"Hey, Nick, thanks again for coming over," Kim said as she opened the front door and Nick stepped inside.
"No problem. Where's the little rugrat at anyway?"
"Uncle Nicky!" Jordan yelled as he ran into the living room.
"Hey, you! Ready to have some fun?"
"Uh huh!" Jordan said excitedly.
"Not too much fun okay, Nick?" He rolled his eyes in response.
"I'm gonna go get Alex up and ready and then we'll head out."
Kim went upstairs and quietly went into their bedroom. AJ was still sleeping as she walked over to his side of the bed. She hated to wake him knowing that leaving the house was the last thing that he wanted to do, but sadly it had to be done.
"Alex?" she asked softly.
"Alex?" she said a little bit louder and stroked his hot cheek.
"Baby, it's time to get ready to go."
"Don't care," he mumbled with his eyes still closed, not wanting to leave his warm, comfortable bed.
"C'mon, we gotta go see the doctor."
"Don't care," he mumbled again and pulled the blankets tighter around himself.
"I know, but the sooner we leave, the sooner we can get you back home and into bed. I'll get you some clothes. Do you want anything specific?"
"No, but make sure you grab me a hoodie, okay?"
Kim went to their walk-in closet and grabbed a pair of AJ's jeans, a t-shirt, a hoodie, socks, and shoes. She brought them back to the bedroom just as AJ was sitting up and moving to the edge of the bed. "I think I'll need your help, Kim, I'm so exhausted..." he said as he coughed into his fist.
"Okay, baby. Shirt first." She pulled a clean shirt on him and proceeded to help him into his jeans, then put his socks and shoes on for him. AJ put his hoodie, glasses, and hat on and Kim handed him his cell phone and iPod which he put in his pocket.
"Alright, Alex. Try and stand up, lean on me if you need to." He did and was very unsteady so he leaned on Kim as they slowly walked out of the room and downstairs.
Nick was shocked when he saw how sick AJ looked, he seemed so weak and out of it that he barely acknowledged him as he shuffled past with Kim's help and went to the car.
Kim got AJ settled and buckled in the backseat with his iPod and a spare blanket that they kept in the car to keep him warm. She went back inside for a moment to say goodbye to Jordan and Nick.
"Alright, Jordan, mommy's gotta take Daddy to see his doctor, like when you go see Dr. 'Lyssa."
"He'll make him all better?" he asked.
"Uh-huh. Now, be good for Nick, okay? I love you," she said as she bent down and gave him a hug and kiss.
"Love you too, Mommy."
She turned to Nick. "You know how to reach us if there are any problems. We'll be back soon."
"Okay. Good luck."
Kim walked back to the car and got in. She turned on the heat for AJ as she pulled out of the driveway and they were on their way to see his doctor.
The last thing he remembered before falling asleep in Kim's car was hearing her click the heat on. Now he was getting woken up much too soon once again.
"We're here, Alex."
AJ groaned. "Baby...I really don't feel good." He felt like he could cry, he was so hot and achy.
"I know. Let's get you inside."
AJ stood up and Kim helped him into his doctor's office. He shuffled to a chair and sat down while Kim signed him in at the front desk. The waiting room wasn't crowded, there were four other adults there besides Kim and himself. The clock on the wall read 4:35.
Kim came back over and he laid his head on her shoulder as she put her arm around him. He was shivering despite feeling like his whole body was on fire.
"I'm f-f-freezing Kim," AJ said through chattering teeth.
"I know, Alex, I know," she murmured sympathetically as she rubbed his arm gently.
He started coughing again and tried to cover it, but he was so tired that he didn't care and coughed freely. Unfortunately, this didn't go unnoticed by the others that were present.
"I'm...sorry." he breathed.
"It's okay, we should get called soon."
About ten minutes later, they were called back to an exam room and Kim and helped AJ get there. He sat down on the exam table and Kim on a chair nearby. His nurse Cheryl gloved up and began to check AJ's vitals.
"Not feeling so hot today, eh, Alex?"
He barely shook his head. Cheryl rolled up his hoodie sleeve to take AJ's blood pressure.
"This will feel a little tight," she said as she fastened the cuff around his arm and pushed the button to make the machine work. "100/60, that's a little bit low. Are you dizzy or nauseated?"
"Yeah, just dizzy."
"Okay," she said as she made a note on AJ's chart.
Cheryl wheeled over a heart monitor and turned it on, giving AJ the pulse oximeter. "Clip this on your index finger please." He did so and watched lethargically as numbers appeared on the screen. "Oxygen sat (oxygen saturation) is 98, good. Pulse 106. You can take that off." she said as she recorded that on his chart. AJ took it off and Cheryl moved the heart monitor back to its original place in the room.
She walked back over to them and disconnected an ear thermometer from its cradle and put it in his ear. It beeped and read 103.4 degrees. She whistled. "103.4. That's not good. Have you taken anything for it today?"
"It was 102.6 earlier, I took some Tylenol around 1," he said.
"Um...fever obviously, headache, fatigue, body aches, chills, loss of appetite, a little bit of a sore throat, cough, runny nose, sneezing."
Cheryl scribbled those down on his chart and put it in the rack on the door. "Nate will be in soon. Feel better, Alex. Kim," she acknowledged as she walked out and shut the door behind her.
AJ's doctor walked in about five minutes later. "Hi, Alex. Kim," he said as he shook his and Kim's hand.
"Hello, Dr. Phillips."
"Hey, Doc." AJ croaked.
"Now, what seems to be the problem?"
AJ only coughed several times in response.
"I see." He looked over AJ's chart for a moment. "So your blood pressure's a little low and you've got a moderate fever. It looks like the flu on paper, but let me look you over and we'll go from there. It's definitely going around, my fifteen year-old has been home with it for three days and is finally getting his appetite back. I'm gonna need you to take off your hoodie," he said as he put on a pair of rubber gloves. "When did the symptoms start?"
"I was feeling kinda chilly and tired last night."
AJ took it off slowly and Kim set it down by her chair. Dr. Phillips began to feel AJ's lymph nodes in his neck and could feel him shivering along with his fevered skin. "They're a little bit swollen. Any pain when swallowing?"
"A little bit, I've had worse."
He began to look in AJ's ears. "They're both clear." He shined a light up AJ's nostrils. "You're definitely congested. I'm gonna look at your throat now." He took a tongue depressor from the counter and a pen light from his lab coat pocket. AJ opened his mouth and Dr. Phillips put the stick on his tongue. "Say 'ah' for me."
"Ah—" He coughed again harshly as his doctor backed away and Kim rubbed his back. "Sorry," he apologized.
"It's okay, let's try again." He grabbed a clean tongue depressor. "Ah."
"Hmmm...throat doesn't look too bad, but it is irritated. How's the coughing been?"
"Annoying, chest kinda hurts when I do," AJ said honestly.
"Is the cough productive?"
"Alright. I'm gonna listen to your lungs for a moment okay?" Dr. Phillips cleaned his stethoscope, put the earpieces in, and stuck the end up AJ's shirt and onto his back. "Take a deep breath for me."
AJ did and he listened. They repeated the process a few more times before the doctor spoke. "Your lungs are clear, but I'm gonna order a chest x-ray just to be on the safe side."
Within five minutes the portable x-ray machine was brought in and they were taken and sent to the lab.
"Well, Alex, you've definitely got the flu. A bad strain by the looks of it, but we'll know more when your film comes back."
Ten minutes later, Dr. Phillips was reviewing AJ's chest x-ray with him and Kim.
"Your film is clean, which is very good news. If you start feeling short of breath or experience continuing chest pain, you need to let me know. Same goes with a fever of 104 degrees or higher," he instructed them. "I've had a lot of flu cases lately so we're out of Tamiflu. Sorry, Alex."
"You've gotta be able to give me something. We fly out to Germany on the 29th to tour in Europe. ah'SHOO! ... ah'SHOO!"
Dr. Phillips handed AJ the box of tissues from the counter behind him. "Bless you. I'm sorry, Alex, you're just going to have to let this run its course. You could be feeling better in three to four days, it could be a week or more. Has anyone else been sick?"
"Jordan had an ear infection this week, he finishes his antibiotics tomorrow," Kim said.
"Alright. Well, keep a close eye on him and if he develops any symptoms, take him to his pediatrician. I'm done here. I'm prescribing you a cough syrup with codeine so you can sleep," he said as he wrote the prescription and handed the piece of paper to Kim.
"Just drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest, eat if you can, and I wanna see you back here on Tuesday for a follow-up. I'll have Randi call you with the time. You're on ordered bed rest until then. Oh, and you're gonna have to be medically cleared by me to fly next week."
AJ was so ready to go to bed at that moment that he would have agreed to anything Dr. Phillips had said. If he told him that the sky was red and that Hogwarts really existed, he would have nodded his head just as he did now.
"If you have any questions, you've got my number. If any of your symptoms get worse by tonight or tomorrow, give me a call alright? Have a good one guys." He shook both of their hands again.
"Thank you for seeing him so soon, Dr. Phillips."
"No problem. Have a good evening."
AJ's doctor walked out of the room, leaving Kim and AJ alone.
"C'mon, we gotta go to Walgreens and get you back in bed," Kim said, giving AJ his hoodie. He put it back on and they left to go to the drug store.
AJ and Kim got back home around 6 PM and went inside.
"Hey, guys, how'd it go?" Nick asked.
"Flu. Cough syrup. Bed rest. Bed. Goodnight," AJ said as pointed up the stairs.
"C'mon, baby. I'll be back down in a minute Nick," Kim said as she began to help AJ upstairs.
The pair of them went to their bedroom where AJ changed into some sweatpants and a white wife beater and eagerly crawled into bed.
Kim made sure he was comfortable, then went to the bathroom to get some NyQuil for AJ. "Alright, baby, time for some meds, then you can go to sleep, okay?"
AJ swallowed some NyQuil and cough syrup and washed both down with some water. He laid down and burrowed under the blankets. "Thanks, babe."
"No problem, you just sleep. Call or text my cell if you need me. I'll be downstairs." She kissed his sweaty forehead and left him to rest while she talked to Nick downstairs.
"Hey," Nick echoed. "How's he doing?"
"Not so good, he's got a pretty bad case of the flu. His doctor couldn't prescribe him any anti-viral meds this time, they're out of stock," Kim said sadly. "He has a cough syrup with codeine which will help him sleep," she added.
"How bad is it?"
"He should be feeling better by Tuesday when he has a follow-up appointment and is on ordered bed rest until then, but it could take a week or more for him bounce back."
"Damn, and we gotta go to Germany next week—"
"Oh yeah. Alex has to be medically cleared by his doctor in order to travel as well."
Nick let out a huff of frustration.
"This upsets me, too, he's my husband and I hate to see him feeling so bad. It sucks that we're going to have to miss the American Cancer Society dinner tonight."
"Yeah. Well, I better get going. I'm meeting some friends for dinner in an hour," Nick said as he made his way to the front door.
"Thanks again, Nick, Alex and I really appreciate it," Kim said as they both hugged each other.
"You're welcome. Tell Jordan 'bye' for me, okay?"
"I hope Alex feels better as soon as possible, this really sucks."
"Have a good night," Nick said as he closed the door behind him.
Kim heard Nick pull out of their driveway and she went to see where Jordan had wandered off to.