So long as men can breathe and eyes can see - a TFiOS fan fiction

"So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see / So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."
Six months has passed since Augustus Waters died. Hazel's condition is getting worse every day. As she gets worse and worse she is determined to keep fighting - for her parents, for her friends, and for Augustus.

(Deltager i "En Flænge I Himlen"-konkurrencen som mulighed 1 - at skrive en fanfic.)

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2. Chapter 1

I wake up to the soothing sound of the BiPAP. I lay still for a while, letting the air blow into my lungs and get sucked out again. My lungs sting with every breath, degenerated from all the time spent filled with fluid.

I reach out for my phone and check the time. It is 5:34 AM. I should still be sleeping for at least a couple more hours, but lately I have been waking up this early almost every day, the pain in my lungs being too much to bear.

I try going back to sleep, but even the sound of my BiPAP sounding like a dragon calms me down. So I sit up to take it off and maybe read a little before my parents wake up. I just had my Mom buy me “Dawn of Doom”, book number I-don’t-even-know in the series of Max Mayhem. I’d re-read the entire series dozens of times, and every time I’d hear Augustus’ voice inside of my head, saying things like “Aw, come on. He’s been shot like one hundred times and just literally stepped on a grenade – why is this man not dead yet? Seriously, Hazel Graze, this book is the best thing ever invented!” 

As I sit, my head spins around, and my vision goes black. I fall back down, as little sparkles of light are the only thing I see in the darkness.

“MOM”, I yell out, my voice creaky and muffled from the BiPAP. My head is still spinning, and it feels like my lungs are literally on fire.

I hear my parents rushing into my room, but my vision is still black.

“Hazel!” I hear my mom cry out. It sounds like she is at the end of a tunnel, too far away for me to be able to get to her in time. I feel a hand touching mine and try to squeeze without success. Then everything goes black, the sparks fading away, and I am gone.

 

***

 

I wake up to the sound of beeping machines. I can tell by the smell that I am in a hospital, and I open my eyes. I am alone in a white, sterile room. The ICU. Of course.

I look down myself and find that I am dressed in one of those fancy hospital gowns that close on the back. I have tubes and wires everywhere, connecting me to various machines and bags filled with fluid, most of it going in but two tubes on each side of my chest, connecting me to two bags that hang on either side of the bed, both half-filled with a yellowish liquid. The fluid in my lungs must have build up again. A lot. I try to sink, but my throat feels raw, like someone rubbed me with sand paper while I was out.

I want to sigh, but the BiPAP I am wearing makes it impossible for me to control my own breath. This BiPAP is one belonging to the hospital, not my own from back home. It is newer, and more fancy looking. It is also completely still, the quiet sound of air going in and out of my lungs being drowned in all the beeping sounds. I miss the dragon sounds.

Just as I am considering if my lungs will have the capacity to call out, a nurse enters the room. She has long brown hair collected in a braid all the way down her back, and her cheeks are red. She has a kind face.

“Hazel!” she says when she sees that my eyes are open. “You’re awake.”

I nod, stating the obvious, as she proceeds to check the different measures, curves and numbers on the numerous machines I am connected to.

“Your numbers look okay”, she mumbles, a catch in her voice that my brain can’t quite comprehend, fogged from whatever medicine they have me on.

I have a million questions I want to ask her – How did I get here? Where are my parents? How long have I been out? What is the situation with my lungs, are they worse?

But all that comes out of me is a croaking sound that sends pain shooting down my throat all the way to my lungs.

The nurse pulls out a chair and sits beside me. Then she takes out her pager and presses a few buttons before putting it away. She takes my hand and gives me a little smile.

“I’m Aeribella, but you can just call me Bella. You must have a thousand questions, Hazel.”

I nod and she gives my hand a squeeze.

“I just paged both your doctor and for the secretary to call your parents – they will be here as soon as possible,” she proceeds. “In the mean time, I will try to fill you in on some of the things you must be wondering. That sounds okay?”

I nod again.

“All right. Well, you came in two weeks ago today, and we had to put you in a coma. Your oxygen was way down, your skin blue and your lungs fighting for air. You had two surgeries – first to insert a tube into your right lung, and when it became clear that the fluid was building up too quickly you had a second operation to insert a tube into your left lung, too. Your lung capacity increased slightly a few days after. We had to keep you in a coma for another week to give your body some time to rest – your lungs have been working over-time for quite a while.”

Before nurse Bella gets to say anything else, Dr Maria comes in the door, a worried look on her face I have not seen since before The Miracle that is Phalanxifor.

“Hazel!” she says, sounding utterly relived. “It is so good to see you awake.” She then turns to Nurse Bella. “You told her?” she asks, and Nurse Bella explain that she has told be about the coma, the surgeries, and the increased sucky-ness of my lungs. Then Nurse Bella smiles at me again and lets go of my hand.

“I’ll go get you some water and ice, okay?” she says. “I will be back in a bit”.

As she leaves the room, Dr Maria takes her place, sitting next to me and holding my hand.

“Oh, Hazel,” she says. “It really is good to see you awake. I know you must have more questions, but I think we will have for your parents to arrive …”

Her voice is quivering a bit, and she can’t hold my gaze for more than a few seconds.

That’s how I know. It is bad this time. Really bad.

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