Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chapter 9

"Wake up!  Wake up man!  Come on!  I got loads to tell you and you gotta be awake for it cuz you're gonna go ape when you hear it!  So come on!  Wake up, Mad Man!"

"Tol' y' nodda call me dat," 'Deo said blearily.  He tried to open his eyes but the light was too bright so he decided to keep them closed.

Milo let out a whoop and ran into the corridor.  "He's awake!  He spoke!  He opened his eyes!  He's awake!"

The sounds of running feet and scolding voices reached Amadeo's ears.  "Hush now!  This is a hospital, not a ball park!"  

"You should be ashamed of yourself young man! 

There are sick people here!"

"Karen, go get his parents, they're in the cafe getting coffee."

Someone put something on his arm that hissed and squeezed, dang, what was it called?  Someone else slid a thermometer in his mouth.  Another someone held his wrist for a minute and gently placed his hand back down on the bed. His feet felt cold suddenly and then jerked away as someone ran something that felt like a crochet hook up his feet one after the other.  Whoever it was put the blankets back over his feet, tucked them in and gave his toes a reassuring squeeze.  Yet another someone stood by the head of his bed, pried his eyelid open with a fingertip and shone a light into it.  

Amadeo fought the pressure on his eyelid, tried to turn his head away from it, then tried to lift a hand to swat it away, but his whole body felt heavy and thick and hurt like heck. 

"Cuddid ou'," he complained.  " 'urts."

The light went out and a male voice said, "Close the curtains and turn off the lights, please." 'Deo could hear his instructions being carried out.  He could feel the temperature difference and could tell that it was dimmer even with his eyes closed.

"Try to open your eyes now." the male voice said.  "Slowly."

Amadeo slowly opened his eyes.  He could see the doctor standing beside him and a group of people clad in white nearby.  He blinked his eyes a few times to clear away the fog and the doctor's features came into focus.

The man smiled.  "Good morning, son.  I'm Dr. Mendoza.  How are you feeling today?"

" 'd havta feel bedder t' die," Amadeo quipped.  Everyone in the room chuckled, which 'Deo took as a good sign.

"Are you feeling much pain, son?"

"Yuh.  'ole body.  Fe'like truck 'it me.  'ead fee's like Wil'y C'oyte after th' anvil drop'd on 'im."

A smiling nurse took the pressure cuff from his arm.  Another removed the thermometer and patted his arm gently, then they and several others who had answered the alarm left the room, leaving Amadeo with the doctor, Milo and two other nurses who stood by patiently.  The doctor addressed one of the nurses and asked her to get something that 'Deo wouldn't have been able to pronounce even if his mouth hadn't felt like it was full of cotton.  Whatever it was she hurried off to get it.

"Wa'er?" he asked.  "Wa'er, p'ease.  Sirs'y."

The remaining nurse, who's pin said Mrs. Hollings LPN, poured cold water from a jug into a glass, placed a straw into it and brought it over to 'Deo.  She helped him sit up a little before bringing the straw to his lips.  "Small sips now, hon, you haven't had much in your stomach recently and we don't want you to get sick.  There you go. Small sips.  Atta boy.  Better now?" she asked kindly.

"Yes'm.  Thank you," Amadeo said carefully.

The other nurse returned and handed the doctor a syringe.  She swabbed 'Deo's arm with something cold.  He could smell alcohol.

"Little pinch now, son.  Ready?" Amadeo nodded and the doctor gave him the injection.  "You should feel better soon," he said smiling.

Amadeo nodded his understanding.

"Do you remember my name, son?"

"M'ndoza."

"Do you remember your name?"

" 'Deo... Rossi."

"Do you know where you are?"

"Hopsital... hossital...?"

"Close enough," Dr. Mendoza smiled.

The doctor gestured and Milo came to stand beside him.  "Do you know who this is?"

"Tonto."

The doctor looked askance until he saw both boys grinning.

"You got it Kemosabe!" Milo said happily, taking his friend's left hand in his and gently squeezing, being careful of the IV.

"Go' Silver saddl'd?  R'dy t' ride?"

"You ain't goin' nowhere, Dae.  You look like somethin' the cat dragged in.  Nope, I take that back, you look like somethin' the cat chewed, swallowed, coughed up and then dragged in!"  Milo said smiling even more widely.

" 'anks, yer a ray a sunshine."

"Anything for you, my man." Milo grinned.

Just then Amadeo's parents rushed in.  His mother ran to the right side of his bed and wrapped her arms gently around his head, planting kisses over every inch of his face that she could reach.  He felt her tears as they landed on his cheeks.

His father stood beside his mother and took 'Deo's right hand in his, gently rubbing the fingertips to warm them before bending down and kissing those as well. It was only then that 'Deo noticed that his right hand was in a cast from the first knuckle to about halfway up his arm, and that it had been propped up on a pillow.

'Deo raised his left hand to caress his mother's head but his coordination was off and all he felt was his own head, swathed in bandages.  Then he noticed the IV.

"Ban'ge'ges?  Wha's th' ban'ge'ges for?" he asked, confused.

"You had some swelling and fluid, son.  We had to shave your head and drill a few holes in your skull to relieve the pressure.  Once your hair grows back they won't even be noticable."

'Deo reached toward his head again but the doctor gently took his wrist and stopped him.  "The holes have been filled in with a special... putty, I guess you could call it.  The bone will regenerate around the putty and your skull will be good as new.  We just have the bandages on to keep dirt and germs out and to protect the area, which is still soft.  Understand?"

Amadeo laid there, taking it all in.  "Yuh." he shrugged.  Mendoza was amazed at how calmly the boy was taking the news.

"Amadeo," Dr. Mendoza began, looking serious.  "Do you remember what happened?  Do you know why you're here?"

'Deo took a few moments to gather his thoughts.  "Fi'.  Bri'on 'n Fargus.  I mean, Bridgon an' Froggie... I mean...," he made a sound of frustration.

"It's all right, son, a little confusion is expected.  That'll clear up soon."

'Deo raised his hand to his head again, exploring the bandages.  He ran his hand gently across his face.  "Mir'r?"

"I don't think that's the best idea right now, son." Dr. Mendoza said gently.

"P'ease?  'lease?  Doc..."

Mendoza sighed and nodded toward one of the nurses who produced a mirror from one of the bed side tables.  Amadeo's hand shook and his mother held out a hand to steady his.

His stomach knotted in anticipation.  His head was wrapped in bandages which went under his chin to keep it them place.  The bruising on his face was at the yellow and green stage.  He ran his tongue inside his mouth and was relieved to feel all of his teeth.  There was a cut under his right eye which went from just under his pupil to his temple.  It had obviously been stitched up.

"S'it gonna scar?" he asked calmly.

"There's a chance of scarring, yes." Mendoza said honestly.

"'m gonna look li' a p'rate."

"We'll get your ears pierced and buy you a tricorn hat with a big feather.  Maybe a nice ship to complete the image."  His father said with a smile.  His own stomach knotted when he recalled how close his son had come to losing that eye.

"Nah," interjected Milo, "We'll just wrap you up in a few more bandages and set you after Abbot and Costello."

Everyone laughed, their relief evident.  Dr. Mendoza felt the boulder of fear that had been in his stomach since the boy had been brought in dissolve.  He'd been very much afraid that the kid would never wake up, or if he did that he'd be blind, paralyzed or mentally impaired.  He hadn't brought his fears to the boy's parents, preferring to keep them to himself until the boy actually woke up and he could see for himself the extent of the damage.

For the first time since he'd awakened, Amadeo turned his head to take in his surroundings.  He looked to the right, past his mother and father, and saw cards and pictures plastered all over the wall.  A bright bouquet of helium balloons took up one corner of the room. More cards and vases full of flowers were on the windowsill. 

He looked to the left and saw flower arrangements, stuffed animals, and more cards, as well as a tin of what might possibly be cookies.  Then he saw the empty bed on the other side of the room.

"W'ere's Ang'lo?" he asked.  It was only when he saw the concerned glances passing between the adults in the room that Amadeo became scared.

"W'ere's Ang'lo?!" he demanded, "'he a'right?  'he 'live? 'W'ere's 'e?"  He struggled to get up but Dr. Mendoza and the nurses held him gently but firmly down on the bed making shushing sounds, patting his shoulders and arms and trying to calm him down.

"Amadeo... 'Deo.  Calm down, son, or I'll have to sedate you." said the doctor firmly.  He made eye contact with one of the nurses who took a few steps toward the door to get the sedative.

"Lemme go!  W'ere's Ang'lo?  Wha' 'appen'd to 'im?  Go', tell me 'e's ok!" Amadeo cried, still struggling, nearly pulling out his IV.

"Amadeo Christoforo!" came the quiet but stern voice of his father. "Basta con questo ora! Comportati bene!" (Enough of this now! Behave yourself!)

Amadeo immediately obeyed and the doctor and nurse lowered him gently back onto the bed.   His parents were normally boisterous people, neighbors joked that when his father told a joke that they could hear him all the way to the end of the street.  To have his father speaking quietly and in that firm tone was enough to get 'Deo's attention.

The boy turned distraught eyes to his father and asked, "Sta bene, papa'? È ancora vivo?" (Is he all right, dad?  Is he alive?)  His father once again took his son's right hand in his and stroked the finger tips.

"He's alive." his father said quietly.  "E 'sottile come i capelli rane diviso in quattro modi." he said, smiling.  (He's as fine as frog’s hair split four ways.)
Mr. Rossi looked up at the doctor for approval for what he wanted to say next and continued as the doctor nodded.

Amadeo knew he wouldn't have said anything like that if it weren't true so he remained quiet and looked inquiringly at his parents.

"He's home with his family, honey.  He went home... a while ago," he hedged.

"W'ile 'go?  W'as w'ile ago?"

He saw the looks pass between the adults again, but knowing that Angelo was all right he wasn't nearly as concerned as he had been.  "Tell me.  W'as 'rong? W'as goin' on?  Tell me, p'ease?"

Mr. Rossi picked up his son's hand again and caressed the fingers.  Mrs. Rossi ran her hand gently up and down his arm.  " ‘Dae, Angelo went home nearly three weeks ago."

Amadeo took a moment to let that information sink in.  "T'ree weeks 'go?  'ow long've I been 'ere?"

Milo, who had been standing silently by, once again took his friend's left hand in his and gently curled his fingers around 'Deo's.  He looked helplessly at Mr. and Mrs. Rossi.

"Nearly a month, son," his father said quietly.

Amadeo blinked several times, licked his lips and said, "M' 'ead itches."  He wiggled his toes, then flexed his ankles.  He adjusted his body on the bed and slowly drew his knees up.  The movement was shaky and he felt weak, but he finally managed it.  He marveled at the lack of pain and at how good it felt to move, and how his skin immediately cooled where it had been against the sheets.

He shrugged his shoulders and stretched his arms tentatively, conscious of the IV in the one hand and the cast on the other.  He was a little surprised when his mother took a tissue and began to wipe the tears that trickled from the corners of his eyes.

Milo tightened his grip on his friend's hand as much as he could without hurting him, and wondered how 'Deo, who had been unconscious since before arriving at the hospital, had known that Angelo had shared the same room with him.

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