Chapter 8: Waking up (Josh's POV)
Nope, still don't own Cheaper By The Dozen nor Micah or Josh...Well maybe…nah..lol Ok, I do own Hannah Grace.
"Ugh, someone forgot to turn off the lights," I muttered as I squinted at the bright light directly above me. I took a gander to figure out where I was and why was I there. It was then I noticed that one of my legs was elevated and in a cast. My right arm was in one as well. Suddenly a train-wreck of a head-ache became noticeable to me. "Great this is just wonderful." Ok, I had established that I was hurt a bit and that I had a monster of a migraine, but yet to be answered was where was I? I slowly adverted my eyes to different parts of the room and I realize that I have a couple of wires and tubes on me. "Great, I must be in the hospital, but why?" I noticed a nurse walking into the room and seized the opportunity to shoot her with questions.
"Why am I here? When in the world am I going to be able to ditch this place? And HOW in the world am I supposed to play the violin and piano with this on!" I asked gesturing to the cage of a cast on m arm.
The nurse gave a tired laugh. "To answer your first question, you are in the hospital because of a small accident while you were working. Secondly, you will be able to ditch this place once your concession is taken care of and you stop running a fever. Next question…well….I don't know how you will be able to accomplish playing your instruments. I wish I was a musician, but sadly I am not.
"Oh…ok…so what is your name so I can call you something other than 'nurse' ?" I asked trying to see if she had a nametag on, but with the killer headache, I could not focus on anything. She gave another small laugh.
"Well…actually I am not a nurse, but I am volunteer…I think the old term is 'Candy Stripper' though I don't give out candy. My name, by the way, is Hannah Elizabeth Grace. I was told to come and check to see if you were awake. Your doctor will be in here in a few minutes to run a couple of tests." Hannah smiled and with a soft voice, said her salutations. Mercifully, she remembered to tone the light down.
I settled back onto my pillow willing my headache to disappear. This was the worst head ache I had ever been dealt and since I have sinus problems, that was saying a lot. True to Hannah's word, I heard approaching footsteps and then a slight knock on the door. "Come in" I answered, guessing that it would be the doctor.
"Hello. I am Dr. Fredrickson. I need to ask you a few questions before I do the other tests. Answer as best as you can." I noticed that he held a clip board and a well-used ink pen. "First off, what is your name and how old are you?"
"Wait a second, shouldn't you know that?" I asked confusedly. Dr. Fredrickson smiled and nodded.
"Yes, I do know your name, I am just testing your memory, now let's continue. What is you name and how old are you?" He repeated. I did not waste any time on this simple question.
"My name is Joshua Aaron Grosjean. I go by 'Josh I am twenty-two years-old.'" I answered, a bit bored. I hoped he would be done soon so I could rest…Oh right there were more tests after this one. I guess the old saying that if you want a place where you are kept awake, go to a hospital, desire a place to sleep go to a hotel.
"Alrighty then. Good job," I resist the urge to roll my eyes at being rewarded at such an easy question. "Now, tell me, what is your profession or professions?" Good, another easy question. I leaned back a tad as my head felt heavy.
"I am a teacher of music, particularly violin and piano. I also am a fire fighter," I replied without hesitation. I was getting frustrated, I wanted to know why I was in the hospital and no one had answered that for me.
"Great Josh. Now here is one that might be a toughie. Why are you here? Do you remember what happened to cause you to be in a hospital?"
Ok. Whatever I said about these questions being idiotic, I take it back. I tried to recall anything that may have landed me in here. I took a wild guess. "Um…Um…Maybe I fell down the stairs, because I was concentrating on playing my violin and didn't realize I walked to close to the stairwell…" Wait a second; I don't even have a staircase. Even though I realized that my house did not have a stairwell, I glanced at the doctor to see if by some amazing circumstance, he would affirm that was what had happened. My hopes were dashed as I watched him shake his head.
"I am afraid that is not what happened. I am going to keep you in the hospital so we can run CAT scans and such. For now, I have other patients to look at, so I will come by later for your other tests." Dr. Fredrickson glanced at his watch and abruptly left the room. Oh great, no one would tell me what in the world had happened to me. There weren't even books or anything to keep my interests. Well, there was a TV, but I was not one to watch television. I decided to take a little snooze to hopefully squelch my headache. I closed my eyes and soon was drifting into the familiar arms of unconsciousness.
I am walking down a corridor. I seem to recognize the place, but I can not name it. I begin to hear voices, and they seem to be calling for me. I glance around. I cannot see them. I don't really understand what they are saying either because their voices are muffled. I strain to decipher the voices….They seem like they belong to young people. Boys in fact. "Hello, where are you?" I call out. Their voices begin to clear and I can understand them better.
"Help, please help!" I hear one boy call. His voice seems desperate. I glance around the corridor but do not see him.
"Where are you?" I call out, trying to locate the child.
"I'm in here and so are a couple of friends!" The boy practically wailed. I stood there confused, trying to see if I could hear where the voice was originating from. It was no use; I would have to call to him again.
"Where is here?" I asked, hoping to get a straight answer this time. Please…please tell me where you are, I kept thinking. I prayed that the child's next answer would lead me to him.
"See that pile of metal? That is where I am!" The boy whined. I glanced around and surely enough I could see a pile of burnt up metal to my left. I ran to it, wondering how the child or children as he claimed could have ended up there. I carefully begin to remove layer upon layer of metal and other material that I suppose used to serve a purpose in some way. I finally reach the children. There are three boys, two of similar ages and one younger. They look familiar. Where had I seen them before? One child seemed even more familiar.
"What are your names?" I question as I begin to call for help. I am getting freaked out as they are beginning to give me blank stares. One child, presumably the one I heard before, begins to whisper a response.
"Our names are…" I do not hear the rest of his sentence if he completed it. The room is swirling now and getting darker by the second. Suddenly there is no corridor, no pile of discarded metal and no children.
"Hello Mr. Joshua Grosjean. I am back to complete the other tests." The doctor who had visited me earlier materialized in front of me. Oh…I must have fallen asleep. I thought back to the dream, something was oddly familiar about those children, but I could not figure it out. I shook my head to clear out my boggled up mind and realized that moving my head probably was not the best idea with the head ache I realized had not gone away. I focused my attention to the doctor once again. "I need to take you in for a CAT scan, and MRI, but I think that those tests will be about it," He told me.
"Alright," I agreed, it was not like I had much choice in the matter, so I did not put up an argument. I sighed as I was taken to the room that the tests would be performed.
Hours later, I was able to go back to my room. Doctor Fredrickson had told me that if the tests' results were alright and did not show anything new that I would be able to be released in forty-eight hours. I was ecstatic about that as I had never been exactly fond of hospitals. Arriving back to the room, I notice one of my fire fighter friends in my room.
"Hey Micah." I greet as I was allowed to perch on my bed. Micah seemed a bit subdued and I wondered briefly if he had come from a bad call. It figures that there would be a call when I could not attend. Such is my life.
"Hey Josh, how are you feeling?" Micah asks, as a way of a greeting. He is holding something on his lap, but from my vantage point, I could not tell what it was.
"Oh, I've been better, but I am not going to complain. What is that you are holding?" I asked, distractedly. The dream that I had was still playing through my mind.
"Oh, it's your helmet, I wanted to bring it to you and show you what had happened to it," Micah replied. I had the awful feeling that I was missing a huge piece of the puzzle, but I tried to follow what Micah was saying.
"Where did you get my helmet? I usually keep it in my car? Did I accidentally leave it at the station? And I don't recall there being anything wrong with it." Micah's expression turned from mildly concerned to alarmingly concerned.
"You mean, you don't remember what happened?" Micah questioned. Well, duh, if I had remembered, would I be this confused? I kept that last thought to myself. Maybe I would finally be able to learn what had happened to me. From the sounds of it, I had been in some sort of Fire-fighting mishap.
"No, I don't have any clue as to what happened. Enlighten me, please," I command more than really ask. Micah seemed nervous and he fidgeted a couple of minutes.
"I probably shouldn't tell you, it may be best to let yourself remember it. I can tell you that your helmet strap somehow got cut, I am not entirely sure how though" He answered, he stood up and half-smiled. "Well, I have to go home, it's my turn to fix dinner for my family and you know how cranky they get if it is late." Micah left.
Great, nobody would tell me what had occurred. I guessed that I would have to find out for myself. I turned on the television set, hoping that whatever had happened had made it on the news' channels.
"We bring you breaking news! In the horrific plane crash a while ago there were a total of three survivors. All three of them were children. The rest of the passengers and crew perished. There is no telling how these three blessed children made it but only by the grace of God! Here is video footage of the wreckage. We cannot focus in on the children as next of kin have not been located. This footage was taken soon after the crash and we have just been able to play it.
I stared at the screen; the accident seemed to be horrible. It was ironic that my dream consisted of three children as well…Oh well, coincidence I suppose. The television quickly zoomed in on a firefighter surrounded by other rescue workers. The firefighter that the camera was focusing in on was digging through the rumble. Man I would love to have been there! That was the type of stuff that I ached to be rescue people in. The firefighter along with the others was now lifting a child. The child's face and hair had been blurred as to not give the child's identity. The camera then went to another scene very similar to the first and finally to a third of the same nature. I had the odd sensation that I had already seen this footage. I clued in to what the reporter was saying.
"We have news that that firefighter was injured minutes after finding the child. We do not know the extent of his injuries. We discovered that the strap of his helmet had been cut, possibly due to hitting it with metal. He hit his head when an explosion occurred and he was thrown in the air. No one else was injured."
Wait a second. Micah said that my helmet straps seem to have been cut. I also feel like that I had experienced this accident first-hand, not via TV. Could I have been that firefighter? I hadn't been able to see the numbers on his coat, but that was the only logical conclusion. If I was that firefighter, I would like to know how the three children that I helped rescue were doing. I still had the shaky feeling that I had recognized the three of them in my dream. For some reason, I thought that I even more so recognized one of them more than the others. I was determined to find out as much as I could the next time anyone came through my door. I only hoped that person would know the answers. It turned out that I would not have to wait long for someone to enter the room. This time it was Hannah. She cheerfully entered the room, straightened up the curtains and smiled.
"Hey Josh…let's see if that fever has broken." She used an ear-thermometer to get a quick reading. "Hum, you are still running a bit of a fever, but it's not bad, only 100.5 F," she muttered briefly. How do you feel?"
"Besides my parade of a head-ache, I am doing alright. Though I wish I didn't have to wear these casts," I answered. I then decided to get straight to the point. I struggled to sit up straight and looked Hannah in the eyes. "Hannah was I hurt in the aftermath of the plane wreck? I saw the wreckage of it on the television. I have a feeling that I am the firefighter who got hurt helping those three children." I hoped that Hannah would answer truthfully.
"Well…my supervisor said that if you asked what happened, then I could confirm or deny the situation that you thought had occurred. I will have to say…yes, that it is what occurred." Hannah seemed a bit reluctant yet at the same time, that I knew what had sent me to the hospital. After having heard that I was right on target, I decided that the next thing to do would be to ask more questions.
"Those children I found…did they survive?" I asked. I hoped that I would be allowed to hear that much. I knew that hospitals had strict confidentiality laws. "Also…as this is the nearest hospital, I assume that they were taken here, am I correct?" I held my breath as Hannah seemed to debate what she could tell me.
"Yes," she said finally, "they are alive. Yes, they were taken here, but I cannot delve much more than that. I wish I could tell their parents that you were the one to rescue them, because I know that they would probably want to meet you, but we are having trouble notifying the children's next of kin." Hannah tightly smiled, and looked at me again.
"Is your head feeling any better?" I grimace and she understood. "I am sorry about that; the results of your tests should be in soon. The doctor said that he would see to get a nurse give you some pain killers, if your tests show that you will be able to handle the meds. I have to leave now because my shift is over, but I will see you tomorrow." Hannah left as quickly as she had come.
Those children were here. I wanted…no…needed to find them. There had to be more going on than that met the eye. I just wished that I could figure it out. Something just was not clicking in the correct order, but what? With a realization that I probably was not going to get out of my room unassisted, decided to hold off on my plan and look at some of the mail that Micah had picked up for me. I had not realized he had done it until I saw some envelopes on the nightstand. Bill…credit card offer…letter from my folks….and an envelope that had my name on it, but I did not recognize the name. It was addressed to me, but had my music studio's name as well. Curiosity got the best of me and I gingerly broke the seal and opened it. Enclosed was a letter that seemed official. What surprised me was that it was a letter from the state of Illinois.
Dear Joshua Aaron Grosjean,
We hope that this letter finds you in good health. A couple months ago, we inquired of your waiting list for students for a couple of children who we are caring for. As we informed you in our last contact, these two children will be moved to Washington State very soon. You made mention that your waiting list was long, but that because of the unusual circumstance, you could take these two boys right away. Washington will be in contact with you soon about payment issues. Thank you for agreeing to help these children. We have heard of your skill and reputation working with children, and feel that you would one of the best music teachers for them.
As mentioned previously, these two children had begun to take music lessons (both violin and piano) but with their move, we did not know if we could get a teacher for them. They both seem to love music and when they heard that they would be quitting their old teachers, they were devastated. I believe that music was one of the ways that they coped with the death of their parents. We have enclosed a more recent picture of them. The last picture we sent (not that you need it, but we try to include pictures of the children if we have to write letters in asking of services) was old and did not include the younger boy. The oldest one's name is Brendan Creamer and the youngest one is his brother, Bryan Creamer. Thank you in advance.
Illinois' Social Services.
I took the pictures out of the envelope and promptly dropped them. This was getting way past weird. I was staring at the faces that I had seen in my dream. This was freaky. Ok, so at least I knew the name of two of the children who I helped save. I wondered if the hospital even realized it. Knowing that hospitals could have a lack of communication, I doubted that they had realized it. I could think of nothing else than to share the news with them. I carefully press the call button. I knew it would most likely send a nurse in the room rather quickly. Just as I had expected, within a minute, there was a knock on the door followed by the sound of the door creaking open. Not wanting to waste a minute, I begin to announce my findings. I held the pictures in my hands out for the nurse to see.
"Are these the two boys that I rescued whom are at this hospital?" I dared to hope that the nurse would be able to affirm me and that this information would not classified. I watched her face turn from utter confusion to a slow state of surprise. She snapped her attention back towards me.
"Yes…I think so…how and why do you have these pictures?" I handed her my letter. She began to mutter, but I could still hear every word that was spoken. "No wonder we haven't been able to find their parents…At first with all the filth on their hair and body, I would never have recognized them, but after a good cleaning up, they sure look like the kids…" She addressed me once more, "Do you mind if I take the letter and pictures to my boss, I have a feeling these will be of use."
It was not like I had much choice so I let her have them. I really wanted to know about those children. I guess I would know soon enough, or at least I hoped I would. I was never great on patience, so waiting would proverbially kill me. I knew the boys were juveniles, so I figured that they would be in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I made my decision, the next moment that I could escape somehow without being noticed, I would at least try to find them. This was going to be a tough gig to pull off as having a broken leg and arm does not help to make a person inconspicuous.
I had to wait until nighttime to pull off my plan. I had snatched a pair of crutches and was now ready to creep down to the section of the hospital. Miraculously I made it to the section of the hospital without being stopped. Then came the tricky part, how was I going to actually get to see them. Hospitals are very strict on who they allow see ICU patients, especially patients who are children. Sitting in the waiting room were a couple of adults that I did not recognize. Somehow, they seemed to recognize me. The woman walked over towards me.
"Aren't you the person who helped save the children in the plane crash? They said you would be here." I nodded yes and she kept talking. "Two of the children are under state guardianship. I am their new case worker. My name is Melanie Erika. Hey…since you helped with their rescue, would you like to visit them? I could get it arranged." Now, this was something that interested me, I nodded again and she walked over to the nurses station. She talked with them for several minutes and then motioned for me to join her. The nurse greeted me.
"Normally, only family is allowed to visit these patients, but as they do not have any family, you may visit them. Only for a few minutes though, and be warned that they will look very different than when you saw them, or when you showed us those pictures earlier today. Brendan and Bryan are in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit A. The other boy is still in surgery under a specialized team. Just put this on." she handed me sterilized hospital garb and I struggled to get it on because of my injuries.
After following the nurse's instructions, I carefully stepped into the unit. I quickly found the boys, as their beds were in the same room. I guess they did not want to separate the brothers as they had already been through a lot. They were both sleeping off the medications from their surgeries. I went over to the oldest one; he looked worse off than his brother. Even his hair was messed up. It seemed like he had bits of dirt on it, as there were smudges of brown on the otherwise red hair. I heard a cough and drew my attention to the younger one, Bryan, I think his name was. He was frantically shifting his eyes everywhere. He suddenly found his voice. "Brendan…I'm scared, where are we?" His gaze fell on me. "Who are you? Where am I?" He mumbled sleepily. I felt sorry for the little kid.
"Um…I am Josh; your brother is over there, you'll be alright." I did not mention where the little boy was as to not frighten him. I figured that someone would tell him when the time was right. Bryan seemed alright, besides having surgery to repair his shattered leg and a several stitches on his face and arms. Bryan suddenly spotted his brother.
"Brendan!" Bryan called out. His brother did not respond as he was still sleeping the surgery off, but there seemed to be a little disturbance. I hobbled back to Brendan. He slowly blinked and seemed to be focusing on trying to look around. He spoke, but at first it was too raspy to hear, as his breathing tube almost eliminated his chances to vocalize. He overcame that though and I was able to hear what he had to say.
"Who are you? Where am I? For that matter, who am I? And why can't I feel anything?" Ok, I expected confusion when he woke up, but not that much. I promised him that it would be alright and quickly got the nurse. I hoped that he would be able to feel something soon. If he did not, then he could be paralyzed. Suddenly two other nurses walked past me and I over heard their conversation. It seemed that the third child from the crash was out of surgery, but yet they did not have a positive identification on him yet. I wondered what state he would be in. Would he be like Bryan where he would recover well with time or would he be like Brendan who may not recover….or would he be worse? Only time would tell. It was time for me to go back to my room. My fiancée would be there to see me tomorrow and I did not need for her to ask me a million questions and voice her opinion on how tired I looked. I said a quick prayer for the three children and left to go to my room.