All posts for the month May, 2012

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Love&War Pt. 16-Final

Published May 28, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Forty-Six
“Reading the research Aunt Casey got her seemed to help Mom a little bit. I hope it can help me.” Victoria whispered quietly before opening up the binder to read. “The Human Brain–From front to back, the three swellings at or near the front of the head, which will later develop into the brain develop into the forebrain (otherwise known as the prosencephalon, the midbrain (otherwise known as the mesencephalon) and the hindbrain (otherwise known the rhombencephalon). The brain gets nerve impulses from the spinal cord and twelve pairs of cranial nerves.”

“Now she’s got you doing it?” Casey asked as she sat beside her niece.
“I thought it might help take my mind off what’s going on in Dad’s room.” Victoria told her half-truthfully before continuing. “The Hindbrain–The principle structures of the hindbrain are the medulla oblongata, ponds and the cerebellum.”
“I’m here if you need any questions answered,” Casey told her trying to be helpful without overstepping the boundaries that it was clear from Victoria’s posture and facial expression, she was doing her absolute best to keep in tact.

“Thanks Aunt Casey,” Victoria replied quietly before continuing. “The Forebrain–The human brain or prosencephalon” she looked up at her aunt briefly and said, “I’m not even sure I’m pronouncing half these words right.”
“You’re doing fine. I’m here if you need to ask me anything.”
“Thanks,” Vicki told her before continuing. “The prosencephalon is made up of a pair of large cerebral hemispheres known as the telencephalon. Because the spinal tracts cross over, the left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right controls the left.

“Diencephalon–The diencephalon is made of many parts, four of them being the thalamus, the lateral hypothalamus, the lateral gen…gen…”
“Lateral geniculate nucleus LGN for short and the Posterior lobe of the pituitary.” Casey finished for her before continuing. “The thalamus– all sensory input, except for what has to do with your sense of smell, passes through here on the way to the somatic-sensory regions of the cerebral cortex and then goes back to it from there.”

“The LGN–All the signals coming into the brain from the optic nerves–the nerves in your eyes–com into the cerebral cortex. The Hypothalamus–This is the seat of the autonomic nervous system. Damage to this part of the brain is quickly fatal because the normal balance of body temperature, blood chemistry, etc. goes out of control.”

“The Cerebral Hemispheres– Each cerebral hemisphere is subdivided into four lobes that can be seen from the outside: the frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal lobes. Hidden underneath them are the olfactory bulbes that get input from the olfactory epithelia. The striatum–This part of the brain gets input from the frontal lobes and from the limbic system.”
“What’s the limbic system?” Vicki asked confused.

“The Limbic System–is a term that refers to a group of structures in the brain including the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. It plays an important role in regulating of people’s moods and emotions.” Casey replied before going on to explain a little further. “The hippocampus–is a portion of the brain found inside the temporal lobe, people have two, one in each side of the brain. It forms part of the limbic system and plays a part in memory and navigation.
Its role in General Memory–There’s some dispute with psychologists and neuroscientists as to what its exact role is, but they generally agree that it’s got a critical role in forming new memories about personally experienced events. Some researchers would rather think of it as a larger medial temporal lobe memory system that’s responsible for general declarative memory–that refers to memories that can be explicitly verbalized–which would include, for example memory for facts, as well as episodic memory). Damage to this part of the brain usually results in great challenges in forming new memories, and generally also affects access before the damage. Damage to the hippocampus doesn’t affect some aspects of memory like the ability to learn new skills i.e. learning to play a new instrument, which suggests that these depend on a different kind of memory and different brain region. Its role in Spatial Memory and Navigation– Some evidence implies the hippocampus has a role in storing and processing spatial information.
Without a fully operating hippocampus, people might not remember the places they’ve ben and how to get where they’re going.” “That would make it really hard to travel. It would make his work at Newman Enterprises a lot harder,”Vicki thought to herself aloud as she began to hate what she read. “Yeah, but not impossible.” Casey told her before continuing. “Researchers think that the hippocampus plays a particularly critical role and finding shortcuts and new routes between familiar places.”
“Thanks.” “You’re welcome. Ready for a break?” “No, let’s keep going.” “Okay, if you’re sure.” “Yeah, I’m sure.”
‘She’s just like her mother! She won’t cut herself any slack or stop to take care of herself, not even for a minute!’ Casey thought to herself before trying to get through to her niece. “I know you want to help but the best thing you can do now is to take care of yourself and try not to worry.”

“Aunt Casey, I knew what was going on with my dad and I still didn’t do anything about it when I saw Bradley walking to his office that night. I knew he was there to cause trouble and I didn’t do anything about it. it’s my fault he’s here in the first place, that’s the bottom line. This is my fault! And I’m damn well going to find a way to fix it! If it’s the last thing I do, I will find a way to fix this an make Bradley pay for what he did to my father!”
“Victoria, listen to me! I know you want revenge, or maybe you just want justice, I don’t know. Either way, you’re not going to get either of those things if you keep this up! All you’ll be doing is splitting your focus at a time when all your energy, all your focus has to be concentrated on your father and helping him through his recovery!” “Exactly how am I supposed to do that when I know he’s the reason my father’s here? How do I do that? Damn it! Everybody just expects me to sit back like a good little girl and let him get away with this! No way! No way in hell am I about to do that!”
With that, Victoria stormed off, furious and fuming that, for reasons that escaped her, nobody seemed to realize what was going on and just how much responsibility Bradley bore for bringing about the situation they all found themselves in. ‘If I ever see that little worm, that scum, anywhere near anybody I care about, especially either of my parents, he’s a dead man!’
“Victoria, wait a minute!”

“Aunt Casey, I’m sorry, but I can’t stick around. I’m going for a walk. I’ll be back later.” Still furious, Vicki got into the elevator without another word.
Frustrated, with her heart breaking for her niece, Casey let the nurses at the front desk know she’d be in her office if anybody needed her before passing by Victor’s room and stopping for a few moments to say a little prayer. “I hope whatever’s going on in there is a whole lot better for then what’s going on out here! Especially for Nikki’s sake, she can’t take much more of the waiting and she definitely can’t take any more bad news!”


Chapter Forty-Seven
Nikki’s breath caught in her throat as she stood at the foot of the bed scarcely able to take in the sight in front of her. ‘It doesn’t even look like him. That’s not Victor. He’s always been so energetic, always loved being active and living life on his own terms. This…this just isn’t him-this isn’t my husband!’ She silently railed with a fury she’d never experienced.
Victor lay there, chalk white, the beeping and clicking of the many machines surrounding him echoing in the deathly silent room; the rise and fall of his chest the only signs of life as she stared at him intensely.
Gingerly taking his hand in hers, Nikki whispered tenderly, “It’s me, can you hear me? Victor, it’s me. Darling, I’m here, I’m right here with you. The children are outside and we’re all going to stay right here until you wake up. Victor, the doctors have done everything they can so it’s up to you. You need to fight, you need to fight to beat this. That’s the only way you can come home. So, you fight! You fight to come back to us. We can’t lose you, do you hear me? We can’t lose you! Please darling, don’t let that happen, don’t let that happen!”
Taking a deep breath and trying to calm herself, she continued. “How many times have I told you how stubborn you are? How many times have people written you off and you’ve proven them all wrong? You need to do that now. You need to prove us all wrong! Victor, I need you to prove me wrong, for once, I need you to prove me wrong! The doctors are telling me that you won’t make it. I’m trying my best, I’m trying so hard not to believe them, but I’m not so sure. As much as I’m trying to be strong-for all of us-I just can’t do it. I just can’t pretend everything’s okay. I can’t pretend there isn’t this little voice deep down inside of me telling me to let you go. I can’t pretend that that same little voice isn’t telling me to quit being so damn selfish and let you go. I…I don’t know how I’m supposed to do that. I know it’s selfish, but I just can’t let you go.” Trying to swallow the bitter rage and resentment that had balled in her throat making it hard to breathe, Nikki wiped stubbornly at the tears flowing freely from her eyes and whispered, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, how I’m supposed to handle all this. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up, how much longer I can keep away the doubts running through my mind. Victor, I need you to wake up! I need you to prove us all wrong!”

With a watery smile, Nikki whispered, “Whenever I’ve been scared, or felt alone, you’ve always been there, always made me feel safe, always shown me that I wasn’t alone. You promised me that I’d never be alone again and damn it, I’m going to hold you to that!” As tears slipped silently down her cheeks, she continued emotionally, her voice small and almost quavering. “I am not giving up on you, do you hear me?! I am not going to lose you! Not now, not after everything we’ve been through to make it this far! I’m not ready to let you go. I am not letting you go!” Although it was clear how terrified she was, there was an unmistakable note of sheer determination in her voice as she spoke, her eyes never leaving his face.
“We need you, we all need you, darling. Nicholas, Victoria, Abby, Cassie and Noah, we all need you to come back to us. Your family needs you, I need you. I need you here with me.” Swallowing hard, trying to rid herself of the bitter taste of fear now in every corner of her mouth, Nikki sighed and dug down deep within her for the strength to continue. “We all need you, especially your children.” With trembling hands, Nikki took his hand and pressed it to her stomach as one of the babies kicked. She smiled a bittersweet smile as she felt it and said a silent prayer that everything would turn out okay. Then, taking his hand in hers, she brought it to her lips and gently kissed it, whispering “I love you!”

Chapter Forty-Eight
In the waiting room, Nicholas had just walked back in after having talked to Sharon.
“How are you holding up?” Vicki asked eyeing him worriedly.
“I’m numb, I’m still in shock. Is this real? It can’t be.” Nick answered honestly as he let out a heavy sigh and sat beside her on the couch.
“I wish I could tell you it isn’t. I wish I could tell you it were just a dream.” Vicki answered honestly.
“Where’s Mom?” Nick asked tiredly as he rubbed his eyes and wished he’d gotten a large coffee instead of the medium decaffeinated one he was now holding.
“In with Dad.” Vicki told him as she rose and started walking out.
“Vicki, what’s going on? Where are you going?” Nick asked her confused as he tried to catch up with her and finally did as she waited for the elevator.
“Nick, I can’t stand this waiting, I can’t take it. I need to go, I need to get out of here. I’ll call you later.” Without another word, she stepped into the elevator, leaving a confused Nick standing in the hall wondering just how much more Victoria was keeping from them all.
Knowing, to some extent, just how she felt, Nick left a message for his mother at the front desk and headed home.


For the next few days, Nikki stayed by Victor’s side in the hospital, hoping to get good news soon.
Nicholas and Victoria called often to check on their father’s condition and came by almost as often as they called.

Nicholas had just left when Dr. Thorton walked into the waiting room to talk to Nikki. “Mrs. Newman, I’m sure you’ll remember me, I’m Dr. Thorton. Dr. Cornwell brought me in to consult on your husband’s case shortly after she had his initial tests done and got the results, long before any of this happened. And we’ve seen each other once or twice since then. I’m sorry we’re meeting under these circumstances.”
“So am I. How is Victor? How is my husband?” Nikki asked, hoping for more good news.
“As you know, he’s been moved to a private room, room 201. He’s still resting though, but, you can go and see him if you’d like. Though, I’m afraid that it should be just one person at a time for now. We don’t want to tire him out. ”
“Thank you doctor.” Nikki replied, somewhat relieved.

“You should go first. You’ve been worried sick, you haven’t left since he was brought in,” Vicki told her wisely.
“Are you sure?” Nikki asked, not wanting to upset her any further. ‘She’s trying to act like nothing’s wrong, but she’s scared to death. If she wants to go see him, she should.’ Nikki thought to herself as she studied her daughter, zeroing in on her pale skin and puffy red eyes.
“Yeah, go. You need to see him, so go. Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.” Vicki tried and failed to sound normal, to sound strong. As much as she wanted to, she couldn’t fool her mother into believing she was anywhere near as strong or as hopeful about her father’s future as she pretended to be.
“Okay, I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.” Nikki replied tiredly, hesitantly before following Dr. Thorton down the hall and into Victor’s room.

The room was dimly lit, as she and Dr. Thorton made their way in.
“If you need anything, just tell one of the nurses and she’ll page me.”
“Thank you.” Nikki replied as she sat down at Victor’s bedside and said a little prayer that, at least for now, he was doing fine.

Slowly, a groggy Victor awoke and looked at her, clearly unfocussed and disoriented. As he looked around, clearly confused as to why he was in the hospital, he opened his mouth to try to talk, to try and ask her what was going on. But, the harder he worked, the more he tried to talk, the more frustrated he got–nothing would come out, not a single word.
Stubborn and unwilling to give up, he tried to sit up, but, when he tried to move his legs, it was as though they were lead weights, lead weights that hung at his waist, unwilling and unable to move even the slightest bit. He tried again–and again nothing happened.
“Victor. Victor, listen to me, it’s going to be okay. I don’t know what’s going on, but we’ll find out.” Nikki tried to reassure and soothe him the best she could before walking out into the hall and having the nurse page Dr. Thorton and Dr. Cornwell.
“It’s alright, I’m right here and we’re I’m right here and we’re going to find out exactly what’s going on.” Nikki told him again, hoping she was making him feel at least a little bit better.
Stubbornly, Victor tried again to sit up–still nothing.
Again, Nikki did her best to soothe him as she saw the fear and uncertainty shining in his eyes.

Finally, Dr. Thorton and Dr. Cornwell entered and, after examining Victor said, “It appears that what we’re seeing is the effects of the stroke.”
“We’re sorry, Mrs. Newman.” Dr. Thorton told her sympathetically, regretfully.
“What are you talking about? Are you telling me he’s paralysed; permanently paralysed? Is that what you’re trying to tell me here? And why can’t he talk? Why can’t he say anything?” Nikki demanded shocked, angry and wanting answers.
“We’ll need to do more tests to be sure. It may be that the breathing tubes we put in are interfering with his ability to speak. But then again, it may not. It appears that at least one area of the brain that controls speech, either the Broca’s area or the Wernicke’s area, may have been affected, as, it appears, has his motor cortex–the portion of the brain’s cortex that controls involuntary muscle action. Different regions here are responsible for controlling different muscles in the body. I’m sorry, Mrs. Newman.”
“Thank you. How do we fix it?” Nikki asked, determined that this would not be a permanent situation.
“We’ll know more about exactly what we’re dealing with once we do the tests.” Dr. Cornwell told her quietly, unable to keep the pity from her voice.
“Thank you,” Nikki replied, deliberately ignoring the pity she’d heard in both Dr. Cornwell and Dr. Thorton’s voices as she watched them leave.

Then, turning back to Victor, she whispered emotionally, trying her best to sound convincing, “This doesn’t mean anything. You’re going to be just fine, you hear me? You’re going to be just fine!” Calming down a bit and trying her best to get through to him, in spite of all he’d been through and how exhausted and terrified she knew he must be, she told him, “The doctors and nurses have done everything they can-it’s up to you, so you need to fight. Can you do that? Will you do that for me?”
Groggily, still disoriented and very frightened, Victor nodded silently as tears fell from his eyes.
As tears rose in her own eyes, Nikki kissed him tenderly, lingeringly.

Chapter Forty-Nine
“Dr. Cornwell, what are you doing here?” Victoria asked surprised to see her.
“I thought I should let you know what’s going on with your father.” She began cautiously.
“Judging by the tone of your voice, I can tell it’s not good news. So, what is it? What’s wrong now? What happened?” Victoria asked fearfully, with an angry, hostile edge to her voice.
“There’s good news and bad news.” She continued still very cautious.
“What’s the good news?” Victoria asked, thankful to be getting some good news for a change.
“The good news is, your father is awake, he’s out of the coma.”
“That’s great! That’s fantastic!” Victoria exclaimed smiling brightly. As the grave expression on Dr. Cornwell’s face and her sombre, sympathetic gaze finally registered with her, Victoria asked quietly, fearfully, “What’s the bad news?”
“I’m afraid we’re beginning to see the affects of your father’s stroke.” Dr. Cornwell carefully explained.
“Meaning what?” Victoria asked, her voice far more scared and small than she’d expected it to sound as tears once again rose in her eyes.

“It appears that your father is paralysed from the waist down. We still need to do some tests to be sure but, based on what your mother told me and what I found out when I examined him, that’s what Dr. Thorton and I suspect. And-” Dr. Cornwell stopped short, unable to find the words she needed to tell the young, terrified woman sitting in front of her that, not only was her father paralysed, but the stroke had left him unable to speak.
“Whatever else you have to tell me, I wish you’d just tell me! I can handle it, what I can’t handle is people keeping things from me because they want to protect me!” Victoria told her firmly, emotionally.

“I’m sorry, but aside from the paralysis, it also appears that the portion of the brain that controls speech and language, either the Wernicke’s area or the Broca’s area has also been affected, I’m very sorry, Victoria. But, if it’s any comfort, there’s a good chance the paralysis won’t be permanent. We’ll know more once we do a few tests. We’ll just have to wait and see.” Dr. Cornwell answered her honestly, sympathetically.
“Thank you.” Victoria replied softly while she thought to herself, ‘That’s cold comfort! The bottom line is my Dad could still die! Damn you Bradley! You’ll pay for this! No matter what I have to do to make sure it happens, you’ll pay for what you did to my father!’
“If there’s anything I, Dr. Hoffman, or Dr. Thorton can do, please don’t hesitate to let us know.”
“Just take good care of my father, do whatever you can to make sure he pulls through.” Victoria told her firmly, intent on putting all her energy, all her focus into her father’s recovery.
“Don’t worry, we will.” Dr. Cornwell vowed before walking off in search of Dr. Thorton and Dr. Hoffman.

Still reeling from what she’d just been told, Victoria slumped onto the couch and sighed heavily, exhausted.
“What now?” Vicki muttered angrily as she searched her purse for her cell phone after hearing it ring a few times.
“Hello?” Vicki answered very irritated!
“Vicki! Where the hell are you? What’s going on and why haven’t you called? Why are you avoiding me? What kind of game are you playing?” Gary barked incensed.
“Gary wait a minute, there’s a lot going on you don’t know about.”
“Save it! I’m not interested! I’m done playing games, Victoria! You made a big mistake! You made a big mistake and you’ll live to regret it!” Gary replied, his voice low and menacing, his eyes ice cold.
“Gary, listen to me! Please just listen to me!” Vicki begged almost frantically.
“NO! You’ve been jerking me around long enough! I’m done playing by your rules. Now, we play by mine!” Gary’s voice was low and menacing, so much so, it sent chills coursing through her!
As her heart jack hammered in her chest, Vicki whispered fearfully, “What does that mean?”
“You’ll find out soon enough!” Gary replied cryptically, maliciously before hanging up.
“Hello? Hello? Hello?” Vicki said almost hysterically and strained to listen for any sign that he was still there, only to hear the haunting sound of the dial tone answering her.

With trembling hands, she hung up and was about to put the phone back in her purse when she got another call.
“Hello?” She answered and thought how strange her voice sounded. ‘What’s wrong with me? Why am I still sounding so scared? I can’t afford to do this! I have to stay focussed on Dad! I can’t afford to let these two sick bastards get the best of me!’
“Hello, Victoria.”
Although she didn’t recognize the voice, it sent chills through her and made her stomach lurch.
“Who is this? What do you want?” Victoria asked, trying her best to keep the fear that had wrapped itself around her heart out of her voice.
“You know what I want. But, you haven’t given it to me. I don’t know why, I don’t understand it, Victoria. You’re a very intelligent woman so why are you still playing these games with me? It’s not very smart, you know.”
“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about and I don’t care! I don’t have time for you or your petty little games! I don’t have time for your stupid little mind games!” Vicki exclaimed, fed up with being victimized by both men.
“That’s too bad, isn’t it?”
“What are you talking about?” Victoria snapped hotly.
“Time’s up, Victoria. You had your chance to make up for the mistake you made, but you didn’t. You chose to ignore me and my demands. I even gave you an extension and you still didn’t take advantage of the chance I was gracious enough to give you.”
“Gracious, gracious?” Vicki echoed indignantly, unable to believe what she was hearing. “What world are you living in? There’s nothing gracious about the sick, stupid little mind games you’ve been playing! You’re nothing but a coward, a useless coward!” She shot back, finally fed up with all she’d had to deal with at this man’s hands.
“That was a big mistake, Victoria. You’ve made a lot of mistakes and now you’ll have to pay the price fo them.” With that, the caller hung up leaving Victoria slack jawed and chalk faced.

Parchment white, as her heart raced, Victoria whispered, her voice small and terrified, “What do I do now? What do I do now?! How do I keep them from coming after Mom and Dad? What have I done? God what have I done?”

Author’s Note: All medical information used in this fic, directly quoted and otherwise, was taken from the following sites:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (BC)…boutStrokeE.pdf

Stroke Everything You want to Know…boutStrokeE.pdf


Blood&Urine Tests:…rom=SubCategory

Carotid Ultrasound (Doppler)…rom=SubCategory

CT/CAT Scan…rom=Subcategory


Electrocardiogram: [url=[/url]


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)/Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)…rom=SubCategory

Physical Exam…examination.htm

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)…rom=SubCategory

Let’s Talk About Stroke:

Stroke Everything You want to Know…boutStrokeE.pdf

Neurological Exam “

Heart&Stroke Foundation of Canada Warning Signs…rom=SubCategory

Prevention&Risk Factors Risk Factors You Can Do Something About/Risk Factors You can’t control…isk_factors.htm

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)…Fom=SubCategory

High Blood Cholesterol…cholesterol.htm…WJwE/b.3581873/

Heart Disease (Atrial Fibrillation)…ibrillation.htm

Being Overweight…rom=SubCategory…WJwE/b.3581877/

Excessive Alcohol Consumption…rom=SubCategory

Physical Inactivity:…rom=SubCategory

American Heart Association-TIA Warning Signs

Surgery And Other Procedures…_procedures.htm

Medications&Other Drugs…other_drugs.htm

Stroke Rehabilitation…abilitation.htm

Speech Therapy…ech_therapy.htm

Surgery&Other Procedures…_procedures.htm

Central Nervous System…ages/C/CNS.html

Cerebral Cortex Definition

Oxytocin Definition

Nucleus Accumbens Definition

Parts of the Brain, Brain Stem, Cerebellum, Cerebrum, Right hemisphere/Left hemisphere, The lobes, Frontal lobe, Parietal lobe, Temporal lobe, Occipital lobe…WJwE/b.3581867/

Anatomy of the brain-What are the parts of the brain?, Brain Stem, Cerebellum, Cerebrum, The lobes, Frontal lobe:, Parietal lobe:,Temporal lobe:, Occipital lobe…rom=SubCategory

Central Nervous System Brain Major Parts

More on Brain’s Lobes

Central Nervous System…ioBookNERV.html

Central Nervous System…ervous%20System

Central Nervous System Functions…/CNS/html#brain

Corpus Callosum Definition

Limbic System Definition http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionar…m/limbic+system

Hippocampus Definition…tle=Hippocampus

Motor Cortex Definition


#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Love&War Pt. 15

Published May 28, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Forty-Three
It wasn’t long before Kay walked into the waiting room at Memorial Hospital and asked as she studied Nikki intently, worriedly. “What’s going on, how’s Victor? Have the doctors told you anything yet?”
“Katherine, what are you doing here?” Nikki asked very surprised to see her.
“Casey called and told me what happened. Have the doctors told you anything yet?”
“As a matter of fact, yes, but not much.” Nikki replied tiredly, clearly frustrated with the doctors and the whole situation.
“Well?” Kay prompted expectantly, impatiently.
“I don’t know where to begin.” Nikki answered honestly.
“Try.” “When Victor didn’t come home last night, I went looking for him.” Nikki began slowly, quietly, still reeling from the surreal situation she found herself in. “And you obviously found him. What happened?” Kay asked as she sat down beside Nikki and tried to get her to look her in the eye. “By the time I found him in his office, he was unconscious.” Nikki replied in the same quiet, sombre tone. “He was unconscious and I had to call an ambulance. They almost lost him they still–“
“No! Now, come on, Nikki, you are not going to do that! You are not going to start thinking the worst! Don’t you go thinking the worst, we don’t know anything yet!” Kay tried to, as softly and calmly as she could, reason with her. “I know, but that’s not the only thing we need to deal with.” Nikki replied tiredly.
“What are you talking about?” Kay asked confused.
“The doctors were ready to operate, but…” Nikki’s voice trailed off as she tried but failed to find the words she needed to tell her oldest, dearest friend what was going on.

“Nikki, for heaven’s sake, Nikki, what is it?” Kay asked worriedly, starting to become a little impatient.
“They were ready to operate on him, to do the bypass they said he needed, but, they couldn’t. The damage is too severe, Katherine, he needs a heart transplant. Then, right before they were about to close the incisions and send him to intensive care, he had a stroke. As it stands now, we don’t even know the extent of the damage from the stroke, we won’t know until he wakes up, and God only knows how much longer he can hold on.” Nikki finished as terrified tears slipped silently down her cheeks.
“Nikki, he’s stronger than anybody knows, than anybody gives him credit for, anybody except you. He’ll fight as long as he knows you’re waiting for him. You know that Nikki! You know I’m right about this. You know I’m right, so what’s going on? What haven’t you told me? What’s got you so worked up?” Kay prompted expectantly, impatiently.
“I know that Katherine but so much has happened. I don’t know where to begin.” Nikki answered honestly. “Try.”
“When Victor didn’t come home last night, I went looking for him.” Nikki began slowly, quietly, still reeling from the surreal situation she found herself in. “And you obviously found him. What happened?” Kay asked as she sat down beside Nikki and tried to get her to look her in the eye.
“By the time I found him in his office, he was unconscious.” Nikki replied in the same quiet, sombre tone. “He was unconscious and I had to call an ambulance. They almost lost him they still-”
“No! Now, come on, Nikki, you are not going to do that! You are not going to start thinking the worst! Don’t you go thinking the worst, we don’t know anything yet!” Kay tried to, as softly and calmly as she could, reason with her.
“I know, but that’s not the only thing we need to deal with.” Nikki replied tiredly.
“What are you talking about?” Kay asked confused.
“The doctors were ready to operate, but…” Nikki’s voice trailed off as she tried but failed to find the words she needed to tell her oldest, dearest friend what was going on.

Wordlessly, Kay wrapped her arms around Nikki and held her tight. Then, pulling back, she whispered, her voice full of conviction, “Don’t you worry, Victor will be just fine!”
“I hope you’re right. God, I hope you’re right. Katherine, I don’t know what I’ll do if…” Nikki replied honestly, quietly, as she tried not to let the fear tumbling around inside her get the best of her.
“Nikki, now you listen to me. I know I am! I know I’m right about this. Darling, there is nothing; nothing Victor wouldn’t do to come back to you! Nothing can keep him away from you! You have to believe that! You have to believe it!” Kay exclaimed adamantly, confidently. ‘Nikki needs to hold on, she can’t give up now! She can’t give up, if she does she really will lose her husband!’

Cautiously, Kay asked, “What else have the doctors said, what do they know about what caused the stroke and the heart attack?”
“They don’t know much about what caused the stroke, aside from the fact that it was a haemorrhagic one, that it was caused by bleeding. They know where it came from.
They know it was caused by massive bleeding because of arteries rupturing in and around his brain, but they don’t know any more. They’re still doing tests. They said they’re not a hundred percent sure why the arteries ruptured, which basically means they don’t want to say anything that can come back to haunt them if they’re wrong. They’ve got an idea about what parts of his brain were affected, but they won’t even tell me that until they do their damn tests! But they’re pretty sure that something like an argument caused the heart attack.” Fuming, Nikki paced to the other side of the waiting room as her hands balled into fists and her eyes turned ice cold. ‘Bradley will regret this! He’ll pay for what he did, I’ll see to that!’

“Nikki, what it means is they want to be sure about what’s going on so they don’t give you misinformation. Have they given you anything more concrete?” Kay told her firmly and asked cautiously. “For the most part, they’re just speculating on things at this point.” “What else have they told you?”
“Well, they haven’t told me much. From what they have said, surgery to repair his heart is out of the question, too much damage was done by the heart attack and the stroke. Katherine, his only hope now is a heart transplant! The worst part is, if they don’t find a donor soon, we could…” Nikki’s voice trailed off as tears welled up in her eyes.
“Mom, you have to stay strong for Dad! He’s not going anywhere, you have to believe that!” Victoria tried to do her best to give her mother some hope.
Nikki nodded absentmindedly as she tried to compose herself.
“I think I’m going to get some coffee.” Victoria told them before leaving Nikki and Kay alone to talk.
“You know, I just keep waiting for someone to wake me up and tell me this was all a bad dream or someone’s idea of a really sick, bad joke. It can’t be real. Katherine, this can’t be happening!” “Nikki, you can’t jump to conclusions here. Victor has a lot to fight for and he will, as long as he knows he has something to fight for, he’ll fight as long and as hard as he has to to come back to you. Remember that!” “That’s what I keep telling myself, but, Katherine, he’s never been through anything like this before. He’s never been this bad off before. What if…”
“NO! Don’t you do that! Don’t you go playing that game, asking what if won’t help anybody! It certainly won’t help Victor! Now you listen to me and you listen well, Victor is strong, he’s one of the strongest people I know-and that’s saying a lot. In fact, that’s probably a big part of the reason why you two make such a wonderful couple.” Kay ended on a conspiratorial note with a sly smile and a wink.
“I can always count on you to make me feel better,” Nikki replied as she smiled a little through her tears.
“And that won’t ever change, remember that! Whatever happens, I’ll always be here for you! My dear, I hate to do this, but I have to go, call me if you need anything, anything at all.”
“I will, thank you, Katherine.”
With a reassuring hug, Kay walked out of the waiting room and said a silent prayer as she waited for the elevator. “Victor, don’t give up on us yet! Please don’t give up on us yet! Dear God in heaven, don’t take him from us yet! Please don’t take him from us yet!”


Chapter Forty-Four
In the waiting room, as the sun shone through the windows on a warm spring day, Nikki began to awaken from a fairly fitful night’s sleep.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?” Nikki grumbled as she sat up and blinked herself awake. “It’s almost twelve thirty in the afternoon!”
“Nikki, you needed rest. I wasn’t about to wake you up so you could not eat and dive right back into the research you’ve been so absorbed in. You’ve been driving yourself crazy and hardly taking care of yourself.” Letting out a slow breath, Casey told her, “I’m not trying to upset you, I’m really not. I’m just trying to take care of you. I brought you something to eat. I’ll read you more of the research if you eat, deal?”
“Deal.” Nikki quickly agreed as she sat down and began to eat.
Satisfied that she was, for once, going to take care of herself, Casey began to read. “The occipital lobes are necessary for associations to be made with what someone sees. Damage to regions in the occipital lobe results in a person being perfectly able to see things but not being able to recognize them.”
“Damn! I’m sorry Nikki I have to go check on a patient. I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Casey told her as she checked her beeper and realized the page was an urgent one.
“Okay, thanks,” Nikki told her before taking Victor’s picture out of her wallet to gaze at it emotionally and pray he’d be okay.

A few minutes later, Victoria was back with coffee for herself and tea for her mother.
“Here you go, Mom.”
“What is it? When did you get here?” Nikki asked, sounding very uninterested and surprised she was still there. “Chamomile tea, careful it’s hot. I stayed the night, so did Nick. There wasn’t any sense in going home.”
“Thanks.” Nikki replied as she took a sip before putting it on the table beside her. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“How are you holding up?” Victoria asked carefully as she studied her mother closely, intently. “I’m alright. How are you doing?” Nikki asked, hoping to sound convincing as she studied her daughter, concerned about how this latest drama was affecting her. “I’m okay. I’m more concerned about you.” Victoria half lied as she stared into her cup. Nikki touched her cheek, making Victoria look at her.

As tears glistened in her eyes, Victoria tried her best to paste on a smile, but failed miserably. “I keep thinking that if I had just gone to Dad’s office, maybe this wouldn’t be happening. Maybe if I’d done that, he’d be home with us where he belongs.”
“Victoria, don’t go blaming yourself! Right now we need to put all our energy and all our focus into making sure your father comes out of this okay.” Nikki replied wisely, hoping that she was getting through to her daughter on some level.
“I know, but part of me can’t help it. Why is this happening? Haven’t you and Dad been through enough? Damn it!” Victoria paced to the window, not wanting to let her mother see the tears streaming from her eyes.
“This is a nightmare, I know. But, it’s not over yet! Your father’s still hanging on and we have to do the same.” Nikki tried to offer some words of hope and encouragement, words she knew her daughter desperately needed.
“I’ll try.” Victoria’s voice was small and faint, almost inaudible in the small waiting room.
“I’m going to get another coffee,” Victoria told her as she got up and headed out of the waiting room.
“Victoria, just how much coffee have you had today?” Nikki asked, eyeing her closely.
“Not enough. I’ll see you later.” With a quick kiss, Victoria headed to the cafeteria.

“I should have known you wouldn’t give that up so easily. You know, I’m starting to regret getting you all that research.” Casey told her pointedly as she walked back into the waiting room and sat beside her sister before silently grabbing the binder from her.
“What did you expect? Besides, I thought you were checking on a patient.” Nikki asked with a small cheeky smile.
“You’re right, I should’ve expected nothing less. She’s fine now, just a mixup with some medication.” Casey told her shaking her head and trying to cover up her smile as she took in the sight of her sister still dutifully reading all she could. “You always were one stubborn woman!”
“Hey, I’m strong willed!”
“Same difference. Let’s not split hairs.”
“I’m not, I’m telling the truth!” Nikki insisted with a little smile.
“As you see it; only as you see it.”
“Isn’t that what counts?”
“No.” Shaking her head, Casey couldn’t help but laugh at her sister’s strange mood.
“I’m guessing you want to finish up? And then, I’m putting this stuff away, where you can’t get your stubborn hands on it.”
“Yeah, I want to finish the reading. The more I can find out, the more I can help Victor.”
“Okay, where did we leave off last time?”
“Section five, I think.”
“With what little sleep you’ve been getting, it’s a wonder you can remember your name and where you are, let alone where you left off with this.” Casey told her amazed.
“I wish I could forget where I am. Let’s just get back to it, okay?” Nikki ended on a tired, almost defeated note.

“Fine.” Casey studied her intently for a few moments before picking up the binder and beginning to read. “Parts of the brain–The brain is divided into three parts, the brain stem, the cerebrum and the cerebellum.

Brain Stem–The brain stem sits at the base of the brain and connects to the top of the spine. It keeps up important body functions like breathing, swallowing, digestion, eye movement and heartbeat. Many times, strokes in the brain stem are fatal, however, when they’re not, they might affect lots of these functions.

Cerebellum–This part of the brain is at the bottom of it, at the back of the head. It’s attached to the back of the brain stem and seems like a much smaller brain. It aids in controlling some automatic responses and behaviours, simple movements like picking up something small, and more complex tasks like balancing. A stroke in this area of the brain could result in a lack of coordination, clumsiness, shaking or other movement disorders.” “So, if this part of his brain’s been affected, he might bump into things and might not be able to do things like run a brush through his hair?”
“It’s a possibility,” Casey told her guardedly before asking, “Anything else you want to ask me?”
“No, go on.”

“Cerebrum–This is also known as the ‘thinking brain,’ it’s the main, bulky part of the brain. This is where thinking and intelligence happens here, and where muscles are controlled. The cerebrum is made of two halves ro hemispheres. Each one’s divided into two parts called lobes. Usually, one’s a little more developed and is referred to as the dominant side. This is where written and spoken language is organized. In almost everyone, the left hemisphere is dominant, even if you’re right handed. Because the nervous system is set up in a cross-over manner, the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the reverse is true for the left side of the brain.

The Lobes–The whole cerebrum is made of two layers. The very outside layer is called the cerebral cortex or gray matter. This is deeply wrinkled and three of the deepest folds are used to artificially divide the hemispheres into four different parts or lobes.

Frontal Lobe–In each hemisphere the frontal lobe is responsible for movement/motor functions. A stroke in the right side of the frontal lobe will affect the ability to move the left side of the body, and vice versa. It is also concerned with reasoning, parts of speech, emotions, and problem-solving.

Parietal Lobe–Behind the frontal lobe is the parietal lobe. It’s mainly concerned with sensory activities, like receiving and interpreting information from all body parts. It’s also concerned with perception of stimuli related to touch, pressure, temperature and pain. A stroke to this part of the brain in the right hemisphere can result in agnosia, meaning someone can feel, see and hear, but might not be able to understand what they’re perceiving. In other cases, a condition called neglect may develop. Individuals with Neglect have multiple sensory problems on the side of the body where the stroke took place. Therefore, they might ignore everything on that side.”
“So, if that part of the brain were affected, he wouldn’t necessarily know or realize he’d hurt himself?”
“Okay, keep going.” Nikki told her in a shaky voice as little shivers ran down her spine.
“What are you, a machine?”
“No, a determined woman!” Nikki told her pointedly.
“Determined is one thing. You’re sleep deprived as it is, and reading all this isn’t helping.”
“Casey, I can handle it! Let’s just keep going!”

Gritting her teeth, Casey prayed for patience and continued. “Temporal Lobe–This lobe controls hearing and memory and is also involved with auditory perception. It’s concerned with perception and recognition of auditory stimuli hearing) and memory (which is regulated by the hippocampus). Strokes in this lobe of the dominant hemisphere (most times the left) may cause a speech disorder called Wernickes aphasia. Memories are stored in the inside part of the temporal lobe. Unless both the left and right lobes are damaged, memory loss following stroke is usually temporary.

Occipital Lobe–The occipital lobe is at the back of the head and is responsible for seeing and concerned with multiple aspects of vision. A stroke on the left occipital lobe may cause loss of the right side of your vision. Damage to the right occipital lobe can cause vision loss on your left side. In both instances, they eyes are working normally the problem is with the brain’s ability to process information from the eyes.”
“Any questions?” Casey asked, thinking it was definitely time for a break.

“Want to take a break, maybe go for a walk?”
“No, I appreciate what you’re trying to do. But, I just want to get through this research and then go talk to the doctors and find out what’s going on with Victor.”
Knowing better than to argue, Casey reluctantly continued. “Central Nervous System Brain’s Major Parts–How many brains to you have–one or two–Although you’ve only got one brain, the cerebral hemispheres are divided exactly down the middle into a right and left hemisphere. Each hemisphere seems to be specialized for some behaviours. The hemispheres communicate with one another through a thick band of nerve fibres called the corpus callosum. (In addition, a smaller band of nerve fibres called the anterior commissure connects parts of the cerebral hemispheres.)

Right Side/Left Side–Generally, sensory information from the left side of the body crosses over to the right side of the brain and vice versa. Because of this , damage to one side of the brain will affect the opposite side of the body. Individuals with damage to these areas on the right side usually don’t have any language problems. The brain’s two language areas which are important for language now bear their discoverers’ names; the Broca’s area and the Wernicke’s area.

Left Hemisphere– This hemisphere is responsible for language, math and logic.

Right Hemisphere–This hemisphere is responsible for spatial abilities, face recognition, visual imagery and music.”
“So, if the right side of his brain was affected, he might have trouble knowing how far away or how close something was.”
“Yeah. But keep in mind we still don’t know for sure what parts of his brain were affected.” Casey told her, trying very hard to keep her sister from losing hope.
“That would mean he definitely couldn’t drive. He’d hate that!” Nikki completely ignored her.
“Nikki, we’re dealing in hypotheticals here! We don’t even know the full extent of the stroke yet.”
“Fine. Let’s just keep going.” Nikki told her sullenly, shortly.

Finding it increasingly hard to keep her temper under control, despite her best efforts, Casey glared at her sister for a few moments before continuing. “Central Nervous System–The Central nervous system/CNS is made of the brain and spinal cord. It’s surrounded by bone-skull and vertebrae. Fluid and tissue also insulate the brain. The brain is made of three parts: the cerebrum, sometimes referred to as the seat of consciousness, the cerebellum and the medulla oblongata (the last two are ‘part of the unconscious brain.’ The medulla is the closest to the spinal cord and is involved in regulating the heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure and reflex centres for vomiting, coughing, sneezing, swallowing and hiccuping.”

“I wonder if that includes morning sickness.”
“Somehow, I think that’s more hormonal than reflexive.” Casey answered with a smile. “Morning sickness been bad?”
“That’s a rhetorical question, right? I don’t even know why they call it morning sickness. It’s twenty-four hours a day!”
“All day sickness would probably scare people.”
“Smart mouth.”
“Just trying to keep up with you.”
“Ha ha, funny. Let’s just get back to it, shall we?”
“Yes, boss.” Casey answered, quickly sticking her tongue out and her sister before smirking.
“Very mature.”
“Hey, you’re a bad influence, what can I say?”
“Sure, blame it on me.”

With a smirk, Casey continued with the reading. “The hypothalamus regulates homeostasis and has regulatory areas for thirst, hunger, body temperature, water balance and blood pressure. The midbrain and pons are also part of the unconscious brain. The thalamus serves as a central relay point for incoming nervous messages.”

Hesitating for only a moment, Casey carefully put the binder down in front of them.
“Hey! What are you doing? I want to keep going!” Nikki exclaimed confused and frustrated.
“Would you just hush up and relax! Listen to me and relax for precious little more than five minutes at a time!”
Heaving a put out, frustrated sigh as her eyes shot daggers at her sister, she mumbled, “Fine.”
“Good. I want you to listen to me, really listen.”
“I’m listening.” Nikki told her, still pouting a little.

Taking a few moments to find the right words to give her sister the hope she knew she desperately needed, Casey let out a long, slow breath and began. “Nikki, you know how much Victor loves you. He’d do anything, absolutely anything for you! There’s nothing that man wouldn’t do to come back to you. But, you need to give him something to come back to. Baby, you need to give him a reason to fight! Nobody else can do that but you.”
“It won’t be easy.” Nikki told her softly.
“No, it won’t be. But you won’t have to go through it alone. You don’t have to go through it alone. You have your family and friends around to lean on. Nikki, lean on us. Let us for a change.” Casey gently but firmly encouraged her. Then, for good measure, she added, “Don’t make me have to pester you until you give in. You know I will.” She ended on a lighter note with a small cheeky smile.
“Nobody knows that better than me. You did it most of my life, and long distance at that.”
“Whatever works. The point is, I get results. And, you’re not the only Reed woman who always gets what she wants.”

Seeing Nikki’s smirk, Casey scolded her, “Nikki, you know that’s not what I mean! Do you always have your head in the gutter? Come on focus! Get your head out of the gutter!”
“Hey, it’s not my fault. That was open to interpretation.”
“Only by you.” Casey countered rolling her eyes and barely trying to cover her smile as she chuckled. “Some things never change.”
“Why change what works?”
“Yes, of course. I don’t know what I was thinking.” Casey replied dryly.
“Or, you could chalk it up to sleep deprivation and being pregnant.” Nikki put in helpfully.
“With anybody but you, you’re right, I could.” Casey told her.
“Am I really that bad?”
“You really want me to answer that?” Casey asked, making it clear she’d oblige.
“Another time.” Nikki told her with a smile and a shake of her head.
“Sure thing, just let me know.” Casey told her with a smirk.
“Thanks.” Nikki told her softly.
“You’re welcome, just remember these conversations the next time I’m doing something to drive you crazy.”
With a smile and a shake of her head, Nikki replied, “Casey, don’t push your luck honey.”

Feeling better than they’d felt in a long time, both couldn’t help but start laughing.
“Look at us, a couple of saps,” Nikki said as she handed Casey a tissue and began carefully drying her tears, hoping her makeup, or what was left of it wasn’t completely ruined.
“I’m used to it by now.”
“Nikki, you can stop being so careful, your makeup was gone hours ago.” Casey told her with a smile.
Throwing her tissue on the table, Nikki turned to her sister and said, “It’s good to have my sister back.”
“Same here. And it’s a good thing too, I’m never going back to Arizona.”
Something in the way she’d said that, the tone of voice she’d used told Nikki there was much more to her sister’s sudden relocation than it seemed, but she couldn’t focus on that right now, so she put it in the back of her mind to consider when Victor’s health crisis had passed.
Wordlessly they hugged each other, mindful not for the first time, of just how much they’d missed each other and determined to make up for lost time.

Chapter Forty-Five
Now that they’d finally come to an understanding, Casey continued more at ease. “The cerebellum’s the second biggest part of the brain, after the cerebrum. It works for muscle coordination and keeps normal muscle tone and posture. It coordinates balance.”

“The conscious brain includes the cerebral hemispheres, that are separated by the corpus callosum.”
“Corpus what?” Nikki asked looking at her as if she were speaking a foreign language, which to most people she was.
“Corpus callosum. It’s the arched bridge of nervous tissue connecting the two cerebral hemispheres–the two sides of the brain– and allowing communication between the right and left side of the brain.”
“Okay, that’s a little better. At least that sounded like English.”

“Ready to go on?”
As Nikki nodded, Casey continued. “In reptiles, birds and mammals, the cerebrum coordinates sensory data and motor functions. It governs intelligence and reasoning, learning and memory.”
“Remember, stop me any time you want to ask something, or if you want to take a break.” Casey ended on a pointed note.
“I will.”

“The Brain Stem and Midbrain–The brainstem is made of the parts of the hindbrain and midbrain. The brainstem and pons control heart rate, constriction of blood vessels, digestion and breathing.
The midbrain is made of connections between the hindbrain and the forebain. Mammals use this portion of the brain strictly for eye reflexes.

The Cerebellum– This is the third portion of the hindbrain, however it’s not considered part of the brain stem. Functions of the cerebellum include fine motor coordination and body movement, posture and balance.”
Stopping for a moment to explain a little, Casey told her, “Fine motor refers to things like holding a pen or pencil, printing or writing or doing up buttons. It uses the smaller muscles in the body, especially in the hands and feet.”
“Okay. That makes things clearer.”

Satisfied she understood at least a little bit of what she’d heard, Casey continued. “The Forebrain–This part of the brain is made of the diencephalon and the cerebrum. The thalamus and hypothalamus are the portions of the diencephalon. The thalamus acts like a switching centre for nerve messages. The hypothalamus is an important homeostatic centre with both nervous system and endocrine functions.

The hemispheres are covered by a thin layer of gray matter called the cerebral cortex, which is the most recently evolved part of the vertebrate brain. Folds divide each cerebral cortex into four lobes: the occipital, temporal, parietal and frontal lobes. No portion of the brain works alone, although major functions of many parts of the lobes have been determined.

The occipital lobe in the back of the head gets and processes visual information.

The temporal lobe gets auditory signals, processing language and the meaning of words. The parietal lobe is connected with the sensory cortex and processes information regarding touch, taste, pressure, pain, hot and cold.

The frontal lobe carries out three functions: motor activity and integration of muscle activity, speech, and thought process.”

“Language comprehension is found in Wernicke’s area. Speech ability is in Broca’s area. Damage to Broca’s area results in speech impairment but not damage to language comprehension. Damage in Wernicke’s area weakens or damages ability to understand written and spoken words but not speech. The rest of the parts of the cortex are associated with higher thought processes, planning, memory, personality and other human activities.”

Just then Dr. Cornwell walked back into the waiting room, silently studying Nikki all the while. The minute she spotted her, Nikki was on her feet asking, “Has there been a change? How’s Victor? Has he improved?” “I’m afraid not, I’m sorry. There’s still no change. Nikki, go home. You need to rest. You won’t do anybody any good worrying yourself sick like this.” Dr. Cornwell told her patiently, sympathetically, hoping she’d co-operate and doing her best to encourage her to take her advice.

“Dr. Cornwell, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but I’m fine. I’m not leaving my husband, so you can forget it. I’m staying right here until he wakes up.” Her tone brooked no argument as a light of challenge shone in her eyes. “Alright, but, you need to rest. You need to take care of yourself.”
“And I will. I know he’s not awake yet, but, can I see him?” Nikki pleaded, desperately hoping she’d be allowed to go in, even for a little while. ‘Even if it’s only for a few minutes, anything’s better than pacing around out here! I can’t take this much longer! I need to see my husband! I need to see Victor! I need to be with him, even if it’s only for a few minutes.’ Nikki thought to herself almost frantically.
“Alright, but just for a little while, I don’t want you tiring yourself out.” Dr. Cornwell hesitantly yet sympathetically agreed.
“Thank you.” Nikki told her sincerely, feeling a little better at the prospect of being able to spend at least a little time with the man she loved more than life itself.
“He’s in room 201. I’m going to take a look at his latest test results.” With that Dr. Cornwell left.

Hesitantly, Nikki turned to face Victoria, as the questions she dared not ask, doubts she dared not voice, shone in her eyes.
“Mom, go on. Dad’s waiting. Hearing your voice could be just the thing he needs.” Vicki whispered with a tremulous smile.
With a watery smile and a quick hug, Nikki walked into the hall and from there into Victor’s room. Although part of her was a little jealous that her mother would be the first to see her father since he’d been out of surgery, she knew it was what Nikki needed, and more importantly it was what her father needed. ‘I just hope spending whatever time he can with Mom gives him what he needs to fight this! I don’t even want to think about what might happen if-’ Victoria stopped herself abruptly as her tears got the best of her and she slowly slumped onto the chair in the waiting room and watched her mother leave to go be by her father’s side.


#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Love&War Pt. 14

Published May 28, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Forty
“Mom, can we really just go on without Dad here? This isn’t a decision that we can reverse, something we can take back once it’s done. Once we’ve made the decision to…once we’ve made the decision, there’s no going back. Can we really handle that? Can we live with the choice we’ll have made?” Vicki countered wisely, emotionally. “I hear what you’re saying, sis, and I agree. I just think we have to consider the impact that this would have on Dad. How would he feel about being hooked up to machines for God knows how long just so we can spend a little more time with him? Are we doing what’s best for him or ourselves? Aren’t we being greedy if we tell the doctors to hold off?” “NO! Nick, I can’t believe this! I can’t believe what I’m hearing! This is Dad we’re talking about! We can’t just shove him out of our lives like he never existed, like he never mattered!” Vicki continued her impassioned plea, desperately hoping it wouldn’t fall on deaf ears.
“I hear what you’re both saying and I understand. I guess it comes down to one final question? Can we go on, can we live our lives without him? Do we want to take such a big risk if” Nikki corrected herself as she scolded herself sternly “when there’s every chance that he may come out of this. Doctors aren’t infallible. They make mistakes just like the rest of us.” ‘What am I saying ‘if’ this isn’t a case of ‘if’ it’s a case of ‘when.’ Victor will come out of this, he will fight to come back to us, he knows how much we need him! I can’t afford to let doubts creep in, not now! He needs me to stay strong and I will, I will stay strong, for his sake and the children’s sake. But most of all, I have to stay strong for Victor and myself. Dear God, I can’t lose him now! Please don’t let me lose him now!’ Nikki scolded herself and said a little prayer that she would be proven right in the end. Most of all, she prayed with everything in her that she wouldn’t end up losing the one thing that mattered most to her-Victor. “I’m not going to speak for the two of you, you’re old enough to speak for yourselves. But, frankly, I just don’t think I can do it. I don’t think I can go on with my life and pretend that everything’s fine; not if I knew that there was a chance that your father might have come out of this, that he might have been able to recover and come home and I didn’t give him that chance. If I knew that there was a chance that he could make it-and I know there is-and I took that away from him, I robbed him of the one chance he had to come back to us where he belongs, I could never live with myself, I just couldn’t.” Nikki’s voice broke as she tried her best to stem the flow of terrified tears flowing freely from her eyes.
Silently, wordlessly, her eyes filled with tears and regrets she could never put into words, no matter how she tried, Victoria sat beside her mother and wrapped an arm around her.
“Mom’s right, do we have that right? I don’t think we do. Besides, what about the effect this would have on not just us, but Mom, Abby, Uncle Douglas, Aunt Casey, Uncle Matt, and everyone who cares about Dad? What about the effect this would have on all his family and friends? What about Mom and the twins? Shouldn’t we be thinking about what’s best for them too? Doesn’t that matter? Doesn’t Dad deserve a chance to be here when they’re born?” Vicki agreed wisely, emotionally. “You’re right, Vicki, you’re right about all that. Mom, I don’t know what to tell you, I’m sorry, but I don’t. I don’t know what to do here.” Nick finally gave up.
“It’s okay, it’s alright. I understand, believe me, I’ve been turning this over and over in my head, trying to consider everything, look at it from all the angles.” Nikki tried to reassure them as she paced to the window to stare out it blankly, blind to the bright sunny day and the symphony of colours-bright greens, reds, blues and yellows just beyond the strangely cold, sterile building she was in.
“And?” Vicki gently probed as she rose from the couch and stood beside her mother, with Nicholas following suit. “I’m not giving up on your father!” Although her voice was firm, her chin quivered as she bit her lip to stem the flow of anguished tears. “Oh Mom.” Vicki murmured as she wrapped her arms around her mother, wordlessly trying to offer what little comfort she could. Nick said nothing as he wrapped his arms around his mom and sister and let his own bitter, terrified tears flow.
After a few minutes had passed, Nick told them, “I’m going to go call Sharon again, she needs to know what’s going on.”
“Alright. We’ll wait here for you. Hopefully we’ll hear something soon.” Nikki told him quietly as she tried to give him a comforting smile.
With a nod and a quick kiss on the cheek, he left.

“Damn it! Why didn’t I kick him out? Why didn’t I call security and have him thrown out and make sure he couldn’t get back in?! If I had, Dad would still be okay! If I had done something, this wouldn’t have happened!” “Victoria, what are you talking about? This isn’t your fault! Who paid your father a visit last night? Who are you talking about?”
“Bradley.” With that one word, Victoria said all she needed to say, with that one word, she communicated all her hatred, all her disdain and anger at the one person she knew to be responsible for her father being at death’s door.
“Wait a minute, you’re telling me he was there last night? He paid your father a visit at the office?” Nikki asked, unable to believe what she was hearing. ‘He’s either stupid or he thinks he’s invincible. Either way, he’s about to find out exactly who he’s dealing with! As soon as Victor’s okay, he’ll get a visit he won’t soon forget!’ “Yeah, I saw him in the hall, I was on my way to Dad’s office, but I got a call from Neil about something and had to go to his office instead. Now I wish I had just gone to Dad’s office, if I had, I could’ve at least warned him.” With a regretful sigh, she finished, “I didn’t even get to say anything to Brad, by the time I got off the phone with Neil, he was gone, probably already in Dad’s office.”
“What was he doing paying your father a visit? What the hell is he up to and what makes him think he’s going to get away with it?” Nikki said almost to herself as her temper grew, along with her suspicions. “I don’t know, Mom, what are we going to do about this? How are we going to handle it?” Vicki asked, hoping for some guidance. “We’re going to keep a very close eye on Bradley. Don’t worry, Victoria, I’ll get to the bottom of this, no matter what I have to do!”

Chapter Forty-One
“I can’t take this waiting, I’m going for a walk. Do you want me to get you anything?” Vicki asked tiredly.
“No thanks. I’m fine.” Nikki whispered just as tiredly.
“Call me if you find out anything.” Vicki told her firmly before giving her a quick hug and walking off.
“Don’t worry, I will.”

Once Vicki had left, Nikki forced herself to eat what was left of the meal she’d brought her hours earlier before continuing with the research. “Good, I’m finally on to section four. How does my brain work–You brain is made of billions of nerve cells. It controls everything you think, feel and do. The brain is divided into parts which control different body functions such as movement, speech and balance. The left side of your brain controls movement and senses right side of your body. In addition, it controls your ability to read, talk and do math. The right side of your brain controls movement and senses in the left side of your body. In addition, it controls your creativity, ability to enjoy music and art and your ability to recognize people and objects.

The Hindbrain–The major structures of the hindbrain are the medulla oblongata and the cerebellum.”
“You’re still at it?” Casey asked, trying somewhat to keep the annoyance from her voice as she walked into the waiting room and sat on the couch beside Nikki.
“Yes. And before you say anything, please don’t. I’m doing what I think’s best. Can we just leave it at that? Besides, we need to talk about what happened, about the argument earlier.” Nikki told her firmly.

“Fine. At least you ate something. Now I don’t have to worry as mush about you fainting from hunger.”
“No, you don’t.” Nikki couldn’t help but smile at the concern she heard in her sister’s voice. “Listen,” she began firmly but quietly. “I’m sorry I snapped at you like I did.”
“So am I. You’re so damn stubborn some times but I understand why you’re doing what you are. That doesn’t mean I like it, or that I agree with it. But, I don’t have any right to talk to you the way I did either.”
“And you don’t have to. I’m not asking you to like it or even to agree with it. All I’m asking is for you to support me. Casey, put yourself in my position, what if someone you loved were fighting for their life? Wouldn’t you want, need to do whatever you could to make sure everything turned out okay? Wouldn’t you do everything you could to make sure you didn’t end up losing the one thing that mattered most to you?” Nikki asked quietly, yet firmly, her eyes never leaving her sister’s.

“I said a lot that I didn’t mean. But, I need you to understand that I can’t just sit and wait, I can’t do that, Casey. I need to do something, and short of sneaking in that operating room and Victor’s hospital room–doctors be damned–this is the only thing I can do, so please, let me do it.” Nikki begged tearfully, emotionally, her voice barely audible even though they were sitting side by side.

“I’ll do my best, on one condition.” Casey told her firmly.
“What now?” Nikki asked, starting to get a little perturbed.
“That you’ll take care of yourself, and them,” Casey told her firmly, placing a gentle hand on her sister’s stomach as her niece kicked. “Nikki, they need you, you need to remember that. You need to remember how much they need you to stay strong and healthy.”
“I’ll do my best, but it won’t be easy. The longer I wait without any word on what’s going on, the harder it is.” Nikki told her honestly.
“I know and I’ll do everything I can to help get you through this, but you have to do your part. Doctor’s orders, got it?” Casey told her a little sternly.
“Got it,” Nikki said as she let out a shaky breath and wiped at her tears.
“Good. I’m holding you to it!”
“I’ll need you to.” Nikki whispered honestly as more tears began to fall.
Wordlessly, her heart breaking for her sister, Casey pulled her into a firm, comforting hug before whispering, “You can count on it. You can count on me. I’m not going anywhere, little sister.”
With a tearful smile, barely trusting her voice, Nikki whispered, “Thank you.”
As they pulled apart, Casey told her unexpectedly, “Alright, let’s see just how much more of a dent we can put in all this reading you insist on doing!”
“Really?” Nikki asked surprised.
“Yeah, someone has to translate it for you, remember?” Casey teased her with a little smile.
“How could I forget? I don’t know how I got through as much research as I did when you were checking in on patients and doing whatever else you needed to do.” Nikki told her before hastily explaining, “That wasn’t meant as an accusation or some kind of reproach.”
“I know, and I’m glad you got a lot of reading done.” Casey told her honestly before asking, “You sure you don’t want a break?”
“Yeah, let’s get through as much as we can, right now, it’s the only thing keeping me sane!”
“That’s just scary.” Casey said with another smile, this one cheeky.
“Smart mouth,” Nikki murmured smiling a little in spite of herself. “Yeah, but, hey, I’m not changing now.”
Shaking her head and chuckling a bit, Nikki told her, “I didn’t think you would.”

Sobering, she told her, “I just started the research on the brain. To be honest, most of it’s Greek to me.”
Unfazed, Casey grabbed the binder and said, “Let’s see what we can do to turn it into English.”
“Where’d you leave off.”
“The section about the brainstem. Hey, Casey, you’re a cardiologist, how are you going to explain all this research on the brain to me?”
“Oh, I talked to Dr. Hoffman and he explained everything to me, so, I should be able to do the same for you.”
“Oh, I didn’t know he was still here.” Nikki replied, sounding far from impressed or comforted.
“Nikki, just keep in mind why we’re doing this, alright?”
“You’re right.”

Satisfied that Nikki was ready to focus and listen, Casey began reading. “Medulla oblongata–The medulla looks like a swollen tip to the spinal cord. Nerve impulses here rhytmically stimulate the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm” she stopped for a moment to explain, “–those are muscles in the lungs” before finishing, “– allowing you to breathe, regulating heart beat and regulating the diameter of arterioles; veins in the body, thereby adjusting blood flow. Its destruction results in instant death.”
“This is the part of the brain that connects it to the spinal cord so that other nerves in the body, particularly the spinal cord nerves can get messages from and give messages to the brain.”
“Okay, so far, so good.” Nikki told her quietly as she let out a tired sigh.
“Any questions so far?” Casey asked carefully.
“No, keep going.”

“Pons–The pons appears to act as a relay station carrying signals from many parts of the cerebral cortex to the cerebellum. Nerve impulses coming from the eyes, ears and touch receptors are sent to the cerebellum. It also takes part in the reflexes which regulate breathing. So, basically, it’s like a telegraph station, if you want to look at it that way. It carries signals from different parts of the brain. And, it has a hand in controlling breathing reflexes.

“Honey, why don’t we just take a ten minute break so you can do something else to get your mind off of this for a little bit?” Casey asked concerned as she noted the fatigue etched on her sister’s face, in her posture.
“Okay,” Nikki whispered, somewhat exhausted, taking a book out of her bag.
“What’s that?” Casey asked curious.
“It’s a baby name book. Victor gave it to me awhile ago, it has the origins and meanings for each name. He and I haven’t had much of a chance to look at it.” Nikki told her quietly before saying, “Don’t ask me why I’m taking this out now to look at it, it just feels right. It feels like the right thing to do. I can’t explain it, but it’s the truth.”
“You do whatever you think’s best, whatever makes you feel comfortable.” Casey reassured her. Unable to hide her curiosity, she asked, “Have you got any ideas?”
“A few, Joseph, Alex, Michael, or Jonathan, for our son. For our daughter, it’s a little more tricky. Too many names I like.” Nikki said with a smile. “Anna, Clara, Cora, Mia, Melissa, Adrianna, like I said, it’s tricky.”
“Sounds like you’ve got quite a head start on your hubby.” Casey told her with a little smile. “Well, somewhat, yeah. It’s been one thing that’s kept my mind off of what might happen with him and with my daughter.” Nikki told her quietly, sadly.
“This is supposed to cheer you up, remember?”
“I know, I’m trying, Casey. I am, butt it’s not as easy as you think!”
“I’m sorry, I know it isn’t.”
“It’s okay. Ready to get back to it?”
“If you are, yeah.”
“Yeah, I’d rather sit here listening to you explain all this research than talk about baby names or anything else, all it does is remind me of what’s going on with Victor and what his chances are and-”Nikki cut herself off abruptly and said, “Let’s just get back to the research.”

Knowing enough not to argue, Casey began reading. “The reticular formation–This is a part of the brain that runs through the middle of the hindbrain and on into the midbrain. It gets sensory input like sound from higher in the brain and sends it back up to the thalamus. It’s involved in sleep,” Casey stopped and turned to her sister with a cautious warning, “Something you definitely need.” “It’s also involved in arousal– stimulating senses– and vomiting.”
“Lovely,” Nikki murmured, pulling a wry face.
“Hey, you’re the one who insists on reading absolutely everything,” Casey pointed out, with a smirk.
“Yeah, fine. Keep going.”

“Man, I’d forgotten what a slave driver you can be!” When Nikki only glared at her, Casey merely did as she was told. “Cerebellum–The cerebellum’s made up of two very complex hemispheres. Despite the fact that, it represents just ten percent of the brain’s weight, it contains as many neurons as the remainder of the brain put together. Its most clearly-understood job is coordinating body movements. Individuals with damage to their cerebellum can perceive the world like before and have the ability to contract their muscles, however their motions are jerky and uncoordinated. Therefore, the cerebellum seems to be a centre for learning motor skills (implicit memory).
The Midbrain–The midbrain (mesencephalon) takes up only a little bit of room in people.

The reticular formation– Gets input from higher centres–higher places in the brain– and relays them to motor neurons.

The substantia niagra–aids in making body movements ‘smoother.’

The forebrain–The human forebrain (prosencephalon) is composed of a pair of big cerebral hemispheres named the telencephalon.

Diencephalon– Due to the spinal tracts, the left hemisphere of the forebrain deals with the right side of the body and the left side of the forebrain controls the right of the body.

Thalamus–All sensory input (except for olfaction) goes through it on the way to the somatic-sensory parts of the cerebral cortex and then comes back to it from there.”
“Olfaction is your sense of smell.” Casey explained, trying to be as helpful as she could, considering this wasn’t her area of expertise.

“Okay, but what’s the cerebral cortex?”
“It’s a skinny covering of gray matter about the size of a formal dinner napkin covering the surface of each cerebral hemisphere. It’s crumpled and folded, making lots of curving folds and long narrow openings. It’s made of six layers of nerve cells and nerve pathways connecting them. It’s responsible for thought process, perception and memory and serves as the seat of advanced function, social abilities, language and problem solving.”
“All signals coming into the brain from the optic nerves–the nerves in your eyes– come into the cerebral cortex.”

“Hypothalamus–The seat of the autonomic nervous system. Damage to this part of the brain is quickly fatal because the homeostasis–balance in the body– of body temperature, blood chemistry, etc. goes out of control.

Posterior lobe of the pituitary– Gets antidiuretic hormone(ADH) and oxytocin from the hypothalamus and lets them go into the blood.”

“What’s oxytocin?”
“It’s a hormone found in mammals that also acts like a neurotransmitter in the brain. In the brain, it’s involved in social recognition and bonding and may be involved in forming trust between individuals.” Casey explained, hoping she was doing a good job.
“Okay, now I understand a little bit more. Thanks.”
“Good. I wasn’t sure I was helping.” Casey told her honestly.

“The Cerebral Hemispheres–All the hemispheres of the cerebrum are subdivided into four lobes you can see from the outside: the frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal lobes.

Limbic system–This part of the brain gets input from many association areas in the cerebral cortex and passes signals on to the nucleus accumbens.”
“Nucleus what?” Nikki asked confused.
“It’s the part of the brain thought to play an important role in reward, laughter, pleasure, addiction and fear,” Casey told her before continuing.

“The limbic system–is composed of the: hippocampus, which is fundamental in forming long-term memories, the amygdala, which seems to be the centre of emotions (i.e. fear) and sends signals to the hypothalamus and medulla that activate the fight of flight response–the response that increases your heart rate and the amount of testosterone in your body and blood stream so you can either get out of a threatening situation very quickly to avoid getting hurt, or fight your way out of it.” Casey explained before telling her, “Nikki, we need to put this aside for now. You need some sleep.”

“Casey, do you honestly think I can sleep?” Nikki asked unable to believe the suggestion.
“I know it’s hard. But, I’m worried. You haven’t gotten much sleep since you got here and that can affect the pregnancy. I know how much you want to help Victor, but I also know how important your children are to you.” Casey countered wisely.
“Alright, but wake me up on two hours.” Nikki reluctantly, exhaustedly relented.
“Don’t worry, I’ll wake you up.” Casey agreed, purposely not mentioning a time.
“Two hours, Casey.”
“I said I’ll wake you up. Now hush up and go to sleep.” Casey told her firmly.
Somewhat satisfied, Nikki lied down on the couch, with her head resting comfortably on her sister’s lap. 


Chapter Forty-Two
As the gravity of what Nick had told her only a few hours ago sank in, Sharon sank onto the couch in her livingroom in disbelief. “This is surreal! Victor was fine the last time I saw him and that was only a day or two ago. What could’ve happened?”
“After everything he’s done for all of us, for this entire family, he can’t die! He can’t go this way!”

“Ever since Nicholas and I started dating, Victor’s been the only one who always treated me with respect, he never made me feel inadequate or like I wasn’t part of the family. Nikki and, to some extent, Victoria and I have gotten closer, but Victor’s been like a father to me. Before I met him, I never really had that, not in the truest sense of the word.”

With hands that weren’t quite steady, she picked up a picture of Victor that sat on the mantle. She couldn’t help the soft, bittersweet smile that bloomed on her face when she thought back to two particularly tumultuous times in her life and her marriage. “Even when he could’ve been angry with me for keeping everybody in the dark about Cassie being my daughter, he wasn’t. He accepted her as part of the family. He and Nikki both did. They treat her as if she were their granddaughter, flesh and blood, and, as far as they’re concerned she is. And when Noah was so sick, when it looked like we were going to lose him, Victor had the best doctors in the country standing by, ready to fly here at a moment’s notice.”

As bitter tears slipped silently, heartbrokenly down her cheeks, she murmured, thankful neither Cassie nor Noah were around at the moment, “How do I tell her? How do I tell her and Noah that they might lose their grandfather? How can I do that to them?”

“Why is this happening? Why is this happening now, when this family is finally beginning to know some happiness, when we’re all really enjoying life for the first time in so long? Why?!”Sharon all but screamed, scarcely resisting the urge to throw something.

“Mom. What’s wrong?” Cassie asked as she and Noah slowly descended the stairs.
“Oh sweetheart, I didn’t see you there.” Sharon’s voice broke a little as she dried her tears and tried to pretend she was fine.
“Yeah, I know. Mom, what’s wrong? What did Dad say? I know it was him who called earlier. What did he say? What’s wrong?”Cassie pressed on, determined, despite the fear bubbling up inside her, to find out precisely what was going on with her family.
“Nothing.” Sharon told them as she cleared her throat and prayed she wouldn’t start crying again. ‘I can’t do that. I can’t start crying, not in front of them. I need to be strong for my children,’ she told herself firmly, doing her absolute best to remain stoic and strong for her children.

“Mom, we’re not stupid. We can see something’s going on. What is it? What’s going on?” Cassie pressed further.
“Is Daddy hurt?” Noah asked fearfully.
“No, no, baby. Daddy’s just fine. He’s not hurt. Come here, both of you. I need to talk to you.”
“Is it about that phone call from Dad?” Cassie asked suspicious.
“Yes. Come and sit down, both of you. I need to tell you something. You need to know what’s going on.”

Slowly, hesitantly, they did as they were told.
With the lump in her throat growing, Sharon took a couple of dep breaths, said a prayer for Victor, herself and her family and dug deep down for the strength to tell them the truth.
“Cassie’s right. That phone call earlier was your father. He was calling from Memorial Hospital.” Sharon began slowly, quietly. Seeing the fear in her son’s eyes, she reassured him. “He’s not hurt. He’s alright.”

Stopping briefly to compose herself, Sharon flexed her fists a couple of times before continuing.“But something happened to Victor.”
“What happened? Was he in an accident?” Noah asked, becoming fearful once again.
“Mom? What happened? Is it bad? Mom, is it bad?” Cassie asked, becoming more and more fearful and apprehensive.
“Oh sweetheart,” Sharon murmured as the tears she’d tried to hold back slipped down her cheeks. “Victor’s in the hospital, he’s had a heart attack and a stroke. The doctors said things don’t look good.”
“What? No, this has to be a joke or some kind of mistake! It can’t be true!” Cassie railed, furious at the blatant injustice. “This can’t be happening! He can’t be sick! Mom, he can’t be sick! He can’t die, Mom, Victor can’t die!”
“Mom?” Noah asked, his voice small and almost smothered by the tears falling fearfully from his eyes. “Is Victor gonna die?”
“No! No, he’s not! Victor will not die! He’ll be just fine! He’ll be just fine, we have to believe that!” Sharon did her best to reassure her children as much as herself before telling them, “Why don’t we say a few prayers for him while we wait for Grandma Doris? I called and told her what’s going on and she’s on her way over.”
With tears pouring down their cheeks, Cassie and Noah nodded and, laying their heads on Sharon’s shoulders, began to pray with her that, despite the odds being firmly stacked against him, Victor would somehow, some way get through this and come home.


#YRFanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Love&War Pt. 13

Published May 28, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Thirty-Seven
Still sleeping on the waiting room couch, Victoria tossed and turned as she was thrust into a terrifying nightmare that she wouldn’t soon forget.
As she was now, in her dream she lay on the couch wrapped in a blanket.
“Victoria. Victoria. Victoria!” Nikki called her name and shook her firmly.
She only mumbled and turned her face into the pillow.
“Victoria wake up!” Nikki exclaimed, shaking her a little harder.
Grumbling, Victoria sat up and snapped, “What? What is it?”

Rubbing her eyes as she sat up, still very unimpressed at being woken up when she’d hardly gotten any sleep, Victoria waited impatiently for whoever it was to tell her exactly what was going on.
“Mom?” Victoria whispered, her voice strange and scratchy. Clearing her throat and trying to focus through the fog of sleep that still lay over her, a thick, strangely comforting blanket in the chaos that surrounded her, Victoria once again said, “Mom? What is it? What’s going on? Mom?”

As the expression on her mother’s face registered, Victoria heard the fear, the complete terror and disbelief seep into her voice as she whispered frantically, “Mom? Mom, say something, say something please! You’re scaring me! Say something!”
“Baby…” Nikki struggled to find the words she needed to tell her daughter what she knew would surely break her heart. “Angel…your father…he’s–”
“No! No, he can’t be! No, Mom, he can’t be! Dad can’t be dead! He can’t be!”
“Oh baby, I know. I know, but he’s gone. Sweetheart, he’s gone, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“NO! He can’t be! He can’t be gone! My dad can’t be dead, he can’t be!”
“Sweetheart, angel, it happened really fast, and the doctors said he didn’t suffer.”Nikki did her best to comfort her daughter though her own heart had been shattered, along with her world.
“What do they know? What the hell do they know? They didn’t know him! They didn’t know Dad! They didn’t know him like we did! To them he was just another patient, just another file folder, a list of symptoms! That’s all he was to them! That’s all he was, all he’d ever be!” Victoria spat out, almost shaking in complete disbelief and utter fury.
“Oh Angel, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” Nikki murmured over and over while she rocked Victoria back and forth, desperately trying to soothe her.
“He’s dead! My Dad’s dead! He’s dead!” Victoria railed furiously as she clung to her mother and sobbed in her arms.

“Victoria. Victoria. Victoria.” Nikki called her name as she shook her firmly.
“He’s dead! Dad’s dead! He’s dead!” Victoria mumbled as she tossed and turned violently on the couch.
“Victoria! Victoria!” Nikki shook her a little harder and Victoria bolted awake and upright.
“Mom! Mom…” Tears welled up in her eyes and spilled out as she murmured over and over, her skin turning a ghostly white, “It’s true. He’s dead. Dad’s dead! Oh God, oh god!” The tears she’d been fighting off and on through the night burst free in a flood that rocked her to her soul and tore through her as she sobbed in Nikki’s arms.
“Victoria. Victoria! Listen to me. Listen to me.” Nikki cupped her face in her hands and met her terrified eyes as calmly as she could. “Your father isn’t dead! Do you hear me? He’s not dead! Your father is just fine, and he’s going to stay that way. Do you understand me? He’s just fine!”
“Dad’s okay? He’s really okay?” Victoria whispered, her voice small, terrified and disbelieving.
“Yes, angel, yes. He’s really okay.” As tears spilled from her own eyes, Nikki tenderly, helplessly rocked her back and forth, doing her best, doing all she could to try and soothe her.

Meanwhile, in the hall, Casey was on the phone with Katherine. “Katherine, I’m glad I caught you. I’m at Memorial. Victor’s had a heart attack and a stroke. Nikki’s trying to stay strong for everyone, but she could really use your support right now.” “What? What on earth happened? What have the doctors said?”Kay asked shocked.
“Not much, they won’t know anything for sure until Victor wakes up.” Casey replied apologetically.
“I’ll be right over,” Kay said before hanging up and tearing out the door.


Chapter Thirty-Eight
Back in the waiting room, Nikki had spent the past few minutes trying unsuccessfully to calm Victoria down.
Cautiously, slowly, Nicholas walked in after having calmed down a little. As his eyes locked with Victoria’s, tears welled up in them. Wordlessly, he walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped on you like I did. I…” Tears smothered her voice once again.
“We both said things we didn’t mean.” Pulling back, and gently cupping her face in his hands, he told her firmly, his voice full of conviction, “Dad’s going to be just fine. He’ll be just fine, you hear me?” Shutting her eyes tight, as if she could stem both the anguished tears she cried and the pain tearing through her, Vicki nodded silently.
Kissing her on the cheek, Nick told her, “Don’t give up yet!”
Turning to Nikki, he said, “I’d better call home, let Sharon know what’s going on.” Nikki said nothing, only nodding as she watched him leave.
A few minutes later, Nick silently walked back into the waiting room, his shoulders slumped, his head hanging down as tears swam in his eyes.
“Nicholas?” Nikki gently called his name. “How are you holding up? What did Sharon say?”

“I’m fine. Have the doctors said anything else?” Nick asked, trying his best to stay strong for his family. “As a matter of fact, they did. There’s more that you need to know, I didn’t want to get into it earlier, we were all too upset and needed a chance to calm down.
“Mom, what’s going on? What didn’t you tell us? What else is wrong?” Vicki asked emotionally, studying Nikki intently.
When Nikki said nothing, only letting out an exhausted sigh, Nick asked as gently as he could, “Mom, what’s wrong? What’s wrong with Dad? What haven’t you told us?”
“The doctors said…” Nikki’s voice broke as she tried and failed to get the words out. “They said that they can’t do anything more for your father. From what they’ve told me, the damage is too severe. Between the heart attack and the stroke, they-” Nikki’s voice was once again smothered by the tears slipping down her cheeks and the fear gripping her heart and soul in its vice like grip.
“Mom. Mom, what is it? Mom, say something please. You’re scaring me!’ Nick gently stepped in. “Mom, whatever it is, we need to know about it.”
“They’re saying that your father’s chances of coming out of this are next to none. After everything that’s happened, they’re saying he won’t make it.” Nikki’s voice was the barest whisper in the little waiting room as she slumped onto the couch and yet, to Victoria and Nicholas, her words rang out as loudly and clearly as if she’d yelled them.
“He won’t make it?” Vicki asked, her voice choked by fear and her skin pale and cold.

Chapter Thirty-Nine
“Mom, are you sure? I can’t believe this!” Nick snapped angrily, disbelievingly.
“I wish I weren’t. But your aunt was with me when I talked to the doctors. They aren’t holding out any hope. They told me it would be best to discontinue life support, or at least consider it.”
“What? They’re crazy! They must be!” Vicki exclaimed angrily, disbelievingly.“Victoria, your father’s very weak. We’re not even sure what effect the stroke had on him. And, even if he makes it, he still needs a heart transplant.”
“What are you saying? What are you trying to tell us?” Nick asked suspicious.
“I didn’t give them permission, if that’s what you’re thinking.” Nikki’s voice, although tired, held a clear note of warning. “I told them under no circumstances was I agreeing to that! But, I wanted to talk to both of you and see what you think.”
“Nobody thinks that, alright. Nobody thinks for a moment that you’d give them permission to take Dad off life support.” Nick told her gently.
“Well, what have they told you? Why do they think you should?” Vicki asked gently.
“According to the doctors, it all comes down to all the damage that’s been done by the heart attack and the stroke. They just don’t see him making it with the shape his heart’s in. He needs a transplant, and we all know what the chances of him getting it are.”
“You’re sure there’s nothing they can do?” Vicki asked in disbelief.
“Nothing, there’s nothing they can do at this point.” Nikki told her regretfully, trying hard not to get upset and start crying.
“Well, if they really don’t see him coming out of this, maybe we should-”
“What? I can’t believe what I’m hearing! Nick, this is Dad we’re talking about, how many times have we been told he wouldn’t make it, or worse that he was already gone? How many times has that happened and he’s proven us all wrong?” Vicki asked shocked and furious at what she was hearing.
“Vicki, I don’t want to think about this any more than you do. But, we need to look at the whole picture. Dad was in bad shape before this. He was scheduled to have a triple bypass for God’s sake!” Nick exclaimed more harshly than he intended.

“What? I can’t believe this!” Vicki shot back wide-eyed. “Vicki, hear me out.”
“Why, it’s obvious you agree with them, so why bother?” Vicki spat back, furious!
“Did I say that? Did I?” Nick bit out, his fury matching his sister’s.
“Then what exactly are you saying, Nicholas, because frankly, I don’t like what I’m hearing!”
“Tough! You’re not the only one who gets a say here, so drop the attitude, Vicki!”
“I know that, but the doctors are ready to give up on him. Nick, we’re Dad’s family, we can’t just give up on him! We can’t!”
“I’m not saying we should, that’s not what I’m saying at all!”
“Then what are you saying? What are we supposed to do?”
“Just hear me out, okay?” Nick asked quietly as the note of fear in his sister’s voice finally registered and he began to calm down.
“We’re listening.” Nikki told him cautiously. Victoria sat beside her mother with her arms folded across her chest still unconvinced and seemingly unwilling to listen to anything anyone but Nikki had to say.
“We all know Dad would hate being hooked up to machines for the rest of his life. Mom, that’s no way to live. That’s no way for anybody to live. He’s in a coma, the doctors don’t think he’ll ever wake up. It would kill him to know he’s being kept alive by machines, he’d hate it. Do we really want to prolong his suffering, and our own?” Nick began quietly, emotionally yet firmly as he sat beside his mother.
“Of course not! Of course we don’t want to do that! But, Nick, can we really deal with the consequences, the guilt, the doubts that we’d have after it’s done? Are we really prepared to deal with all that? Can we even begin to do that? I don’t know about you but, I can’t.” Vicki argued just as firmly, just as emotionally as she sat across from him.
“What kind of life will Dad have if we keep him on life support? We know how much Dad loves being outside, playing soccer, boxing, running, horseback riding, all of that. He can’t do any of the things he loves while he’s hooked up to all these machines.”
“Isn’t it better to give Dad the benefit of the doubt here, give him a chance to let us know what he wants? There’s still a chance that he could make it.”
“Doesn’t Dad deserve some dignity here? Doesn’t he deserve it, even if it is in death?” Nick asked, his voice catching on tears.
“Nobody’s saying your father doesn’t deserve some dignity. But, do we really have the right to do this? Do we have the right to, at least in my eyes, kill him?” Nikki asked emotionally, tears pouring down her cheeks as her hands began to tremble.

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Love&War Pt. 12

Published May 28, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Thirty-Four
After coming back from a short drive, Kay entered her living room and hollered, “Esther! Esther! Esther for heaven’s sake where are you?”
“I’m sorry Mrs. C. I was in the kitchen. Is there something I can do for you?”
“Have there been any calls? Any calls while I was out?”
“No, I’m sorry, Mrs. C, nothing. Is something wrong?”
“I hope not. Dear God I hope not.” Kay answered her, only partly paying attention to Esther and the confused expression on her face. With a wave of her hand, she said, “Never mind, never mind. If anyone calls, anyone, I want you to let me know right away. Right away, Esther, is that clear?”
“Yes, Mrs. C. Are you sure there’s nothing I can help you with?” Esther answered still confused and beginning to get concerned.
With a soft smile, Kay told her, “No, nothing else, just let me know if anybody calls, especially if it’s one of the Newmans.”

“Mrs. C, I don’t mean to overstep, but it sounds like you’re worried something’s happened to one of them.” Esther treaded carefully, although she couldn’t hide her curiosity.
“I really hope not.” Kay whispered half to herself.
At Esther’s curious, questioning expression, her silent plea to be told more, Kay sat on the couch and finally told her, “Last I heard, Victoria hasn’t heard from her parents in hours and neither have Douglas or Hope. I got a phone call from her several hours ago and she said neither of them have heard from them at all.”
“I can see why you’re worried. That’s not like Mr and Mrs. Newman at all. I hope everything’s alright.”
“So do I, Esther, so do I.”
“I’ll say a few prayers.”
“Thank you, I know they’d really appreciate it. Thank you Esther.”
“You’re welcome, Mrs. C. If there’s anything else I can do, just let me know.” With a comforting smile, Esther left Kay alone with her thoughts.

“What could be going on? What in God’s name could be going on? Could it be Victor’s heart? Could that be the problem? Is that what’s happened? Could he be in the hospital because of his heart? Nikki told me a couple of days ago he was scheduled for surgery, but she didn’t even hint at it being this serious.” Kay murmured aloud, sincerely hoping she was wrong. Then, as little chills slipped silently, hideously down her spine, she whispered, praying she was wrong. “Dear God, it can’t be the babies, this can’t have anything to do with them! Please dear God, no! Please just keep those babies safe, please! Please, Lord, just keep them all safe!”

“Damn it! I can’t believe I fell asleep! What time is it?” Nikki rasped as she rubbed her eyes tiredly and sat up on the waiting room couch at Memorial.
“A little after one in the morning.”
“You’re finally up.” Nikki said with a smile.
“Yeah, I woke up a few minutes ago.”
“Been catching up on your reading?” Nikki asked with a smile as she noticed Victoria now had the binder in front of her.
“I figured it’s the only thing I can do to help anybody right now, so I’d better do it.” Victoria told her before going back to it.

“Prevention–Remembering your medicine–If you’ve got trouble remembering to take your medicines, try the following: Take your medicines at the same time every day.–That makes sense, you get into a routine that way.– Establish a routine. Set a separate alarm clock to remind you when it’s time to take your medicines.”
Nikki interrupted with a smile. “With your father’s temper, he’d probably end up smashing it.”
“Good point, it’s not worth the aggravation.” Vicki agreed with a smile.

“Buy a pill box marked with dates and times. You can get them at your local pharmacy. But, talk to your pharmacist before using one. Some medicines should be kept in their original packaging. Keep a daily medication chart. Make copies and hang it up where you’ll see it and fill it in every day.”
Turning to her mother, Vicki said hopefully, “That might work.”
“We have to get him to agree to it first, and getting him to agree to any of this stuff will be a feat in and of itself!” Nikki told her sceptically, knowingly.
“Mom, we need to try! It may be the only thing we can do!” Vicki told her wisely, determined to make her point.
“We’ll try.” Nikki remained sceptical, although she knew she had to give her daughter some hope. ‘She’s hanging by a thread, I can tell. She’s trying so hard to be strong, but she’s barely hanging on. This is the first time since she got here that I’ve heard any hope in her voice. I can’t take that away from her.’
“Treatment–How long will rehabilitation last–Once survivors are out of the hospital, one or more members of the health-care team may continue to monitor their progress. Some health professionals might make home visits; others might arrange for office visits. This can give the caregivers and survivors valuable support. Rehabilitation services might also be available in the community through hospitals, nursing homes and support groups. Nobody can say precisely how long a program should last. Every program is tailored to meet individual needs. A program can also change as the survivor’s condition gets better.”

As tears welled up in her eyes, Vicki silently, gently put the binder on the couch beside her and walked quickly to the window.
“Victoria, sweetheart, what’s wrong?” Nikki asked as gently as she could.
“Nothing. It’s nothing, I’m just being sappy and sentimental, that’s all.” Victoria lied as she wiped at the tears running down her cheeks while keeping her back to her mother.
“With your father in the hospital, I’m not surprised you’re this upset. Honey, I wish you’d talk to me.”
“Why? What’s the point? It won’t change anything! Dad’s still lying in a hospital bed fighting for his life, the doctors are still telling us to give up on him! It won’t change anything!”
“It may not change any of that, but, it might just make you feel better.” Nikki countered wisely.
“Forget it, it’s stupid. I’m not the one we need to worry about here!” Vicki tried her best to brush it off.
Turning Victoria around to face her, Nikki softly countered.“Not if it’s upsetting you this much, it’s not.” As the last thing she said registered, Nikki thought to herself, ‘What is going on with her? It’s more than the situation with Victor; much more! It’s almost as if something’s going on with her, something she’s trying desperately to hide; something she’ll do anything to keep me from finding out.’

“Remember when Dad was in the hospital after he had a heart attack, after that argument with Jack?” She began quietly, hesitantly.
“Yeah, what about it?” Nikki asked confused.
“This is deja vu all over again! I can still see him lying in that hospital bed, so weak he can’t even speak! I still remember how close we were to losing him and it’s happening again!” Victoria exclaimed, wanting, needing, on some level, to lash out.
“I had no idea you’d been to see him.” Nikki murmured surprised.
“I snuck in, I knew you wouldn’t let me go on my own. I knew you’d find a way to keep me from going.” Before Nikki could offer any defence, she hurriedly continued. “It wasn’t because you didn’t want me to see him. You were trying to protect me, you would’ve been trying to protect me. But the last thing I needed was protection, I needed to see my father.”

“Any way, I remember one talk we had when he was feeling a little better. Somehow the subject of rehabilitation came up and that, to him meant hospitals and nursing homes. I still don’t really understand why he thought of nursing homes, but he did. The thing that sticks out in my mind the most is the fear I saw in his eyes when he talked about losing you and spending the rest of his life locked away in some nursing home with nobody remembering him. Mom, he was terrified, he told me he never wanted to end up that way. He wanted to spend whatever time he had left with his family, however long that might be.” Vicki took a few moments to calm down and try to stem the flow of tears running down her face before finishing in a choked, heart broken voice. “Mom he made me promise that, whatever happened we’d never lock him up away in one of those places. He made me promise we’d never do that to him. He made me promise we’d never forget him that way. I promised we’d never do that to him.”
“And we won’t. We won’t!” Nikki told her firmly as she wrapped her arms around her daughter and held her tight before leading her back to the couch and rocking her back and forth until she’d finally calmed down.

Chapter Thirty-Five
After a few minutes, with Victoria curled up beside her on the couch, Nikki again began to read. “The rehabilitation team–The number of services will need depend on their degree of disability. Not everybody who has a stroke will need rehabilitation therapy. A program usually involves the services of many professionals, including:
The primary doctor/attending physician–He or she might be a neurologist (doctor who specializes in the brain or nervous system, rehabilitation specialist or family physician. Doctors give supervision and care for medical challenges related to the stroke.
The nurse–works closely with survivors, their families and the health-care team during the initial stages after the stroke. Nurses help survivors with daily care like taking medicines, bathing, dressing and toileting until they can do more for themselves. In addition, they aid in organizing the community services which survivors need following discharge.
The pharmacist–gives prescribed medicine and can answer questions regarding medicines.
The physiotherapist–aids survivors who have difficulty using an arm, a leg or one side of theri bodies, and teaches special exercises and techniques to improve muscle control, balance and walking.
The occupational therapist–helps survivors to do daily tasks on their own and learn new practical skills for everyday life.
The speech-language pathologist–helps survivors make speech better, learn other ways of communicating and deal with any swallowing problems.
The psychologist–helps with thinking, memory skills and emotional issues.
The social worker–helps survivors and their families work deal with feelings of anger, sadness, depression, confusion and anxiety which are common following a stroke. Social workers also help with community services, family finances, work and discharge plans.
The recreational therapist–helps survivors plan new hobbies and interests, or get back to old ones in a different way.
The dietitian–helps survivors plan healthy meals to aid in weight control, controlling cholesterol levels and other dietary needs.
The survivor’s family and friends–can give emotional support and help carry out many rehabilitation techniques at home.” Getting up to pace the waiting room, Nikki couldn’t help the nervousness that seemed to be getting worse by the minute. “I’m going to the chapel. I’ll be back in a little while.”
“Do you want some company?”Victoria tried to sound helpful, though her heart was breaking both at the sight of what her father’s situation was doing to her mother and the silent, terrifying knowledge they both held that it might very well get worse before it got better. “No thanks. I need to be alone. I’ll be back. Call me if there’s any change.” With a quick kiss on the cheek and what she hoped was somewhat of a comforting smile, Nikki headed out.

As she watched her mother walk out, Victoria prayed with everything in her that she’d soon have good news for her mother.

She glanced briefly at the binders of research her mother had been so engrossed in almost since her father had been brought in and briefly considered diving into it.
Then, restless, she rose to pace the small waiting room hating how silent the hospital sounded. “It’s going to take a lot more than reading some research to get my family out of this one. It’s going to take a lot more than some simple reading to get my father out of it.”

With tears pouring from her eyes, Victoria slowly paced to the window and staring out it blindly, blankly began to pray. “Lord, I don’t know if you’re there, but if you are, I need you to listen. My father’s sick–he may be… he may be…” Barely able to get the word past her lips, she choked out in a heartbroken sob, “he may be dying. I know I don’t pay enough attention to you. I don’t go to church or take time to remember what I have and to thank you for it. I don’t take time to reflect on how lucky I am but I’m always around when I need something. But, I’m not asking for myself this time. I’m begging you, for my brothers and my sisters and especially; especially for my mom. Please, God, don’t take him away. Don’t take him away from us. We need him here. We need him so much. Please don’t take him away.

My mom would be devastated if she lost him, she wouldn’t know what to do. Abby’s already lost one parent, she can’t lose another. My brother and sister aren’t even born yet. They’re not even here yet. It would be so cruel to take him away from them now. Nicholas and he have had their rough times too, but they’ve gotten through them and they’re closer than they’ve ever been. He’d be crushed if you took him from us now. Please, don’t do that, don’t do that to us. You already know how close I am to him, I wouldn’t know what to do if…if you took him from us now. So, I’m begging you, not for myself but for my family, please don’t take him from us! Don’t take him from us yet!”

With tears streaming from her sad, terrified eyes, she whispered, trying to be strong, although her voice, along with her heart were breaking, “Dad? Daddy, if you can hear me, please hold on. Please just hold on!”
Drained and needing desperately to escape the pain wrenching her heart and tearing her soul like nothing she’d ever experienced, she shuffled back to the couch and slumped onto it.
With trembling hands, she took a picture of him and herself, one that had been taken when she was a teenager, from her wallet, and caressing it with trembling fingers, let her anguished tears fall as she lay on the couch, curled herself into a ball and fell asleep.


Having just come back from visiting a patient, Casey silently walked into the room and called Victoria’s name. When she got a little closer, she called her again. As she reached the couch, the sight of her niece sleeping as soundly as could be expected under the circumstances shattered her heart.
As tears filled her own eyes before spilling out, Casey covered her with a nearby blanket and softly, tenderly brushed the tears from her face before kissing her on the cheek and leaving her a note.
I’m still here. I’m just going to finish up my rounds and I’ll be right back. Don’t hesitate to call me or have one of the nurses at the front desk page me if you need anything.
Aunt Casey.


Chapter Thirty-Six
In the chapel, Nikki had lit a candle before sitting in one of the pews to pray. “God, I don’t even know where to start. You know how much Victor means to me. You know how much I love him. Ever since the day I met him, he’s been my rock, the one person I knew I could count on no matter what. He’s always been there for me, without me even having to ask. During the worst times of my life, and during the best,”Nikki couldn’t help but smile a little as she thought back on the many happy times they’d shared, regardless of whether or not they’d been a couple.

“From the first time I saw him, I knew he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, there wasn’t a single doubt in my mind. I knew he was the one I wanted to build a life with. He was the first one to make me believe I could actually have a future that didn’t include working at the Bayou, one that was much better, much brighter than I could’ve ever imagined. Without him, I would’ve never have had the life I have now. I would have never even come close. I wouldn’t have Victoria or Nicholas, or any of the friends I have now.” She smiled bitter sweetly as she felt her son and daughter kick. “And I wouldn’t have the chance to be a mother again, something, I’m sure you know, that I wanted more than anything else.”

“I couldn’t have ever imagined, ever even come close to imagining, having the life I have now. I would’ve never imagined having the life I’m lucky enough to have now. I would never have guessed I’d be so blessed to share this life with Victor, with the man I love more than anyone else in this world!” Her smile bloomed as she thought back to the first time he’d taken her to the ranch and the many, many wonderful times they’d shared there.

“Before I met Victor, I had no direction at all, I was just living day to day, without a thought to where I was going or where I wanted to end up. He changed all that for me, he changed that and so much more. For the first time ever I finally felt like I had a future, like I was worth something, really worth something. Except for Casey, nobody, nobody, had ever done anything like that for me before. Nobody had ever taken the time or interest to try and show me that I was really worth something, that I was more than just a pretty face or a nice body.” She ended with a soft smile.

“He’s given me so much, much more than I can ever put into words. He gave me a life, taught me what it really means to live it to the fullest, when I was just wandering aimlessly, content to take life as it came, without a clue about just how much I was missing. I didn’t have a clue what else was out there, what else I could have, what I had completely closed myself off to until he showed me. Without him, I’d probably still be at that bar, or, I don’t even know where. I don’t know what I’d do without him. The truth is, I don’t want to know. I never want to find out. There’s only one thing that scares me more than thinking about what might have become of me, how my life might have turned out. The only thing that scares me more than that, more than I can ever put into words is the thought of losing Victor. I couldn’t handle that, I just couldn’t.” This time, like too many others since Victor had been brought in, Nikki let her angry, terrified, and anguished tears fall.

“I know I probably don’t have the right to ask you this, but, please God, please don’t take him from us now! Don’t take him from us now, when we’re just beginning to put our lives back together again after having wasted so much time arguing over petty little things, things that, I realize now don’t matter and never did. Please don’t do that to this family, not now. My children need their father and I need my husband. I need him more than I could ever put in to words, and deep down, I think he needs us just as much. So, please Lord, don’t take him from us.” With her hand trembling, along with her voice, Nikki blessed herself and said one last fervent prayer. “Please my darling, hang on. Please just hang on. Don’t leave me yet!”

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Rorever: Love And War Pt. 11

Published May 28, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Thirty-One
Back in the waiting room, completely unaware that Nick was in his own personal hell, Victoria and Nikki sat where they had been for the past few hours, still absorbed in research as they ate, although Nikki did so disinterestedly.
“Mom, come on, you know you need to eat.” Victoria told her firmly.
“And I am.”
“You know what I mean. You’ve barely eaten anything since I got back.” Vicki told her, unable and completely unwilling to set the subject aside.
“Victoria, drop it!” Nikki told her hotly.
“Fine!” She answered petulantly.

Satisfied she could get back to what she thought really mattered, Nikki again began reading. “Stroke Treatments–Stroke treatment depends on the type of stroke you have, the severity of the stroke, your age and general health, and how soon you got to the hospital after the stroke. There are three principal emergency treatments for stroke: tPA–a drug which is capable of ‘stopping’ a stroke caused by a blood clot by breaking it up. Commonly referred to as a ‘clot buster,’ the name tPA is short for tissue plasminogen activator. It can only be administered to patients ho are having a stroke caused by a blood clot and needs to be given within three hours of the stroke.

Surgery–In some instances, surgery may be needed. It may be done to remove blood that’s pooled in the brain following a haemorrhagic stroke, to fix broken blood vessels, or to take away plaque from inside the carotid artery.”

As the thought of Victor having to undergo yet another surgery entered her mind, along with the terrifyingly detailed images that went along with it, Nikki shivered and hugged herself protectively.
“Mom, we need to stop this, it’s not doing you any good!” Vicki told her adamantly.
“Wrong, Victoria, it’s doing me more good than you know! At least I know more about what we may be dealing with!” Nikki told her just as adamantly, though she couldn’t keep the exhaustion she felt from creeping its way into her voice.
Shaking her head, Vicki told her firmly, “The key word here is may! We don’t even know what kind of stroke it was!”

Deliberately ignoring her daughter, Nikki stubbornly continued. “Surgery to remove blood clots–A haematoma is a collection of blood (that can be clotted or mostly clotted) found in the brain following a haemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke. Because there’s not a lot of extra room in the skull, a haematoma can dangerously increase pressure on the brain resulting in further brain damage. Surgery might be necessary to take out the haematoma and relieve brain pressure.

Surgery to fix blood vessels–Some haemorrhagic strokes are due to a burst or ruptured blood vessel in the brain. Two common kinds of ruptures are aneurysms, where there is a weak spot in the wall of the blood vessel, and arteriovenous malformation or AVM for short, where the blood vessels have thin walls that are prone to leaking or breaking). In some cases, surgery may be necessary to fix ruptured blood vessels. non-surgical procedures are also sometimes an option to repair them.

Non-surgical procedures–Some individuals may benefit from treatments which are done through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter that’s inserted into the blood vessels or the brain. Lots of these procedures are new and experimental and not all hospitals may be able to perform them. Catheter-based procedures are being developed to take away plaque buildup from arteries (cerebral angioplasty) and to treat aneurysms (weak spots in blood vessel walls which can bulge outward and burst).” With her palms sweating and her stomach tumbling around inside of her, as tears burned her eyes, Vicki rose to pace the waiting room.
“Victoria? What is it?”
“Nothing,” she whispered as she stared out the window blindly.
“I know that’s not true. Come on, tell me.”
“It’s nothing.”
As her hands balled into fists, Victoria stormed out of the waiting room.
“Victoria wait!” Nikki walked as quickly as she could to catch up with her.
“Damn it, I’m sick and tired of waiting around! I can’t just sit around like a good little girl when Dad might be…he might be…” Unable to force the words out, Victoria wrapped her arms around herself as she began to shake from head to toe.
“Your father is just fine, we have to believe that. We have to believe that.” Nikki told her as firmly as she could before leading her back to the waiting room.

“I’m trying, but I don’t know how much longer I can take this, I don’t know how much longer I can hold on Mom. I know that’s not what you want to hear, it’s the last thing you want to hear, but I can’t help it. I can’t lie, Dad might be slipping away and there isn’t a damn thing I can do! There’s nothing!” Furious at herself as much as at the situation, Victoria bit her lower lip to try and stem the flow of tears threatening to overtake her.
“The thought of them doing all these tests and putting him through all that I can’t stand it! To them, he’s just another name in a file, another list of symptoms. He’s not! He’s my dad and he could be dying!” Vicki was beyond caring how her behaviour or what she was saying seemed to anybody as she swallowed almost convulsively and wrapped her arms around herself, rubbing them quickly to try and rid herself of the chills that were coming from within her, ones she was helpless to rid herself of, regardless of how much she wanted to.

“Bradley deserves to be here not Dad! Damn it! Dad doesn’t deserve this! He doesn’t!” Victoria railed bitterly, desperately searching for answers, for some clues as to what to do, how her father’s situation would turn out.
“The thought of him being put through all these tests and the surgery and everything else, being used as a damn pin cushion or a damn science experiment or whatever’s going on in there….”

With her chin trembling, her voice trailed off for a few moments before she quietly yet valiantly continued.“Mom, the longer we’re out here without any news; without any news at all, the more my imagination starts to run away with me, the more I keep thinking what if he doesn’t make it, what if–” Shaking her head, she ran to the window and, with her back to her mother, let bitter, furious tears fall.
“Victoria, come on, come here.” Nikki tried to coax her soothingly, gently.

Breathing fast and hard, harsh even to her own ears, Victoria shook her head silently.
“Victoria.” Nikki tried again, this time a little more firmly.
Not trusting her voice, Victoria again shook her head, this time a little violently as she bit her lip so hard she drew blood. “Damn it!” she swore softly as she turned a little to search for a tissue in her purse. With trembling hands, she pulled it out as Nikki walked up to her and wordlessly turned her around to face her.
Closing her eyes for a few moments as her heart broke a little more at the sight of the fear and pain raging through her daughter, shining brightly, brutally in her eyes as it tore at her own soul, Nikki tried to swallow the bitter taste of fear that had insidiously slipped into every corner of her mouth.

Chapter Thirty-Two
Shaking her head a little as she opened her eyes to see the tears spilling from her daughter’s eyes, Nikki gently took the tissue from Victoria’s ice cold hands and dabbed at the blood on her lip, trying her best not to hurt her before pulling her into a tight, and she hoped comforting embrace, as her own tears began to fall. Then she silently, tenderly dried her tears with her thumbs and lead Vicki back to the couch, hoping her legs would carry her there, despite the feeling she had that they’d suddenly turned to rubber. Lovingly, tenderly, she held Victoria in her arms and gently rocked her back and forth for a few minutes, hoping that would calm her down somewhat. After several minutes, Victoria was indeed a little calmer.

Now that she’d calmed Vicki down somewhat, Nikki continued. “Stroke rehabilitation– Rehabilitation’s a critical part of stroke recovery. The purpose of a rehabilitation program is help patients regain as much of their independence as possible. This doesn’t mean they’ll return to precisely the way they were prior to the stroke.”
Fearing the worst, as her imagination ran away with her, Vicki said, “So, what, Dad’s going to be some kind of vegetable, someone we won’t even recognize? Is that it?”
“Victoria! Stop it! Stop doing this to yourself! Your father will be just fine, do you hear me? Do you hear me? Playing that what if game won’t help anybody, especially your father so just stop!” Nikki scolded her angrily, trying to keep her own fears from getting the best of her.

Silently, trembling, Vicki walked over to the window and stared out it blankly.
Kicking herself for losing her temper as she had, Nikki once again put her reading aside to go to her daughter. Silently, tenderly, she wrapped her arms around Vicki while she cried in her mother’s arms.

After a few minutes, Nikki lead her back to the couch and, taking her ice cold hands in hers and holding them tight, told her, “Angel, I want you to listen to me, alright. I know how scared you are. I know, but you have to remember one thing. Your father loves us, all of us! He loves you and he’ll do whatever he has to do to come back to us, so we need to just stay focussed on that and not lose sight of it, okay? Can you do that for me?” Nikki asked her quietly, tenderly, yet firmly.

Silently, as she tried her best to swallow her tears, knowing she couldn’t trust her voice, Victoria nodded and tried to control the sick feeling that was making her stomach roll around inside her. Without another word, she slowly rested her head on her mother’s shoulder and tried not to think about how close they were to losing the one person they’d all been able to count on; no matter what else was going on in all their lives.
Nikki was helpless to do anything but sit with her arms wrapped tightly around her daughter rocking her back and forth to try and calm her down.

Chapter Thirty-Three
After what seemed like forever, Victoria did finally calm down enough for Nikki to continue her research. “Rehabilitation–Rehabilitation can’t cure damaged brain. But it can help you relearn the best possible use of your body.
How long will rehabilitation last–Nobody can say precisely how long a stroke rehabilitation program should last. Each program is adapted to meet each stroke survivor’s individual needs. A program may also chance as your condition gets better.

Speech Therapy–Relearning speech and language–If a stroke damage the language centre in your brain, you’ll have difficulty understanding, speaking or making sense when you speak, read or write. You may also find it challenging pronouncing words. This speech challenge is referred to as aphasia. It’s common in individuals who’ve had a stroke involving their left cerebral hemisphere.

If you’ve got aphasia after your stroke, a speech therapist will work with you to relearn how to use language or develop other means of communicating. Even though your language skills may come back on their own during the first three months following your stroke, a speech therapist will likely become involved early on to make the most of the communication skills you do have. They’ll also help you improve your ability to swallow, and develop problem-solving and social skills you’ll need to cope following the stroke.”
“It sounds like they have to be well versed in everything, not just speech.” Nikki murmured, thinking aloud.

“Other ways of communicating–First, your speech therapist will assess your situation and the degree of your impairment then develop a strategy that’s best for you. This may include communicating via pictures, gestures, body or sign language, or something called a word board. This is something which displays single words or short phrases which somebody can point to so they can communicate with those around them. They work best for those who know what they want to say but cannot form the words themselves. Another means of improving communication may also include a mix of intensive exercises like repeating the therapist’s words, practising following directions, and doing reading or writing exercises. Computer-assisted communication is also sometimes utilized.”

“Long term goals– Once the speech recovery has stabilized after three months, the speech therapist will work with you to make the most of your remaining language function using a variety or a combination of strategies that fit your specific needs.”

“At least we’ll have some help then, that’s a comfort, right Victoria?”
When Victoria said nothing, Nikki again called her name, this time a little more forcefully; still nothing. Taking a closer look, she realized her daughter had finally, thankfully fallen asleep with her head on her shoulder.
Taking a nearby blanket, she wrapped it around Victoria and kissed her on the top of the head before pulling her close and taking a few moments to recognize just how lucky she was despite all of the turmoil in her life at the moment.
Refocusing, Nikki again threw herself into the research in front of her with a vengeance, although she did so quietly. “Medications–After your stroke, you might be prescribed one or more medications. It’s imperative you understand: what medicine(s) you’re taking, why you’re taking them; how you should take them (i.e. should they be taken with food?);when you should take them; what you should do if you forget to take them, are sick or run out; and what side- effects you should watch out for and report to your doctor. Most side-effects from medicines aren’t serious. But, some side-effects you should watch for and report. Ask the doctor or pharmacist to explain to you what side-effects you should watch for and report. The doctor might be able to make suggestions that can lessen or eliminate side-effects. The pharmacist can also help. Side-effects can sometimes happen because one medication is interacting with other medications you take, including over-the-counter/non-prescription or herbal remedies. Be sure your doctor (and/or pharmacist) know about any over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies or vitamin supplements you take. Never stop taking your medicine or change the dose without consulting your doctor. In some cases, suddenly stopping your medication can be dangerous.”
“They’re probably talking about drug interaction and withdrawals or some other side- effects.”

“Mrs. Newman.”
“Hi Anna, is there any news?” Nikki asked hopefully.
“No, sorry, not yet. I thought you could use this,” the nurse said as she handed her a bottle of juice and a sandwich.
“I don’t have much of an appetite, but thank you.” Nikki told her as she set them down on the table beside her.
“If you need anything, I’m at the front desk.”
“Thank you.” Nikki answered politely before watching the sweet woman walk back to her post and turning her attention back to her reading once again.

“Blood pressure-lowering medicines– These medicines are known as anti-hypertensives because they treat hypertension or high blood pressure. There are lots of different kids of blood pressure-lowering medicines. The doctor will work with you to find the medication, or combination of medications, that’s best for you. It’s important to take blood pressure-lowering medicines regularly, as directed by your doctor.”
“No kidding, otherwise they won’t work!” Nikki snapped, feeling the familiar signs of exhaustion, anxiety and frustration creeping in once again.

Deciding to take somewhat of a break, Nikki let her mind wander back in time, back to when she’d married Victor for the last time and then to when they’d found out they’d be parents again. She smiled at the memories and then felt a familiar, strong kick.
“It’s amazing how they can pick up on my mood.” Nikki thought to herself aloud with a small smile.
“And they’re definitely happier when I’m in a better mood.”

Another strong kick caught her attention. “Apparently they like it better when I’ve got a full stomach too.”
Taking the none too subtle hint, she began to eat as she continued with her reading. “Blood Thinners–Blood thinners help to decreased the development of blood clots that can cause strokes. There are two categories of blood thinners: anti coagulants and antiplatelet medicines. Anticoagulants include heparin (a medication that’s administered by injection in the hospital) and warfarin, which comes in a pill If you’re taking warfarin, you may need to have your blood tested regularly to make sure you have the right level of medicine in your blood. Antiplatelet medications (Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors) keep small blood cells called platelets from sticking together and making blood clots form. There are many types antiplatelet medicines. If you’re taking an anticoagulant or antiplatelet medicine, you might bleed more than usual, so try and avoid injuries and falls. When you go to the dentist, another doctor or have a medical treatment or surgery, make sure to tell him or her that you’re taking a blood thinner.”
“It would probably take longer to heal too,” Nikki murmured thoughtfully before continuing.

“Cholesterol-lowering medications–If your blood cholesterol level’s too high, your doctor will recommend that you change your diet, lose weight, or get more physically active. If your cholesterol doesn’t get back to a healthy level, medicines might also be prescribed. There are lots of types or classes of cholesterol-lowering medicines.

Medicines for high cholesterol–Medication therapy is an option for those who can’t lower their cholesterol with lifestyle changes alone. Statins are the group of medicine that’s usually the first choice of medication used for lowering high cholesterol. They might be used if someone’s considered a high risk for a heart attack or stroke, regardless of his or her cholesterol level. No matter what medicines you’re given, it’s critical to know what medicine and what dose you’re taking, and any potential side-effects to watch for. It’s extremely important that you take your medicines. Consult your doctor regarding alternatives if you feel any unpleasant side-effects, or talk to your pharmacist for further information regarding your medicines.”

Medication Types– Statins–These medications block a liver enzyme that’s needed to make cholesterol. Because of this, your liver produces less cholesterol and picks up LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol from your blood stream. These medicines are very effective and lower LDL-cholesterol by up to fifty-five percent. They’re the most widely prescribed cholesterol lowering medication. Despite the frequency of side-effects with these medicines generally being very low, headache, muscle pain and weakness, and high liver enzymes might happen. Your doctor might do a simple blood test after beginning statin therapy to rule out any serious side-effects.”
“With all these medicines, you’d think there would be something Victor could have taken! That’s if he was willing to follow doctor’s orders; and I know better than anybody what the chances of that were!” Nikki snapped as she thought of just how much disdain Victor had for following anybody’s advice, let alone their orders!

“Cholesterol absorption inhibitors–Right now, there’s only one cholesterol absorption inhibitor you can get in Canada. It works by stopping your body from absorbing and storing cholesterol in your liver and improving how cholesterol’s cleared from your blood. This medication aids in lowering the levels of total and LDL-cholesterol in your blood. It’s only prescribed when your cholesterol can’t be controlled with proper diet and exercise. This should always be used as part of a healthy living plan, which includes eating a lower-fat, low-cholesterol diet and exercising regularly.”

“Bile acid sequestrants/resins– The body uses cholesterol used to make bile; an acid used in digestion. Bile acid sequestrants bind to bile–keeping ti from being used during digestion. Because of this, the liver produces more bile and the more it produces, the more LDL ‘bad cholesterol it needs–meaning there’s less LDL-cholesterol flowing through the blood. These medications can cut cholesterol by twenty percent.”
“I really hope Victor will realize just what I’m doing for him here. I just killed my appetite! Yuck! I need to read this when I’m going to eat junk food I now I shouldn’t eat!” Nikki exclaimed disgusted.

Putting aside her sandwich, she continued. “Fibric acids/fibrates–These medicines break down triglycerides and are used to treat very high triglycerides. They may bring about muscle discomfort or fatigue. They’re occasionally used in conjunction with other cholesterol lowering medicines.

Niacin–This works by slowing the liver’s production of the chemicals that help produce LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. It considerably raises HDL ‘good’ cholesterol. It’s a form of vitamin B that should only be taken as a cholesterol lowering medicine when prescribed by your doctor. Side-effects can include flushing in the upper body and face.”

Though she’d been fighting it for hours now, Nikki finally gave in to the fog of sleep quickly overwhelming her as she leaned her head against her daughter’s and fell asleep.


#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Love&War Pt. 10

Published May 28, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Twenty-Eight
“Victoria, if that were the case, I’m sure someone would have told me by now. I’m sure his doctors would have told me by now. Then again, maybe not; I still haven’t heard a damn thing more than I told you and Nicholas and he was brought in hours ago! They should know by now what parts of your fathers brain were affected and how the stroke affected him!” As much as she wanted to, as hard as she tried, Nikki found it more and more difficult to keep her temper under control and her fears at bey.
Swallowing hard, Vicki fell silent for several moments before whispering shyly, “I’m sorry. I’m doing more harm than good by being here, I’ll just-”
“Victoria, you’re not doing anything wrong! I’ve been testy all night! I’m so worried about your father and what’s going on with him that I’m taking it out on you and everybody else. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.”

“No it’s not. There’s no excuse for me to be biting your head off this way; or your Aunt Casey’s.”
“Something happened between you two?” Vicki asked carefully
“Yeah, I snapped on her worse than I did on you.” Nikki told her honestly as she ran her hands through her hair and walked to the window.
“I’m sure if you just talk to her she’ll understand. She knows how much stress you’re under.” Vicki tried to reassure her as she followed.
“I don’t know. I was really hard on her, some of the things I said were really harsh. And, whether or not I’m under stress, there’s no excuse for the way I talked to her earlier.” Nikki told her regretfully, hesitantly.
“Mom, she’s your sister. She’ll understand, talk to her.”Vicki told her wisely.

“I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but don’t you want to take a break?”
“Why not? You really look like you could use one.”
“Gee, thanks.” Nikki didn’t bother to keep the sarcasm from her voice as she stared straight back at her daughter.
“Mom, come on, you’ve been at this for how long?”
“I didn’t bother to set a timer!” Nikki snapped, her temper rising dangerously.
“I’m only trying to help!” Vicki reminded her a little more harshly than she’d intended.
“I know that, I know. But, Victoria, you need to understand something. Every time I close my eyes, every time I even try to get some sleep, all I can see is your father lying on the floor of his office barely breathing. No matter how much I try and forget, no matter how hard I try to block it out, I can’t. It’s all I see, no matter what I do, it’s all I see.” Silently, dejectedly, almost as if she were haunted by the images that had been burned into her mind since she’d first found Victor on the floor of his office, Nikki paced to the window.

Deciding it was better to quietly abide by her mother’s wishes than risk starting an argument, which was clearly the last thing her mother needed, Vicki slowly walked back to the couch and began reading once again. “Being overweight–Compared to individuals who maintain a healthy body weight, those whose body weight is more than twenty percent above a healthy body weight are more at risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. This means they’ve also got a higher risk of stroke. Individuals who are overweight also tend to have other risk factors like physical inactivity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels.

“Hormonal changes–Modern oral contraceptives (birth control pills) are much safer than the forms used decades ago. In women younger than thirty-five years old who don’t smoke, their use doesn’t increase the risk of stroke. But, in a small percentage of women, birth control pills heighten the risk of high blood pressure and of blood clots. The risks are greater if you: smoke already, have high blood pressure, have a blood clotting problem, or are older than forty years old. Recent evidence has found hormone replacement therapy doesn’t reduce the risk of recurrent stroke; but studies continue.” After studying her mother intently for a few moments, Victoria carefully, quietly continued. “Homocysteine– Homocysteine is made naturally in the body as it breaks down protein for fuel. A high level of homocysteine is linked with a higher risk of stroke. But, it’s not yet known if reducing these levels reduces stroke risk.”
“That sounds a little encouraging.”

When Nikki didn’t answer, Victoria quietly set the binder down and walked over to her.
“Mom? Mom, are you okay?” Vicki quietly asked, unable to keep the concern from her voice.
Still, Nikki remained silent.
“Mom?” Vicki said quietly once again as she touched her mother’s shoulder.
Wiping stubbornly at her tears, Nikki took a small, deep breath to try and calm herself down before turning to her daughter.
Unable to find the words she knew her mother needed to hear, unable to offer the comfort she knew Nikki needed more than anything else at that moment, Victoria silently, tenderly wrapped her arms around her mother and held on tight.

Leading her back to the couch, Victoria told her gently, “I wish you’d open up to me. I can see how scared you are, I can see how worried you are. Why don’t you talk to me? I can be a pretty good listener.”
“I know, angel. Don’t worry about me, I’m just fine, the one we need to worry about right now is your father. He’s the one who needs all our support, all our love and all our attention.”
“What about what you need, shouldn’t that count for something? Doesn’t it count for anything?” Vicki asked, knowing it was a difficult question to answer, and more importantly one her mother hadn’t considered since she’d gotten there; one she, for reasons that weren’t entirely clear, wouldn’t consider.
“Yes but-”

“But what? Mom, what good are you going to be if you’re exhausted from trying to hang on and be there for everybody else when you won’t even let anybody do the same for you? What good will that do anybody, including Dad?” Victoria asked wisely.
“I won’t deny what you’re saying ,I can’t. But, the one thing I know for sure is, right now, I need to put my feelings aside and focus on your father. Victoria, I need to do that. I don’t expect you to fully understand, or agree with me. But, I need you to support me. I need you to do that because I don’t think I can handle this on my own.”
“You don’t have to, you’ll never have to.” Victoria whispered as she wrapped her arms around her mother, holding her close and tight and wishing that somehow, some way, she could take away the pain she saw shining from her eyes.
“Good, because, that’s what’s important, your father’s recovery is what’s important now. It’s the only thing that matters.”

“Not the only thing,” Vicki gently countered as she lay a soft, gentle hand on her mother’s stomach and felt her sister kick.
As tears welled up in her eyes, Nikki cleared her throat and softly said, “You’re right. Let’s just get back to the reading.”
“Are you sure? It’s not going anywhere. Why not take a break?”
“No way, Victoria. Don’t push me on this!” Nikki firmly told her before taking the binder from her and continuing. “Treatment– Surgery–At times, a surgical procedure or operation is recommended as the best means of preventing a stroke. The doctor will be able to tell you if it’s the right treatment for you. The most common surgery is a carotid endarterectomy. This is done to remove plaque from the carotid artery (one of the arteries in the neck). An incision is made to open the artery, the blockages are taken out, and the artery is then closed up. Because the procedure’s considerably risky, it’s only done in rare cases. Only certain individuals can have this type of treatment. Risks with this procedure include: stroke, heart attack and rarely, a brain haemorrhage caused by the surge of blood released by the surgery. Individuals with high blood pressure are at higher risk of haemorrhage. Carotid endarterectomy is usually recommended for individuals who’ve had a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or stroke, have severe blockage of the carotid artery or are likely to recover well from the surgery.

Carotid Angioplasty and stenting– is a newer kind of surgery. It’s similar to angioplasty and stenting that’s commonly done in the heart’s coronary arteries. This procedure involves using a balloon like device to open a clogged artery and then placing a small metal stent to help keep the artery open. It can increase blood flow to the brain. During this procedure, a thin wire called a catheter is inserted through the arteries in the groin area and extended to the neck arteries. A baloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to widen the narrowed vessels. The vessels can then be held open by a small device called a stent.”
“Prevention–Having a stroke increases the chances of having another, however the risk is different for every survivor. However, the good news is that a lot can b done to reduce the risk. Lifestyle changes, surgery, drugs, hospital care and rehabilitation are all proven means of reducing the risk of more strokes.
If Someone You Love Has a Stroke–It can be very frightening if someone you care about has a stroke. –No kidding! Tell me something I don’t know!–But strokes can be big or small.–Again, no big news flash.–A small one might not cause too much damage and the survivor might return to normal quickly. However, a major stroke may cause big problems with important things like walking and talking. With a major stroke, the survivor might spend lots of time in the hospital. –Which, of course, Victor will love!– Once the survivor is home, he or she might need special care, medicine, therapy, and lots of doctor visits. –Victor’s going to love that!– In some instances, the survivor might have lasting problems with important skills such as walking or talking.” Nikki stopped for a moment and said a little prayer that, that wouldn’t be the case for Victor. But, in many instances, survivors are able to relearn the important skills they lost.” Nikki breathed a little sigh of relief as she felt a little more hopeful. “However, it might take time and patience.–Time and patience we’ve got, as long as we know he might be okay, we can deal with the rest.– So if you know someone who’s had a stroke, encourage them to keep doing the heard work needed to get these skills back. It’s also imperative for you to talk to someone if you’ve got questions or worries regarding someone who’s had a stroke. You may feel sad, frustrated, or angry that this happened to somebody you love, especially if this individual can’t do things with you like before. It’s normal too for someone who’s had a stroke to feel frustrated and upset, particularly if he or she must learn something as basic as feeding him or herself. It can make the individual feel less independent.

When surgery is needed– Following a stroke, the brain needs to get good blood flow. At times a narrowing in the carotid arteries can lead to blood clots forming. These can interfere with blood flow. In this case, an operation named a carotid endarterectomy (ka-rot-id end-ar-ter-ek-toe-me) may be necessary. But, the operation shouldn’t replace other means of reducing a survivor’s stroke risk.”
“That makes sense, they don’t want to go doing any kind of surgery or procedure on anybody if they don’t have to.” Victoria made a feeble attempt at conversation, which her mother completely ignored.

“Medications that can reduce stroke risk–Medicines can aid in reducing stroke risk. Another way of improving blood flow to the brain is to keep clots from forming. Medicines that thin the blood help keep clots from forming. A common blood thinner is acetylsalicylic acid, ASA (i.e. aspirin). It works by reducing the blood’s tendency to form clots, which allows the blood to flow through narrowed arteries. There are also medicines named anticoagulants (i.e. Warfarin) that thin blood.

Medications for ischemic strokes–Blood thinners keep blood flow to the brain going or improve it by stopping blockages. There are two kinds of blood thinners: anticoagulants and anti-platelets. Blood thinners make it more difficult for clots to form.”

“Mom, what’s an ischemic stroke?” Vicki asked hesitantly.
“It’s a stroke that’s caused by a blood clot. and a haemorrhagic stroke is one closed by bleeding.” Nikki told her plainly before continuing.

“Medication treatments for haemorrhagic stroke–The treatment goal is to limit the damage due to bleeding. One way is to use drugs which bring the patient’s high blood pressure down into the normal range. This needs to be done carefully. Bringing blood pressure down too quickly following a stroke can damage brain tissue. Doctors will monitor the blood pressure and bring it down slowly. Below is a list and description of some common anticoagulant drugs. Heparin is administered by injection, normally at the hospital. Therapy with this medication is for short-term.

“That makes sense, strokes already damage the brain, the last thing they want is to cause more.” Nikki murmured half to herself. before continuing. “Warfarin or Coumadin is taken in pill form and is for long-term use. Because both medicines can heighten the risk of bleeding, patients need to be very careful to avoid new injuries and report them when taking blood thinners. They also need to have their blood regularly tested to ensure that the right level of medicine is in the blood.”

“Anti-platelet drugs–keep blood elements named platelets from sticking together resulting in clotting. ASA can aid in keeping this from happening.
Asprin– can have some side-effects, like stomach upset and ulcers. Despite aspirin often being prescribed for survivors, it may not be right for you. For this reason, it’s critical to talk to your doctor. Other drugs can also prevent blood clots from forming. They can be given in situations where a patient can’t tolerate aspirin or, in the presence of aspirin, if the patient still has brain attacks.”

Although her head was now spinning and she could feel a minor migraine coming on, Nikki pushed on, pushed herself as far as she could, not for herself, but for her husband. ‘I’m not giving up on you, do you hear me, Victor? I’m not giving up on you!’ She thought to herself, trying to somehow, on some level, silently communicate with him.


Chapter Twenty-Nine
“Medication Tips– Follow prescription directions carefully. Medicines will only work if you use them right. Take your medicine regularly, even if you feel well. Take them at the same time daily. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Take the remaining doses at the regular times. if you forget your medicine, don’t take a double dose. Call your doctor or pharmacist for advice. Keep in mind that medicines have lots of different actions and side-effects. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you’ve got questions, or if you notice side-effects. Bring all your medicines with you to doctors appointments. It’s imperative that the doctor know what medicines you’re already taking. There may be changes in your prescription due to interactions between medicines.”

“Recovery–How does a person get better–Recovering from a stroke can happen quickly or can take a long time. How soon somebody recovers depends on how severe the stroke was and how healthy he or she was prior to it. Individuals who’ve had a stroke might need medication or surgery. Later, they might need rehabilitation. Stroke treatment will depend on what caused it.”
“This doesn’t sound very encouraging, I’m starting to get a bad feeling.” Vicki told herself as she paced to the window. “So, how do we know what’s going to happen with Dad’s recovery? How do we know how long it’ll take?”
“We don’t. We won’t know, at least not until he wakes up.” Nikki told her honestly before continuing.

“Medicine–For an ischemic stroke, the doctor may give the patient medicine which things the blood and prevents it from clotting too much. There’s even ‘clot busting medicine’ which can break up a blood clot. This medicine is administered through an IV and works best if it’s administered extremely quickly.”
“How quickly?” Vicki asked curious.
“Within a few of the person having the stroke, I think,” Nikki told her absentmindedly.
“A few hours?” Vicki asked surprised. “That doesn’t give them much time.”

“Victoria, don’t do that! Don’t go down that road! The doctors are doing everything they can and your father’s still alive, don’t you go giving up on him now!” Nikki ordered sternly as she got up to walk to the window and stand in front of her.
Swallowing hard, wide-eyed, Vicki nodded and fell silent.
Kicking herself for losing her patients as she had, Nikki ran her hand through her hair and, putting the binder back down on the table in front of them said, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that.”
“It’s okay, I should’ve just kept quiet. I won’t say another word, I promise.”
“Victoria, that’s not what I want.” With a tired sigh, Nikki continued. “Angel, I know how scared you are, believe me. But, we can’t give up, if we do, we really will lose your father.” More gently she asked, “Do you understand me?”
With tears choking her voice, welling up in her eyes, Vicki silently nodded.
“Good.” Nikki said before pulling her into a tight, and she hoped comforting hug.

Chapter Thirty
Once she was back at the couch with Victoria sitting beside her, she continued.
“Surgery–Doctors might perform surgery to open up a clogged blood vessel to help prevent another stroke later on. If someone’s had a haemorrhagic stroke, surgery may be necessary to take away blood clots or fix weak blood vessels.”

Turning to Victoria and studying her carefully, Nikki asked, “Are you okay? You don’t look so good.”
“Yeah, fine. Why?”
Taking in the sight of her pale face and trembling hands, Nikki again put down the binder and, taking her hands said, “Victoria, look at me. Look at me.”
Slowly, hesitantly, Victoria did as she was told.
Wordlessly, Nikki pulled her into a tight embrace, wishing she could take away even a little of the fear she saw shining in her daughter’s eyes.
“I guess all this talk about surgery and everything else is bothering me a little more than I thought it would. But, I’m okay. Let’s keep going.” She lied, hoping to assuage her mother’s curiosity and more importantly, her worry.
“Nice try. Victoria, I want you to go home.” Nikki told her firmly.

“No way! I’m not going anywhere! I’m staying put until we hear something!” Victoria told her just as firmly.
“Fine, if you won’t go home, then at least go and get something to eat.” Nikki ordered concerned.
“I don’t think I can eat.” Vicki told her wisely.
“Try. Sweetheart, you won’t do anybody any good if you’re in here for starvation.” Nikki told her wisely.
“Same goes for you,” Vicki told her before agreeing. “I’ll be back in a little while. I’ll bring you back something. it’s probably been hours since you’ve had more than a coffee or some tea.”
“Fine.” Nikki agreed grudgingly.
Satisfied that for once, her mother was listening to her, Vicki headed to the cafeteria.

With Victoria gone, Nikki doggedly continued. “Preventing Strokes–Some strokes can be prevented in adults. Some stroke-prevention tips for adults include: Don’t smoke. Don’t drink too much alcohol. Eat healthy and be active. Check blood pressure. Don’t ignore problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure , or diabetes.”
“Makes sense, if only Victor had paid attention when the doctors told him this!”

“Medicines for high blood pressure– There are lots of different medicines used to treat high blood pressure. They fall into the following categories: Angiotensin II Receptors AARBs– AARBs are a family of drugs which relax blood vessels by blocking a chemical (angiotensinII) which makes blood vessels narrow, constrict or tighten. This allows blood to flow more easily through the body and in turn helps lower blood pressure.

Angiostensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors–ACE inhibitors are a family of medicines which relax blood vessels by reducing the production of an enzyme needed to produce a chemical (angiotensinII).

Beta blockers– This is a family of medicines which can slow down the heart rate, the heart’s pumping force and the amount of blood pumped in a minute. These actions aid in lowering blood pressure.

Calcium Channel Blockers or Antagonists–This is a family of drugs which block the passage of calcium into the muscles controlling the size of blood vessels. The action dialates or opens up blood vessels, therefore aiding in lowering blood pressure. Other classes of drugs are commonly used.”
Meanwhile, in the chapel, Nick sat in one of the pews and tried to make sense of all that had happened since he’d arrived. “What’s with Vicki? Doesn’t she get that I’m just as upset as she is? Doesn’t she get that I’m just as angry? Where does she get off talking to me that way? Why the attitude? She’s not acting right, she hasn’t been since…since I don’t know when! She’s got to realize I’m not going to put up with too much more of her garbage! At a time when we should just be focussing on Dad, she’s acting like some stupid spoiled prima donna! Where does she get off doing that and what’s behind it? What do I have to get her to snap out of it?” Nick fumed, his hands balling into fists.
“And what about Dad, why didn’t he just do what the doctors told him? That’s all he had to do! Why couldn’t he just do that? Why? If he had we wouldn’t be in this mess! None of us needs this garbage right now, especially Mom! And Vicki’s attitude sure isn’t helping anybody! She needs to wise up and drop it if she wants to help anybody! Then again, maybe she doesn’t. God knows when she’s this upset all she thinks of is herself!”Unable to sit any longer, Nick rose to pace the chapel angrily.

After a few moments, his anger began to subside a little and he thought to himself ‘Then again, it’s no surprise she’s upset, she’s always been close to Dad. They’ve been practically inseparable at times. I get why she’s upset about this. What I don’t get is why she’s taking it out on everybody else! I know stress can make you do and say things you don’t mean but, this is ridiculous! Every time anybody tries to talk to her-about anything-all she does is swear up and down she’s fine and when we try and get her to see that’s not true, she bites our heads off!’
More calmly, he continued. ‘ Then again, I guess I wasn’t helping matters. I said some things I really shouldn’t have. She’s just so stubborn some times! Why won’t she let anybody help her?’ With a little smirk, Nick whispered, “Because, she’s just like Dad!”

“One thing’s for sure, if anybody can get through to her, he can! We can’t lose him, we can’t! Mom would be crushed, Vicki would be devastated and Abby would be heartbroken.” His last thought was for himself as he whispered, “ And I wouldn’t know where to start to help them pick up the pieces.” With tears slipping silently down his cheeks, Nick lit a candle and began to pray. “I know my Dad’s not the easiest person to get along with, I know that better than anybody! But, if you take him away, a lot of people will be hurt, especially my mom and my sisters! My mom’s already driving herself crazy trying to do whatever she can to help him, even though she’s exhausted. She’s not thinking of herself or her pregnancy, all that matters is my Dad. That’s par for the course with her though.” Nikki smiled bitter sweetly as he thought of his mother’s devotion to her family, especially her husband. “And, Vicki’s about to self destruct! I can’t get through to her, nobody can. The only one who could is lying in that hospital bed fighting for his life. He’s fighting so hard but,” Nick swallowed the lump of fear lodged in his throat, threatening to choke him and continued, “that may not be enough. Please, God, we need your help! Give us the strength to handle whatever comes. But most of all, give us back my Father. I know I don’t pay enough attention to you and I’m always here when I need something, but I’m not asking for myself, I’m asking, no, I’m begging you. For my family’s sake, especially my mom’s; please don’t take my dad away. Please don’t take him from us, not now.” Drying his tears as more fell, Nick sat in the chapel in silence hoping with everything in him that his prayer would be answered.