Once Upon A Weekend 15

     While the doctor on duty examined Ricky in the emergency room, Bill called his family doctor to explained what had happened.  He was instructed to bring Ricky in after the hospital released him. 
     Sam checked on Ken, only to discover that Ken had already been released and sent home.  He tried to call him on Ken's cell phone, but there was no answer.  The answering machine picked up on the home phone and Sam left a message that he was just checking to make sure Ken was okay.  He guessed that Ken was in no mood to talk to him and he couldn't blame him for that.  Still, he worried.
    He and Bill waited anxiously in a small private consultation room until the doctor joined them.
     "Physically, he's perfectly healthy," the doctor said, "with the exception of a few newly acquired bruises and a skinned knee."
     He glanced at Sam who looked the other way.
     "His mental state, however," the doctor said, "causes me concern.  When did this behavior start?"
     "A week ago," Sam said.  "Well, more accurately, three days ago.  The reason it started happened a week ago."   
     "I see," the doctor said.  "Well, I would suggest stress counseling, but that should be left up to his own doctor.  He does have a doctor?"
     "Mine," Bill said.  "He's waiting to see him after we get out of here."
     "Good," the doctor said.  "We really have no reason to keep him.  The police will require some kind of doctor's statement, I'm told.  I assume it's to keep him from being arrested."
     Bill and Sam looked at each other then away.  Arrested wasn't what the police had in mind.  Placing Ricky on the eleventh floor of the hospital was.  Ricky didn't belong in a psychiatric ward.  He belonged at home where they could keep a close eye on him.
     Bill signed the release forms and insurance forms, then he and Sam followed the doctor to the examination room where Ricky sat innocently on the table with a Tootsie Roll pop bulging the inside of his left cheek.  A nurse stood by watching him.
     Bill and Sam each took a firm grip of his hands as the doctor led them out through a maze of corridors to a back entrance where they could avoid the media who'd followed them to the hospital.  Sam drove straight to Bill's doctor's office and turned Ricky over.  He and the doctor disappeared into the examination room.
     Waiting was nerve wracking for Sam.  He paced the floor of the waiting lounge and once heard Ricky giggle, then felt his heart stop when he heard him whimper.  That could only mean the presence of a needle.  Ricky was petrified of needles. 

      An hour later the doctor called Sam and Bill into his private office.  His expression was dour and his concern for his patient clearly evident.
     "He's had a very traumatic experience lately," the doctor said.  "What has happened?"
     Not knowing any other way to explain that would make any sense, Sam decided to tell him the truth.  He worried the doctor might want to lock him up.  Instead, he discovered the doctor wasn't inclined to disbelieve. 
     "I don't really understand," the doctor said.  "But something obviously has happened to cause this reaction.  Whatever it is, Ricky has retreated from it.  He's reverted into childhood to hide from the trauma.  I think the best prescription for him is rest.  It isn't hurting him for now believing that he's four.  He can't stay in that mindset, naturally.  But for the time being, if it helps him feel more secure, we can humor him.  I'm going to give you a strong sedative for him.  We'll let him sleep it off, and then see what happens.  After a decent rest, he should improve.  Worse case scenario, he may need counseling.  The most important thing at this juncture though is to shelter him.  I saw the newscast.  The press is everywhere.  You must keep that type of stress away from him, or he could retreat further."
     He looked to Sam.
     "How about you?  How are you coping?"
     Sam shrugged.  He was tired and felt like Ricky was standing on his shoulders.
     "Oddly enough," he said, "none of this has affected me.  I've not had any of the symptoms that Ricky and Ken have.  Not since we left the lodge, anyway."
     "And before that?" the doctor asked.
     "Only a couple of minor things," Sam said.  "Nothing like these two have been through."
     The doctor shook his head, clearly befuddled about the whole matter.
     "This is the strangest thing I've ever encountered," he said.  "I really don't know what to tell you other than what I already have."
      He had the nurse bring Ricky into the office.  Speaking to him as if he really was four, he asked, "Ready to go home, Ricky?"
     Ricky looked completely worn out to Sam.  His eyes had dark rings around them and his eyelids drooped as if he'd fall asleep where he stood.  When Sam reached for his hand, he clasped Sam's hand without protest.  
     The doctor gave Bill a bottle containing three small tablets and a hypodermic filled with a clear liquid.
     "Administer the shot first," the doctor said.  "In his hip.  He'll go to sleep within a few minutes.  When he wakes up, keep him up about an hour so he can drink some water and use the bathroom.  Then, give him the first tablet.  Repeat the process until he's taken all three tablets.  By that time, he should be improved.  If there are problems or he gets worse, call me."
     On the ride home, Sam sat Ricky in the middle of the front seat of the car.  Bill sat on the passenger side.  Ricky huddled close to Sam, and in a rare show of affection, Sam placed his free arm protectively around his little brother.  They didn't go to Bill's, where they'd been warned, the media was now encamped.  Instead they drove to Sam's apartment.  Bill wearily took a breather in the overstuffed chair in the livingroom while Sam ushered Ricky upstairs to the bathroom where he gave him a bath, then readied him for bed in the spare bedroom.
     "Roll over, big boy," he said, gently pushing Ricky onto his right side.  He pulled the edge of his undershorts down and administered the sedative.  Ricky gave the smallest of whimpers, but he was already asleep.
Pulling the comforter up to Ricky's chin, Sam watched him for a long moment.  Not since they were kids, did he feel such a sense of responsibility. 
     "Too bad you aren't really four," he said, smiling a little as he brushed a strand of hair out of Ricky's face.  He kissed his brother's forehead, turned off the bedside lamp, and left him to rest. 



kt6550   kt6550 wrote
on 5/15/2009 8:32:14 PM
Interesting plot twist.

Novel / Novella
writing shwangltd
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