As soon as Bella received the page that Dave had been rushed to the ER, she just took off. She had been sitting with Rick, just as she promised, and when the page had come through the beeping of it had woken Rick but all she could do was apologise to him, promise he would be moved to his hospital room ASAP and then she bolted to the ER. It was just a rush of directions and orders, then. She managed to talk briefly to Dave about his wishes and although he was very groggy, he told her that she had to tell anyone if it came up. He didn't want her to have to lie for him. Of course it came up. Both Chris and Proctor were waiting for news on Dave's condition, so she had no choice but to tell them about the diagnosis. They both looked terribly shocked and Bella couldn't blame them at all. but she hadn't been able to stick around to elaborate. Dave was still drifting in and out of consciousness and still vomiting blood, but she did manage to get out of him that he had spent the last two days experiencing intense vomiting bouts, but nothing like this.
The scope showed a mild gastritis, likely caused by the metastisis in the abdominal lymph nodes and aggravated by the prolonged vomiting. But the cancer was causing him a lot of pain and Bella was worried. She had him sent for a CT, which indicated there was no more spreading, but tumour in the testicle had increased in size. She hoped to get him into surgery the next day, but it would all depend on Dave's condition and whether his blood tests showed anything else weird and wonderful going on his system. It was likely the cancer causing the gatro symptoms, but she had to rule out infections or viruses. In the meantime, Bella managed to get hold of her nurses to make sure Rick had been moved to his hospital room. It turned out that in the meantime, he had started vomiting too and was complaining of a bad headache, but said he was okay so far. Bed-wise, Bella made the decision to put Rick and Dave in the same room together, for each other's sake, but also for Chris. He was still recovering himself and the last thing he needed was to have to keep running back and forth between two rooms. Rick had no idea what was going on, and the shock on his face was evident when Bella followed alongside Dave's bed as he was wheeled into the hospital room Rick was already occupying. Dave was asleep, having drifted back out in Recovery after the scope.
At this point, Bella really wanted to be able to talk to Rick about what was going on and she would, as soon as she could speak to Dave about what was going to happen next. It was a small room and even with the curtain pulled around the bed, Rick would be able to hear. It was some sort of comfort for Bella, though. She wouldn't have to go over everything completely again, and she hoped once Dave realised who his roommate was, he would get some comfort from that also. She stood beside Dave's bed, waiting for him to wake up again as she rubbed his shoulder softly. "Dave? I need you to wake up, sweetheart," she coaxed and watched as the poor guy worked to try and get his eyes open. "That's it. Shh, just stay lying there. You don't need to move. Can you understand what I'm saying?"
Dave blinked slowly and gave a slight nod. He was aware, and he could fathom what Bella was saying. He just felt so sleepy and he was conscious of the oxygen mask he had on. Not moving was good. All his recent recollections of moving recently just came with pain. "I feel sick," he warned in barely more than a rough whisper.
Bella took the mask off him in just the nick of time. He was sick a little bit, but it was just liquid and she wiped it away for him. She needed to keep him on that oxygen, though, and changed the mask to some nasal prongs and made sure he was aware he had a bag in his hand if wanted to be sick again. He was lying on his side and she started to rub his shoulder with soft, rhythmic strokes. The last thing anyone needed was for him to start choking. "We didn't find anything too serious with the scope. I wanted you to be aware of that to try and reduce your stress levels just a little. There was some gastritis from the increased vomiting you've had recently, but that is all. I'll start you on some Nexium which will relieve that. The CT showed no further spreading than we already saw last time, but we need to act quickly, Dave. I want to operate tomorrow, or the next day at the very latest. We'll see how you go during the night and there are no complications, I'll operate tomorrow. But I need you to talk to me if you can. I need your authority and I really need to know how you're feeling, and how you're coping."
Dave had a horrible taste in his mouth. It wasn't the first scope he had, but this one was definitely the worst. He closed his eyes when Bella started explaining the situation to him so he could take in as much of it as he could. Sickness and pain were all-encompassing, though, and it was making it difficult. It was a relief to know it was gastritis. Of course the first thing he thought when he saw the blood coming out of him was that the cancer had spread to his abdomen or bowel. He was a distressed mess by the time he reached the ER, imagining Bella coming to him to tell him he had a week to live and all other terrible scenarios he worked himself up to thinking. At least, until they gave him an injection of valium to calm him down. It had only been a short time later they put him under for the scope. "Where's Chris? Where is he? He was there. Please tell me he's okay," he begged tearfully, his voice still strained.
"He's okay," Bella assured him quickly. "He's waiting to see you. He called your family and they're on their way from Jacksonville. He wants to talk to you, but Serena called me and told me Chris has admitted to her he feels like he needs to be in bed. Which is probably a good idea. He's very tired and still recuperating. But you know that Deleo blood. Just like the Tyler blood, it seems. As stubborn as all hell."
Dave desperately wanted to be able to keep it together right now, but he was crying before he had a hope in hell of stopping it. Everyone knew, and while that came with a sense of comfort for him, it just made him feel terrible that everyone was going to hurt all over again. "Am I going to die?" he managed to choke out through a gasp for air when his chest and throat tried to restrict on him.
Bella his the nurses call button, feeling herself get teary at Dave's distress. She could usually keep her professional cool but this cut close to home, and he was friend. One of her nurses appeared immediately and Bella gestured to him. "Can I have ten milligrams of Diazepam and eight milligrams of Zofran, please, and a cup of ice chips. I want Dr Tyler on half hourly obs for the first four hours and if he remains stable, we'll go to hourly. I want him on clear fluids, and then nil by mouth from midnight. I'm going to start him on patient-controlled analgesia, so can we have a PCA pump brought in, please? When his family arrive, they're to be brought straight to him. I don't want anyone giving them uninformed details. I will talk to them. Any queries about his condition are to be directed to me. He is a staff member and I will be ensuring his privacy is completely respected. No one is to discuss his condition with staff members not on our team, no matter what the scenario. And please ask Dr Deleo to come in here." The nurse nodded in understanding after he finished scribbling her orders down on his handover sheet.
Before Bella had even finished talking, Dave was being sick again. She needed to get him some more medication before he was going to feel any better, but hopefully with something to stop the vomiting and ease the anxiety, he would be more comfortable. He would have control of his pain medication for when he needed it, too. Even without the puking blood and turn in his condition, the cancer within him was causing him pain. He had confirmed that in the ER. He had mostly been okay since the testicular tumour had been discovered, just with some bad periods and tiredness. He had admitted to doing nothing but sleeping when he wasn't at work, but she couldn't chastise him. Sooner, rather than later, just like it had exactly done, his body would have put the breaks on and refused to function. Now she just needed to counteract that so she could treat him. "We're going to remove those tumours, sweetheart, and then when you recover from the op, we'll start a chemo and radiation regime to hit it hard and fast. I will do everything in my power to help you recover the best you can. You just need to let me take the reigns. I've got your back. You just need to keep fighting for me, okay? I know it feels like you can't do this all again, but you can't give up on me, Dave."
"I can't... I'm too tired," Dave responded, the exhaustion evident. Even forming words was a struggle. He had been running on empty to this point, but now he had crashed and burned, it felt like he couldn't get back up again. The notion of more surgery, more chemo, more drugs, all he wanted to do was cry.
Chris shoved the curtain out of the way and was at the other side of Dave's bed, taking his hand. He had caught the last portion of the conversation just as he had paused in the doorway of the room to check on Rick, who was in the opposite bed just looking plain horrified and shocked at what was going on around him. Like he was wondering if he should help, but had no idea what the hell to do. Chris, already in tears by that point, shot him a helpless look before he moved on to get to Dave's side. "You better, Tyler, or I'll beat you profusely with a pillow, and these fucker hurt," he warned shakily, gripping Dave's hand between his. "Hey... hey, dude. Just listen, okay? We're all here this time. We're not going anywhere. You just need to lie there and feel like crap, for sure, but focus on getting better. So, you're gonna lose a nut. Small price to pay. Well, maybe not so small, but you know what I mean."
Dave gave a hoarse, slight laugh through his tears, focusing on Chris' hand tucked protectively around his. "I'll make you a deal, mate," he said weakly. "I'll do the focusing if you go home to bed and rest. Bella said you needed to. I'm cool, man. Okay, not really, but I'll be worse if I know you're here trying to stick it out when you're feeling like shit. But I need you to do something for me first. I need you to tell Aimee I love her. Please? And if anything happens, you and Serena have to look after her for me. I never wanted to hurt her."
Chris nearly lost it at this and he caught sight out the corner of his eye of Bella turning away to wipe at her eyes. "I promise, dude. But it's not gonna come to that. You can tell her yourself. When the drugs kick in and you're feeling a bit better, you can tell her yourself. You're not fucking dying on me. I need you to get better so I can kick your ass for keeping this from me again. You got that?" He leaned over and gave Dave an awkward hug the best he could. "I'll be here when you get outta surgery. We can commiserate over your lonely nut then, and debate the benefits of a prosthetic replacement." He pulled back and held Dave's groggy gaze seriously. "We got a deal, dude? No checking out on us, okay?" Just as the words came out of his mouth, though, he was hit with a dizzy spell of his own and cursed softly as he put his head down on the railing of the bed to try and get it to pass.
"Shit... Chris." Dave had seen the colour drain from his best friend's face even before Chris folded over. A bolt of panic shot through him as he once again thought that there seemed to be no way he could talk to Chris without something happening.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Dr C," Bella cut in, making a grab for Rick's wayward brother before he did something like hit the floor on her watch. Chris hadn't passed out, though, just really looked worse for wear now. Probably a mix of worry and stress, plus doing too much all at once. She had been worried this was going to happen. But she helped him sit down in one of the visitors' chairs so she could look over him just in case. "Didn't I hear some rumour about you going home to bed, no? Dave and Rick will both be in good hands, Chris. And I don't need either of them stressing out more because you're face-planting my lino here, okay?"
Chris watched dizzily as she checked his blood pressure but then looked back to Dave and gave him a thumbs up to reassure him. "Shit, alright... I'll go. What is it?"
Bella gave him a disapproving look. "Ninety over fifty. I don't care if you tried to stage a protest by restraining yourself to my nurses' station. Either you go home with your other half, or I'll admit you again. You three could get some sort of deal on the room rate or something. Hell, one day you're staging an escape to get the hell out of here, now we can't get rid of you again. You don't want me to yell at you, Chris. I'm pregnant and it's not pretty." The nurse came back then with the ampules of medication for Dave and then cup of ice chips. She took them off him with thanks and then before she could receive any protests, shoved some of the chips into Chris' mouth. "You're also dehydrated. As soon I give Dave his meds, I'm going to tell Serena that you're ready to go home."
Despite the brain freeze he got with the onslaught of a mouthful of ice, Chris looked over at Dave in concern. He had never seen Dave look this sick in his life, and the enormity of what was going on really set in. Dave really did have cancer. He really had survived it once. And there was no guarantees he would survive it twice. Some silent tears dripped down Chris' cheeks as he swallowed the liquid from the ice and then sat forward in the chair to reach through the bed rails to take Dave's hand again. Bella had already moved on to inject the medication into Dave's IV line, and as Chris just sat there watching his friend cry, he just squeezed Dave's hand to let him know he was there, even just for the moment.
Word Count | 2,686