By the time Ryan got word to Owen, word of this tragedy went viral across all Pruett channels. Brady and his Pruetts all came to the hospital immediately. The Holmes’ would be on their way shortly as they were waiting for Roland to get home. Parker, Ryan’s wife, came to collect Holly and also volunteered to watch Emerson as hospitals are no place for children.
When Viviana finally came out to meet them, she was conflicted. This was her family, and she wanted to smile and be positive and let them know everything was going to be ok. But, she was a doctor, and Dr. Pruett knew that it was touch and go. She took a deep breath and stood before six pairs of eyes gazing at her and longing for good news. At first, she thought to begin with the standard “I have good news and bad news” speech, but it wasn’t appropriate. This was a strange position for her to be in because she was both the doctor and the desperate family member at the same time. However, this dilemma was both a blessing and a curse. Because she was the doctor, she could be calm and rational, but because she was family, she knew what they wanted to know and could say it in terms they would understand.
“Surgery went well,” she said trying to smile. “I have no reason to believe she suffered any brain damage while she was unconscious. My team was swift in their response and began CPR immediately. We will know for sure once she wakes up. I just thank the Watcher she collapsed in the hospital and not at home!”
Everyone simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief and sang praises to the Watcher.
“So…what happened to her, Viv,” Owen asked.
“Well…apart from pregnancy, there are only three conditions for which anyone needs surgery. Kiara had two of them. One is what we call the triple threat. It is extremely rare all on its own, and I was very surprised to see it and burnin’ belly. I removed a large mass from her stomach as well as a blockage in a very important artery…the one leading to the brain and lungs. That was what caused the coughing and the starry eyes and the dizziness and eventually her collapse. Her brain was not receiving enough oxygen. This was by far the longest and most complicated surgery I’ve ever had to do, but it was a great success. Her blood flow is good, heart is pumping strong. I think she is going to be just fine. We just have to wait for her to come around and see!”
“Can we see her now?”
“Of course. This is the private suite wing, so she has her own very large room and bathroom. There is plenty of room for all of us to sit, and you can stay as long as you like. This waiting room should also remain fairly empty.”
She led the way to Kiara’s suite. Dr. Pruett thought she delivered the news well and reassured them several times; but Viv knew there wasn’t much she could do to minimize their concern and correct their long faces until Kiara was awake and smiling again.
Owen looked hopefully at his daughter: the fruit of his seed; apple of his eye; the only woman who managed to capture his heart. He had faith that what Viviana said was true, but looking at her lie there…he couldn’t handle it.
“Why did this have to happen to her? She’s still so young! She shouldn’t be here! It should be me!”
“Owen,” Brady intervened. “It’s going to be fine! She’s young…she’s gonna bounce right back. I know she will.”
“I know…I know…it’s just that…I’m her father! I’m supposed to provide for her and take care of her and make everything better…and she’s lying there fighting for her life, and I can’t do anything for her! I just wish there was something I could do instead of just…just STANDING here looking at her!”
“No, no, no. We’re not doing this,” Brady said and embraced his brother. “We’re not doing this. You are her father! You will provide for her! Provide positive thoughts and prayers and well wishes for her. THAT will make everything better! That’s what her father can do, bro.”
“Thank you, Brady. Thank you. I can always count on you to knock some sense in me.”
And, with that, he left Brady’s arms and went over his baby’s bedside and sat with her and told her how much he loved her.
It was a long night for the Pruett family. There were people everywhere coming in and out of the room all night and into the morning. But, Owen and Ryan remained constant. Ryan joined his twin on the other side of the bed and tried to get a little sleep, but sleep would not come. He was worried. The longer they waited, the more worried he became. The more he worried, the more pessimistic he was.
Owen joined him on the bed to try and comfort him.
“What’s going on, son?”
“What’s taking so long? Why isn’t she awake yet?? What if she has brain damage? You know, the brain can only be without oxygen for four minutes! What if she was out for more than four minutes? I was right there! It could have taken longer than four minutes! What if she can’t walk or talk or laugh again?? What if…what if she doesn’t even wake up???”
“Ryan, STOP IT! Just stop it! Stop it!!
“Why are you so plumming gloomy all the time?!”
“I don’t know! That’s just how I am!”
“You listen to me! We are going to trust that Viv did her VERY best work, and we are going to hang on to her every word! That’s all we have…and faith! Ok?”
“Ok, dad. I’m sorry!”
“It’s ok, son. We’re all on edge right now.”
A few more hours went by, and all other Pruetts had gone home for the night as it was the wee hours of the morning. Owen and Ryan remained–and the on call nurse–and awaited the anticipated moment. Somehow they managed to briefly take their mind off it and spoke of other things.
“Sitting here, in this position…it’s got me thinking….I’m so proud of you.”
Ryan didn’t have any words and just nodded his head.
“You’re a much better man than me. You’re kind and accepting of others…”
“So are you!”
“No. Not always. That’s how we all got into the mess we’ve been. Your mother was insane, and I couldn’t accept it, so you two had a horrible childhood. And Holly–
“Yes. I had trouble with Holly too. I love her to pieces now, but it took me a while to get used to…changes.”
“Gosh, dad. I didn’t know. You always appeared to like her.”
“Good! I didn’t want to make you and Parker feel weird. I just needed some time to get used to the idea that the world is changing. Make sure you teach Holly to be brave and open like you and Parker.”
“Do you think you guys will have a son?”
“I would love another child, but Parker is concerned about her age.”
“Ohhh. I didn’t realize she was that much older. Oh well. At least you got one.”
They talked for a while longer about Holly and family life, and then…