A/N: I wrote this outtake for Gretchen's birthday back in July. Printed it, had bound, and gave it to her in person when we saw each other. She's one of my best friends in the world, and she loves things like this. I hope you'll all enjoy, too.
Outtake- She is Love
Time frame- Near the end of Cole's sophomore year in high school.
Summary: Just some sweet Carlisle comfort.
Small disclaimer: I do not own 'Twilight' or any characters from it. I just play with them.
"Can we move yet?" I asked softly, running my hand through Cole's hair as she sat in my lap, resting her fevered cheek against my chest. We were still in her bathroom after she threw up about ten minutes ago.
"Not yet," she whispered, holding her stomach as she snuggled her head into my chest more.
It looked to me like the nasty stomach bug that had been making its way around town recently. I felt awful for her, knowing it was only going to get worse before it got better. I had been swamped with this bug at work for the past few weeks and many of the patients had been admitted due to dehydration. Thankfully, I had a few days off because Esme, Rose, and Emmett had planned a trip to South America for hunting with Josh, Alice, and Jasper, so I could take care of Cole through this. I would have to run to the hospital for some Zofran and more fluids, though.
"I'm so sorry, Tesoro." I kissed her forehead.
"It's not your—" She hurried off of my lap and put her face over the toilet, vomiting whatever she had left in her stomach.
I held her hair for her and rubbed her back as she continued. When I had come home from work this afternoon, I found Cole in bed and immediately knew she was ill. Only moments after I kissed her cheek and felt her forehead, we wound up in here. I could already tell it was going to be a long night and she'd be staying home from school tomorrow. Thankfully, tomorrow was Friday and she'd most likely be better by Monday. Her sophomore year was coming to a close, so I didn't want her to miss too much.
"I think . . . I think I'm done," she said as I wiped her mouth with a tissue.
"Okay, then how about you brush your teeth and get you back in bed?"
She looked at me with sad eyes. "I threw up on it, remember? Can I go downstairs with you? I'm not gonna be able to sleep anyway."
I nodded. "All right, I'll get you settled down there and clean up your bed for tonight, but I want you to try and rest. I need to run to the hospital and get some fluids and medications, but I'll be as quick as I can."
I helped her stand and walk over to the sink. "Please hurry. This won't last long, right?"
"In most patients, it's been lasting about twenty-four to forty-eight hours, which is why dehydration has been so severe that we've been admitting. I'll help you through it as easily as I can."
"Are you good in here, or do you want me to stay?"
"I'm just gonna brush my teeth, and then I'll go downstairs."
I kissed her forehead. "All right, I'll go make up the couch and strip your bed. I love you, baby girl."
"I love you too, Daddy."
Leaving her to brush her teeth, I made quick work of grabbing pillows and clean blankets for downstairs. I made up the sectional for her and grabbed a small trash can to put beside it before running back upstairs and stripping her bed of the soiled blankets. Knowing she had dozens of sheet sets, I tossed the soiled ones and put her comforter into the washer. By the time I was done with that, she was walking downstairs.
"Okay, I want you to stay on this couch for me until I get back," I said as she got comfortable and I pulled the blanket up on her. "Well, unless you get sick. There's a trash can here for you, but if you can make it to the bathroom, try to. I'm going to get you some water with an Alka-Seltzer tablet, which I'd like you to sip slowly. I'd like to try and keep you from getting dehydrated, so I don't have to put in an IV."
She nodded as I handed her the remote. "I'll do anything to prevent that."
I smiled and kissed her forehead again, letting my lips linger for a moment to check her temperature. It seemed the same, but I planned to check her out a little more thoroughly once I got back, just to be sure nothing else was going on.
Once I made the drink for her, I left for the hospital.
I drove a little more quickly than I should have, wanting to get back to Cole as soon as I could. I really didn't like leaving her alone when she was sick. I worried she'd vomit and become dizzy, passing out and hitting her head. She knew her limits, though, so hopefully she'd listen to her body and sit if she needed to, rather than walking back to the living room.
"Dr. Cullen, you're back," Linda said, smiling as I made my way through the ER.
"Cole has the dreaded gastrointestinal infection," I sighed. "I'm going to sign out some Zofran, grab fluids, and an IV kit for her. I'd rather keep her home and treat her."
"Aww, poor girl. I'm sure you'll take great care of her, though."
I smiled lightly. "I'll do my best. I want to get back home since she's alone, but I hope you have a good weekend, and I'll see you on Tuesday."
"Bye, Dr. Cullen. Tell Cole I hope she feels better."
Once I left the nurses' station, I ran into the medication lock up and grabbed the antiemetic before going to the supply closet for the fluids and IV kits. I had plenty at home, but a few more to replace the ones I may have to use would be good.
I made it out of the hospital in about five minutes, and then sped back home as quickly as I could. When I walked into the house, I instantly knew Cole was in the downstairs bathroom before hearing her chocking. I rushed in, finding her over the toilet.
"Oh, baby," I sighed, rubbing her back.
"It won't stop," she whimpered. "I just want it to stop."
This had been the third bout in about an hour, so I wasn't hopeful that she'd get through this easily. No, I could already tell she'd feel the full force of this illness, and my heart ached for her.
"I'm going to get your toothbrush and bring it down here, all right?" I asked, helping her onto the floor. She sat against the wall near the toilet and wiped her mouth as I flushed the toilet.
She nodded. "Yeah. You're gonna give me medicine, right?"
I nodded. "Yes, Zofran. It's a tablet, but if you can't keep it down, I have it in IV form, as well."
"Oh, goodie," she groaned.
After getting her toothbrush and letting her brush, I helped her back into the living room and onto the sectional. She looked pale and exhausted, which of course was normal. I grabbed the medication for her, and she took it with a sip of water before I performed a quick examination.
"Tell me if it hurts when I press anywhere, all right?" I asked, lowering my hands over her small belly.
She nodded and I began palpitating. She didn't feel any pain, and everything thing went along with my original diagnosis. Once I was finished taking her temperature, I moved her legs and sat down, laying them back over my lap.
"So, what would you like to watch, Tesoro?" I asked, tickling the bottom of her foot softly.
She let out a quiet giggle and wiggled her toes. "I don't care. You pick. Don't you have some documentary recorded?"
I nodded, taking the remote and pulling up our recordings. "I do, so that's okay with you? There will be blood."
"Eh, it's fine. I'll probably close my eyes anyway." She shrugged.
I lifted her hand, kissing her knuckle softly. "That's a good idea, baby girl. Try and rest."
As the medical documentary began playing, Cole closed her eyes and snuggled deeper into the couch. She had fallen asleep for only a few minutes before groaning and wiggling out of the blankets. In anticipation, I grabbed the trash can and placed it under her chin.
"I really don't wanna," she moaned before heaving, though nothing came up yet.
I rubbed her back softly. "You'll feel better, Tesoro. I'm so sorry."
She shook her head, but lost the medication and water into the bin moments later. I knew her throat had to be getting sore and adding that to the pain of vomiting, she had to be miserable.
After calming her down and cleaning up, I let Cole rest for a few minutes before going upstairs to grab the IV kit, fluids, and IV Zofran. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to keep the medication down and this was the only option. When I returned with the items in my hands, Cole frowned and her eyes filled with tears.
"It's only been a few hours," she said. "Please, can't you wait? I'll try the pill again and maybe I'll be able to keep it down. Please, Daddy?"
I sighed, laying the items on the coffee table. "I've seen this illness in many patients, baby girl. It's not going to stop any time soon."
"Well, then just don't do it yet. It's inevitable, right? So, give me a little while longer without an IV in my hand. I hate those. They're so annoying."
She had a point. A little while longer wouldn't change much, though I didn't like leaving her without a source of hydration. "Let's wait a half hour without putting anything in your stomach, and then we'll try the pill again, okay? When you throw it up — because I'm quite certain you will — I'll put in the IV."
"Give me an hour?" she asked, batting her wet eyelashes.
I chuckled softly, moving her legs to sit down again beside her. "I think I've compromised enough, don't you?"
"It's just an hour."
I smiled and took her hand, caressing the top of it. "Oh, all right," I sighed.
She sat up and kissed my cheek. "Thank you, Daddy."
I resumed the documentary as Cole asked questions about the surgery we were watching. It was an extremely large tumor removal — one of the largest ever recorded — and she was very much interested. It was nice to be able to share this with her, knowing she found it as intriguing as I did.
My daughter wanted to be a doctor like me, and that made me immensely proud.
"You have others recorded, right?" she asked as it ended. "Maybe something heart related?"
I nodded, flipping through all of my recordings and bypassing Esme's cooking shows. "Heart transplant?"
"Sounds good to me." She smiled softly, moving herself on the couch to lean against me.
She laid a pillow against my arm and rested her head as the show started. I put my arm around her, holding her close and kissing the top of her head. Though I certainly didn't like her being sick, I did enjoy the quality time we were spending together. With the school year coming to a close and my busy work schedule as of late, I hadn't seen as much of her as I'd have liked. I missed her, and I knew she missed me, too. The daily texts every morning cemented that.
A little while into the show — before it got to the part Cole was most interested in — I checked my watch and found over an hour had passed. "All right, time for the pill," I said.
She groaned softly, anticipating the vomiting that would probably occur. "Fine."
I kissed her forehead before going upstairs to retrieve the pill. She took it with the tiniest sip of water possible before lying back down in her original spot. I turned the TV back on, and not but ten minutes later, paused as Cole gagged on the minuscule amount of water and pill.
"All right, go brush, and then I'll put the IV in," I said, frowning and helping her up. I didn't want to do this to her just as much as she didn't want me to.
After taking a little while longer than necessary in the bathroom, Cole came back into the living room and plopped onto the couch with a sigh. I pulled the coffee table close, situating the items before pulling on gloves.
"I'll let you pick which hand," I said, holding the alcohol swab.
"Wow," she huffed, letting a small smirk play on her lips as she gave me her left hand.
I laid it across my knee, wiping the top of her hand thoroughly before picking up the catheter and needle. "Okay, quick pinch. I'll be done in a second."
I gently slid the needle in, leaving the catheter in place before pulling it back out. She flinched slightly, but it didn't seem to cause her too much pain. Once it was taped down, I pushed the Zofran slowly, and then set up fluids, hooking the bag to the lamp behind her. I turned the switch on, knowing the heat from the lamp would warm the fluids up a little. She shivered from the cool saline solution slowly dripping into her vein.
"All right, let's finish this show, and then you can pick whatever you'd like to watch," I said, smiling after returning from cleaning up.
I sat down, and she put one of her pillows in my lap before laying her head down. I situated the IV line for her, so she wasn't tangled up in it. She sighed contentedly as I ran my hand through her hair.
Cole had drifted to sleep during the heart surgery documentary, so I turned the television down low and absentmindedly watched whatever was on. I was so worried about her, even though I knew she'd probably get through this fine. I just hated seeing my baby girl sick and miserable. She held her stomach as she fell asleep, and I knew she was in pain, but giving her pain medication on an empty stomach wouldn't have been a good idea. It would just make her even sicker.
I did my best to soothe her as she moaned in her sleep, griping my knee with her small hand and getting a fist full of my pant material. Around ten in the evening, my phone rang, and I quickly answered it so it wouldn't wake her.
"Hello?" I asked, not bothering to check the name.
"Carlisle? Can you hear me?" Esme asked, her voice crackling. "I'm at the airport, but I have an awful signal and it's just going to get worse."
"I can hear you, amore," I whispered. "I'm afraid Cole has come down with that gastrointestinal infection. She's sleeping right now."
"Oh, no! Do you need me to come home?"
"No, by the time you could get here, she'd already be better. I'm taking care of her."
"Of course you are. Poor girl. Give her a kiss for me and tell her I love her, all right? My recipe for chicken noodle soup is in the box, along with vegetable soup. Do you think you can handle making it for her when she's up to eating?"
I chuckled softy. "I'm sure I can manage somehow. Are you all about to start your hunting?"
"Yes, we're leaving the airport in a moment. I'll try to get to a phone in the morning to check on her, okay?"
"Sounds like a plan. I'm sure Alice will keep you up to date on what's happening now that she knows to look."
"I will, and I may have seen this coming," Alice said, taking the phone from Esme. "You and Cole needed some alone time anyway, and I knew that if I warned you, Esme wouldn't come and she needs this trip, Carlisle. Trust me. It'll do her good."
"I'm sure it will. Cole and I will manage just fine, but . . . how does tonight look?"
"Eh, not great, I'm afraid. The Zofran will wear off and since you can't give her anymore yet, she's going to have a rough night. But you being there for her and taking care of her is the best thing you can do."
I nodded to myself, looking down at Cole. Oh, this was just going to be awful. "I'll do what I can. Now, may I speak to my wife once more?"
"Sure! Love you and tell Cole we love her, too. Bye!"
"Well, I'm a little upset she didn't tell us," Esme said.
I chuckled. "Don't be. You need this trip, and I've got Cole covered. I mean, I believe I'm qualified, what with my many medical degrees."
"Cuddle her for me, too. A medical degree can't teach you that," she giggled.
"I'm already cuddling. She has her head in my lap and her hand gripping my knee. I've got my arm securely around her."
"Good, give her a kiss for me. I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you."
"I love you too, darling. Have a good time and try not to worry too much about Cole."
After hanging up the phone, time passed while Cole slept peacefully. At least she was getting some rest now, since it sounded like she wouldn't tonight. Even if the Zofran stopped working like Alice said, I couldn't give Cole another dose until twelve hours after the last one, which would be around seven in the morning.
"Ugh," Cole groaned, turning in her sleep to face the back of the couch.
I softly massaged the top of her head while running my fingers through her hair, hoping to offer some comfort. She quieted soon after once more and was back in a deep sleep for the next three hours.
Just after one in the morning, Cole groaned again and blinked her eyes open, looking up at me as I smiled, comfortingly. "How are you doing?" I asked. "Would you like to get into bed?"
Like I figured, she shook her head as she sat up and said, "I'm nauseous again, Daddy."
She lifted the trash can off of the floor and let her head hover about it for a moment before dry heaving a few times . . . then bile came up. I knew the taste to be foul, as was the smell. I pushed water on her, and she sipped it slowly. But then that came up a few minutes later, too.
I carried her to the bathroom since I knew it wasn't over. I held her in my lap as she continued to dry heave into the toilet. Between bouts, she rested against my chest as I rubbed her back soothingly.
"I think I'm dying," she groaned.
I kissed the top of her head. "No, you're not. I can promise you that. It's just a very nasty stomach bug."
She lunged for the toilet again, but instead of nothing or bile coming up, a small amount of blood did. The lining of her stomach was irritated, as was her throat. If it hadn't been such a tiny amount, I would have been rushing her to the ER. If it continued, I would be.
"Oh, God!" she moaned.
"I know, baby girl. I know," I said.
We had now been in the bathroom for an hour, so I hoped this bout would end soon. After calming her down and having her suck on ice chips to help her parched mouth, she brushed her teeth and we went back into the living room. She curled up on my lap as I wrapped a blanket around her.
She needed her daddy to hold her right now, which of course I had no issues with.
"I love you, and Mom does, too," I said. "She called a few hours ago and said she'd call again in the morning to check on you."
She nodded against my chest, peeking her eyes up at me. "I love you, too. Thank you."
"Whatever for, Tesoro?" I caressed her fevered cheek, which was even warmer now — around one-oh-one, I guessed.
"Taking care of me, holding my hair back, letting me sleep in your lap . . . that stuff. It makes it a little easier."
I smiled. "Well, whatever I can do to make it easier, I will. Just say the word."
"Lay down, so I can lay on top of you? And maybe turn the TV up a little to distract me?"
I rearranged us on the couch, so she could lay against my chest. I flipped through the television guide and as I passed the health channel, she told me to stop. Apparently, Untold Stories of the ER interested her. Of course it did, which made me smile.
She was my daughter, after all.
"You're weird," I teased as she watched the show.
She giggled. "No, I'm not. If I were, you would be, too. It's interesting, okay? And Mystery Diagnosis is on next, so don't even think about changing it."
"Middle of the night medical docudramas, huh?"
She shrugged. "I like 'em."
I caressed her back softly as we watched the television show, and I asked, "How does your belly feel?"
"Hurts, but I'm trying not to think about it. It's s'okay, Daddy."
"S'good," I chuckled.
Our night continued with trips to the bathroom every so often and watching television in between. She certainly did have a rough night, but I did everything I could to soothe her. At one point, I rubbed her belly softly to try and soothe the cramping. She said she liked that, so I continued. She drifted to sleep at five in the morning with a small smile on her lips from it.
I gave her another dose of Zofran when I was able to, which made her feel much better. Around nine, she got up and I drew her a bath. While she soaked, I started on the chicken noodle soup from Esme's recipe.
It was much harder than she made it look, let's just say.
"I have zero appetite," Cole said, coming into the kitchen in a new pair of pajama shorts that were pink and yellow plaid with a white t-shirt. She looked a little better with her hair in a bun and a wrap holding her bangs back from her face.
"I know, but hopefully you will tonight or tomorrow," I said. "We need to get some food in you soon, though. Will you taste this for me and see if it tastes edible?" I chuckled, lifting a spoon from the broth.
Her little nose crinkled in disdain, but she did it for me anyway. "More salt."
I nodded, adding a little more to the pot. "All right, well this needs to cook for a while, so how about getting back on the couch and trying to rest? I rearranged the blankets and pillows for you. You didn't get the IV port wet, right?"
"No, Daddy. I kept this hand above water. You're gonna give me more fluids, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am, baby girl," I said, lifting her into my arms as she giggled softly.
I carried her back into the living room and laid her down on the blankets before getting my thermometer back out of my bag. Her temperature had risen some more, which I didn't like. It was partly from the warm bath, though.
After starting another bag of fluid, Cole and I looked through the movies on-demand and picked an animated one — Meet the Robinsons. I really enjoyed it, actually. It had a wonderful message. Of course, part way through the movie Cole drank some sprite and it didn't sit well. We were back in the bathroom once more, making it there before she threw up this time.
Mixed with the clear liquid was a little more blood. It still wasn't enough to make me take her to the hospital, but I worried endlessly. She just couldn't catch a break. Her stomach didn't want anything in it, it seemed.
"You're doing so well, you know that?" I asked, rubbing her belly as she curled up in my lap on the bathroom floor.
She scoffed, burying her face in my chest. "Right."
"No, you are. You're handling this better than most people would. You haven't really cried that much and you certainly aren't a whiner. You're brave, even when ill."
"I think you're delusional. I've been crying and whining a lot."
"I've seen much worse, I guess. You do like to cuddle, but I like that."
She wrapped her arms around my neck, holding me tighter. "I love you, Daddy."
"I love you too, Tesoro."
Once we got back into the living room and situated once more — her feet in my lap again — my cell phone rang. I quickly passed the phone to Cole and let her talk to her mom. The words "I'm fine" and "don't worry" were said quite a few times from Cole. Esme was worrying, just like me. Only I was here to see Cole, and Esme just had to take our word for it. I knew she didn't like being away from our daughter at a time like this.
After telling her that I loved her, Esme hung up the phone to go back to enjoying her trip. I had a nagging feeling that she wasn't enjoying it, though, but I wished she would. It wasn't often that she could enjoy game like that.
"I wish you hadn't told her I was sick," Cole said, frowning.
"I won't keep secrets from your mom. It's not fair, and I wouldn't want her to do that to me. So, next time she calls, I'd like to report that you at least tried to eat. Will you attempt a small amount of soup for me tonight? Maybe after another dose of Zofran?"
"Blah," she said.
I smiled, reaching over to caress her cheek. "Pretty please?"
"You're going to make me, aren't you?"
"Well, I'm not going to force feed you, but you really need to try and eat, Tesoro. I'm not talking about any time soon, just later tonight."
She sighed, nodding. "All right, but when I blow chunks, I'm blaming you."
I chuckled, shaking my head as I tickled the bottom of her foot. "You can blame me."
Our day consisted of Cole napping on and off as I did some work that I had brought home. When she wasn't asleep and heard me dictating notes into my laptop, she listened. Yes, I should have been doing this alone to protect my patients' privacy, but there was nothing that Cole would hear that would compromise that and I used . It was mostly surgical notes and how my patients we're healing.
As I spoke, I looked up to find her watching me intently. "Is something wrong?" I asked, pausing my recorder.
She shook her head. "No, I just like listening to you. It's almost as good as watching you work. The words you use and everything . . . it fascinates me. I just wanna know what they mean, you know? I'd ask you to tell me, but I didn't want to interrupt you."
I smiled and closed my laptop, setting it on the coffee table where my feet were. "Well, you're not interrupting me. Ask away."
She repeated a few that she had heard, and I told her what they meant — certain structures in the body, medications, and procedures. Once she was done asking those questions, we got onto the topic of what to do in certain situations. It distracted her from her stomach pain and nausea, so I didn't mind sharing some knowledge with her — not that I ever did.
Unfortunately, how discuss was interrupted by another bout of dry heaving into the trash can . . . and then a bathroom trip that I wasn't allowed to follow for, like a few times before.
It all seemed never ending, though I knew it would. Hopefully by tomorrow she'd be feeling a lot better. I was crossing my fingers for that, actually. She looked so pitiful when she came back into the living room, plopping onto the couch. I reconnected the IV as she shot me a dirty look.
Well, adorable, but I was sure she didn't mean for it to be.
"I'm blaming you for this," she said. "You brought this thing home to me."
"I'm sorry, Tesoro," I said, grimacing. She was most likely right, though I knew a few kids at her school and suffered through it as well.
"And I can't even be mad at you!" she huffed dramatically. "You're taking such great care of me. I'm sorry. I'm just soooooooo over it, Daddy. My tummy hurts, my throat hurts, my . . . behind hurts," she whispered. "Ugh. My whole body hurts!"
She was beginning to cry, so I sat back down beside her and pulled her into my lap, rocking her gently. I pressed my lips to her forehead, trying to show her all the love I could. I may not have been able to make her better right away, but she needed lots of love and care right now, too.
"You're going to be just fine," I whispered. "It'll all be over soon."
She whimpered in my arms, holding her stomach. "It hurts, Daddy."
Was it unethical and uncalled for? Yes, but I couldn't stand seeing her in pain. "I'm going to make it go away," I said. "Just lay down for me, and I'll be right back."
She curled onto her side on the couch as I ran up to my study to the drug lock up I had. I should not have been giving her this. I knew that full well, but it wasn't going to stop me. My baby was in pain, not only from cramping, but from all the vomiting, too.
I knew she could tolerate it, so I pulled out a vile of morphine and drew a very small dose into a syringe. It wasn't enough to do any type of harm to her, but would alleviate the pain and let her sleep, which was what she needed.
The syringe felt heavy in my hand as I walked back downstairs. I kept telling myself that I wouldn't do this if it weren't needed, but I would. For her, I'd do anything.
"What's that?" she asked as I kneeled down beside her, taking the IV tubing into my hand.
"Pain medicine." I smiled before pulling the cap off with my teeth. "It'll make you feel better."
She sighed in relief. "Thank you."
I injected it slowly, counting her breaths as I did — perfectly normal, of course. "Okay, now this will make you sleepy, and I don't want you to fight it. It could make you nauseous, but hopefully it won't. You're just going to rest and feel better for me, all right?"
She nodded. "Okay. What is it?"
I looked up at her as I injected the last of it. "Morphine, just a small dose, though. You shouldn't have any dangerous side effects from it."
"That seems extreme."
I shrugged, recapping the needle. "A little, but I can't stand seeing you in pain and the only other narcotics I have are tablets, which we both know you can't keep down."
"Well, thank you."
I leaned in, kissing her forehead. "You're welcome. Just don't tell anyone I gave you morphine for this," I chuckled. "Now, how would you like to sleep?"
"On your chest, please?"
"Sounds good to me."
She sat up, and I laid down on the couch before laying a two pillows over my body, length wise for her. She laid down on me, resting her head just under my chin as I pulled the pink polka-dotted blanket over us.
She was out quickly, and the whimpering was gone. I kept a close eye — or ear, technically — on her breathing and heart rate. They had slowed, but we're still safe. She was safe . . . and out of pain.
As she slept, Cole's little body wedged itself between me and the back of the couch. Her little hand was on my chest, over my non-beating heart. There was something special about watching her sleep, which Esme and I did often. We'd probably never tell her, but there were nights when we'd go into her room and watch her sleep.
Watch our human daughter sleep peacefully, even though we couldn't.
Honestly, I loved her being human. She may have been more fragile than I liked, but it was amazing to watch her grow and learn right before our eyes. It was different, seeing her encounter things for the first time, though we had encountered them thousands of times. It gave us a new perspective on life.
She was very much a child in many ways, though she was sixteen.
I would always feel blessed that she happened into our lives when she did. And I would always be so grateful to Esme for stopping us in front of that alley. I probably would have walked by without a second thought. After all, Cole wasn't the only human in the area that was in distress.
I would always be able to recount the image of her that night. She was so frail and tiny, huddled in that alley near a dumpster. She was so . . . broken. Our love helped heal her, and she healed us, even though we had no idea we needed it.
She was a blessing in every way — meant to be our daughter.
Cole slept peacefully for hours. There was no whimpering, no clutching her stomach, and no tears — for which I was thankful because they broke my heart. She didn't even begin to stir for almost seven hours. I was even able to give her another dose of Zofran without waking her, even though I moved her to get up. At nine in the evening, her eyelids fluttered open, and she looked right into my eyes.
"Well, good evening, sleepyhead," I chuckled, fixing the wrap around her head and tucking a fallen strand of hair into it. "I'm assuming you slept well, yes?"
She nodded, yawning. "Yeah, amazingly. I even kinda feel better."
I grinned, kissing her forehead. "Wonderful. So, might you be up to trying a very small amount of soup?"
She shrugged. "I guess I'll try, but I gotta go potty first."
I laughed lightly under my breath. "Okay, then, you go and I'll get you some soup."
She pushed against my chest, sitting up and stretching before getting off of the couch. I stood with her, steadying her since she swayed — still medicated. Once I was sure she could walk, I helped her to the bathroom and then went into the kitchen. The soup was done, so I ladled a small amount into a bowl before transferring the rest into another bowl to put in the fridge. I grabbed a few saltine crackers, as well as a small glass of sprite for her before going back into the living.
Cole was already back on the couch, sitting up against the back with her blanket over her lap. I put the tray we had over her lap before setting the bowl on it. Her nose crinkled when the smell hit her, and she certainly didn't react positively. "No offense to you, Daddy, but this does not smell appetizing," she said.
"You're just not hungry," I said, reattaching the IV before sitting down next to her. "Just try a little for me, okay? I want to see if you can keep it down."
She sighed and nodded, lifting the spoon to her mouth. It was quite obvious that she wasn't enjoying it, but managed a few spoonfuls down before saying she couldn't do anymore. Well, at least she got a little down.
Cole and I spent the evening on the couch again, watching whatever we could find on television. Thankfully, she did manage to keep the small amount of soup down. It thrilled me beyond belief that she had, but I didn't want to push it. I only let her have small sips of sprite or water, leaving plenty of time between each time. She had been keeping it down, too.
Though the nausea and vomiting seemed to have slowed down, her stomach pain hadn't. Worried that I had missed something, I palpated her abdomen again, but she felt no pain that I considered abnormal — just soreness from vomiting. Opting to not risk it and give her more morphine, I let her take a few over-the-counter pain pills instead.
Unfortunately, around midnight, she began throwing up again and we were back on the bathroom floor.
"You should just make me a bed in here," she groaned, hunched over the toilet as I rubbed her back. "It'd be more convenient."
I sighed. "I think you're almost done with this, Tesoro. I'm sure by tomorrow afternoon it'll be over."
"I thought it was already over," she huffed, leaning back into me as I grabbed a tissue and wiped her mouth for her.
"Me too, baby girl, me too."
After getting her cleaned up, we went back into the living room once more. She laid with her head in my lap as I turned on the health channel for her again. I didn't miss the small twitch of her lips into a smile.
This time, we wound up watching a show about pregnancy. It obviously wasn't either of our cup of tea, but she didn't want me to change it. It also somehow got us on the topic of childbirth — which was a little awkward for me. I refused to ever, ever, ever consider the idea of her . . . being intimate with someone to have a child.
"You've delivered babies, right?" she asked.
"Ever specialized in it?"
I nodded. "I tried it once in the eighties and practiced for six years, but it wasn't my passion. I did enjoy helping bring children into the world, though. The look on the parents' faces meant more than a 'thank you' ever could."
"That's nice, I guess. I don't think I want kids. I mean, it doesn't fit into my plan, and I like my plan."
No kids meant no sex, so that was perfectly fine with me. Maybe it wasn't unrealistic, but I could dream and pray. "I like your plan, too."
"Would you and mom want . . . grandkids, though?"
Esme and I grandparents . . . the thought never really crossed my mind. Would I love to experience having a baby around and watching it grow up? Of course, but I wished that had been Cole. "We'd support you, but it's not like we're hoping for it. It'd your life, Tesoro. It should be what you want, not us."
"Yeah, I just don't see it happening."
Once the show was over, the baby talk was too and Cole got her fill of high-paced trauma and ER shows as she drifted to sleep. She didn't throw up again, for which I was very thankful. We made it into morning, and I gave her another dose of Zofran to help with her nausea. But she didn't throw up, and that was what mattered.
For breakfast, I got her to eat a little more soup, which she kept down. By the time lunch rolled around, she had a little more. With her keeping down food and fluids, I agreed to take out the IV. She was begging me to, after all.
I couldn't resist her adorable puppy dog eyes.
"All right, the adhesive might not feel very good coming off," I said, preparing a piece of gauze to put over the puncture site. "Just bear with me."
I pulled on gloves before gently peeling the adhesive patch off, pulling the IV out with it. She bled a little, so I quickly covered it with gauze and taped it down, holding pressure for a few moments. Once I was done, she moved her hand, grinning.
"Much better. Thank you, Daddy."
I kissed her forehead before throwing everything into the trash can — I'd dispose of it properly in a little while. "You are very welcome."
After everything was cleaned up, I say back down with her on the couch, wrapping my arm around her shoulders as she leaned into me. Though I despised her being ill, I was thankful for the time we had together. It made me feel . . . useful, being able to make her well. I was her father, so taking care of her was my job. My career just helped me do it a little better.
"You're the best dad in the world," she said, looking up at me. "You know that, right?"
I smiled. "That means so much to me to hear you say that. I want to be the best dad in the world for you, because you deserve no less. Thank you for letting me . . . and not fighting me too much."
She giggled. "I only fight you when you try to put an IV in me, and I'm pretty sure I always will. But I'd rather you do it than anyone else. Best doctor and best dad."
A/N: I hope you liked it. Remember, I'm not a doctor or even in the medical field. I research, but sometimes Google doesn't tell me what I really wanted to know.
Love you, Gretchen!