The Redheads of Mmm...Doctor!

Title: Perfect Stranger
Author: Elizabeth

We walk in through the er through habit and I insist on putting Alex in a wheelchair. She relents, although reluctantly. On the way up I grab a thermometer and take Alex's temp in the elevator. 101. Alex looks up and says, "What is it?"

"One hundred and one."

"Well. That's not good."

"No it's not. And we're going to have to tell the doctor."

Tears fill Alex's eyes. "But the dinner. It's Christmas."

"I know sweetie but if you're sick that's more important don't you think?"

Alex nods but I can tell she doesn't really think that. She looks like she is ready to kill the nurse who is going to treat her. We make our way up to oncology and are seen into a room. The doctor comes in and asks if there are any problems they should know about. I cut in, "Yes she has a fever of 101."


"No we're just telling you that to see what you'll say" Alex snaps.

"Well you must be a nurse." The nurse, whose name I finally note is Laura.

"Really? How can you tell?"

"Or a doctor. Nurses and doctors are the worst patients."

Alex smiles at this and looks at me, "So are doctors worse than nurses?"

"Probably. But for now we'll worry about you."

Laura does a draw and sends it with a stat notice, then hooks Alex up to her treatment. While she's getting it we talk about Jill and the kids staying and what's going to happen when I get back to work. I figure we'll have to get a babysitter or something for when the kids get home from school. I comment that there must be some high school or college student who will be out from school at the same time as the kids. We have almost run out of things to say and are looking dreamily into each others eyes when Laura comes in, along with Alex's doctor, Dr. Murphy.

"How are you feeling Alex?" She asks

"Not too good. What's the word?"

"Hemoglobin's really low. We're going to admit you and try a transfusion. You might have picked something up. Were the children there for Christmas?"

"Of course. Where else would they be?"

Dr. Murphy says something that sounds a lot like "Nurses." She helps Alex into a wheelchair and we make our way to a room. Once Alex is settled I give her a kiss and tell her I'm going to call everyone. I instead make my way down to the er and into the lounge where I once again break down. I'm in the middle of a really good cry when the door opens and Kerry walks in. I put my head down, not wanting to look at her. Not wanting to face it. I keep it down and my eyes closed until I feel arms go around me, then I grab on with all the might I have. Kerry holds me for a minute, then speaks.

"I just heard. I was down in the blood bank when they got the call. I'm sorry Susan."

"Yeah. Me too." I don't know what else to say really.

"She'll be okay. It was just too soon, but nobody could have known. A bit of blood and some antibiotics and she'll be back again." I nod into Kerry's shoulder and she starts to speak again, "Listen I know you have another week left, but if you want more…"

"No. I have to get back to work. I'll be here next Monday."

Kerry looks at me for a minute, thinking. "Okay. But I want you to go talk to Kim. She's very good with things like this and she can listen. I'll set up an appointment and let you know. And we'll try to take off some slack for you."

"Thank you Kerry."

"Hey if Kim were sick I know I'd be upset. I think you're taking this really well considering."

I smile and then say, "Well I'm supposed to be calling Carol. She'll want to come and see Alex I'm sure."

Kerry nods and makes her way back outside. I sit at the table and make the call. "Hi Carol, its Susan. Yeah they're going to keep her. Well her bloods low. Yeah she's pretty upset but not much you can do right? Well I'm going to stay here for awhile, you guys should eat and then come over. No I'm not hungry. Okay talk to you later."

I hang up and sit back down. I know I should be going back upstairs, but I just can't yet. I want to go to sleep and wake up to me and Alex together at home and her healthy. I want to crawl under a rock. And I can't do any of those things.

I finally sigh and make my way back upstairs to find Alex sleeping and blood dripping into her arm. I sit down once again and watch her sleep. Tears stream down my face and I try to control the sobs, but I can't. I put my face in my hands and just cry, until I hear, "Honey?"

I look up to see Alex looking at me with concern. I try to smile, but I can't so I just cry some more. Alex holds her hand out, "Come here." I drag my chair over and she takes me in her arms. I try to explain, "I just wanted to have time with you and I only had a few days and…"

"Shhhh. It's okay. I understand. This is a lot for you to be going through. But we'll get through this together…right?" She sounds uncertain at this point…like she things I'm going to say I want to break up.

"Right. I'm never going to leave you Alex."

I lay my head down on her chest and she wraps her arms around me. We stay like this while someone else's blood goes through her system and I fall asleep happy because this is all I want, for her to be there. Forever.

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