Carol's Patch Job Ch. 02byCastleStone©
Sorry about the delay in releasing the second part, life got in the way. If I do another story, I'll probably have it completely written before I submit. I would like to thank people for the positive feedback. As for those, who sent negative feedback like, and I quote "what can I say its shit". Hah, I'm married that was the response I was expecting. It was the compliments that threw me for a loop.
"Dad's temperature is almost 106."
Carol immediately called 911 and got an ambulance on the way. She, Steve and Janice used ice and cold wet towels, in an attempt to get Jim's temperature down. Which Jim didn't like one bit. Steve, Marge and Nancy had to restrain Jim a little, in order for the others to cool Jim down.
Carol insisted on riding in the ambulance with her Father, while all the while glaring at her Mother and visibly daring her to object. Janice was ashen faced the whole time.
They were at the hospital many hours, before the doctors could determine that Jim was suffering from a severe bacterial infection. They started him on extremely strong broad spectrum antibiotics to combat the infection but his outcome was in doubt. If he did live, they mentioned the possibility of permanent damage being done to his brain, heart and other internal organs.
Carol and Steve sat together through all this, praying for their Father. While Janice, Marge and Nancy sat across from them. Every once and while Carol would look up to glare at her Mother, who was just sitting there with her hands and jaw trembling. Marge and Nancy tried to comfort Janice while avoiding Carol's eye.
When not thinking about her Father, Carol thought angry thoughts about her Mother. In Carol's mind, Janice had been an extremely piss poor wife and mother for the past six years, more concerned about friends, gossip, soap operas and her job as an elementary school teacher. Her Father had picked up most of the slack, without a complaint, and Carol had done her most to help her Father. The last two years had been extremely rough on Carol as her Father had been frequently out of town. Because of the slowing economy Jim's former employer had gone out of business, Jim's new job required a lot of travel. Jim hated it, but it was the only position he could land at the time.
All the hard work and sacrifices the family had to make because of her Mother. Jim had wanted to change jobs years ago, before the economy soured. He had been offered at least two good positions over the years, with better pay. But they would have required the family to make small moves, of up to four hours away, and Janice had refused to even think about it. Even now, Jim could have gotten a better job if they could move, but Janice again put her foot down. So Jim was forced by his new job to spend ten to fourteen days of every month, away from home.
Now Carol knew why her Mother refused to move. Now Carol knew what her Mother was really doing with all those hours she spent with the Bitches. All the late evenings when those four would watch recordings of the afternoon soap operas, at either Marge's or Mary's home. She didn't understand the partial conversation she heard about Mister Henderson, but it didn't matter. Her Mother was a cheat. It was probably Marge's little brother's ten inch thing, that caused Janice's cunt to be loose as her Father had obliquely complained in his speech.
Carol thought with a bit of sick humor, that it was a tiny bit good that Daddy was sick. Because he never would have made such bold, unflinching statements about adultery and sex, if he was his normal self.
Carol thought about her little sister who, as a reward for good grades, was staying at their cousins house. She didn't know if it was right to hide from Lisa that their Father was in the hospital and might be dying. But no one had the courage to call Aunt Penny's house and tell her, this was supposed to be such a special weekend for Lisa and her three cousins. They had all worked hard to pull up their grades, and had been promised a weekend together of all the pizza, ice cream, and chocolate that they could eat with no bed times until ten pm Sunday. Lisa and her three cousins always had such good times together, but lived over an hour apart. So, it was difficult for the complete set of four to get together at the same time. Such a weekend would bring as much joy to the four, as Christmas had done. Neither Carol, Steve or Janice could bring themselves to spoil such innocent joy with the news that Jim could be dying. But they also knew that Lisa would never forgive them, if she missed her chance to say goodbye to her Father.
Jim was finally admitted to the hospital and moved from the emergency ward to a room with infectious disease decals stuck on the door. The attending physician, Doctor Richards, came out to talk to them.
"I need you to sit down, because I've got some hard words. It is not all gloom and doom but things are chancy right now. We've managed to get his temperature below 104 degrees. Jim has an anti-biotic resistant bacterial infection. The infection is well advanced and it is borderline, whether we've caught it in time. The next twenty-four to forty-eight hours will tell the tale, then we will have to see if there has been any permanent damage. But, there have been many people, even a majority, that have made a full and complete recovery from the same state that Jim is in. Can you tell me, where has Jim been lately? Where he might have picked up the infection from?"
Carol spoke, "Daddy just got back from a week long business trip to Brazil."
The Doctor had turned to ask Jim's wife, Janice, the question and was bit surprised that Janice didn't speak and Carol had answered.
"What does your Father do for a living?"
"He's an engineer and works as sales support for a medical equipment manufacturer."
The Doctor's eyes had gotten big at the reply. "Oh! I'm going to be contacting the CDC about this matter, they will probably be contacting your Father's employer as well as the Brazilian authorities."
"I'm going to permit visitors to your Father's room, but you must wear a mask and gloves at all times. There can only be two visitors at a time, and try and get him to rest as much as possible. He is extremely agitated and delusional."
"Daddy is always like this when he gets sick. He says the nightmares he gets when he is sick are the worse, ever and I've never seen him sicker!"
"Can you do anything to calm him down?" Asked Doctor Richards.
"If we sit with him and hold his hand that normally helps, some."
"Well you can do that, but remember what I said about mask and gloves. The table here, as you can see, has clean gloves and masks. Every time you come out, strip off the gloves and mask and throw them out in the can here, for contaminated waste. Taking off your gloves, try to only touch the cuff of the glove and then use the hand sanitizer here. When you take off your mask, please be careful and touch only the ear loops on the mask. You might then want to go to a rest room and wash thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap. Do not try and save your mask and gloves for your next visit, even if your just going to use the rest room. Since you've been exposed, if any of you start to experience discomfort please come in to be checked out. We might have to start you all on preventative antibiotics, but I would prefer not to. Any questions?"
Both Carol and Steve replied no and thanked Doctor Richards. Doctor Richards gave a puzzled look to Janice, said goodbye and went to see his next patient.
"I'm going in now to sit with Daddy." Steve, can you come back in six or eight hours to relieve me. I'll call my friend Linda, she can borrow my car and drive you here and then drive me home. Mother?"
Janice looked up at Carol, with dread on her face.
"You can do whatever you like, I know you might be too busy with Marge's little brother to come here!"
Steve didn't think his Mother's face could get any sadder or paler, but it did. Janice stumbled back into Marge and Nancy, as if she had been hit.
To Carol, her Mother had just become completely irrelevant. Her new goal was to care for her Father and to diminish his pain, while still looking after her siblings.
Carol donned a mask and gloves and entered the room. She was sad to see that he was loosely restrained to the hospital bed. It was necessary because he we quite agitated and attempting to thrash about. But it was still very hard to see her beloved Father restrained like that.
"Daddy it's Carol. Daddy, I'm here, everything is going to be okay." She said with tears in her voice. Carol then moved a chair along side the bed, sat down and grasped her Father's hand.
"Shhh, shhh, Daddy. I'm here, we're all safe. There is nothing to worry about, everything is going to be fine."
"Carol Baby?" Her Father said weakly.
"Yes, Daddy, everything is fine."
"Everyone is safe? You've had your dinner and done your homework."
With those questions, Carol had to laugh a little.
"Yes Daddy, we're all safe." The truth. "And, I've eaten dinner and done my homework." White lie, but necessary she thought.
"You go to sleep now."
"Okay, Baby I love you, goodnight Princess."
With that Jim relaxed and calmed down. The door behind Carol opened and she expected it to be her Brother, making a brief visit before heading home. But, to her surprise it was her Mother.
Janice avoided her daughter's eyes and walked to the other side of the bed. When she got there she loosely grasped Jim's other hand, like she didn't want to upset him or didn't have the right to touch him. Janice's eyes were full of sorrow and pain.
Carol wasn't satisfied with what she saw. How dare she, Carol thought, she should be a quivering, sobbing useless mess on the floor for her betrayal. Then Carol thought, this is all an act, she doesn't love us, she doesn't love Daddy. For six years she's been a useless lump in regards to the family. Just an act, she probably thinks this is how she is supposed to be, just like in one of her damn soap operas. Carol wanted to scream and beat her Mother, but she didn't want to disturb her Daddy or be thrown out of the hospital. Carol decided to settle down and pretend her Mother wasn't even there.
The door opened again, and Steve walked in to stand by Carol's side. He put one hand on Carol's shoulder and with the other he reached out to lightly touch his Father. Steve's face was wet with tears, he was trying to control them but they were still leaking out of his eyes.
"I love you Dad."
"Carol, Marge is going to drive us home. I'll probably be back in about seven hours. Don't forget to call Linda and have her pick me up in about six and a half hours. I love you Carol, call my cell if there is any change. Mother, are you coming?"
Janice got up to leave with Steve.
"I love you too, Steve. See you in seven hours, I'll call if there is any change."
Steve nodded his head. Carol didn't say anything to her Mother. Janice left with her head bowed.
Steve didn't know what was exactly going on between his Sister and his Mother. But, he had a pretty good guess, because of the partial bits of conversation he had overheard, and it made him sick. But there was no time to worry about it now. First, his Father had to get well, then they would sort out the other. But, he would be keeping a close eye on his Mother.
Carol sat with her Father for over an hour, gently reassuring him whenever he got agitated. But the situation became to much for her and she desperately needed to talk to someone as well as call her best friend Linda. She gently let go her Father's hand and slowly got up. Very, very quietly she said. "I'll be right back Daddy, I love you.
Outside the room, Carol removed her mask and gloves. She was surprised to see her Mother and Nancy sitting on a bench across the hall. Her Mother's face was white and she looked more like the undead in a horror movie than a living person. Nancy had her arms around Janice, trying to comfort her.
Carol seeing her Mother like that, couldn't help herself and said. "He's still sleeping quietly. I just need to go to the bathroom. I'll be right back."
In the bathroom she used the facilities and then washed her face and hands. First, she called Linda, waking up her whole family in the process. They were all shocked to hear about Jim's condition and they all offered to come right away, but Carol explained what she needed and Linda immediately agreed. Jim had always gotten on well with Linda's parents and little sister. The two families had shared many joint mini-vacations over the years. Carol frequently called Linda's Mom and Dad, Mom 2 and Dad 2.
Carol knew who she had to call for support and advice, her Father's best friend Ben. Ben was her Father's brother in all but blood. She dialed his cell phone, but there was no answer. She then tried his condo phone. A groggy voice answered.
"Hello, hello?" The voice wasn't Ben's.
"Uncle Mark, is that you?"
Mark was, as her father said "Ben's better half." Ben and Jim had been childhood friends since forever. When Ben had told his family, after graduating from high school, that he was gay they had disowned him. Jim had suspected for over a year, but he didn't care nor did Jim's parents. With no job and with his car taken away, Ben was looking for a cheap flop house to stay. Jim told him, that he knew just the place and drove him back to his home. Jim's parents said that they always thought of Ben as family and it was nice to have another son.
Ben was extremely smart beyond genius level but with losing his family's support he knew he wouldn't be able to afford college, and it was too late to pick up an academic scholarship for the first year. Jim was supposed to go away to college, but he had a late night discussion with his parents. The next morning Ben was told that the two of them would spend the first two years at the far cheaper, but still good, local community college. Later on they would move on to the State college.
Ben said, "You can't do that for me, you're already giving me a place to stay and food."
Jim's Mom, Grace said. "Shut up Ben, after breakfast, you two drive to college, apply and register for classes. You might even think about taking some classes during this summer term instead of waiting for fall. Finish your pancakes."
Grace looked at Ben expectantly. Ben still wanted to object but Grace's demeanor intimated him. But she also seemed to expect some response. Jim's Father, Frank, leaned over and whispered in Ben's ear.
"Better part of valor Son, say Yes Mom."
Ben looked startled and hesitantly said. "Yes Mom."
"Very good" replied Grace.
Jim, Frank and Grace looked down to resume eating, after a moment so did Ben.
Ben would go on to get a degree in engineering the same as Jim, but he would continue on to get his law degree. He went on to specialize in patent, corporate, and international law in the Pacific Rim. Putting it mildly, Ben was loaded, or more bluntly, Ben was stinking rich. Ten years ago, Ben and Mark met. Mark was a civil engineer with the county and a giant of a man. Two years later, Ben and Mark were bound together in a small but beautiful ceremony. While not officially recognized by the state, they exchanged powers of attorney and made other contractual agreements binding them together.
After the ceremony, Grace warned Mark that he better treat her son right and then welcomed Mark to the family. Mark was extremely touched, even though he was a large man he was extremely sensitive. But he had to hide his sensitivity for two reasons. First, his sexual orientation and the second, and perhaps worse, the contrast between his large size and his emotional sensitivity. Big men are not supposed to cry. In most ways, Ben was the tougher of the two, even though physically he was quite smaller.
For years Ben spared no expense in taking care of his new parents. Paying for expensive vacations to the same countries that he did most of his business in, such as Japan, Taiwan, China, and Korea. Bills sent to Frank's and Grace's home were some how redirected and quietly paid by Ben. Frank caught on and had a confrontation with Ben.
Ben's reply "A wealthy and successful son has the privilege, and pleasure to take care of his parents. Isn't that right?"
Frank was momentarily nonplused at Ben's reply. Grace who was witnessing the heated discussion, leaned over and whispered in Frank's ear. "Shut up Frank, and say Yes Son."
"Very good. Oh, your new car will be delivered tomorrow." With that he kissed his Mother on the cheek, and walked off grinning, leaving his Father standing there with an open mouth.
Four years later Grace suddenly passed because of a massive heart attack. For the next two months Frank just seemed to wither up, Jim and his family, Ben and Mark, while heart broken because of the loss of Grace, tried to help Frank but not even his grandchildren could lighten his heart. Frank died of a stroke, just seventy days after his wife. Ben insisted on paying for both funerals. There was a wake afterward Frank's funeral, where slides and films of Grace and Frank were shown. Seeing those happy times, seemed to help bring closure for those present. There were no dry eyes, but some of those tears were of joy, that they had known such people.
"Uncle Mark, Uncle Mark." Carol was crying.
Mark was absolutely terrified to hear Carol on the phone like that. He had known Jim and his family for less time than Ben, but he thought of them as the closest of family and friends. Because of his large size, Mark thought of himself as the physical protector of his family and Carol was, by God, family.
"What's wrong Honey? Where are you I'll come get you?"
"Uncle Mark, I'm at the hospital. Daddy is very sick, he might be dying." With that Carol wailed.
Mark thought to himself. "Oh God, Oh God, got to be calm. Got to help Carol."
"Where's your Mom, Carol?"
"She's outside, but I don't want to, I can't talk about her." Carol cried.
"Daddy is in room 8136, can you and Uncle Ben come here? I need you Uncle Mark."
"I'm on my way Carol, Ben is out of the country, but I'm on my way. I love you, we will make everything all right. If you need me, before I get there, call my cell phone. Bye Carol, hang on, I'm coming."
"Bye Uncle Mark."
Mark hurriedly put on his clothes. Before heading to the door, he grabbed the household checkbook and the emergency credit card. The credit card, arranged by Ben, had a $100,000.00 limit. If money could solve the problem, by God, Mark was going spend like there was no tomorrow.
After a fast drive to the hospital, Mark rushed down the hall towards Jim's room. He was surprised to see Janice and a strange woman sitting in the hall and staring at a door, she seemed to be praying.
Mark nodded his head at the strange woman. "Janice, how are you doing? Is that Jim's room?"
Janice looked up at Mark with eyes full of grief and pain. "Yes, that's Jim's room, Carol is inside."
"I'm here for you Janice, don't worry. You've got my support." With that statement, Janice suddenly looked worse than before. Mark not knowing what else to say to Janice, introduced himself to the strange woman.
"Hello, my name is Mark, I'm a close friend of the family."
"Hello, I'm Nancy, I'm one of Janice's friends and neighbors."
"I'm glad Janice has such good friends like you, at this difficult time." Now Nancy looked suddenly stricken. What the hell is going on? He decided to go into the room and see Jim.
Nancy seeing Mark, going to the door warned him to put on a mask and gloves.
Carol was dozing in the chair, when the door opening, woke her. When she saw that it was Uncle Mark, her eyes filled with relief, that someone else was here to support her and Daddy.