Disclaimer: I do not own Glee
Medical disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert on CIPA - all I know is what my research has taught me.
Warnings: mentions of blood, and of being beaten up.
6:00 AM - Wake up. (in the morning, feeling like P. Diddy.)
6:03 - check arms for bruises, cuts or swelling.
6:09 - sit up, check chest, stomach, legs and feet for swelling, bruises or cuts.
6:15 - head to bathroom: check face, neck, and entire back for swelling, cuts, bruises. Make sure eyes aren't bleeding. Check temperature.
6:20 - go to the bathroom.
6:30: - breakfast.
7:15 - check body once more.
7:35 – shower (make sure that the nob is turned to where the sticker has been placed so that it's not too hot or too cold. REMINDER: ask Dad to check again to make sure the water temperature is still the same.)
7:50 – get dressed. Check body – again.
8:15 – get taken to school.
REMEMBER: Alarms on watch ready to go off every two hours. Make sure thermometer is in backpack. Make sure to check weather degrees during lunch to see if extra layers are needed, or if a layer needs to be taken off.
He had an alarm set for for 9:05 that told him he needed to go to the bathroom.
Every two to three hours he had to go, to make sure that his bladder wasn't actually bursting even though he hadn't had much water this morning. While he was in the bathroom, he also had to check to make sure that he didn't have any cuts or bruising or swelling, make sure that he wasn't bleeding, before he could head back to class. He had to do this after he did anything. If he decided to go running one day, he'd have to check his entire body once he was done – for swelling, bruises, cuts. When he worked in the garage with his dad, he'd have to stop every thirty minutes to make sure he hadn't brushed up against something and been cut. Even after walking down the hall, he'd have to check; someone's clothes could have had something sharp in them and cut him, and if he didn't check, he'd never know.
That was just one of the problems with CIPA.
Kurt Hummel couldn't feel.
He couldn't sweat, or feel temperature. He couldn't feel it when he had been cut or had been slammed against the locker. He couldn't tell when he had to go to the bathroom, and he didn't know what it was like to cry because he couldn't. He didn't know when he was hungry, because when his stomach would cramp up because it needed to be full, he wouldn't feel it. Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis, his doctor had told him and his parents when he'd been first diagnosed. In a nutshell, the reason Kurt hated living a lot of the times.
He'd been beaten up before; a couple of boys who went to his junior high seemed to catch on to how he didn't feel anything when he was thrown against a row of lockers or tripped down the stairs and decided that he'd have to "have the pain beaten into him". He never screamed, didn't wince, and didn't feel any of the pain that each blows brought. He felt the pressure, but no pain; it terrified them into running away after a while, leaving him to stumble home on legs that were having trouble supporting him. He'd never forget the look on his dad's face when he walked awkwardly into the kitchen, covered in blood and dirt – his dad had never looked more terrified.
After being rushed to the hospital, he'd spent far too long in the E.R, getting X-rays, ultra sounds, MRI's – luckily his spinal nerve didn't have to be biopsied. Kurt had been taken home two weeks later with four broken ribs, arm, wrist, and ankle It was then that his dad decided that, yes, the teachers and faculty of the schools he went to needed to know that he was sick.
The teachers of his high school school knew of his illness and were supposed to help look after him. When he was in class and his watch beeped the teachers knew to let him go and do what he needed to do. But today – today they had a substitute, who didn't know anything about him.
"Okay, class. Your teacher said that you had a test today, so no talking, no taking the hall pass – just take the test. You have until ten minutes until the bell rings to finish it."
He was strict from what he'd heard other kids say from when they'd had him in other classes. Strict was usually never good for him. He needed to be able to leave; his other teachers knew that. Maybe he was left a note about me or... something.
He could only hope.
He wanted to bite his lip and look down at his test, but he could bite his lip too hard and cause damage, and then he'd have to leave earlier than planned and that wouldn't be good, so instead, he just turned his attention to his test and started to work on question one.
Fifteen minutes into the exam, his watch went off, signaling that it was time to head to the restrooms. He put his pencil down and hesitantly raised his hand into the air. "Sir?"
The substitute didn't even look up from the book that he was reading. "There's to be no talking during the exam, young man."
Sighing, Kurt stood up and walked over to the teacher's desk. "Sir, I need to use the hall pass."
The man put the book down. "I've told you that no one is allowed to use the hall pass."
Kurt resisted the urge to wring his fingers; there was a change that he could bend one too far and that the bones could break. "D-did Mrs. Hanson leave a note for you about me?"
Frowning, the substitute shifted through the papers on the desk until he pulled out a bright blue sheet of paper. "This is to inform you that Kurt Hummel is the only exception to the no hall pass rule..." he read, frown growing deeper on his face the longer he read. Eventually, he put the paper down and glanced back up at Kurt. "Fine, you can use the hall pass. Make it quick though."
Sighing in relief, Kurt picked up the hall pass and headed out of the classroom, but not before he heard the substitute mutter, "...got a bladder problem or?" and the laughs of some of the students in the class. He resisted the urge to bite his lip and continued towards the bathroom, taking his time walking down the hall, careful of how he put his feet down on the ground; he was constantly monitoring every little movement that he made.
It was frustrating, but at the same time, he'd been dealing with it his entire life.
Sometimes, though, it got to him – the way he had to live his life was most certainly different from the way normal people got to live theirs. His life was full of, check your temperature, Kurt, and, did you double check for signs of swelling or cuts? and, this dance routine is a bit too dangerous for you, I think. Once upon a time, Kurt Hummel had had dreams and aspirations.
Now he thought the future looked bleak, and full of, did you double check everything this morning after breakfast? That pan you were holding was still really hot, so you could have been burned. Whenever he looked at his future, it looked hopeless.
He felt hopeless a lot of the time, because there was no future for him that existed beyond make sure to double check, Kurt.
The bathroom was, thankfully, empty when Kurt arrived. Not many students were out in the halls during this hour, because the teachers were more strict in the mornings. Glancing down at his watch, he stepped into a stall and began his nine in the morning ritual. Once he was done in the stall, he headed towards the sinks and turned the right knob a bit, just to get the water flowing. He couldn't tell if the water was cold or hot; he remembered watching a boy turn the left knob a bit, then yell out that the water was too "damn hot", so he didn't ever use the left knob. There was a chance that he could burn his skin and he'd never really know it.
Once he was done washing his hands he sighed, then glanced up at his reflection in the mirror. He turned his head to the side, then reached up and brushed his fingers over a small scar that he had on his neck. When he'd been two and learning how to control his limbs, he'd apparently scratched at that same spot until he ended digging into his skin – they'd rushed him to the hospital and that was when he'd been diagnosed as a CIPA patient, even though the signs had been there his entire life. They were lucky to have caught it before he did some serious damage, the doctor had told his parents. His case had brought up the number of CIPA cases in the US by one – from eighty four cases to eighty five. He became a number, in a way.
Sighing, Kurt shook his head, not wanting to dwell on sad thoughts. Puffing out his cheeks childishly, he proceeded to check his body for... anything: no bruises, no cuts, no swelling. Once he was done, he grabbed the hall pass and headed out of the bathroom.
He was halfway down the hall when he heard his name being called. Turning, he was greeted by Mr. Schuester, the Spanish teacher as well as his Glee coach. "Oh, hello Mr. Schue. How are you this morning?"
Mr. Schue nodded at him. "Good morning, Kurt. I'm well, thank you. Morning check ups?"
Kurt gave him a smile and shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah, a little later than normal because I have a sub for my class this morning. It took a while for him to let me out of class. We had a test," he added as an after though; he didn't want to get the substitute in trouble for doing his job.
He didn't really mind talking to Mr. Schue about his problems or discussing CIPA; Mr. Schue looked out for him, but he didn't hover, unlike a few of the school staff members did. Ms. Pillsbury, the school councilor, seemed to think that he was going to shatter if she looked at him. Mr. Schue walked closer and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "The substitute didn't give you any trouble, did he?"
Kurt shook his head. "No, my teacher left a letter for him informing him that I was allowed to use the hall pass."
"That's good. Are you still coming to Glee rehearsal today?"
Kurt nodded; Glee club was one of his favorite things to do during the week – it had been a chore to convince his father to let him join the club, but he'd relented, only if Kurt informed the members of his condition. Kurt had reluctantly agreed; it had been embarrassing, but most of the time they treated him normal, like they would any other friend.
"I'm still planning on it. Unless I fall down the stairs," he joked.
Mr. Schue gave him a strained smile. "Well, I'll see you then, Kurt."
Kurt waved him off and then continued down the hall. Once he turned the corner, he started in the direction of his classroom, pulling out his phone to check to make sure his backup alarm was set for two hours later. He was still staring at his phone when he felt the shadow appear over him. He'd barely had time to look up before he was being roughly shoved into the row of lockers to his left. Pushing himself off of the lockers, he twisted around to see Dave Karofsky and Azimio Adams laughing and clapping hands, each holding a hall pass in their hands. As he watched, Karofsky turned around and gave him a wink. Glaring, Kurt bent down and picked up the hall pass that had dropped out of his fingers, then groaned and headed towards the nearest bathroom to check his body for any damage.
"Alright guys, let's keep this up! The dancing is coming along great, now just remember the parts where you move and we'll have sectionals in the bag."
Sometimes, it was embarrassing having CIPA. One small thing could lead to something bigger – like a cut on a hand that went unwatched or unnoticed could lead to him having to have his hand amputated. A day spent out too long in the cold could lead to pneumonia. Waiting too long to go to the bathroom could lead to him wetting his pants. Or, a simple wrong turn during a dance rehearsal could lead to him tripping, hitting the piano and crashing to the ground, which always led to-
"Kurt, don't move, I'm going to call your father."
-people over reacting.
"Mr. Schue, I'm fine. All I need to do is check. This is small compared to other things, really."
Mr. Schue hesitated, but eventually let him stand up. "Finn," he said, pointing to Kurt as he headed out of the room. "Watch him. Make sure he doesn't move too much."
With a groan, Kurt tugged his arm out of Finn's grasp. "Finn, I'm fine. Really."
Finn looked unsure. "Kurt... I mean, you don't know that."
Rolling his eyes, Kurt ran his hands over his body, looking for blood. His hands were clean once he put them out for everyone to see. "See? No blood. No cuts. I'm fine."
"But... What about your bones, baby?" Mercedes asked softly.
With a frustrated groan, Kurt moved to sit down on one of the chairs. Maybe telling the Glee club about his condition hadn't been such a good idea after all. They constantly mothered him when he fell (it was just a fall), and as much as he missed his mom, he didn't need a whole load of them – Finn's mother had taken over that job once she'd started dating his dad.
"Guys, I'm fine. I just fell."
"Yeah, but you could have broken a bone or something. You fell awkwardly, dude, and you hit the piano," Finn said, moving to sit next to him. "What if your broke your prostate or something?"
Ignoring the sniggers around him, Kurt sighed. "One, I just fell. That's not going to break a bone. And two? The prostate is not a bone, Finn!"
Finn's mouth formed a rather impressive 'O' as he slumped in his seat. Groaning, Kurt ran a hand over his face, then rubbed at his eyelids. He didn't realize how hard he was rubbing them until he felt a hand grab his wrists and pull his hands away from his eyes. "No can do, Hummel," Puck said sternly. "That's too hard of a rub."
Kurt pulled his hands out of Puck's grasp, then tilted his head up and opened his eyes wide. "They okay?"
Puck's eyes narrowed as he bent down slightly, staring intently at Kurt's eyes. "Good on the front set. Look to the right?"
Kurt obeyed, then again when Puck told him to look to the left.
"Eyes are good, Hummel. Nothing damaged that I can see."
"Thanks, Puck," he said, leaning back against his chair. Puck sat down on the other side of him, silent as Kurt watched his friends talk, standing in random parts of the room, enjoying themselves but still keeping an eye on him. "You guys have it so easy, you know?"
Puck rolled his eyes. "Sure, because feeling pain is such a wonderful thing."
Kurt glared at him. "Puck, you know what I mean. I'd rather be able to feel pain than have to live like I do."
Puck's shoulders rounded and he slumped forward, not answering back, causing Kurt to wait the next fifteen minutes it would take for his dad to speed to the school in silence.
His dad actually showed up twelve minutes later, stumbling into the choir room, panting slightly. "Kurt?"
Kurt put up a hand. "Hi, Dad."
His dad rushed forward, Mr. Schue following after him. "You okay? Checked and everything?"
Kurt nodded. "Yes, Dad. I'm fine."
His dad ignored him and turned around to Mr. Schuester. "How awkwardly did he fall?"
Mr. Schue frowned. "It was a little awkward after he hit the piano. His hips kind of twisted in one direction and his upper body went in another."
"Dad?" Kurt said, reaching out to hold his dad's wrist. "I'm fine."
His dad looked back down at him, shaking his head. "You fell, awkwardly. You hit the piano. You know that we need to have you checked."
All Kurt could do was stare. Sure, he'd gotten used to his dad fussing over him, but lately he'd been overlyprotective, rushing Kurt to the hospital every time he fell or bumped into something. It was getting rather annoying. "Dad-"
"Don't 'Dad' me, Kurt. We're taking you to the hospital, end of story."
Sighing in defeat, Kurt nodded, then bent down to get his bag, only to find it gone. He looked up to see Finn holding it, a sheepish look on his face. "Finn, I can carry my bag."
"Not if something is broken, you're not," his dad said, holding his arms out.
Kurt stared at them for a quick second before he shook his head quickly. "I can walk, Dad. At least give me that."
"And what if your hip is broken or something?"
Kurt rolled his eyes and stood up, ignoring the spluttering from his dad, Finn, and the rest of the room. "Then I'll let you say 'I told you so' as many times as you want, okay, Dad?" He said as he walked forward and yanked his bag out of Finn's grasp. "If we're going to have to go to the hospital, I'd like to keep some of my pride and walk in, okay?"
His dad sighed. "Okay, fine. You can walk."
Grinning, Kurt slipped his bag strap over his shoulder and headed out of the room. "Bye guys, I'll see you all tomorrow!"
"We're going over the harmonies for my big sectionals solo tomorrow, Kurt!" Rachel called out. "Make sure that you're here! I want to talk to you about the counter harmony that I think will fit wonderfully with your voice!"
Kurt slumped forward, then turned to look at his dad as they headed out of the choir room. "Please let the doctors say that I have a broken hip..."
Blaine Anderson loved his little sister; she was bright, spunky, and a stubborn little thing.
She also was the saddest thing to look at when she was hurt.
She was currently sitting on Blaine's lap, gripping the front of his jacket tightly as she bit her bottom lip, trying to not cry out. Her twin, James, was sitting next to her, holding her unoccupied hand in both of his, whispering softly to her, "It's okay, Kates. It's okay. You're gonna be okay, Kates."
Biting back a yawn, Blaine placed a soft kiss on her forehead, muttering, "They should call us back soon, honey."
She nodded against his chest. "Didja call mommy and daddy?"
Blaine let out a defeated sigh. "I did, but..."
Katie's frowned deepened. "They be busy, huh?" she said in a very soft voice, which caused James to lean up and press a kiss to her cheek. She giggled, but the cried out in pain as her leg moved.
James pulled back quickly. "I'm sorry, Kates! I didn't mean to hurt you more!"
"S'okay, Jamesie. I'm a strong girl, remember?"
James nodded, then curled up in his seat and wrapped his hoodie around his body tighter. Blaine watched them both, sighing when he realized that they needed their parents with them, not their older brother. But his parents couldn't be there, and (he thought to himself darkly), even if they were able, he highly doubted they would be there. His parents often seemed to forget about their children - not in the abusive way, but they just seemed to... not care that often. Well, they cared about his older brother, seeing as Wendall had decided to go along with the plans his parent's had made for him.
But Blaine... Blaine was gay, he didn't want to be a lawyer, and he liked to sing, not study politics. Once his father had realized that Blaine wasn't going to become what he wanted, Blaine had become the after thought: "These are my children, Katie, James, Wendall. Oh, and that's Blaine."
Maybe, he thought to himself as he absentmindedly rubbed Katie's back. Maybe if I couldn't feel I wouldn't care so much...
His parents were out of the country on business. Well, his dad was out of the country on business; his mom had just decided to tag along, leaving Blaine to hire a nanny on short notice to watch his little siblings while he was at school. Normally, when their mother decided to travel with their father, Blaine's older brother, Wendall, would come down and stay with them, but he was busy with a high priority case and was unable to make it.
Today, the nanny had to leave a little early, which Blaine was perfectly fine with, but once he'd gotten home from Warbler's practice, he'd walked in to see Katie crying, lying at the bottom of the stairs with James trying his best to help her. She'd told him that she hadn't hit her head, but her entire leg was hurting really badly, and with the way that it was looking, Blaine had to admit to himself that it was broken.
He'd driven them to the ER, but the ER was low on staff that day and was backed up. They'd been sitting there for a good hour, and there was nothing that he could give Katie to ease her pain except hold her and tell her it would be okay. She'd fallen asleep for a good twenty minutes, which allowed Blaine to rest his eyes as well for fifteen minutes, having gotten only five hours of sleep the night before.
The council for the Warblers had decided on a late night rehearsal the day before, where they'd prepared viciously for Sectionals that were coming up – the council had been brutal, and Blaine had only been able to escape early because the nanny had to go home. He'd spent most of the night doing homework, and had fallen asleep at his desk, his head buried in George Orwell's 1984.
Almost two hours into their wait, a boy with brown hair, pale skin, and a very bored look on his face was pushed into the building in a wheelchair. His fingers were idly tapping the chair handles as he was pushed over to where Blaine was sitting with Katie and James, while a bald man in a flannel shirt marched up to the triage desk.
"Hi, my name's Burt Hummel, and I need to check my son in – yeah, that's him."
The boy next to him let out a sigh, and Blaine glanced at him through the side of his eyes. He was incredibly good looking, even though he looked bored out of his mind. Blaine just watched him for a minute, before he realized that Katie was reaching out to the other boy. She placed a hand on his shoulder, then asked in a soft voice, "Mister? Why are you in a wheelchair?"
The boy turned to look at her, then his eye flickered up to Blaine; they widened for a split second before they dropped back down to Katie. He looked down at his body, then said, "I fell."
Katie's eyes widened. "Me too! I guess we're both klutzes, huh?" She exclaimed, pointing down at her left foot. The other boy looked down at her foot before he whistled.
"That looks like it hurts!"
She nodded her head quickly, but before she could open her mouth to reply, James spoke up quickly. "She says that it does. Like, really really badly! She was cryin' and stuff!"
"Ooh, I see! How long have you been waiting?"
James let out a humph sound. "A long, long time, Mister."
Katie cocked her head to the side. "What's your name, Mister?"
The boy smiled. "Kurt."
Well, that was a really attractive name.
Katie giggled. "I'm Katie. And that's my brother, James; we're twins! And this guy," she said, smacking Blaine on his chest. "This bozo is my big brother, but not my biggest brother; his name is Blaine!"
Frowning, Blaine asked, "Why am I the bozo again?"
"'Cause you're just a bozo."
Blaine's frown deepened, but at least Katie wasn't focusing on the pain any more. Grinning, he turned to Kurt. "Well, hi. I'm Blaine, the bozo."
Kurt let out a small laugh. "I'm Kurt, the klutz."
As though remembering that he'd fallen, Katie asked, "Did it hurt like mine did?"
At that moment, a nurse walked out and hurried over to them. Thinking she was for them, Blaine shifted a bit, ready to stand up, but the nurse bent down in front of Kurt instead. "What happened this time?"
Rolling his eyes, Kurt muttered, "I tripped during Glee rehearsal. My dad is overreacting, really."
Kurt's father appeared over the nurse's shoulder, a frown on his face. "According to his teacher he fell awkwardly, and hit the piano, so I thought it would be best to bring him in."
Kurt let out an aggravated sigh. "Nurse Mandy, tell him he's overreacting, please!"
The nurse, Mandy, shook her head. "I'm afraid he's right, Kurt. I'm sorry. Those are the rules, you know."
Kurt let out an exasperated humph. "I know that, but I've been here so often – it's getting to be embarrassing."
Mandy gave him a soft, tired smile; Blaine felt like he shouldn't have even been hearing their conversation. "I know. I do, and I can't even imagine what this is like. But you just have to keep moving on; that's how things work in life, right? Now, we've got a room ready for you, so we'll-"
To Blaine's surprise, Kurt shook his head. "No, the room isn't for me," he said firmly. Pointing back at Katie, he said, "They've been there for a long time, and the little girl can't be older than five. They need to go first."
There was a high chance that Blaine had just fallen in love with him. A very, very high chance."R-really? But, you're in a wheelchair, and you said you fell, so-"
Kurt shook his head. "I can't feel the pain anyway – CIPA patient," he said stiffly, looking over his shoulder at Blaine. He had a small, sad smile on his face, one that made Blaine's heart break.
Blaine's eyebrows furrowed as he thought. He knew a little bit about CIPA, having learned about it in his health class the previous year. It was an incredibly rare disorder of the nervous system, which made the person who had it unable to feel pain, cold, heat or any other feeling related to the nerves. It was horrible, and there weren't many reported cases about it, because most of the people with the disorder died as a baby because their body overheated.
Opening his mouth to say that they really could wait (because if Kurt really had CIPA, then he didn't know if there was something wrong in his body – he needed to be checked out – ), Blaine was cut off as the nurse sighed.
"Well, we have a double room, since you both need to be x-rayed, we can just put you in there. Is that suitable, Kurt?" She asked, a teasing tone hiding in her voice.
Kurt faked a sigh. "Well, I suppose." Grinning, he turned to look back at Katie. "We're going to be in the same room together!"
Katie giggle. "Yay! I like you; you have pretty eyes!"
Blaine had to agree with her there – Kurt's eyes were gorgeous, with the mixture of blue, green, and gray. He thought they looked like two galaxies. Giving Kurt a quick thank you, he stood up, holding Katie tightly in his arms as they followed the nurse into the room that they would be staying in. Once they were settled in the room, Blaine gently laid Katie on the bed and placed a blanket over the top of her body, avoiding her leg. Then he let James climb on the bed to lay next to her.
"The wait time for the x-ray rooms will probably take a while," Mandy said softly as she attached the necessary equipment to Katie's hand to monitor her breathing. "Do you want anything for the pain, honey?"
Katie nodded, and Blaine sat silent, watching as Mandy gave Katie a few small pills. Once she was done, she moved out of their area, then headed over to Kurt's, drawing the curtain closed as she went. Blaine leaned back in his chair and listened to Katie and James talk to each other softly; ten minutes later, all he could hear where their soft snores. As he listened he heard two sets of footsteps leave from over on Kurt's side of the room; he watched as the man that was Kurt's father leave the room with the nurse, and not even a minute later, the curtain was drawn back and Kurt sat up and smiled at him.
"So, Blaine the bozo, we've got some time. Wanna talk?"
Smiling, Blaine stood up from his chair and headed over to the vacant seat by Kurt's bed, thinking that this ER trip could turn out to be interesting. "What do you want to talk about?"
Kurt leaned back against the bed, grinning up at him.; he had an iv drip hooked up through his hand and was idly playing with the buttons next to the bed that allowed the bed to move up and down. He stopped once Blaine settled into the seat and then sat up fully, giving Blaine his full attention."Tell me why you're the bozo of the family?"
For some odd reason, Blaine could just tell that this was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Author's notes: Hi.
I'm writing again! I have to say that it feels good; for a while I just lost motivation and felt like everything I wrote was absolutely horrible. BUT, then I watched House, the episode called Insensitive where the girl has CIPA and my mind blew up with ideas. IT WAS AN EXPLOSION. EXPLOSIONS OF THE WRITING KIND ARE ALWAYS THE BEST KIND, YOU GUISE.
Huge, huge thanks to my amazing friend, mrsharryjamespotter (icedintheveins) for being my beta - I love her; she's absolutely wonderful.
Anyway, please let me know what you thought! Reviews are my fuel, which I need seeing as I'm broke and have no food.
Lots of love,