TItle: Heart Condition
Summary: When Josh faces another health crisis, it forces he and Donna to face up to their feelings. Set sometime late season six- between La Palabra and Things Fall Apart
Author's Note: I'm not a doctor and I don't even play one on TV, so any medical errors are mine. I did reseach, but am more than falliable, so please bear with me. It always intrigued me this season that it seemed Matt and Helen really didn't know Josh all that well, which spurred this idea. It's my first multi part story. I hope you like it!
Josh attempted futilely to listen to Rhonna's analysis of their chances with the teacher's unions in North Carolina. All day long he'd been fighting waves ofdizziness and light headedness that he knew he should not be ignoring, but with the race for the nomination as close as it was, he chose to. Suddenly he realized the room had cleared some and Congressman Santos and his wife were watching him expectantly.
"Josh? Did you hear what I asked you?" Matt Santos asked slowly, looking somewhat perplexed at the lack of razor focus he'd become accustomed to from his campaign manager. Josh shook his head quickly, attempting to clear the fuzziness from his mind.
"Sorry, Congressman, I missed it. Can you repeat the question?" he asked, feeling more fuzzy around the edges than the moment before.
"Never mind. Are you all right? You look like something the dog brought home." Santos commented sharply, eyeing the other man appraisingly.
"I'm… I'm fine, Congressman. Just a bug or something," Josh lied quickly, with some effort to keep his breathing steady as a searing pain hit him in the back and left side. "Do you have an aspirin by chance?" He asked softly, knowing that if his body was denying him the way he thought, an aspirin may be of some help.
Helen Santos took one look at Josh's face and not only doled out aspirin, but pulled out her cell phone and started dialing.
"Bug my ass, Josh. You're going to the hospital. I'm calling an ambulance right now." She said sharply, reading the signs of cardiac distress and feeling a heavy sense of déjà vu. Years ago, she had seen the same signs with her father and lost the battle.
"No. I'm fine, really. I just need to…" Josh attempted to stand, but collapsed back into his chair. Matt and Helen rushed to him.
"Josh, hey, are you all right?" Matt asked quickly, lightly shaking him. Slowly, Josh regained consciousness and looked around in disorientation.
"That's it. I'm calling the ambulance. You need to be in a hospital." Helen snapped firmly, pulling her cell phone back out. Josh reached up and took the phone.
"No. I'll go, but no ambulance. The press will be all over it and that will be all the coverage this campaign gets is the heart patient campaign manager." Josh gritted out firmly, exhaling sharply as the pounding in his chest seemed to rattle through his entire body.
"I'll drive you to the ER. Helen, call ahead to let them know we're on our way. Tell Rhonna to juggle our afternoon schedule and I'll be in touch when I can." Santos instructed his wife, kissing her lightly on the forehead before helping Josh back to his feet.
"No, Congressman, you've got a hundred fundraisers this afternoon, you can't bail out on them. Have a staffer drive me or I'll get a cab."
"Josh, I'm taking you and that's that. Helen can go grip and grin, she's the prettier one anyway." The two men made their way towards the entrance of the campaign headquarters. Seeing the grayish tone of Josh's complexion and the way he was leaning on the Congressman, Rhonna headed over to Helen.
"What's going on? Please tell me Josh had a bad tuna sandwich." Rhonna quipped. Helen shook her head abruptly.
"I'd lay odds our Mr. Lyman is having a heart attack. I'd lay even better odds that he knew this was coming and has been ignoring it. Stupid politicians and their screwed up priorities, that idiot was worried about press interest in him instead of the campaign." She said in disgust.
"What- what are we supposed to be doing now? Is it serious? Shouldn't we be calling someone or something?" Rhonna asked in mild panic.
"I wouldn't even know who to call. I've never heard Josh say a word about anyone- family, friends or otherwise that wasn't directly related to this campaign." Helen raked a hand through her golden hair. She and Rhonna stared off into the distance for a few moments until Rhonna suddenly sprang up and went running to her laptop.
"Personnel files. We had to list an in case of emergency contact. I'll pull Josh's up and we can call whoever he listed."
"I didn't know you had those. Good thing you have them on your computer." Helen commented. Rhonna quickly found the information she had been looking for.
"He lists a Donna Moss. That name sounds familiar… does it ring any bells to you?" Rhonna knew it was a name she should know, but in her panic, she couldn't begin to place it.
"Um… no, but after all the random donors and supporters I've met the last three months, I'm not sure my own mother's name would sound familiar to me." Helen commented ironically. She pulled her cell phone back out and peered over Rhonna's shoulder to punch out the number. The line rang several times before voice mail picked up.
"Hi this is Donna Moss, I'm either sleeping or somewhere on the campaign trail unable to get this, so leave a message and I'll get back to you."
"Voice mail" Helen told Rhonna with a question in her voice. Rhonna shrugged in deference to Helen's opinion on what to say. "Uh… Donna, this is Helen Santos. You don't know me, but it is very important that you call me back as soon as possible. My cell phone number is 707-555-6778 or you can call the Santos headquarters in DC and talk to Rhonna- 545-332-1345. It is very important that we talk to you as soon as humanly possible." No sooner had she disconnected the call, when her phone rang.
"Hello. Hi honey, uh huh, what are they doing now? Do you want me to come down there? I can wait just as well as you can. The donors actually do want to see you. Uh huh. Ok, I'll meet you there in a few." Helen hung up and turned to meet Rhonna's expectant eyes. "Matt says he's in the cath lab right now. Something about complications from his injuries at Rosslyn causing this. I'm going to head over, Matt sounds a little spooked. Can you and Ned hold the fort for a few hours? Hopefully we'll get a hold of this Donna person."
"Sure thing. Tell him we're pulling for him."