Disclaimer: Just playing in the ATF ball park. Poor Ezra does suffer for his art. Thanks again to the book. The complete guide to symptoms, illness and surgery by Dr. H. Winter Griffith
Ezra woke and groaned as he realized that the headache he had been suffering from for the past week was still there. It had been getting gradually worse as the days went by and he was thoroughly fed up with it. He had taken all sorts of remedies but nothing seemed to hit the mark. He sat up and put a hand to his head as a wave of dizziness swept over him. He closed his eyes against the light and groaned again at the pain. He really didn't know how much longer he could take it. Opening his eyes after a couple of minutes, he discovered that the world looked slightly fuzzy. He moved his fingers to his eyes and rubbed them to try to clear his vision. His sight did gradually improve and he stood up and walked to the bathroom unsteadily, leaned over the sink and splashed his face with water. He vomited suddenly and without warning. Where had that come from? He hadn't felt nauseous. He washed his face again and waited to see if the sickness returned. When it didn't, he moved back to the bedroom to get ready for work. Perhaps it had just been a one off.
He managed to get dressed without mishap and went down to get in his car. He really didn't feel like any breakfast so he didn't even both entering the kitchen. He stopped and studied his reflection in the mirror in the lounge. The face that stared back at him looked pale and tired. He smiled sourly at his reflection and came to the conclusion that it definitely wasn't an improvement. He sighed and left the house, got in his car and started the engine and backed out of the drive. He shook his head trying to clear his vision as his sight blurred again.
"Come on. What the hell's the matter with you Ezra?" he asked himself out loud. He was beginning to get worried. The headache had appeared about five days ago for no apparent reason. He never usually suffered from headaches, so for one to last for so long was very unusual.
He eventually reached the office and made his way slowly up to the office. He sat down at his desk and put his head in his hands as another wave of dizziness swept over him. None of the other team members had arrived yet. For once in his life he was early, wonders would never cease, he thought to himself. He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Nathan looking at him in concern. Where had he come from?
"Ezra? Are you alright?" the medic asked. He had only just arrived and seeing Ezra there so early had astounded him.
"Yes. I'm fine. Just a slight headache." A major understatement if ever I heard one, Ezra thought to himself.
"Do you want something for it?"
"No. I'll be alright."
Nathan sat down at his own desk. He decided he would keep a close eye on the undercover agent. He didn't look at all well. Ezra meanwhile opened a file on his desk and started work. The words on the page in front of him kept going in and out of focus and the harder he stared, trying to distinguish them, the more fuzzy they became. He tried not to rub his head or give any outward sign of how he was feeling. He could tell Nathan was watching him. After about half an hour of unproductive work Ezra rose and went to get a drink. He picked up his mug and promptly dropped it as he his hand suddenly felt weak. The same thing had been happening on various occasions during the week, but it seemed to be occurring with more regularity now. Nathan heard the mug smash and arrived in the doorway to see if everything was alright. Ezra flexed his hand as the weakness passed. Although when he looked down he could see his hand trembling slightly. He stuck it in his pocket quickly to hide it from Nathan's view.
"Sorry. Just a bit clumsy today for some reason," he said.
Nathan looked at him closely and saw him making a ball with his fist every so often, before shoving the hand in his pocket. He frowned and then asked, "Are you sure you're alright?"
"Yes. Stop fussing. Everyone drops things from time to time. I dare say another two items will be broken before the day is out. They say things happen in threes." Ezra had been trying to hide his discomfort from his colleagues for the last few days, but he was beginning to realize he may not be able to for much longer. Nathan stooped and began picking up the pieces of the broken mug while Ezra collected another drink and walked back into the office. The other team members had now arrived and they looked surprised to see him.
"Hey Ez. Couldn't you sleep? You're never in this early. Have you got a guilty conscience about something?" Vin said laughing.
"A leopard can change its spots, albeit temporarily. Don't expect me to keep it up though." Ezra retook his seat and tried to get on with some work. He managed to work through until lunch without further mishap, although he didn't have much to show for his labors. He couldn't seem to concentrate and as he was having constant trouble with his sight the job was made all the harder. The other men left to have lunch and Ezra managed to persuade them that he didn't feel hungry as he'd had a large breakfast. He made his way along to the rest room when they had all gone. He was becoming hotter with each passing hour and he decided to splash his face with water again. There was no one else in the room so he made his way to the sink and ran the tap until the water ran cold. He dipped his hand in the flow and raised a handful to his face. Jesus, that felt good. He wiped his hand round the back of his neck as well and he began to feel better or so he thought. As happened in the morning he threw up again without warning. His body trembled and he quickly dipped his hand in the water again. He heard the door open behind him and he tried to act as if nothing was wrong. His body wouldn't let him though and he threw up again. "Ez?" Chris asked. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. Just something I ate."
"You haven't had anything that I've seen." Chris walked up beside him and tried to get a look at him. Ezra stayed as he was and Chris eventually reached out a hand and turned him round. He saw his agent was very pale and looking decidedly ill. He reached out a hand and felt Ezra's brow. It was fairly warm and felt sweaty.
"Come on. I'll put you in my office for a bit and see how you feel later. I'll take you home if you don't get any better." Chris put a hand on Ezra's elbow and led him back to his office. He sat him down on his couch and let him stretch out. "Will you be alright if I leave you for a minute?"
Chris turned and left him to go in search of Nathan. He eventually tracked the medic down and said to him, "I've put Ezra in my office. He was puking his guts up in the rest room. Have you noticed that he wasn't well?"
"Yeah. I had a word with him this morning. He was the first one here this morning which is totally out of character. He had his head in his hands like he's got a headache, but he said he was alright. He went to get a drink and dropped his mug and I noticed he was flexing his hand like he had pins and needles or something. He shrugged it off as clumsiness but I'm not so sure. I kept an eye on him and he seemed better. Do you want me to have another look at him?"
"Would you mind?"
"No. It depends whether Ezra will let me though. You know how stubborn he can be." Both men made their way back upstairs to Chris's office. They went inside and saw that Ezra was asleep. Nathan walked over and squatted down in front of him and felt his brow. It was definitely warm. Ezra stirred and opened his eyes, narrowing them as he tried to focus on the face swimming in front of him. He put a hand up to his head and rubbed his temples while his sight cleared.
"I'll take you home, Ez."
"I'm perfectly alright," he said as he struggled into a sitting position.
"Don't lie to me Ezra. How long have you had a headache?"
"Has it got worse?"
"Yes, but I can handle it."
"No, you can't. Come on I'm taking you home." Nathan took a firm hold on Ezra's arm and pulled him to his feet. The undercover agent stood still for a moment to get his balance back and then reluctantly followed the medic. Nathan put him into his own car and drove him home. Ezra wandered into the lounge and laid down on the couch there. He didn't have the energy to go upstairs. Nathan found some pain killers and gave him two with a glass of water. After taking them Ezra closed his eyes and went to sleep. He felt awful.
Nathan sat with him for a while and then went into the kitchen to make a drink. He came back and sat down again with a newspaper. He looked over at Ezra every so often and after a couple of hours stood and walked over to him. The undercover agent hadn't stirred and Nathan was getting worried. He put a hand out and felt his brow again. It was hotter than before. He shook Ezra's shoulder to wake him but got no response. He quickly felt for a pulse and found the familiar rhythm in Ezra's neck.
"Ezra?.......Can you hear me?" Nathan shook his shoulder again. "Shit." The medic peeled open Ezra's eyelids and tried to get a look at his pupils. He cursed again as he saw they were different sizes. He probed Ezra's skull but couldn't find anything amiss. He turned Ezra over quickly so he was lying on his side and then pulled out his mobile to call for an ambulance. He then called Chris.
"Chris, it's Nathan. I've called an ambulance for Ezra. He went to sleep but I can't wake him up. It looks like he's got some sort of head injury. Do you remember him hitting his head recently? Any time up to a couple of weeks ago?"
"No, I don't think so. Wait a minute. He was crawling around on the floor under his desk about ten days ago. He'd dropped something. Anyway he stood up too quickly and hit the edge of the desk with the back of his head. Not hard. He seemed alright afterwards. Do you think that has something to do with it?"
"Maybe. Look, the ambulance is here. Thanks Chris, I'll call you later."
Nathan went to the door and let the paramedics in. He told them what had happened and they checked Ezra over before moving him to the ambulance. Nathan went with him and then sat in the waiting room while Ezra was sent for some tests.
A doctor walked in and sat down next to him after half an hour. "It looks as though he's got a chronic subdural haematoma. You said you think he may have hit his head sometime ago?"
"Yes, but he was alright afterwards."
"Well as you know being a medic yourself these things develop weeks after an injury. He may not even have remembered he'd hit his head. We're taking him to surgery now to operate and hopefully he should make a full recovery. We'll know more later when he wakes up."
Chris came running into the waiting room just as the doctor left and made his way over to Nathan.
"Was that the doctor about Ezra?"
"Yes. He says he's got a chronic subdural haematoma or in other words a blood clot. Probably from when he hit his head in the office that time. They're gonna operate now."
"Will he be alright?"
"As long as there are no complications he should be alright. You can never be sure though with this type of injury."
After a few hours the doctor returned. "We've removed the clot and he's in ICU now. We'll keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't develop any other complications. Do you want to be with him?"
"What do you mean other complications?"
"Well, one side of his body was weakened slightly because of the pressure on the part of the brain controlling that area. Now that pressure has been relieved he should get back to normal soon, but it's just something to keep an eye on. Do you want to sit with him?"
"Yes, please." Both men stood and followed the doctor to Ezra's room.
Ezra lay with a large bandage on his head and looked remarkably pale. He also still had a high temperature. The two men sat down beside him and waited for him to wake up and after four hours Ezra stirred and opened his eyes. He groaned and blinked at the bright light overhead.
"Ezra? How do you feel?" Chris asked.
"Like someone put an axe through my head." Ezra's words were slightly slurred. Nathan stood and went to find the doctor. He came and checked Ezra over and took note that his speech had been slightly affected. Chris followed him out when he had finished and put a hand on his arm to bring him to a halt.
"What's wrong with his speech?"
"Sometimes it is affected with an injury such as this like the weakness on the one side of his body. He can be given some therapy to rectify it. Don't worry. He should make a full recovery."
"Good. Language is very important to him. He takes a great pride in it. I don't know how he would take it if he couldn't get back to normal." Chris turned and went back to sit with Ezra.
"Chris?" Ezra asked when he returned.
"What did you just ask the doctor?" Ezra sounded worried.
Chris sat down and patted his arm. "Well. You've probably noticed your speech has been affected." Ezra nodded and Chris smiled reassuringly at him before continuing, "I just asked what treatment you would need. He said you'd have some speech therapy and that you should recover completely. You're also a bit weaker on one side of your body than the other but that should repair itself now the clot has been removed. If not, you can have physio."
"There's nothing to be concerned about. They're both common symptoms with a blood clot," Nathan said.
"Get some rest. I expect the other will be in to see you soon." Chris patted Ezra's arm again and Ezra closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
+ + + + + + +
Ezra was released after receiving physio on his body. He had to return to the hospital for the speech therapy sessions though. He found the whole process humiliating. He had always been proud of his education and it upset him to know that he had to 'go back to school' as he put it. His speech did improve and soon you couldn't tell that there had been a problem.
He returned to work while he was still being treated but he tended to only work half days. He still tired easily and tended to have to sleep most afternoons. He joined the rest of the team at the saloon one evening and the boys noticed he seemed a bit happier.
"Hey Ez. What ya looking so pleased with yerself for?"Vin asked.
"I have attended my last speech therapy session today and I need never go back."
"That's great Ez."
"I am glad it's reached its conclusion. I perceived that I was taking part in some bizarre experiment. Rather like Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion. I hope I shall never be required to partake in such a phenomenon again."
"I see they didn't recommend using shorter words then," Vin said smiling.
"Definitely not. They were pleased to be dealing with someone of such a high intellect."
"That's what you call it. I thought it was just pure bloody mindedness combined with taking pleasure in trying to confuse everyone."
"Very droll, Mr. Tanner. I can give you elocution lessons if you like. Your language could certainly do with rectifying."
"No thanks, Ez. Can't see myself with a cut glass accent somehow. Doesn't quite go with the image I'm trying to develop."
"What image is that? Refuse collector?" Ezra ducked as Vin swung a fist at him. The other men joined in the laughter, glad that Ezra was at last back to his old self.
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