Rating: PG-13 to start, for violence (non-sexual) and language. I am not any kind of a medical expert, if there are some glaring errors, please forgive me.
Disclaimer: I don’t own the Guiding Light characters, they belong to CBS and Proctor and Gamble.
Summary: This is set in the spring of 2009. I’ve taking some liberties with the storyline, mainly Natalia never slept with Frank, hence no engagement etc. So our girls have been just continuing forward raising Emma and getting closer to each other though they are still technically just friends, but that will change… This is a hurt/comfort story so they are headed on a rough ride.
Author’s Note: This is my first fan fiction so please be gentle. This would not have been possible if not for the persistent nudging and awesome editing of my beta/great friend croftlara. Comments are welcome.
( Part 1 ) ( Parts 2 & 3 ) ( Part 4 ) ( Parts 5 & 6 ) ( Part 7 ) ( Part 8 ) ( Part 9 ) ( Part 10 ) ( Part 11 )
Olivia continued to hold Natalia’s hand and talk to her. Every now and again she would feel the tell tale squeeze indicating that Natalia knew she was there.
A few minutes later Dr. Gunn arrived. “I hear our patient is responding?”
“Yes, doctor, she keeps squeezing my hand.” Olivia responded.
“Okay, let’s see what we’ve got.” Dr. Gunn walked over to the bed and proceeded to examine Natalia. Olivia just stood back and let him work. She tried to be patient but she couldn’t help pacing and asking questions.
In the end it was decided that they would ease up on the medication keeping Natalia unconscious and they would take her off the ventilator and remove the breathing tube.
The doctor left the room promising to return in a little while to complete the procedure.
Olivia bent down and rested her elbows on the bed’s railing, “Do you hear that Natalia? They’re going to that thing out of your throat. It might be scary while they do it but I’ll be here with you, I promise.” Olivia stood and took Natalia’s hand looking at it closely as she caressed her knuckles. What is that? She looked closer at the nail on her index finger. Blood. No, not acceptable, we can’t have that. Olivia walked over to the box of single ply tissues sitting on the window ledge, pulled two out and spat on them before heading back to Natalia, “Seriously,” Olivia said as she rubbed the tissue between her fingers, “I think these double as sandpaper… remind me to buy a box of Kleenex.” She picked up the hand again and worked vigorously at the spot of blood until she was certain that it was gone. “There, all clean.” Finding the garbage pail she threw away the tissues and went back to Natalia to resume her position.
A short time later Lillian came back to check in on Natalia and Olivia.
“I understand that they’re getting ready to extubate Natalia?” Lillian asked Olivia as walked to the bed to kiss Natalia on the forehead.
“That’s right.” Olivia paused as she looked at the older woman and asked hopefully, “She’s doing well isn’t she?”
Lillian turned to Olivia and took her hand, speaking honestly she said, “Yes Olivia she’s doing very well.”
Just then the doctor returned accompanied by a nurse.
Lillian squeezed Olivia’s hand, “Do you want to go out to the waiting room and tell everyone while they do this?”
Though she appreciated Lillian’s attempt to give her an out in case she didn’t want to remain for the procedure, Olivia had already promised Natalia that she would stay so, shaking her head ‘no’ she asked, “No but could you let the others know what’s going on?”
Lillian nodded her head and left. Olivia smiled and turned back to watch as the doctor turned off the machine that had been breathing for her friend. Dear God let this work.
Dr. Gunn then removed the tube from her trachea. Breathe Natalia. “Doctor, is she breathing okay?”
Turning toward the anxious woman he answered, “Yes she’s breathing.” He turned his attention back to Natalia and put a nasal cannula on her to continue to provide her with oxygen, then completed several examinations and assessments to verify that Natalia was adjusting to having the breathing tube removed.
Olivia paced around the room as the doctor made certain that Natalia was capable of sustained breathing on her own.
“Is she okay?” Olivia finally asked, incapable of waiting for the doctor any longer.
Dr. Gunn dismissed the nurse and looked at Olivia, “She’s responding well. We need to monitor her closely for the next little while but I think she’s strong enough to breathe on her own.”
Oh thank God. “Thank you doctor.”
“Have you got any other questions?” The doctor thoughtfully asked Olivia.
“No… Well… ” Olivia stuttered finally asking desperately, “She’s gonna be okay right?”
Dr. Gunn smiled warmly, “She’s doing well. We’re going to keep a very close eye on her. She’s not completely out of danger but I can promise that we will take the best care of her that we can.”
“If there is anything I can do… If she needs a specialist, I can fly someone in…” Oops, don’t offend the doctor Spencer. Olivia quickly added, “not that you’re not doing a good job, I just…” Olivia scrubbed her face with her hand. “I don’t know.”
Dr. Gunn walked over and put a hand on her shoulder. ”You’re doing everything you can, just be here and hold her hand. Talk to her.”
“I need to go and check on another patient. I’ll be back later to see Natalia and the nurses will be in and out regularly. Don’t expect her to wake up right away; it’ll be a little while until she’s conscious…” Dr. Gunn reassured her, “You being here will help her.”
“Thank you doctor.” Olivia reached out her hand to shake his.
Dr. Gunn shook hers in return. “See you in a little while.” As he left the room and disappeared down the hall he smiled. Natalia’s lucky to have someone who cares so much. Thinking about his next patient. I wish everyone were as lucky.
Before she knew it, Olivia was alone again with Natalia. Sitting back down in the chair by Natalia’s bed, she took her friend’s hand again, “You’re doing great, I’m proud of you.” You may not be out of the woods yet but you’re progressing and I’m so thankful. Olivia let out a long breath and whispered another, “Thank you God.”
Now that the ventilator was turned off the room sounded and felt so quiet. As she sat next to the bed, Olivia suddenly felt unbelievably tired and an overwhelming need to check up on Emma. You’re probably up by now Jellybean and I bet you’re worried.
Reluctantly, she stood and leaned over Natalia so she could kiss her on the forehead. “I hate to do this but I have to leave the room for a few minutes. I need to call Emma and check on her. I know you understand. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” With hesitation, Olivia let go of Natalia’s hand and slowly moved toward the door. When she got to the doorway and turned back, she thought if she blocked out the tubes and machines, Natalia almost looked like she was sleeping. Almost.
Olivia walked quickly down the hall of the ICU and out into the waiting room to get to the bank of phones. As much as she wanted to use her Blackberry again, she thought she would play by the rules this time.
The phones were just outside of the waiting room, as Olivia walked through the room she was surprised to find their friends still there. She didn’t want to take any more time than was necessary but since they were still there she felt she that she should stop and tell them what was going on.
Olivia approached the small group who all began to stand to meet her as they waited for her to speak. “Hi everyone. I just came out to call Emma. Umm… Lillian told you that they extubated?”
Buzz walked up to Olivia and took her hand as support. “Yes she told us. How’s Natalia doing?”
Olivia swallowed the lump in her throat at the kind act. “She’s doing alright. The doctor says she’s not out of the woods yet but she’s progressing. They’re going to keep checking on her to make sure there are no issues with the removal of the breathing tube.” A thought occurred to Olivia. Damn! I shouldn’t have left her, what if there’s a problem? Oh God, she’ll be all alone.
“Frank?” Olivia looked at the detective.
“Yes?” Frank perked up like a puppy being asked if he wanted a treat.
“Will you go and sit with Natalia.” Shit, shit, why did I leave her? “Just in case she wakes up, I wouldn’t want her to be alone.”
Frank didn’t need to be asked twice so he rushed off to the ICU.
She watched Frank walking away, “I’m just going to call Emma then go back and sit with Natalia.”
“Is there anything we can do?” Reva asked as she watched Olivia try to hold it together.
Olivia looked over at their concerned faces. “Thank you for being here everyone. It means…” Olivia paused to fight the tears that threatened to fall. “It means a lot to me and I know it will to Natalia too.”
Josh walked over to put his arm around his ex-wife, “We’re here, if you need us.”
“Just ask.” Jeffrey added from his position beside Reva.
With a heartfelt sincerity that Olivia wasn’t accustomed to she said, “Thank you,” then she let go of Buzz’s hand and stepped away from Josh.
Olivia walked away from the group and left them to resume their seats in the waiting room. As she moved toward the bank of phones Olivia dug around in her wallet for change. Coming up with the appropriate coinage she called Jane from the first phone that she came to.
After three rings a groggy sounding Jane answered, “Hello?’
“Jane, it’s Olivia, did I wake you?” She was surprised that Jane was still asleep.
“Actually, yes. We were having a nap. It was a late night so Emma and I slept in fairly late, got up, had something to eat and then when we started falling asleep in front of the TV I just brought her back to bed.” Olivia could hear Jane moving around the room and the soft click of a door in the background before she quietly continued, “Emma had some nightmares, understandably. The truth is that we were up most of the night. About five o’clock this morning I brought her into my room with me and she settled down.”
Absently, Olivia closed her eyes and whispered, “Oh my poor baby. Is she still asleep?”
“I don’t think the phone woke her but I’ll check.” Jane opened the door and peeked in; Emma was still curled up sleeping. “No she’s still asleep, did you want me to wake her?”
“No, let her sleep, I’m sorry I should let you get back to it too, you must be exhausted. Jane, I want you to know how much I appreciate you running over here to the hospital like that in the middle of the night to collect Emma. I’m glad we have someone like you whom we can count on.”
Shaking her head at the unusual compliment from her demanding boss, Jane stuttered, “Umm, you, you’re welcome. How’s Ms. Rivera?”
“Well they just extubated her. She had a rough night, a very rough night actually but she’s breathing on her own and she’s been squeezing my hand, so things are finally looking up a bit. In fact, if you could tell Emma that Natalia is doing well. She’s probably going to ask if she can come and see her, obviously it’s not a good time for that now but I will be sure to call you and give you another update, okay?” Olivia squeezed her eyes shut while the pounding in her head seemed to intensify. She pinched the bridge of her nose and though she hated having to do it asked, “Sorry, do you mind keeping Emma for the rest of day?”
“I’ll pass that along when Emma wakes up. I’m glad to hear that Ms. Rivera is improving. And don’t worry about Emma, Ms. Spencer; I’ll keep her here until as long as you need me to.”
“Thank you Jane.” Olivia hung up the phone and sighed. She allowed one tear to escape before she got back to the business of being strong for Natalia.
She was going to go back to the ICU right away but she wanted to ask about Rafe so she walked back to the waiting room to talk to Buzz.
“Hey Olivia, is Emma okay?” Buzz asked when he saw Olivia walking toward him.
“She’s exhausted. They’re having a nap actually.” I’m worried about her and I don’t know if there is something I should be doing for her. “Buzz, has Frank called the prison again to talk to Rafe?”
Buzz chuckled, “Oh yeah, and I think they’re getting a little tired of hearing from ol’ Det. Cooper. Frank was arguing with the guy on the other end for a while before he was able to give him the message for Rafe.”
Brushing her hair back from her face, Olivia let out an exacerbated breath; “Yeah, someone is going to have to go down there later I think, rather than just call. I’m sure Rafe would appreciate it, and the guards might appreciate a break from the phone calls. I’ll ask Frank to pop down there in a little while.”
She looked over their friends and smiled shyly, “Ya know, if you guys are tired, you can head home. I’ll let you know how she’s doing later.” Olivia smiled sadly then added, “I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate you coming down here.”
Buzz answered for the group as he got up and put his arm around the woman he almost married once another lifetime ago. “Ya know, lady, and I think I speak for everyone when I say this, as much as we love you, we love Natalia more, and there is nowhere else we’d be.” He held his breath for a moment, until she let out the chuckle he’d been hoping that comment would elicit. For his trouble, he got the chuckle accompanied by a backhanded swat to the stomach.
“Even still, thanks. I should get back to her now.”
As Reva watched her walk away she couldn’t help the tear that escaped, she couldn’t help thinking about how much Olivia had changed in the ten years that she’d known her. Most of that change coming since she met one Natalia Rivera.
To be continued...