I've politely been asked (threatened) to update as soon as possible so here's what I believe will be the second to last chapter (or last – I haven't decided yet)! Enjoy!
Note: I'm not a doctor – nor am I studying medicine in any kind or form - so please bear with me with the medical stuff.
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Dean paced the waiting room back and forth - back and forth, back and forth – until he lost all sense of direction and didn't know what foot to put in front of the other one no more. His worry about Sam got more and more intense as the seconds turned to minutes that turned to hours, and his constant questioning by the nurses station about his brother's state earned him sympathetic looks from the other people in the room.
"Mr. Page, you'll be informed when we know something about your brother." One of the nurses told him for the 6th time in the last hour.
If Dean didn't like his hair so much, he would definitely have pulled it out by now in sheer frustration. Just as that option started to feel like the wise thing to do, Dr. Calvin came into the waiting room.
"How's Sammy? Is he alright?" Dean asked before the doctor could say a single word.
The doctor looked at the desperate young man in front of him and let out a tired sigh.
"Let's go to my office and talk." The doctor said and Dean's breath caught in his throat instantly.
"Just tell me how he is." Dean said in a voice that shook a little. "At least tell me whether he's alive or.."
The words wouldn't come out but the message was clear.
"Your brother is still alive." The doctor assured.
Dean let out a big breath of relief and visibly deflated as the last few hours of constant worry suddenly made him feel very, very tired. He washed a hand down his face before composing himself enough to face the doctor again.
"Please follow me to my office, Mr. Page." The doctor said and Dean nodded.
Dean was asked to take a seat in front of Dr. Calvin's desk and the doctor sat down as well and folded his hands in front of him.
"Sam's appendix perforated." The doctor said with a serious expression. "It developed into peritonitis which, as I told you earlier, is very serious and life-threatening. Your brother had open surgery where we removed the offending appendix. He was given large amounts of antibiotics to fight the infection and prevent it from spreading further, however, given the circumstances that your brother waited so long to search medical treatment, the infection has spread to his blood."
"What does that mean?" Dean asked with rising concern.
"It means that Sam has also got sepsis." The doctor explained and Dean gaped in horror.
"Sepsis?" Dean repeated.
"Blood poisoning." The doctor confirmed with a nod of his head. "You brother then went into septic shock. Sam's blood pressure dropped significantly and his blood flow slowed which meant that the important organs didn't get enough blood. Most people don't survive this situation but Sam was lucky that we caught it in time and started treatment right away."
"But.. But that's a good thing, right?" Dean hopefully asked.
"Mr. Page, during septic shocks the lungs doesn't always get enough oxygen." The doctor said. "We had to put your brother on a ventilator to help him breathe."
Dean felt like someone just stabbed his gut with a butcher knife. He stared wide-eyed at the doctor while trying to process the information he'd just been told.
"Are you telling me that Sammy isn't breathing on his own?" Dean asked.
"I'm telling you that we put him on a ventilator so he won't stop breathing." The doctor said and leaned back in his chair. "We've done everything we possibly can. Now the rest is up to your brother."
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Dean was sitting in a chair next to Sam's bed with his hand closed protectively around his little brother's. Dean's thumb gently rubbed back and forth on Sam's palm while he stared emptily on the mechanic rise and fall of Sam's chest in synchronize with the whoosh whoosh from the ventilator. Words as organ damage, cardiac failure, amputation and high death rate kept circling inside Dean's head from when the doctor had explained to him what possible complications septic shock could have.
"When will you know for sure if there's been any damage?" Dean had asked the doctor.
"We'll know if he wakes up." The doctor had answered.
"If he wakes up?" Dean had asked, horrified.
"If.." The doctor had confirmed with a nod of his head.
Dean tightened his hold of Sam's hand.
"He'll wake up." Dean said, repeating the words he'd told the doctor earlier. "He's my brother and he won't give up."
Dean washed a hand down his face and then let his eyes wander from the multiple IV-lines attached to Sam's arms, past the automatic rise and fall of his chest, to his brother's pale face. Sam's eyes were closed and the pain lines, that had been evident around them when Dean had brought him to the hospital, were gone now. Sam had a tube down his throat and a piece of surgical tape was placed across Sam's mouth and cheeks to keep it in place. Despite his large frame, Sam looked so small and fragile in this state that it scared the crap out of the older brother. If he had just known how bad Sam had really been feeling, he wouldn't have left Sam alone so long in the motel room. Hell, he wouldn't have left him alone in the first place!
"You idiot! How could you be so.. Why didn't you.. Frigging moron!" Dean angrily exclaimed but his anger disappeared as fast as it arrived and was instead replaced by despair and sorrow. "Sammy."
Dean's eyes stung and he rubbed at them again and wiped a hand under his nose before clearing his throat.
"You gotta fight man. You and me against the world, remember? I can't do this without you, Sammy." Dean said.
Sam stayed unresponsive and the only sound in the room, except for the whoosh whoosh of the ventilator, was the beeping of the heart monitor that assured Dean of the fact that his little brother was still hanging on to life.
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Two days later, nothing had changed. Sam was still on the ventilator and had yet to wake up while Dean stayed by Sam's side the entire time – only occasionally interrupted by bathroom breaks and coffee runs. Food and sleep hadn't been on Dean's agenda at all, since he had lost all kind of appetite and was too worried about Sam to fall asleep. The doctor had kept an eye on Sam's vital stats and, even though he was pretty optimistic that the antibiotics, oxygenation and fluid addition Sam was given were working properly, he'd told Dean he was a bit worried about Sam's kidneys. Apparently Sam had what the doctor referred to as a urinary output which meant that Sam probably had some kind of renal failure (all the medical terms made Dean's head spin). Besides the kidneys, the doctor couldn't find any immediate signs that would indicate further organ failure so that was at least good news. But what bothered the oldest Winchester brother the most though was the fact that the doctor couldn't say anything about Sam's mental state. That would have to wait until Sam eventually woke up – if that ever happened.
Dean had just returned from yet another coffee run and had grabbed Sam's hand yet again, when he'd almost dropped his hot coffee in shock as Sam's hand suddenly twitched in his palm.
"Sam?" Dean asked with a mix of hope and panic.
He put the coffee on the small table next to the bed, got up from his chair and leaned over his brother to check for any signs indicating that Sam was waking up. Dean saw Sam's eyes move beneath the closed eyelids and his little brother's eyelashes were fluttering slightly.
"Sammy?" Dean asked and moved Sam's bangs back before letting his hand rest against Sam's cheek.
As the hand Dean was still grasping squeezed his hand a bit, Dean reached out and pushed the emergency button and it didn't take long before a nurse showed up.
"My brother is waking up!" Dean told her.
"I'll get the doctor." The nurse announced before rushing out of the room again.
"Sam? Hey! Sam!" Dean kept encouraging. "Open your eyes little brother."
And like a miracle, Sam did open his eyes – just as the doctor arrived in the hospital room followed by a couple of nurses. The green dewy-eyes of the youngest Winchester, that Dean had been longing to see for the last three days, were starring unfocused at the white-colored ceiling for a couple of seconds, but then they suddenly turned wide and panicked.
"Mr. Page." The doctor said, trying to get Sam's attention while Dean was pushed out of the way by the nurses. "Mr. Page, can you hear me?"
Sam eyes just darted wildly around and his heart rate picked up as his panic increased. Sam made a choking sound and his arms and legs started flailing. As the nurses tried their best to hold the younger brother down, Dean finally lost his patience.
"Move!" He said and pushed a nurse aside so that he could step into Sam's line of vision.
"Please step aside." The doctor said. "I'm a doctor; I know what I'm doing."
"Yeah? Well, I'm a big brother and I also know what I'm doing." Dean shot back without looking away from his little brother's scared eyes. "Sam? Hey, hey, hey, look at me! Sammy!"
Dean caught one of Sam's flailing arms and held Sam's hand in a firm grip.
"Sammy, it's me. It's Dean." He said and lowered his head a bit closer to Sam's face. "You're alright buddy, I'm here."
Sam's eyes finally settled on Dean's, and the older brother let out the breath he didn't know he'd been holding when he saw recognition in Sam's eyes. Sam slowly calmed down and so did the sound of the heart monitor.
"That's it Sammy. You're doing good." Dean assured, his own heartbeat slowing down in time with his brother's.
Sam made another choking sound and a few tears left his eyes and rolled down his cheeks.
"You're at the hospital." Dean explained and gently wiped the tears off Sam's cheeks while ignoring the way the doctor looked at him. "The tube in your throat has been helping you breathe properly but the doctor will remove it in a second, right doc?"
"Sure." The doctor said with a nod of his head. "Sam, I'm doctor Ca.."
"Yeah, he doesn't care." Dean interrupted. "Just take the frigging tube out of his throat!"
The doctor shot Dean an offended look but kept his head high as he waved the nurses closer to get started on the job.
"The doctor will remove the tube now, okay?" Dean told Sam. "Just do as he tells you. I'll be right here."
Sam gave Dean a weak but trustful nod and then squeezed the older brother's hand. Dean returned the gesture and stepped a bit aside to allow the nurses more access – though he didn't step further away than Sam was still able to see him and he also didn't let go of his brother's hand.
"Sam, I'm gonna count to three and then I want you to take a deep breath and cough, alright?" The doctor told Sam and Sam nodded shortly. "Good. One, two, three."
Sam coughed while the doctor pulled the tube out of his throat. He continued to cough a few more times and the tube was then replaced with a nasal cannula. Before Sam could make a sound, Dean had already placed a straw from a cup of water by his lips that soothed his sore throat after a few sips.
"Thanks." Sam rasped out and the sound of his voice was like music to Dean's ears.
"Try not to talk too much." The doctor recommended. "Your throat's going to be sore for a while."
Sam nodded and then winced a little when he tried to move.
"I'll give you some morphine for the pain and then I want you to get some rest." The doctor told him and looked at Dean for confirmation.
"I'll make sure he rests." Dean promised.
"Good, I'll do a check-up on you later." The doctor said and gave Sam a quick smile before leaving the room.
The last nurse that was left in the room set up a bag of morphine in an IV-line before she left the room as well – leaving the Winchester brothers alone. Dean let out a long sigh and sat down in the chair next to his brother's bed and exchanged a look with Sam.
"Do you remember what happened?" Dean asked after a little while of silence.
Sam frowned and looked thoughtfully at his big brother for a few moments.
"Appendicitis?" Sam then suggested in a hoarse voice.
"Yeah, that's right." Dean nodded. "Your appendix burst which led to peritonitis which again led to blood-poisoning. It was pretty tough-and-go for a while, Sam. You goddamn idiot."
"Sorry." Sam apologized with what could best be described as puppy-dog eyes.
"Yeah well, next time you frigging tell me when you're feeling sick!" Dean exclaimed. "And I don't care whether it's a stomach ache or a damn splint in your finger – you tell me, alright? I'm not kidding Sam, so you can wipe that smug smile off your face right now!"
"Fine." Sam said with a wry smile.
Dean let out a sigh and scratched at the stubbles on his chin before noticing Sam's drooping eyelids.
"Get some rest, Sammy." He then said. "I'm not going anywhere."
"'Kay Dean." Sam yawned and his eyes soon closed.
Dean leaned back in his chair and smiled wryly as Sam started snoring softly. It was such a relief to know that Sam was now able to breathe on his own and that Dean no longer needed to worry about whether or not his little brother would wake up again. Dean knew that Sam was still not out of the woods yet – especially not with the doctor's concern about Sam's kidneys – but for now the older brother was satisfied. Dean studied Sam's peaceful face for a few minutes and then closed his eyes as well as sleep was finally able to claim him.
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THE END or TBC..?
- You'll see :)
Thanks for the feedback I've received on this story so far. I love reading your reviews so please keep them coming. Thank you!