12 April, 2012

12 April 2012

Susan’s examination took only minutes, Einar glowering at the wall and sitting with hunched shoulders and a bent back as if struggling to keep himself in place and prevent his bolting for the door--which indeed he was--as she examined him, took his blood pressure, temperature, and listened to his heart using items from the kit she had packed up to the basin in anticipation of potential problems that might be experienced by Liz or the baby surrounding the birth. Kilgore kept a close eye on the situation through those tense minutes, sensing perhaps better than anyone the danger of anyone handling such a wild and unpredictable creature when he felt as trapped as Einar clearly did--fellow was only half present, anyway, some part of his mind still wandering in the dim dark distance and the world, no doubt, appearing rather different to him because of it, a threatening, confusing place--and ready to step in with some quick action should things turn ugly. Which they did not, Einar managing to keep hold of himself and avoid, though at times with difficulty, seeing Susan as the enemy. Little Will helped, his occasional fussing and clamoring after food serving somewhat to anchor Einar to the present, and when finally Susan got done and loosed her hold on his arm, he breathed an audible sigh of relief, looked up and found the child where he fed contentedly.

"Well," Susan pressed him, "do you want to hear it?"

He shrugged. Wasn't too terribly concerned one way or another, didn't care for people seeking to define him with numbers and formulas as she no doubt was about to attempt and knew the results of her examination were likely to concern Liz, but there was little he could do about that. Susan took his silence as consent.

“I'll tell you, then. If you didn't already know this, your blood pressure is extremely low, even for someone who’s as active as I’m sure you are from day to day, your temperature is way below the point where a person starts to be considered hypothermic right now and your heart rate is in the 30s, and that’s with you sitting up and all tense and prepared to go leaping to your feet as I can see you’d really like to do, which means there are almost certainly times when it’s even lower…really, how are you existing like this?”

He shrugged. “Oh, I exist just fine. That’s actually pretty normal for…”

“No, don’t you tell me it’s normal for you! That’s not normal for anybody. That’s a man who’s almost dead.”

So, maybe I am almost dead. But I’m not dead, and that’s about all anybody can ask, isn’t it? "What do you want from me?"

"We want you to eat, to really let yourself recover so your body can go on living and you can stick around for a while!"

"Had this conversation before. I do eat. More now that I have for a long, long time."

"Not enough. I’ve seen how things go, and I don’t even live here. You allow yourself just enough to avert death when it's staring you right in the face, to delay it, which is all you’re really doing, and then you're back at it again, starving and freezing and working so hard I'm pretty sure you'd still be losing weight even if you were eating a more reasonable amount, over and over again, until you end up...here. Where you are right now. You've got to know this isn't a good place to be..."

Another shrug, face a passive mask though inwardly he was seething, feeling violated, almost betrayed that she should take these little facts, numbers, and try to use them against him so. Entangle him in their intricacies. Had known it must be a trap. Nothing more to say, and he kept quiet.

“Einar, you're a smart man; you’ve got to realize the truth behind what I’m saying. These numbers don’t lie. While I know you’re very resilient and able to adapt, they pretty much mean the same thing for you that they would for anyone else. I know you've got your pride like we all have, plus some additional reasons that probably none of us do have or can even fully understand why you've got to be so stubborn, and I'm not trying to tell you any of that is wrong. I'm just trying to get you to recognize that you're mortal. You can die, and you almost certainly will before long here if some things don't change. Your body is so far past its reasonable limits in so many ways that the clues aren't even registering anymore, the warning signs, you're just pressing forward and adapting the best you can, but that can only get you so far, and believe me, you're there. Just about as far as it goes. If the fact that you're always freezing and often don't even have the energy to prevent yourself from becoming seriously hypothermic just sitting around the house hasn't been enough to let you know something is seriously wrong and needing a remedy, and the seizures, even, weren't enough, let this be enough. This, today. Because if you don't, well, that little boy over there is going to be growing up without a father, and I don't think you have the right to do that to him, if it can be avoided."

With which Einar could in no way disagree, but she was wrong about the first part. Dead wrong. He was just fine, really. Only problem was that people wouldn't leave him alone about certain things--tremendously irritating and a dreadful waste of time, it was--and that wasn't really one he could fix, was it? Not unless he wanted to take off into the woods and lose himself in the storm, which option was sounding pretty doggone attractive just then, and he might have done it, if not for Will. Couldn’t leave Liz all alone with the little one, just so he’d be able to have the peace and quiet he sought, at the moment. Had to stick around and be of some use, about the place. So he stayed, glowering, wanting to tell Susan that yeah, life was a struggle, but it wasn't supposed to be easy and the fact that he might have been struggling a tiny bit more of late didn't mean he was about to check out, and Liz could see it in his eyes, the resistance, the steel, and though normally she loved him for it (even when it drove her crazy and made her want to pull out her hair, which seemed to be more often than not,) that day it just made her cry. Not the desired result, not at all--never have been any good at figuring people out--and Einar didn’t understand it.

Kilgore understood, saw the entire thing pretty plainly and, running short on patience with the course of events, rose and motioned Susan out of the way.

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