A/N: Rain rain rain rain CRIMINAL MINDS!
Disclaimer: I don't own Criminal Minds or any of its characters and affiliates.
~The standard treatments for cancer are not meant to heal, but to destroy~ - Andreas Moritz
December 27, 1989
The peace and fun of Christmas had lasted into Boxing Day. James had spent Boxing Day at Katie's house, and had invited her to spend the following day with him.
But the peace didn't last very long.
"Mom!" James yelled from upstairs. "Get up here!"
Throwing her book down, Sandy leapt into action, racing out of the lounge room and up the stairs to the landing. James' voice had sounded so urgent; her heart was pounding.
Seeing Katie standing just outside the open bathroom door, all the colour draining from her face, Sandy moved quickly past her into the small room.
"Oh Jen," she said softly. JJ was sitting on the edge of the bathtub, a cloth bunched tightly against her nose as blood dripped down her T-shirt, which was already badly stained.
"She was just standing in front of me and blood started pouring out of her nose. What's happened, why is she bleeding?" James asked anxiously.
Turning to her son momentarily, Sandy took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "It's ok. Her platelets are low. She'll be alright. Just take Katie to your room, I've got it under control"
Looking anxiously between his mom and sister, James nodded. "Ok"
Turning back to JJ, Sandy gave her a gentle smile. "You ok?"
"I feel a little dizzy," JJ said thickly, lifting the cloth away. As she released the pressure, dark red drops spilled from her nose, running down over her lips and dripping down to her T-shirt. More blood ran down the outside of the NJ tube, staining the dressing holding it in place.
"Keep the cloth on. I'll have to take you to the hospital, ok? You need platelets," Sandy told her, gently moving JJ's hand back up to her nose as Mr Toes trotted into the room and jumped up onto the rim of the bathtub. JJ smiled, scratching behind her kitty's ears.
Snapping on his surgical gloves, Edmonds smiled at JJ. "So what did you get for Christmas?"
"I got a kitten!" JJ said excitedly as she removed the cloth so Edmonds could have a look at her nose. "He's all grey with white feet, and I called him Mister Toes"
Edmonds laughed. "Good choice. Sounds perfect," he replied as he leant down and shone the torch up JJ's nose. It was still bleeding fairly heavily, and by now, her shirt was ruined.
"I got puzzles and games, and clothes...some books...and this beanie!" JJ said excitedly, her voice coming out all nasally as Edmonds started to plug her nose with gauze.
"Sounds like you had a good day," he chuckled. "Alright JJ, I think your mom is right, I'd bet my life savings that when we get your counts back, your platelets are low. I'm going to have to cauterize your nose, which means I have to take out your NJ tube and put a new one in later"
JJ nodded. "Ok"
Once JJ's nose was plugged, Edmonds handed her a damp cloth to wipe the blood off of her face and neck. After she was clean, he found one of the spare t-shirts they kept stockpiled on the paediatric floor so she could change out of her bloody shirt.
"I'll come back in a little while to cauterize the vessels, ok?" he told her.
After getting a nod from JJ, he gave her a grin and left the room.
A few hours later, JJ had had her nose cauterized. The NJ tube had yet to be replaced, as Dr Edmonds didn't want to be poking around in JJ's nose with the tube and cause another bleed.
Sandy sat in the recliner beside JJ's bed, watching as JJ focused intently on the schoolwork that Mr Hollister had put together and given to her through Sophia. The platelets were infusing steadily through JJ's central line, potentially saving her life.
"Mom?" JJ asked, frowning at the paper before her.
"Yeah Jen?" Sandy replied, looking up from her crossword puzzle.
"Can you help me?"
Setting the magazine down, Sandy got up from the recliner, sitting up beside JJ and putting her arm around her as she read the question JJ was stuck on.
"Oh, ok. Well, you've got four over x equals fifty six over x, but that's a big number. So what do you think you have to do?"
JJ frowned. "Multip...divide!" she exclaimed, poking her pencil up into the air in triumph. Sandy laughed.
"Yes, you have to divide. What are you going to divide?"
"Fifty six by four?" JJ clarified. Getting a nod from her mom, she turned to the paper, only to look back up at Sandy.
"I don't know what fifty six divided by four is," she said simply. Sandy chuckled.
"Well, here. What's forty divided by four?"
"And sixteen divided by four?"
"Ten plus four?"
"Fourteen! Fifty six divided by four is fourteen!" JJ said happily, scribbling the answer down beneath her working.
"Good job," Sandy laughed, glad that JJ was able to follow her thinking.
Hearing a soft chuckle from the door, both mother and daughter looked up to see Dr Edmonds standing in the doorway.
"Working hard JJ?" he asked as he walked over to JJ's bed.
"Extremely hard, I think I'm breaking a sweat," JJ joked, making both her mother and her doctor laugh.
"Good to hear," Edmonds said warmly. "So we're basically ready to put a new tube in, and then after that, maybe Miss Helen can help you with your homework"
"That would be good," JJ agreed. "Dr Edmonds, does my tube have to go in the same side?"
Edmonds shook his head. "If that side is hurting, we can put it in the other side. Want to do that?"
JJ nodded, sliding off the bed and allowing her mother to help her into her chair.
Edmonds smiled, turning and walking to the door.
"Off we go"
The tube had gone in without too much hassle. However, shortly after, JJ had spiked a temperature, presumably from the platelets, requiring a mandatory 48 hour admission.
As the antibiotics ran their course, JJ drifted in and out of a restless sleep, her mood deteriorating every time she woke up.
Hearing a knock on the door, Sandy got up, leaving her grumpy child to go and see who was in the hallway.
Stepping outside, she found Dr Edmonds standing there with a woman who looked to be about Sandy's age. She assumed the woman was Miss Helen, the teacher Edmonds had referred to earlier.
"I was just coming to see how JJ's doing, and I thought I would introduce you to Helen. Helen, this is JJ's mother, Sandy," Edmonds explained.
Sandy smiled, shaking the hand Helen extended to her.
"Nice to meet you," Helen said warmly. "How's JJ's schoolwork going?"
Sandy turned her hand from side to side. "She's keeping up, but just. Most of the time she's too tired to actually manage doing it"
Helen nodded. "Fairly standard then. That's ok. I can help her keep up. Is she up to a visit right now?"
Sandy shook her head. "She's cranky and miserable. She's not feeling well at all today"
Helen nodded in understanding. "I'll be sure to come and see her when she's feeling better, we can have a chat about her school and what she finds difficult"
Sandy nodded in agreement, bidding goodbye to Helen as the other woman walked off to pay a visit to some of the other children on the ward.
Smiling at Sandy, Edmonds led her into the room JJ was in. "Let's get her healthy so she's home for New Year's"
"Sounds like a plan"