WHO: Emma and Thomas WHAT: Finding out how many different ways I can fail to describe pain? WHEN: Friday, early morning WHERE: His hospital room WARNINGS: Language
Thomas couldn't really explain the pain, because it didn't make sense. It was his brain that had the problem, and yet his entire body felt like he had been forced to crawl through wet sand for a year without rest. Pain signals were firing off everywhere even though he wasn't injured anywhere else. The pain, the nausea and the dizziness combined were hard to ignore and it wasn't difficult to understand why Thomas was not pleasant to be around.
He couldn't really spend too much thought on that. He had a feeling it was more unpleasant to be him at the moment.
Jamie and Lena had been visiting, but when it was clear Thomas was getting to the point where company was not in his best interest, Emma had shuffled them off to get some sleep and she had sat up with him instead. Emma was well aware if Thomas had actually snapped at Jamie, he would feel intensely guilty for it when he came out of surgery and she wasn't going to let that happen for both of their sakes. It was a lot harder for Thomas to yell at his mother. She just shut him down. She was well used to it.
She was reading to him and while it was distracting, it didn't necessarily solve the problem at hand. He winced as a particularly bad rush of pain hit his spine and continued on down his legs. It caused him to groan a little and he tried to shift but that only amplified the feeling. He panted and only then did he realise his mother had stopped reading and she was watching him. Through gritted teeth he said, "how many hours now?"
Dutifully, Emma checked her watch. "Six, lovey. It's five in the morning."
Why were the minutes crawling by!? Usually six hours sounded like nothing, but now it seemed like he was going to be in anguish forever. "Fuck," he hissed. "I don't know if I can make it." His entire body was slick with sweat from simply trying to deal with the agony it was in.
"You say the word and they'll put you under," Emma said, her voice ever patient. When he had recovered, he would realise just how amazing she had been for him. Now, however, he wasn't thinking about it.
"I told you no," he snapped. "Though if I do die, this is a hell of a way to spend my last day." He grunted again as fresh waves of nausea tried to claim his belly.
Thomas never saw the momentary look of sorrow on his mother's face, and when he opened his eyes, she had schooled her features back into her mask of pleasant understanding. "Tommy, you're not going to die. The neurosurgeon you have does this all the time and he's really very wonderful."
She could tell him that until she was blue in the face, but he was still terrified. "I know. I know, I'm just scared. I just...I'm not ready yet. He- the surgeon- he was telling me about all the shit that can happen afterwards and that is scary as hell too! Paralysis or more seizures or numbness. And of course the pain and headaches." He was supposed to be starting study and Columbia as well as a new job in August and September. This was all a little much.
"Brains can take a while to heal, but it will heal, Thomas. And this way they will get all of it and it won't ever be a problem again."
Thomas cried out in shock and then he whimpered as it suddenly felt like his stomach had been run through by hundreds of shards of glass. His eyes started watering and he hissed, "Jesus fuck-" though he refused to cry, even as he panted in an attempt to deal with the torture his body was heaping on him. He was sure he could manage not to cry.
Then his mother had moved to hug him and he gave up and burst into tears against her shoulder. "I'm sorry," he sniffed. "It's," another groan, "I can't-"
"Shhhh," she soothed him, running her fingers through his hair until the glass shards seemed to leave him. "You're going to be fine," she repeated. "We'll get through this."
"And that would be really, really good," he had to admit. "It just hurts so much." His voice was flat and resigned. He didn't want to be put under, but the pain was so much it was hard to see anything else through the haze of it. And even if he got through it, there was a great deal of pain waiting for him on the other side. He was essentially a time bomb, waiting to go off.
His mother leaned close to him and she planted a kiss on his forehead which made him give her a wavery but momentary smile. "I know, my darling. Shall I just keep reading to you?"
"For six hours?" he asked, a little dubious.
"For six hours," she affirmed. "I would do it for six years, Tommy. Close your eyes and I'll read. This will all be over before you know it."
He was too tired to protest, and even if he had it would only be for her sake and she would likely ignore him. Instead, he did as he was told and closed his eyes. Emma's voice reached him, even though the haze as she continued to read The Hound of the Baskervilles.
They stayed like that for hours. When Emma finished the book, she carried on with more Sherlock Holmes stories, reading one after one and never faltering. Not even when Thomas' body would tense and he would grunt or groan in anguish. Her voice never wavered. Because she remained steadfast, he could too. Thomas did his best to shut out the pain and while he wasn't entirely successful, it was enough to get him through.