August 7, 2012
This morning I was woke up by the sounds of my dad groaning.
Ness was snuggled in my arms, soundly asleep, so I tried to maneuver my way out of bed as easily as I could. When I got to my feet, she grunted and rolled over. I smiled at her for a second, but then I remembered I had to go check on Dad, so I quickly padded down the hallway to his bedroom.
“Dad, are you okay?” I asked, hurrying over to him. He was laying there, covered in sweat, his lips chapped—trembling violently. “Dad, talk to me. Come on, what’s wrong?” He still wouldn’t answer me, instead he just blankly stared at the space above my head.
My heart began to race.
I quickly took him in my arms and carried him out to the car, trying to ignore the aggravating tears threatening to spill out. I grabbed my phone off the table on my way out.
We sped towards the hospital.
I shot Ness a text at the stoplight to let her know that I was going to the hospital, and to come as soon as she woke up. It was only a quarter till six. My tires squealed as I took the only parking space available near the front of the parking lot. I hopped out of my truck. I took a deep breath. I tried to stay calm.
Don’t let him see you cry, I warned myself.
I pushed away my silent banter and rushed to get my dad out of the car. “You’re gonna be fine, pops. I’m getting you some help. Just be patient.” My heart kept clenching uncomfortably, making my words tight, coming out in short breaths.
I carried him bridal-style up the stairs and to the front desk of the La Push hospital. A very non-native looking woman with pale skin and bright red hair quickly got off the phone and looked at me with deep concern.
“My dad, Billy Black, is a patient here. He’s got pancreatic cancer and I found him like this fifteen minutes ago. He needs help right now.” I was gritting my teeth, not out of anger, but the stress that I felt was too much to handle.
The woman’s eyes widened when she took in my dad’s appearance. She picked up the phone and called for some nurses to take him up to a room. Fifteen seconds later, nurses bustled down the hallway pushing a wheelchair. When they made it to me I lightly sat Dad down. He was still out of it, but thankfully he stayed upright. The older nurse made a 360 with the chair and started wheeling him down the hallway they came from. I followed a couple feet behind, and stepped into the elevator with them.
We all stood awkwardly while the elevator took us to the fourth floor. I let the three nurses step out; wheeling my dad with them. I stepped out last and watched as they rushed him to a room. There was a doctor waiting at the door; he was definitely of Quileute descent, and towered over the petite nurses. They shuffled into the hospital room and transferred him onto the bed.
“We need to check out what’s going on, do you mind waiting out here?” the older nurse asked me. I nodded, my mouth too dry to speak. She slipped into the room, closing the door behind her.
The room had a small window that was at my eye level, so I looked through it. They were giving my dad an IV, and the doctor was using a flashlight to look at his eyes. My eyes welled up with tears, so I backed away and leaned against the wall before sliding down to sit on the floor.
I pulled my phone out of my pajama pants pocket and saw a text from Ness. I must have woke her up pulling out of the driveway because she texted me back almost immediately. She said she was leaving, so I got up from my spot on the floor. I made my way to the elevator briskly and tapped my foot nervously on the ride down.
When I got off the elevator, I saw her at the front desk. She looked disheveled, wearing yesterday’s jeans, her hair pulled in a messy bun, her sleep shirt wrinkled. She saw me and before waiting for the receptionist to respond, she rushed over to me.
“Jake! What’s happening?” She was breathless, and hugged me tightly, trembling. Shit, she started crying.
“I don’t know yet, honey. They’re checking him out right now. He was just in a lot of pain and he wasn’t really conscious.” I felt her tense up. I took a deep breath and pulled away from her. Two more little tears streamed down on both sides of her face.
“Ness,” I breathed. She closed her eyes and I felt my eyes watering. I angrily clenched them.
“Jake, we can’t lose him. This can’t happen.” She shook her head and I just pulled her into my arms again, kissing the top of her head.
“It’ll be okay. No matter what happens, you have to stay strong. For him.” I felt her nod against my chest. She took a deep breath, pulled away, wiping her face feebly.
“I guess we should go see him now,” she said, using all of her will power to stay somewhat composed. I grabbed her hand, and we started walking to the elevator. She stayed huddled to my side the ride up to the fourth floor and kept a hold of my hand when we started walking to Dad’s room.
Five minutes after we made it to the outside of his room, the doctor walked out.
“You’re Mr. Black’s son, right?” he asked, looking at my dad’s chart. I nodded, and waited to hear what he had to say. “I’m his doctor, Dr. Reynolds. I’m sorry to say your father’s cancer has gotten worse. Since he hasn’t gone through enough chemo or radiation, it’s proceeded to spread through to his lungs. We have him on oxygen right now because it’s making it extremely difficult for him to breathe. I’m afraid he’s going to have to stay here until . . . ” The doctor trailed off, and his expression was grim.
“Thank you, Doctor. Can I go see him now?” I asked. The doctor nodded and I stepped aside so he could go to where he was needed, and Ness and I went into dad’s room.
He was propped up on pillows with a clear tube connected to his nose. I felt Ness’s hand clench. His eyes were closed, but the heart monitor chirped, showing he was still alive. I let go of Nessie’s hand and went to my dad’s side. “Dad?” I whispered. He opened his eyes to look at me.
“Hey, kid,” he said in a raspy voice. I gulped back my tears.
Ness was crying again and dad frowned.
He slowly raised his arm until she came over to him, and she laid down beside him.“There, there,” he rasped, and Nessie just squeezed her eyes shut. I sat down in the faux leather chair and watched Dad comfort Ness.
She was going to be a mess.
I’m not even worried about myself.
I’m not saying that just because I lost my mother it’ll make going through this any easier. It won’t. But I’ll be a little more prepared. I’ll be ready for the feeling. Going through it has shown me how it feels, so it won’t blindside me. Having an immortal family doesn’t necessarily prepare you for this kind of thing. This is really hard for her to understand. The best I can do is be there for her. We are part of each other. It’s my job to ensure her happiness; her happiness is mine. Her pain is mine. This is going to be a big thing for both of us to go through. I’m just praying that we can get through this together.
Carlisle brought up one other option. One thing that might help. Dad’s too stubborn in my opinion, but maybe I can convince him. I’ll just see if I can bring it up when Nessie leaves the room; it needs to be a one-on-one talk to get his permission.
Permission to change him.
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***Note, I’m not a doctor, so my medical information might not be spot on. I tried to do some research on it, then I got bored. Thanks!