It’s been hours. Waiting is torture. I hate waiting. So I was immensely relieved when they called me back to join Tina in the emergency room.
“They’re finished with the tests. The doctor would like to talk to you,” the nurse who was leading me back to Tina informed me.
“Is there’s a problem? Has she gained consciousness?”
“The doctor will answer all of your questions?” she told me as she pulled back the curtain. Tina was still unconscious and beside her bed was her doctor.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“I was told you were the contact in regards to Tina’s care?”
“Correct.” I wish he’d just jump right to the point because my anxiety was hitting the roof.
“We obviously released her too soon but the development wasn’t present before.”
“Development?” I asked. I swallowed hard though my mouth was dry.
“Tina has fluid on the brain. It’s what caused her disorientation and ultimately her fall.”
“Is it why she’s unconscious right now?”
“It could be related. Sometimes the body chooses to shut down in order to heal, but I can’t say for certain.”
“So what now?” I sincerely hoped they had a plan.
“She has to undergo a procedure. We need to drain the fluid from her brain to relieve the pressure it is causing before it becomes a blockage.”
“She has to go through brain surgery?!” I asked alarmed.
“I’ve talked with a specialist. She believes we should do and ETV - endoscopic third ventriculostomy, basically what that means is we aren’t going to insert a shunt and tubing to drain the fluid instead we will be making a hole in the floor of the brain to allow the trapped fluid to escape to the brain's surface where it can be absorbed.”
“Are there possible complications?” My body tingled, every nerve on edge, my skin was crawling. I just want this nightmare I walked into to end.
“Every surgery as that possibility Mr. Bragin. We opted for this procedure over inserting a shunt as it puts her less a risk for infection, and has fewer possible side effects.”
“We can’t say for sure we’ll know more once she comes to. But some side effects can occur. I just want you to be prepared.”
“Okay,” I said trying to prepare myself but not having a clue on how to make that happen.
“Since this, all occurred so quickly, I don’t really expect there to be any issues. There is a chance, however, that Tina could experience nerve problems. Possible numbness down one side of her body, double vision, hormone imbalances. There is a small chance she may become epileptic, but that is very rare."
A misguided laugh escaped my lips, “Is that all?”
The doctor’s eyebrow rose in response. I’m gathering by his reaction, that he’s under the impression I’m not taking him seriously.
“I’m sorry. I’ve had a lot to deal with these last few days and I didn’t mean…”
“I need you to know all the risks and possible outcomes. It’s not a guarantee. I honestly expect her to pull through this procedure just fine, but I’d be neglect in my duties if I didn’t give you full disclosure.”
“I understand,” I said, sobering up so he knew I got how serious this was. I didn’t bother to ask the obvious. “Could she die?” knowing all surgery comes with that risk.
“We’ll get her prepped for surgery, once she’s ready they’ll take back. You can stay with her until then. There may be some members of my team who will drop by and introduce themselves to you and they may have some paperwork for you to sign.”
I nodded that I understood. “When we take her back, a nurse will tell you where to wait. Either I or someone from my team will let you know how things are going. You will then be able to see Tina once she’s in recovery.”
“Okay. Do you have any questions?”
“How long does this procedure usually take?”
“About an hour,” he told me.
The doctor nodded and left me there with Tina. I pulled up a chair held her hand and prayed.
I met everyone who would be in the room when she was operated on. Tina I knew would be in good hands. They had her prepped and ready to go, I followed the nurses and the gurney outside of Emergency, into an elevator to the floor they would be performing the surgery, down a corridor and then we stopped.
“Okay this is where we part ways,” one of the nurses said to me. “You’ll make a right here and follow the hall down to the waiting room. One of us or the doctor will let you know when the procedure is over and she in recovery.”
“Okay, thank you,” I said. I gave Tina one last look, I didn’t know what to do or say. So I opted for, “Please take care of her.”
“We will,” the nurse assured me, and off they went.
Cat could not believe Alex just left. Not that she expected him to stay behind but she was totally at a loss as to what to do next. Should she follow him? Should she stay here and wait? She wasn’t even sure her presence would be welcome. Cat wasn’t used to Alex being mad at her. The only other time was when she thoughtlessly packed up his belongings and touched a nerve about his brother.
Liam startled her by touching her shoulder causing her to jump.
“What’s going on?” He wanted to know. “Was that Alex climbing into that ambulance?”
“Something has happened to Tina,” Cat replied watching the ambulance drive away.
“Tina? The girl we met when we were at the phone store? His assistant?”
“Yes, look it’s complicated. I can’t talk right now. I have to get to the hospital.”
Liam stopped Cat from walking away. “Why do you keep running after this guy? You don’t owe him anything. Okay so he helped you out when you were upset with me but that doesn’t mean he should get to treat you any way that he wants. I heard how he talked to you, Cat. You would never stand by and let me talk to you with such disrespect.”