Chapter 13-What's Ringing

Ryan slept for another few hours after falling asleep listening to Kirsten reading. The next time he woke was at the arrival of the Respiratory Therapist.

"Hello Ryan, time for your treatment again." Jenny from Respiratory said.

Ryan waved his hand weakly to acknowledge her, though he didn't move much more and quickly closed his eyes again after the acknowledgement.

"I'm gonna adjust your bed so you're at a slight angle for the treatment. I apologize in advance since I know it is pretty uncomfortable to sit up too much with your headache."

"What? I couldn't hear everything you just said can you repeat that." Ryan whispered between labored breaths his eyes opening once more and trying to focus on the therapist.

"Sure- I was just saying I need to angle your bed a bit more to get your breathing treatments going and I'm sorry but it might aggravate your headache some."

"Moving my bed some. Got it?" Ryan said once more before closing his eyes again.

Kirsten watched the exchange quietly from her seat beside Ryan. Soon the therapist moved to adjust the angle as she had said. The minute the bed started to move, Ryan's eyes shot open and a low groan of pain came from the teen.

"Sorry kid I tried to warn you."

Ryan said nothing but his increase breathing rate signified he was simply occupied with trying to get the pain under a bit more control.

Another nurse walked in about that time.

"Ryan, I noticed your rates change and I'm guessing it's from pain. I am going to give you some more meds right now which will hopefully help."

Ryan whose eyes were tightly closed trying to ward off the pain didn't acknowledge the new nurses presence or comments.

When the nurse approached him and reached out to touch his IV Ryan flinched violently his eyes landing on the nurse in confusion.

"Sorry kid I'm just giving you the pain meds like I said."

"Oh." Ryan muttered. "Didn't hear you."

"That's the second time you haven't heard something, Ryan. I something wrong?" Kirsten interjected surprised by the normally sharp boy's lack of awareness about his surroundings.

Kirsten's remark must have caused some concern to the nurse because he frowned momentarily.

"Are you having a hard time hearing Ryan?"

"Ringing…" the boy panted out.

"Ringing?" The nurse asked in clarification.

"My ears are ringing." Ryan repeated.

"hmm." The nurse said and made a note on a chart.

"Is that bad?" Kirsten asked.

"it's worth keeping an eye on- meningitis can have complications with hearing but sometimes the antibiotic also has a side effect of ringing so for now we will make a note of things. The doctor may have some tests done a bit later too to check for problems."

"Ok." Kirsten remarked the worry of a possible complication evident on her face.

"Let's not jump to conclusions yet. Let's just give the treatments time to work. Ryan's doing well overall the cranial pressure doesn't seem to be increasing and he is maintaining his oxygen levels with a little help. Plus his temperature is still decreasing."

"You're right thanks- I just worry."

"That's what mom's do. Just hit the call button if you guys need anything more. Are the meds helping a little Ryan?"

Ryan gave shaky thumbs up in response and then once more shut his eyes after the respiratory therapist placed the breathing mask over his face for his treatment.

"I'll be back in ten minutes too once the treatments done." Jenny said and followed Ryan's nurse out to the nurse's station.

As they left Kirsten gently stroked the teens head and prayed that everything would be okay with Ryan's hearing- the boy certainly didn't need any more problems.