I hope y'all forgive me but I just had to expand on my E/O challenge drabble from Sunday, October 18. The idea simply would not leave me alone and I needed to get it out of my system. I do realize it's a somewhat delicate subject matter. Based on Dean's comment to Castiel "The last time you did that, I didn't poop for a week!" Could loosely be considered a sequel to my tag to the episode "The End" titled "I Call a Great Big Fat Do-Over".
If you do read, thank you so much for giving it a try!
Irritable Dean Syndrome
By: Vanessa Sgroi
Dean exited the bathroom looking pale and miserable, his hand pressed against his belly in an attempt to alleviate the growing discomfort there.
"Dean, are you still…?"
Dean growled. "Yeah. This sucks. I feel like…shit." He rolled his eyes at his own unintended joke and curled up on the bed.
"Dude, it's been more than a week. That can't be good for you."
"Tell me something I don't know, Sam."
"I-I bought you something that might help."
"Two double bran muffins and a bottle of prune juice."
"Oh, yum. The breakfast of champions and 90 year old women everywhere."
"Dean, we've gotta go, man. It's been 11 days."
Dean was curled on his side on the bed, his knees pulled to his chest. He was biting his lower lip. He let go long enough to mutter, "No. No ER."
Sam sighed in frustration. They'd been having this argument for about an hour now. "We've tried everything and nothing's worked."
"So we'll try something else." The older hunter moaned and clutched at his belly as another cramp hit.
"There IS nothing else. We've tried bran and prune juice, water, laxatives. I managed to get you to use that one suppository."
"Don't remind me."
"Nothing's worked. I think…I think it's because Zachariah and Cas angel-transported you three times in such a short span. It's really messed you up."
Dean opened his mouth to continue the argument but grunted instead as a particularly vicious cramp rippled through his abdomen. He squeezed his eyes shut and waited for it to pass. After a minute, he muttered, "All right. I'll go." Dean gingerly sat up and stood.
"You want me to help you get your shoes and socks on?"
"No. Let's just go."
Sam wanted to point out it was cold outside but he bit his tongue. In the grand scheme of things, cold feet were the least of Dean's problems at the moment.
They arrived at the hospital ten minutes later. Sam helped his brother into the emergency room and up to the Admissions desk. When the receptionist asked what the problem was, Dean refused to answer and kept his gaze locked on his bare toes forcing Sam to explain what was happening. He watched as the girl's gaze flickered over Dean with pity and maybe just the very slightest hint of disgust. Sam grabbed the clipboard filled with forms and guided Dean over to a bank of empty seats, easing him into one of the chairs.
It was an hour and a half before a nurse finally called Dean's name. They both stirred from their slumped positions and rose; Dean much more slowly than his younger sibling. Once inside one of the curtained cubicles, Sam helped him settle onto the examination table.
"Dr. Yates will be in to see you shortly."
Dean frowned. "Super."
To make up for Dean's surliness, Sam smiled slightly and nodded. "Thanks."
A half hour later, the curtain parted and Dr. Yates entered the room. She was young and pretty, and Sam's heart sank a little. This was going to complicate things.
"So…Mr. Erickson is it…tell me what's going on." She perused the clipboard in her hands as she spoke.
Dean mumbled a barely audible, three-word explanation. He refused to look at the doctor at all.
When it became obvious he wasn't going to elaborate whatsoever, Sam jumped in with a more in depth explanation finishing with "…and we've tried several remedies but nothing has worked. And he's now he's in serious pain so I made him come in."
"Hmm. Well, let's take a look and see what's going on," the doctor glanced at Sam, "if you could just step outside while I examine him."
"No. My brother can stay."
"Mr. Erickson, this is going to be a—thorough—exam. I doubt you'd want him here during…"
"Then he stays up until then."
"All right. If you insist…"
Dr. Yates began her exam with a few basics then lifted Dean's shirt to palpate his abdomen which was obviously distended. He moaned and shifted in discomfort as she pressed. When she was finished, she listened intently with her stethoscope for several moments. "I'm going to perform the rectal exam now if you could step outside."
Sam nodded. "Dean, I'll be right outside."
Dean's miserable gaze met his for a split second before drifting away once more.
Sam stepped outside the cubicle and leaned back against the wall. He rotated his head side to side trying to ease some of the tension from his neck. He knew his brother was embarrassed and even humiliated by his malady, and he felt bad. No amount of reassurance was going to make it all go away. Sam rubbed at the back of his neck and listened to the ambient noise of a busy emergency room. A few minutes went by before a commotion broke out behind the curtain of his brother's cubicle.
"What! No! No, freakin' way!" A small crash came immediately afterward.
Sam hurried back into the room just in time to see Dean struggling to simultaneously roll and sit; presumably to get off the examination table. The doctor was attempting to hold him down by his shoulders. "What's going on?"
The doctor let Dean go, and he immediately sat, fighting with both the sheet that had been draped over him and his partially stripped clothes.
"I was just explaining to your brother the course of treatment I'd like to take for his impacted bowel."
Still struggling with the tangled sheet, Dean growled, "Yeah and I was just telling her what she can do with her course of treatment."
"As I was explaining, your brother's bowel is impacted. Fecal impaction is a potentially dangerous situation requiring aggressive intervention. The course of treatment as I see it is to initiate a few rounds of suppositories and digitally remove the fecal material."
"Digitally remove…" Sam started to question then stopped. "Oh."
"Yeah. You hear that? She wants to stick a finger up my ass and root around. No. Ain't gonna happen, lady. I'll do it myself like you said."
"No, what I said was it may be performed on oneself but it would require the supportive assistance of another person. However, in your case—which is severe—I do not recommend you follow this course of action."
"You risk damaging the rectal lining."
"That's me—a habitual risk-taker."
"Not only that. This procedure may be quite painful and you may lose consciousness from the pain."
"I have a high threshold." Dean managed to slide off the table and stand, his jeans now firmly zipped but not buttoned.
"If left untreated, it will require surgery."
Sam approached his brother and dropped a hand on his shoulder. "Dean, look, I know you hate this but…let her do her job."
"No, Sam, I can…"
"Think about it, Dean. You need someone else to help and that someone would be me by default. And, I love you, man, you're my brother but…seriously? I mean, if we were in the middle of nowhere and I had no choice then yeah…otherwise…" He squeezed Dean's shoulder.
Dean's face went a shade paler. He swallowed hard.
"It'll be over before you know it," Sam promised earnestly.
Another vicious cramp doubled Dean over and knees wobbled. Sam steadied him and helped him back onto the exam table. "Okay. Fine." Dean rubbed a shaky hand down his face. "I can't take anymore of this anyway."
Sam watched as Dr. Yates handed Dean a hospital johnny and asked him to change. "I'll be right out in the waiting room. You're gonna be okay."
Looking sick and miserable, Dean waved him away.
"I'll be right back," instructed Dr. Yates.
While the doctor was out of the room, Dean slipped out of his clothes and into the open-backed hospital gown before lying back down. Sam was right; he hated this with a passion.
"Okay, Mr. Erickson," called the doctor as she returned to the cubicle, "if you could turn on your side and scoot as close to the edge of the table as you can…that's it…now draw your knees up…"
Dean tensed and bit down on his bottom lip as he felt her begin. The doctor was right too. It turned out to be incredibly painful.
* * * *
It was two hours later when Sam looked up from an ancient copy of Popular Mechanics to see Dean being wheeled toward him in a wheelchair. He was shocked to see his brother actually looked worse than he did hours ago when he'd brought him in.
"You doin' okay, bro?"
"I guess. Let's just get outta here."
They signed off on the discharge paperwork and accepted the copy of instructions and recommendations for Dean to follow to achieve a complete recovery. One of the recommendations was for a super high-fiber diet that Sam suspected would never see the light of day or the inside of Dean's colon. He said as much as he wheeled a surprisingly-compliant Dean out to the Impala.
"Eh. Fold it up and stick it somewhere in case we need it." Dean abandoned the wheelchair and eased himself into the passenger side of the car. He laid his head back against the seat and waited for Sam to stash the wheelchair and settle behind the wheel. As soon as the throaty rumble of the engine filled the interior, he spoke. "Hey, Sammy? Do me a favor…"
"Keep that bastard Zachariah away from me. And when Cas comes to visit for the next little while…don't let him touch me. I officially surrender my ticket on the Angel Express."