#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?”
“No.”
“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.
“No.”

“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.

*

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