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"BRAX! BRAX! CHARLIE'S UNCONSCIOUS"
In that moment time just seemed to stop. I heard Bianca screaming and I immediately stopped fighting with Brodie, giving him a hard enough punch to knock him unconscious, and focussed my attention on Charlie. I ran to her side and grabbed hold of her hand.
"Charlie? Charlie? Please wake up!" a stray tear began to roll down my cheek. "Please don't do this to me Charlie! Please".
Before long the ambulance arrived and Charlie was taken to hospital. I rode with her, as the paramedics attempted to stabilise her. I can't believe this is happening today of all days.
We get to the hospital and as Charlie is wheeled away from me I begin to breakdown. I lean against the wall and slide down to the ground, put my head in my knees and start crying. All that is going through my head is that Charlie can't die, I can't live without her.
We rushed into the hospital not long after the ambulance brought Charlie in. AS we walked in we saw Brax on the floor. He was a mess. I couldn't think of how hard it would be for him. If it were me, I would not cope at all. We ran towards him to see if he had any news.
"Brax, Brax, have you heard anything?" he said nothing, just shook his head, not even lifting up his head to acknowledge us being here. Ruby sat down next to him and he wrapped his arm around her and they began to cry together.
"we should give them some space" I whispered into Heath's ear, he nodded and we walked off to get a coffee and wait for some answers.
Ruby and I had finally calmed down a little, just sitting in the waiting room, waiting for news, when Sid walked down the corridor towards us. We jumped up out of the chairs and ran towards him.
The nurses and I were barely able to get Charlie's breathing under control, but fortunately we were able to stabilise her.
"We just weren't fast enough," I say to Brax, filling him in on everything that happened in the emergency room.
"What?" he says, and I can hear the sadness in his voice. Poor guy, this was supposed to be the happiest day of his life and now it's turned into one of the worst. "But you said that you'd gotten everything under control!" His eyes are bloodshot from trying to hold back the tears; I can see them welling up now. He points an accusatory finger at me, as if I have lied to him, as if I have caused all of this. I see this kind of reaction almost every day at the hospital, but it's especially hard to deal with when it's coming from people you know and love."You said – "
"What I said was that we had managed to stabilise Charlie," I remind him. "Unfortunately that was only possible by connecting her to a machine that is now breathing for her."
"You mean she's not breathing?" Ruby asks, crying beside Brax.
"She is breathing, but without the aid of the machine she would not be." They say nothing in response to this, so I continue. "It seems that the cancer has spread faster than we anticipated it would. The ones in her lungs are particularly troublesome, and scans have revealed that they have even spread to an area of her brain, which has caused her to go into a coma. There's no telling when or if she might wake up from it."
Brax snaps. "You told us we had months until it got to this point!" he shouts, and people walking by stop and stare for a moment. "You said there was still time for us to have a life together!" He gets right up in my face, staring intensely down at me, exhaling harsh, hot breaths. I hold my ground – this is all part of the job description.
"I know I did Brax," I say as calmly as possible. "But sometimes these things are difficult to predict. And you need to calm down. This is not helping anybody." I direct his attention to Ruby, who is crying uncontrollably. Uncharacteristically, Morag is there, hugging her, attempting to console her. Morag gives Brax a spiteful look as he turns around, and a moment later he steps away from me.
"I'm sorry Doc," he says, looking up at the ceiling, using his arm to wipe away the tears from his eyes. More quietly he says, "I just thought we would have more time together than this..."
I sigh. I pull Brax aside, away from the others, realising that he is losing hope.
"Brax, you should not give up," I say to him. "There are options."
"What, you mean like another operation?" he asks.
"Another treatment. Intense radiation. We can't operate, it would be too risky particularly with the tumours on her brain. But radiation would be the normal course of action to those open to it."
"But Charlie said she didn't want any further treatment."
"Yes, but you are her next of kin now. As her husband you have the legal right to make decisions that are medically in her best interests when she is physically or psychologically incapable of making them herself."
"What are you saying doc?" he asks.
"The chemotherapy was unsuccessful, yes, but this radiation treatment has shown promise in recent studies. Lots of people have recovered from situations that were as dire or worse than Charlie's. I know Charlie said she didn't want any further treatment, but that was then, and this is now. You have a decision to make Brax – respect her wishes, or go against them, and potentially save her life."