“Why are you asking her that?” Jesse fussed, figuring this guy was trying to be funny or something. “She’s—“
Ignoring Jesse, he asked yet again. “Angie, can you see this light?”
Though it came out in a whisper/whimper, Angie replied. “Ye… Yes.”
The words managed to do the impossible, shut Jesse up and glue him in one spot. He was unable to move, speak, nearly breathe. What had his wife meant by yes she could see the light? How was that even possible? They were told, she told him, another doctor told him, hell a lot of doctors told him that the chances of Angie ever seeing again was none-existent. The disease she’d contracted had… had… Hell he couldn’t remember the exact words the doctors used, but in his own words the disease had ruined everything. “How?” The word tumbled from his lips without him even knowing it.
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” the doctor replied, just as stunned as Jesse that Angie had said yes.
Shaking his head, Jesse looked to the doc with a questioning look. “What happened?” He asked. “What did you say?”
“You asked me how and I—“
“Oh,” Jesse breathed, still in awe. Still scratching his head and searching his mind for some kind of answers.
“Angie, how are you feeling now?” Dr. Boone asked after sometime. The nurse had come in and gave her some medication to help ease the pain and he was waiting for it to take affect before making any moves.
Breathing in and out slowly, Angie turned her head to the right. “Sleepy,” she mumbled.
“No more pain?”
“Okay. I know you’re sleepy and I promise I’m going to let you rest, but will you allow me to check your eyes again?”
No words came from her lips as she nodded her head and turned so he could do his exam. Suddenly though, the light wasn’t as bright as it was before and the shadow that’d been present with it had gotten darker.
“Can you still see the light?” He asked softly, noticing her eyes wasn’t responding to the movement of his penlight as much as they had before.
“Barely,” she replied. Then………
“Okay doc, what’s going on?” Jesse asked the minute he and Dr. Boone stepped out of Angie’s room. “What just happened?”
Dr. Boone turned to him and shook his head. “I can’t really be 100% sure of the events that just occurred until I talk to the doctor that diagnosed her with this disease,” he replied.
“She diagnosed herself.”
“Really?” He asked, giving him a shocking look. “I thought—“
“No, the doctor at PVH just confirmed it and prescribed her some medication, which she stopped taking just as they started working because she found out she was pregnant and it wasn’t safe for the baby,” he rambled, thinking back on the months that led up to this moment. Something he’d been doing since Ellie had finally returned. Due to the stress and worry after her kidnapping and having to be strong for his wife he hadn’t had a chance to sit down long enough and think back on it. But now, now he remembered the fight or more like the fights he and Angie had. He remembered how he thought the decision she made had been stupid, truly beneath the level headed woman he fell in love with, he now knew that it was all pointless. The fights were more stupider now than they were before, especially when he looked down the hall at Frankie soothing his little sister.
He never shared it with anybody, but God, that he regretted every ill word he spoke to Angie, every ill word he said about the decision and the baby, every ill thought he had. He regretted it all and if he could go back in time, knowing what he knew now he would take it all back. He would take it all back and stick by his wife’s every decision from the very beginning! He would have been there for her when everything went dark for the first time and when she was first hit with fear.
“Let me get in touch with the ophthalmologist and go over her file, see what’s going on,” he said, tucking Angie’s chart under his arm and making a move to head down the hall only to be stopped by Jesse grabbing his shoulder. “Yes, Mr. Hubbard?”
Biting his bottom lip, Jesse looked at the doctor with a serious yet almost defeated look. “Can you at least tell me if this is a… a uh… a side-effect of some kind or could her sight really be coming back? Will she really be able to see? Fully?”
“At the moment, Mr. Hubbard, I’m not sure. It could be an effect of some kind or it could be that last bit of nerve she has left in her eye striking until it’s…”
“Dead,” Jesse concluded. “Right… Okay, okay.”
With that Dr. Boone patted Jesse on the shoulder and headed down the hall to consult with the head of the ophthalmology department.
“Dad, what’s going on? What happened in there?” Frankie asked walking up to his pops with Ellie cooing softly in his arms as she slept.
“She saw… I mean her sight returned… For a little while,” Jesse stumbled.
Hunching his shoulders, Jesse finally shook from his shocked state and reached over for his little girl. “I… I really don’t know. I mean… She said she could see the light. Her eyes reacted to his little light thing and then after awhile all she could see was a shadow and then nothing,” he explained before gently kissing the top of his daughter’s head full of hair.
“Wow,” Frankie replied under his breath, too stunned to form any other words.
“Yea… He’s going to talk with the eye doctor and go from there.”
“What’s from there? I mean how do we go on after this?”
“What do you mean?” Jesse asked, looking at him and tilting his head to the side. “What do you mean how do we go on after this?”
Frankie sighed. “Dad, what happens if this was just a reflex or last nerve, tissue death? How do we go on like this never happened? How do we help mom through this? I mean there has got to be a lot going through her mind with the possibility of getting her sight back. What happens if she has it already set in her mind that she’s going to see again only to find out it’s not going to happen?”
“I never thought of that,” Jesse said with a sigh as he looked into his wife’s room through the window. Damn, he thought, if it wasn’t one thing it was another.
“Dad, this could ruin her.”
“No…” Jesse mumbled, shaking his head. “No, your mother’s strong. Damn strong, she won’t let this take her down. She didn’t in the beginning and she won’t now.”
“Well she has more reasons to see now… And one of them is actually laying in your arms.”
Hours had gone and still no word had been given to Jesse as he again returned from checking up on Frankie and Ellie. “Jesse, what’s going on?” Angie whispered, she too being concerned with their findings or even if they found anything at all.
“They’re still talking,” Jesse replied, kissing her hand. He too was on edge about what they had to say, but yet again he was being strong for his wife. The words his son spoke had him thinking harder and harder. How would he deal with this? How would he tell Angie? Hell, how would he help her? Would he even be able too?
“They’ve been talking for the past hour or two.”
“It’s been longer than that,” he sighed, sighing and popping his neck. “They’ve been in here talking and examining for the past hour,” he reminded. He knew his wife was getting impatient and he honestly couldn’t blame her one bit.
“Can somebody please tell me what’s going on,” Angie snapped after a few more minutes passed and neither doctor said anything to them. “Stop talking as if we’re not here… As if I’m deaf instead of blind!”
“Mrs. Hubbard, we’re sorry. Truly. We’re just trying to figure this all ou—“
“Okay, how about figuring it all out with the doctor that first made the discovery? The diagnosis?”
Dr. Boone looked at Dr. Nathaniel and nodded. “Okay,” Nathaniel started, going to sit on the edge of the bed. “I believe there is a way for you to get your sight back. But I’m not 100% sure it’ll take or if it does, if it will be a permanent thing. The cases are different, and the individuals are just as different.”
As if she didn’t know that already. She was a doctor, she knew how treatments worked with some and how those same treatments failed somebody else. She knew this! But instead of telling them what was really on her mind, she whispered, “Okay”, nodding her head and squeezing Jesse’s hand. “Okay uh… Tell me how. How would you give me my sight back?”
“Angie, wait a minute. Don’t you think we should talk about this first?”
“What’s the worse that can happen?” Angie asked with a scoff. “I’m blind! They can’t make matters any worse than they already are.”
“I understand that, but…”
“Let’s just hear him out. See if it’s worth the risk. That’s all I ask. Please, baby?”
Jesse stared at his wife before relentlessly giving the doctor the floor.
“Well, first of all I know it was said that your retinas were destroyed, but they can’t be totally. You could see and not only that, but your eyes reacted to the light. If the retinas were totally destroyed as reported, that would not have happened.”
“Could it be a reflex. Last nerve, tissue death whatever,” Jesse asked again. “I mean it only happened that one time. Right?”
“No,” Angie moaned.
“What? What do you mean no?”
“I’ve been… I didn’t want to think too much of it… Didn’t want to get anybody’s hopes up, but I’ve been seeing… shadows, silhouettes,” she confessed.
“What?! For how long?”
“Since the day I was rushed to the hospital… Actually, right before I was rushed,” she admitted.
“The headaches,” Jesse whispered.
“What headaches?” Dr. Nathaniel asked.
“Just before she passed out she told me she had a migraine. Severe migraine. She said it hurt her to move, talk, listen even. She couldn’t stand anything.” Jesse explained. “Angie, why didn’t you say anything?”
Dr. Nathaniel as well as the others waited for Angie to reply, but when she didn’t he cleared his throat and stepped in. “Mrs. Hubbard, I’m not going to lie or give your false hope, this could be just an effect from all of the stress. It could very well be just a little tick before the last nerve left has stopped, if it hasn’t already. It could be so many things, but we can’t be really certain until we give it a shot. And we would have to work quickly. As in now, because if the activity started the day you were rushed to the hospital, the window of success is very limited.”
“Okay, wait! You haven’t even told us what would happen,” Jesse interjected.
“The procedure consist of us removing the damaged cells and replacing them with healthy cells. Healthy cells of her own.”
“How… How would you do that?” Jesse asked confusingly.
Dr. Nathaniel picked up one of the many folders he brought in with him and slid Jesse a couple sheets of paper to look over. “Dr. Hayward, I’m sure you are familiar with him Mrs. Hubbard; has come up with a treatment that consists of us taking a small patch of the patient’s skin and creating stem cell retinas.”
“Huh-huh. No,” Jesse concluded, putting the paper down. Not even giving it any thought. To be honest the minute he heard Dr. Hayward’s name he truly stopped paying attention.
“Mr. Hubbard, it has proven to be a very promising treatment. Four… Nearly five different patients have risked doing this and the treatment has been a success.”
“Only four?” Jesse asked, not convinced one iota about this damn thing that Hayward’s sick brain created. “Nearly five? How is that a proven fact that this treatment is promising? Huh? You say nearly five, what did this “proven promising” treatment not work for them? What about other people with retinas or whatever you call it, damage? What about those folks?” Why only four… nearly five, as you say, have their sight back?” He debated, though not really wanting to hear anymore about this stuff that Hayward promised.
“As I said before,” Dr. Nathaniel snapped back, “Only a few people have taken the risk of doing this. And when I say nearly five I mean they just started the treatment. It’s not like it’s going to work right after. It takes a minute for the eye to react to this change. Days, weeks, even months. Everybody is different. Everybody has different reactions.”
“Well my wife will not be another one of your or Hayward’s damn guinea pig. Sorry, not happening.”
“Angela, I will not let this man—“
“Give me my sight back?” She questioned. “You won’t let him give me my sight back? Why?”
“Because, Angela… It’s Hayward. No good could ever come from anything he’s had his hands on. You know that as well as I do! I’m sorry if I refuse to sit here, let them do this, turns out it doesn’t work and watch you go through this hurt. Angie, I don’t want that for you. David has wrecked enough havoc, why let him continue to do it and on top of all that why let him do it to this family!?”
Dropping her head, Angie choked back tears. “I just want…… No,” she stopped and scoffed. “You know what, this is my body. These are my eyes and if I choose to take this risk then damnit I will!”
“Hayward or not. Jesse there is a chance.”
“He’s not even 100% sure that there’s a chance it’ll work. I don’t even believe he’s 75% sure. Angela, we’re not doing this. Okay?”
“You’re right,” she sighed.
Grabbing and kissing his wife’s hand, Jesse too sighed. He hated to be this way, but he was only trying to protect her. Keep her from having to relive the same pain like before. Upon hearing the doctors, Frankie’s words had replayed yet again and now he truly understood what would happen. He understood where his son was coming from. ‘I’m sorry. Baby, I know you want to see but—“
“No, I meant you’re right. We’re not doing this, but I’m doing this. And I’m doing it with or without your support,” Angie snapped back, snatching her hand from his and resting them in her lap.
“Dr. Nathaniel, whatever needs to be done let’s do it. Because if there’s even a slight change of me seeing again… seeing my children, my baby girl for the first time, I don’t want to risk not taking it and it possibly working.”
“Angie, we need to talk some more about this—“
“I’m done talking. I’m tired of talking and listening. That’s all I’ve been doing is talking, listening, feeling, Jesse it’s time I start seeing again.”
Angie raised her hand in a way that said ‘just stop’ and turned her head. “This discussion is over and done with. Dr. Nathaniel, where and when do we start?”
AN: Go to the next page, as if there is another update there. News awaits.