Holistic Care

Slam
Mr. Danya
Slam
Mr. Danya
Joined: August 11th, 2009, 7:39 pm

June 28th, 2018, 9:19 pm #1

((Lucas Brady continued from An Open Facebook Post to my Peers))

Lucas Brady hadn’t visited hospitals many times in his life. There was that one time when he was thirteen, when he’d tripped and gashed his side on the shelves, but that had just been to get stitches (and even then, the doctors said his mother had overreacted). This was different.

“Hi, I’m here to see Steven Brady, please. He’s my grandpa.”

He smiled at the receptionist, as much as he could smile at the time. The young man gave him directions (surprisingly cheerful for a hospital, Lucas thought) and off he went.

It had been six days since the class president speeches, six days since his abysmal performance, and it was two days ago that he’d made that Facebook post. That had been followed by three asthma attacks in those forty-eight hours. Fun.

He hadn’t gone back to school in that time. He had tried to fool his mother that he had the dreaded ‘I-feel-terrible-itis’ but it turned out when the most important person in your life was hospitalised and you yourself were wheezing ad nauseum, you could get cut some slack and skip a few classes without a lot of grief.

He let out a long, long exhale, as the elevator climbed the floors. He folded his arms into his chest tightly, tighter than he needed to. He thought about pulling out another painkiller from the box he’d tucked into his pocket, because he really did feel terrible with a rather persistent headache. Thought better of it, because he’d already taken three that morning and that would probably be overdoing it. Maybe. He could ask a doctor whilst he was here.

It had been eight days since his grandpa had gone in, which had started this rotten fortnight. His grandma had called his mom to say what had happened, and his mom had gone in to the hospital. Lucas was at school at the time, so he only found out about it second hand later on.

“He’s got pneumonia.” His dad told him later that evening, as his mom was still at the hospital. He’d started to panic straight away, of course: pneumonia was a big deal, wasn’t it? His dad had tried to settle him, tell him that he was with the best possible people, and that panicking wasn’t going to accomplish anything, but that didn’t mean much to Lucas. Maybe that’s why his dad hadn’t offered to take him in that same evening. Maybe that’s why Lucas had waited eight days to go see him. Maybe he should’ve counted himself lucky to still have the chance. Maybe he should’ve kicked himself some more for good measure.

The elevator doors opened, but Lucas didn’t leave. The ‘Long-term Care’ sign was staring at him from across the hallway, in a cruel fashion.

The doors started to shut, ushering Lucas to hurry up and get out. He could’ve stayed in there and gone back downstairs and left, but what kind of bastard would that make him? Everyone had said how much it would mean to his grandpa if Lucas went to go visit him. Everyone had said how important it was. That it was the right thing to do.

Screw all of them. This wasn’t about what they said, it was what he wanted to do. He didn’t want to not see his grandpa, no matter how terrifying the thought of him full of tubes or near death or whatever it was modern medicine did to people with pneumonia could be. He wasn’t a bastard, at least not intentionally despite what everyone at school now thought apparently. He wanted to see his grandpa and try to cheer him up.

He looked down at the bag he had with him. A gift: a book on the various species of fish native to North America. It was really stupid, but it was all he could think of. His grandpa must’ve been bored, and he loved fishing. What else was he supposed to bring? Well, it must beat sitting around in bed all day.

He was outside the door now. Deep breath. Head on in.



All in all, it could’ve been worse.

No tubes, but dear Christ did his grandpa look tired. The man was in his eighties, he was hardly going to look like a spring onion, but dear Christ.

Still, he smiled when he saw Lucas, and it was a big smile.

And that made Lucas smile too.

It had been a half hour of conversation. Not a lot of conversation, Lucas was doing the vast majority of the talking, but Grandpa was still pitching in from time to time. The book had been left on a shelf to the side, Grandpa promising to have a read of it when he could. He was sat in a chair, because apparently lying back in the bed was uncomfortable for him. From time to time, he was using a breathing mask attached to the wall.

All in all, it could’ve been worse.

“So,” Grandpa started, after a lull in the conversation, “are you going… to tell me… about the election?”

Lucas pulled his mouth shut. Despite everything he’d been going through the past few days, somehow talking to his Grandpa had made him forget about it until that moment.

“…didn’t go amazingly.” he finally replied, staring out the window to avoid eye contact. He knew his grandpa hadn’t broken his. “I lost to the special needs kid.”

He pulled his mouth shut again, still avoiding eye contact. “And?” responded Grandpa, who was not fooled for a second that that was the end of it.

“And then I posted something on Facebook and now everyone at school thinks I’m a complete jackass.”

He was folding his arms into his chest again, hugging himself, as his posture hunched over into a slouch. He found it easier to look at the floor than the window, and most certainly easier than looking at his Grandpa.

“So what did…you say?”

“Nothing! I just said that Nathan wasn’t qualified because he isn’t, because he’s never been to a council meeting in his life, and everyone jumped down my throat and said I was picking on the disabled kid and that I was just being sour grapes!”

“Well…were you?”

“I wasn’t picking on him! I just wanted people to realise that they have to take this stuff seriously!”

“Lucas.”

There was that tone. Grandpa almost never took that tone with him, because he didn’t need to, but when he did it was because Lucas was bullshitting. ‘If you’re going to bullshit, never bullshit yourself.’ That’s what he’d said to Lucas the first time he’d used that tone, when Lucas was eleven and wasn’t being honest about copying half of his essay on the American revolution from Wikipedia.

“OK so I don’t think Nathan is qualified and I didn’t really want to make it a thing on Facebook but, damn it I just had to say something to somebody about something! I worked really hard on my speech and my whole platform but I couldn’t do it because you’re in here and I’m just really stressed out about everything and- and-“

He shot up, chewed on his finger and turned his back on Grandpa. He did not come here to make him worry, he did not come here to add to his problems. He was there to cheer him up. He had to shut the hell up.

“Sorry, I’m really sorry Grandpa. You have enough to worry about, don’t listen to my stupid problems, you have to focus on getting better and –“

“Lucas.”

He paused, then turned back. Grandpa was smiling again, but it was much wearier. A smile of a man at death’s door, who didn’t want to see his grandson so upset. A smile of a man who knew him better than anyone, who knew how this would play out when Lucas calmed down, but he was only human. He was old, he was ill. He was tired.

It broke Lucas’ heart.

He forced himself to smile. It was the most bullshit smile he’d ever done in his entire life, because he was a complete bastard after all. He was the kind of complete bastard who came into their grandpa’s hospital room after he’d almost died and spouted a bunch of stupid shit about a school election that no-one cared about and becoming a self-inflicted pariah.

Grandpa motioned to the chair Lucas had been sitting in. He didn’t say anything, but his eyes did ask him to settle down already because this was just getting a bit silly. Lucas complied, and the bullshit smile died. It was a relief.

“Maybe you should…apologise to this Nathan boy. You didn’t mean it…and if he’s liked enough to win…I’m sure he’ll understand. If he doesn’t…at least you tried.”

Lucas nodded.

“And please….stop getting so worked up. You’re worse…than your mother.”

He smiled.

And that made Lucas smile too.

((Lucas Brady continued in A Trip to the Nerd Zoo))
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