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Chapter 13

I felt embarrassed as I leaned against Kevin as he drug me through the emergency room door. I suppose since my legs were still wobbling as I rest my weight against him I didn't have much have a choice.

A nurse informed Kevin to lay me down on the stretcher behind us. I watched her blurry image rush away to find the nearest physician. I glanced up at Brian, Howie and Kevin. (AJ had gone to give the staff information about my insurance, etc.)

I stared at their eyes. The brown in Howie's showed sympathy, the blue in Brian's fear and the green in Kevin's guilt. I faced him. "Kev, thanks for haulin' my ass in here."

My oldest pal attempted to grin. "Well, I guess I'm not as old as you thought, huh?"

"I guess not." I coughed clutching my stomach immediately.

I sensed Rok's hand on my shoulder. "Don't worry, buddy. A doctor's comin'."

Howie put his hand to my forehead once more. "The sooner, the better."

The nurse then returned with a tall, lanky redheaded man who appeared to be Kevin's age. "Hi, I'm Dr. Layne. Do you mind if the nurse checks your vitals while I ask you some questions?"

I shook my head.

He continued. "What seem to be your symptoms?"

I cleared my throat. "Fever, migraines, fatigue and severe stomach pain."

"Vomiting?"

"Yes."

"Dizziness?"

"Extreme."

The nurse handed him my chart. "Pressure and pulse are good. Although, his temp's 103.5."

Dr. Layne failed at his attempt to hide his concern. "How long has your stomach been hurting?"

"Only today severely. But about three days it's been uneasy."

"Let's take a look."

He pushed around my lower ribs, that wasn't too painful. Then my abdomen, which was tolerable. Then he made his way to my lower right side.

"SHIT!" I shouted in agony.

"Does that hurt?"

"Like hell." He pressed again. "STOP!" I begged.

The man's forehead creased, then I heard Kevin's voice. "It's his appendix, isn't it?"

"I'm afraid so."

I was trying to think of why Kevin would know that. Then it finally occurred to me- Kevin had suffered the same ailment in Europe. I paid attention to the doctor once again.

"I normally would want to run other tests. Just for the sake of precausion. But his fever is so high, I don't feel I have a choice." He began to write on my chart. "I'll have Nick started on an IV to lower the fever. Once we've lowered it, we'll operate immediately."

"Operate?" I shrieked much like my teenage fans.

"I'm afraid so, Mr. Carter. There are no other options."

I rolled around in my delusional state. "No! Brian, take me back!"

"No, Nick, you have to stay here."

"No! I won't!" I began to sit up, but felt another wave of nausea. Then I once again emptied my stomach.

The doctors had left to get help by the time I lifted my head up. Howie helped me to lye back. "Nick, you have no choice but to have the operation."

"No-"

I was cut off by Brian. "Don't be ridiculous. If your appendix ruptures the infection will spread throughout your body and. . . ."

"It could be fatal," Kevin told me with teary eyes. "But they've caught it. So, after they remove the problem you'll be fine. Now. . . do you want the operation?"

I limply nodded, then said, "Yes."


Chapter 14