Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or the characters …
Author's Note: As I struggle to find the time to write, it's the reviews that motivate me to keep going – can't thank you all enough.
Sam didn't feel like he'd been sleeping for 12 hours. His body was a little stiff, like he'd been lying in the same spot for too long, but he definitely didn't feel well rested. He nervously chewed his bottom lip as he asked the question that had been plaguing him since he'd woken up in the sterile hospital room.
"Ah, what's wrong with me?"
Dread settled like a weight on his shoulder that refused to be lifted. He'd been waiting for Sam to ask that very question.
He'd known it was just a matter of time before his brother started his endless questioning and relentless search for answers. Some things never changed.
"Reckon you were dropped on your head one too many times as a baby…"
"Don't worry Sammy …told the doc it was only a couple of times, and you hardly cried."
"Dean, I'm serious…"
"Yeah well we all know that."
"Don't make me hit you."
"Huh, in your dreams…"
"Are you gonna tell me or do I have to go find the doctor?"
"Doc says you gotta stay in bed …resting."
"Actually, your doctor should be in to see you shortly …he's just started his rounds." The nurse interrupted their bantering, trying to curb the escalating verbal battle and calm her patient. She finished her examination and smoothed out the sheet covering Sam.
"Am I dying? Is that it?" He demanded as soon as the nurse walked out of ear shot.
Dean felt the remorse wash over him. He should have expected that. Sam always started with the worse case scenario, afraid to hope for anything more.
"God no." He muttered under his breath. "No Sam, you're not dying okay?"
"You know Dean, it's not your fault if I am, maybe that's just the way it's supposed to be, maybe…"
"Sam! …Will you listen for one sec …I said you're not dying."
"Then tell me Dean."
"I gotta be honest, most of what the doc told me was a lot of goobly-gook …didn't make a lot of sense – but that's doctors for you …always gotta use words that nobody else understands ...like they've got to prove they're superior or something."
Sam recognized the stalling for what it was. He looked at his brother, waiting for him to continue.
"It's my fault Sam. I don't know, maybe I took too long …before you know …I made the deal. I just didn't think of it right away, and me and Bobby, after it happened, we moved you, took you back to that room …lay you down …you know?"
Sam gave a small nod in ascent. He really didn't know. Dean had refused to discuss the finer details of that day and he hadn't pushed his brother for enlightenment. The whole idea of being dead and what Dean had gone through made him feel more than a little uneasy.
"I mean …you were dead Sam. …Your body got cold …and there was nothing I could do."
"I took too long. Doc reckons that your blood …there's all these clots that shouldn't be there. Maybe I should've made you rest more …take the time you needed to recover. God, when I think about it now, you can't just lie there still and cold for all that time and then just get up as if nothings happened. I mean, I know your back was still hurting …we should've taken a break, rested up for a few days, taken things easy for once in our lives."
"Dean, this isn't your fault …hell, how do we even know it's related to what happened?"
"Well the doc can't figure it out – he's not really sure of the cause …not like I could tell him that the healed scar on your back only happened a week ago could I?"
"Could've been something else?"
"Yeah, like what Sam? You been taking any long haul flights these last few days that I don't know about?"
"Why fly when we can drive, right?" Sam quipped.
Dean thought of Sam's long limbs cramped up in the front of the Impala for hours on end without a break as they drove for mile after mile. He pictured Sam stretching his muscles and rotating his joints as he tried to relieve the aches in his body from sitting still for too long; squirming as he tried to get comfortable in the confined space.
"Doc reckons maybe you had a sporting injury or something – something that I didn't know about. …Yeah, like that'd happen."
"Shooting's a sport last time I checked."
"That's not what I meant Sam."
"So, what'd you tell him?"
"Told him you were clumsy and sometimes fell over your own oversized feet …maybe hurt yourself that way."
Sam sighed wearily. Even though he was exhausted, he already found the hospital bed restrictive and was eager to make an escape.
"So ah …when can we leave?" Sam asked hesitantly; almost afraid of the answer.
Dean glared back at him. "When the doc says you can."
"Since when do we…" Sam stopped mid sentence as a middle aged man in traditional doctors' garb of white coat with stethoscope slung around his neck entered the room.
"Good to see you finally decided to join us." The doctor stated upon entering, snagging Sam's chart and making his way over to the side of the bed.
"Created quite a stir in the waiting room I hear." He smiled, trying to put Sam at ease.
"Yeah …I feel a lot better now though."
"Well, that could be a bit deceptive." The doctor looked at Dean before continuing. "I don't know how much your brother's told you, but you gave us all a bit of a scare. Until we ran all those tests we were sort of working blind, weren't sure what we were dealing with. …Seems you've got some blood clots …every heard of 'pulmonary embolisms'?"
"Ah …not really."
"Well sometimes, usually following injury or surgery, a blood clot can form …the clot can dislodge and travel to the lung causing a pulmonary embolism. The clot passing into the lung is what would have caused the chest pain you experienced and the lightheadedness that caused you to pass out."
"So the clot's gone now?"
"We're administering Heparin, a drug that helps thin the blood, through your IV. It should stop any more clots from forming."
Sam looked at the IV, slowly dripping fluids into his body. "So, when the IV's finished, I can go?"
"I don't think you comprehend the seriousness of this condition Sam …I can call you Sam?"
"If the pulmonary emboli are large and block one or both of the major pulmonary arteries sending blood to your lungs, there's the risk of lung or heart failure ...all things considered, you've been lucky so far."
"But the treatment, it'll fix it right?"
"We've started you on a course of treatment to thin your blood to stop it clotting. I want to monitor you to make sure that the existing clots don't travel to your lungs – so you're on complete bed rest until that risk has passed. And I mean complete bed rest – no getting up at all, even to use the bathroom. Walking around could dislodge a clot, and I don't want to scare you, but if that happens again, you mightn't be so lucky the next time around."
Sam nodded in reply, at little stunned at the diagnosis.
"My examination didn't reveal what preempted the clotting – have you had any recent surgery, in the last week or so, any knocks, injuries, plane travel?"
"If you knew the cause, would it help you treat him?" Dean asked.
"Well not really, but I'd like to identify the cause so that…"
"I haven't had any recent surgery and ah …plane travel's not really our thing."
The doctor made some notes and returned Sam's medical chart to the hook at the end of the bed. "Well, you get some rest and I'll look in on you during my next rounds …let one of the nurses know if you need anything."
"Oh, I definitely will." Dean replied with a smile.
Sam glared at his brother, recognizing the wicked glint in his eye.
"Thank you." Sam answered politely.
The brothers watched the doctor leave the room, the door closing softly behind him.
"I forgot to ask him how long I had to stay." Sam muttered.
"As long as it takes…"
Right now, Sam felt too tired to start arguing with his brother. He could feel the exhaustion washing over him in waves, and he no longer had the energy to fight his body's needs. Blinking his tired eyes, he fiddled with the IV tube as he tried to get comfortable on the narrow bed.
He looked at his brother through bleary half closed eyes. "Dean…"
"Don't you ever get tired of it?"
"Tired of what?"
"Nah …not in this lifetime." Dean could have kicked himself as soon as the ill chosen words left his mouth.
Sam mentally cringed at the reminder. A lifetime for Dean was now less than a year.
"Hey, you get some rest …I'll be here when you wake up."
Sam closed his eyes, letting sleep overtake him.
Author's note: I've decided to finished this story here (struggling to find time to write at the moment) and I'll most likely continue this theme with a sequel. Blood thinner medication needs to be taken for a while after leaving hospital and a side effect is that it can make you bleed profusely and bruise easily. Patients taking blood thinner medication need to be careful about participating in contact sports due etc. due to the high risk of uncontrolled bleeding that could result from injury. Sam getting injured and bleeding a lot – I can go there.
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