Frank Reagan stepped out of the black SUV in front of St. Victor's hospital. An hour ago, Garrett had informed him one of his officers and Jamie's partner and best friend had been hit by a drunk driver. So far, the only information he had was she was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He hoped to find his son fussing at her bedside, but also see she was going to be all right.
The entire waiting room was a sea of blue. Off duty officers from the 12th, Eddie and Jamie's house as well as those from neighboring precincts roamed the halls. In the center of it all, sat Jamie, Danny, and Sydney. Jamie was seated on a small sofa, elbows on his knees, with Danny and Syd on either side holding his hands and supporting his frame. Frank's heart sped up, was she gone? Eddie, with her bright blue eyes, wicked smile, and wise cracks? She was a light for all of them.
Frank bent down in front of Jamie, "Son? Is there any word?"
Sydney answered for Jamie, "She's in surgery. They are stabilizing her head and neck and uh, making it so she can have a breathing tube in her throat not her nose. She broke her neck, Frank. She's in a coma."
Jamie shuttered hearing the words again. "They are giving her steroids to help her but…there's so many risks." Sydney could see Jamie wasn't sure he made the right decision about Eddie's treatment. "They wouldn't let me see her."
"They will when she's out of surgery, son. Maybe only you since you have her papers and all. Do you want me to try to find out information?"
Jamie nodded, "Dad, try to get the wheels going to get her father here. Armin Janko, Lincoln correctional facility. If she's not going to make it…I promised him once to take good care of her. I have to let him see her now she's hurt so badly."
Frank nodded, "Let's just get Eddie through the night for now son. I'll see what I can find out."
Frank located the ER doctor, "How is my officer?"
The doctor explained to Frank about Eddie breaking the two bones in her neck and also damaging some of the nerves in her back. "Her injury is complete at the C5-6 level."
"What does that mean?" Frank asked already knowing in his heart. "Will she be…"
"Paralyzed?" the doctor asked. "That is almost a medical certainty. When the swelling goes down, she may retain some use of her shoulders and upper arms but regardless of her will and the skill of her therapists, Officer Janko will never walk again. It is highly unlikely she will have the use of her lower arms or her hands. She will likely need constant assistance for the rest of her life, if she makes it through the next few days."
Frank sighed, "What's her chances?"
"Fifty-fifty, a lot of it depends on her," the doctor replied.
Frank chuckled, "If it depends on her, she'll make it. She's strong."
Frank returned to Jamie's side, "She's doing well in surgery but the doctor said she'll be paralyzed, her arms and her legs…"
Jamie nodded, "I know….I have to make sure I'm there when he wakes up. If she wakes up with tubes in her throat and a halo…she's going to be terrified. I have to be there to make it easier, so she's not alone."
Sydney agreed, "If you aren't there, Jamie I will be. One of us will be with her until she's awake and aware, okay? If we aren't maybe, Danny?"
Danny nodded, "You got it. She's not just blue blood, she's Jamie's partner, family. You got it, when I'm not hunting the scum that put her in that bed I'll be here."
Frank was proud of his family. Jamie would do anything he could for his partner and he had a strong wife by his side. Frank doubted Sydney's ability to be a cop's wife but she had done well. Frank took Danny's seat next to Jamie, touching his son's thigh. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his rosary. Wrapping it around his hand, he and Jamie began to silently pray.
The faces of the officers changed as the hours passed. As each shift came off duty, they arrived at the hospital to support their comrade. Finally the doctor came out and called for Jamie.
"Jamison Reagan?" he asked. "For Edit Janko…"
Jamie stood with Syd and Frank by his side. Maria had called Danny to hit a few doors on possible suspects two hours ago. "I'm Jamie."
"I'm Dr. Camden, I operated on Ms. Janko." Jamie shook the doctor's hand and corrected, "Officer Janko, but she likes Eddie."
"We have succeeded in inserting the external equipment to stabilize Officer Janko's injury. Unfortunately, there's still too much swelling to perform further surgery on that injury. We have braced and boxed her neck and were able to insert a ventilation tube in her throat. When the swelling goes down, we'll go back in and stabilized the bones in her neck from the inside. She should be able to breath on her own after that."
"When will that be?" Jamie asked. "When will it be that's she can do that?"
"We don't know," Dr. Camden sighed. "We just don't. We don't know if she's going to wake up. Often with these injuries and the lack of oxygenation, we don't know if the brain has been compromised. It does not appear to be the case, but Eddie's GCS is still inside the comatose level. We have to wait and see."
"Can I see her?" Jamie asked. "I'd like to see her."
"You're next of kin, you can come and see her for a few minutes. Follow me."
Jamie walked down the long hallway following the doctor. He felt if he could just see Eddie, touch her, and let her know he was there with her, she'd wake up. She was his best friend. He always said that, Syd was his wife, but Eddie was his best friend. Sydney accepted that, she loved Eddie too. "She's in here," Dr. Camden told Jamie. "She should have sensation in her face, her shoulders…if you want to touch her try to do it there. She may be able to hear you so don't say anything you wouldn't want her to hear if she was awake."
Jamie nodded and took a deep breath. Jamie knew the scene wouldn't be good but he wasn't prepared for what he saw. Eddie still on the bed hooked up to all kinds of machines monitoring her heart, vitals, a machine that breathed for her, and various IV's. Eddie's neck was braced so when she woke up the only view was in front of her and a breathing tube stuck out from her mouth to one of the machines. Cuts and scrapes from broken glasses were still visible on her beautiful face.
Jamie remembered the doctor's word and reached out to rub the top of Eddie's head. "Hey, Eddie," Jamie said softly. "I know you're hurting so bad right now, and you are scared and confused, I don't blame you, but you have to open your eyes, Eddie. Please open your eyes."
Jamie took a breath as the respirator hissed, "That tube, when you open your eyes for us, they can do more surgery and it can come out, okay? All you have to do is wake up, Eddie. Please wake up."
Jamie sat at Eddie's bedside and finally began to cry. He'd held in his fear and his pain for his friend until alone with her. He would cry in front of Eddie, and usually only Eddie. For Sydney, he had to be strong. She didn't handle his tears well, it reminded her of his losing Joe and how sick he'd made himself in his grief. He didn't in front of his father and brother because Reagan men didn't cry. It was only with Eddie that Jamie felt safe enough and it was true again. She never failed to wrap her arms around him and make it go away, whatever it was causing the tears. Jamie shuddered, he would never feel that again, Eddie's arms around him. How would she cope with such a devastating injury?
"I am going to promise you," Jamie continued as she stroked Eddie's hair. "I am going to get you the best. The best doctors, the best therapists, the best of everything. Whatever it is in you to do I'll make sure you do it, Eddie. You might not be able to be a cop anymore, but I will still be there for you. Partners…You are not alone, Eddie. Not ever."
For her part, Eddie felt as if her body was weighted down. She wanted to open her eyes like Jamie said, but she couldn't seem to force them to obey. She tried to move her hand to reach for him, but it didn't move. She tried to kick her legs to get his attention when she sensed his upset, but they remained still. On some level, Eddie knew she should be afraid, but Jamie was here. She was never scared of anything when Jamie was around her. That was why they were such a good team, they looked out for each other, they supported each other, and when they were a unit, there was no limit to the good they could do for the city.
Jamie's voice lulled Eddie into safety. She could hear its soft tones and gentle rises but the words were a little foreign. If she just rested a little longer then maybe she'd feel better. Yes, just a little longer…then she would grant Jamie his wish.
When Jamie returned to the waiting room Sydney stood up. "I'd like to go in and see her, Jamie. I'm her friend and I want her to know…"
"That's not a good idea, Syd," Jamie said hoarsely. "She's uh…in real bad shape. She's still all cut and bruised. They have her head in this box…she's all braced…"
"I want to see her and tell her I'm here," Sydney insisted. "I'll only be a few minutes then we can get you home and…"
"No, I can't leave. If she wakes up alone…Go and see her then maybe you can get some clothes for me and go by her place and get a few of her pictures and things that are familiar, that heart pillow she uses and her Ipod. I can play her music."
Sydney nodded and slowly walked back to see Eddie. She stroked her forehead, "He's tearing himself up out there, Eddie. You hurry and come back to us."
So many times Sydney was jealous of Eddie, the way she and Jamie related to each other, but after spending time with her and getting to know her, Sydney saw how special she was. Eddie was a good cop, with her at his side, Jamie was a little safer, and Sydney could rest a little easier. Sydney placed a gently kiss on Eddie's unmarred cheek and left the room holding her emotions in check.
The last visitor to Eddie's room that night was Frank. He had seen many of his officers in horrible shape after shootings, bombing, stabbings, but this one hit closer to home. This girl had sat at his table, she had opened presents under his Christmas tree. She was almost another daughter in his heart. Frank sat beside Eddie's bed, "Rest easy, Edit. When you're ready, we'll be here to help you. So many friends are waiting for you to wake up. I'm ordering you to do that. I'm ordering you to fight, Officer Janko. We'll handle anything else that comes up. You fight hard. My Jamie can't handle another loss, least of all you. You fight…" Frank patted Eddie's leg. She heard the rustled of the sheets but felt nothing. Still nothing made sense to her…sleep…that's what she needed, she needed more sleep.
A/N: I was thrilled to see such a positive response to this new story. It is, as Lawslave, said unlike anything out there, so I was nervous about how it would be received. Spinal cord injuries are happening in the United States everyday. The men and women that live with them, as well as, their care givers are true heroes.
Next Update will be Saturday, 5/7: Jamie seeks spiritual advice when faced with a difficult decision about Eddie's future.