterday but it got worse early this morning,I kinda sucked it up,but it got really bad earlier”I murmur as I see her place a plastic ID bracelet on my wrist. “Alright sweetheart,let’s get you back into a room alright”she murmurs softly as I nod. We start to move,she let’ Doug come back with us,special circumstances,and he’s my brother as far as she knows.
We get to an exam room before I know it,and they’re helping me up onto the bed,and the pain hits hard,along with the nausea. “I think I’m going to puke”I murmur softly,embarrassed. “It’s alright,we got you honey”she murmurs as I see her grab a bedpan,and sure enough I throw up. I feel him rub my back,comforting,and before I know it I’m done. She takes it away,then gives me a little sip of water,and then they lay me down,and I automatically go on my side,it’s more comfortable. I let her get my vitals,my temperature is definitely up,then she has me roll on my back,which hurts like hell. I let her feel my stomach,pulling up my white t shirt,and I do alright till she get’s to my lower right side,then it hurts when she lets go. “I know honey,breathe through it Tommy,there we go,it looks like we got ourselves a case of appendicitis,I’m going to get a iv in,then see about getting a doctor in here,to confirm,then we’ll go from there”she murmurs as I roll on my side,and I let her card a hand through my hair,undoing the bandana in the process,I let her do it. “OK”I murmur softly as I see her grab the supplies. I tolerate the IV well enough,too tired and in pain to really care,then she leaves,leaving me and Doug alone.
“Do they know yet,does my mom know”I murmur softly,letting my guard down,we’re in the clear for now,so I can talk without being under cover. “Not yet,I’m going to have to make some calls,are you OK if I leave you for a few minutes,I’ll be back as soon as I can”he asks gently carding a hand through my hair. “Yeah,I kinda just want to sleep”I murmur softly as I feel him squeeze my hand, “I don’t blame you,I’ll be back little brother”he murmurs as I feel him squeeze my shoulder one last time,then he leaves. Before I know it I’m out like a light,the last thoughts on my mind being if I’m going to be alright,if I’ll get through this,and what’s going to happen next.