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Diagnosis: Broken Jaw

TITLE: DIAGNOSIS: BROKEN JAW
by Mulderache

DISCLAIMER: THEY DO NOT BELONG TO ME BUT THEY DO BELONG TO CHRIS
CARTER AND CO.

SPECIAL THANKS: TO MY BETA LINDSAY! SHE GAVE ME THE IDEA AND I
JUST RAN WITH IT! THANK YOU MY DEAR BETA!

SYNOPSIS: WELL MULDER IS IN TROUBLE AGAIN. THIS TIME HE MANAGES
TO BREAK HIS JAW. MULDERTORTURE AND SCULLY COMFORT ABIDE.

SCULLY'S APARTMENT

"Scully, where are the diapers?" Mulder yelled from the nursery
slash bedroom.

" Where they always are Mulder, underneath the changing table
next to the bottom wipes." She yelled back to Mulder in the
bedroom. She then shook her head and smiled. Mulder really was
trying hard to be a good father. He really had taken an interest
in little William and had put aside his alien ideations and
adventures. Kersh had been relegated to desk duty and all of his
actions were being censored, especially the ones regarding
Mulder.

" Found them!" he answered back.

She proceeded to fix supper, Mulder's favorite, eggplant lasagna.
She wasn't crazy about the taste but he loved the stuff. She
continued to cook and listen to the sounds emanating from the
bedroom, baby laughter and Mulder speaking baby talk.

Mulder could smell supper cooking and William had been fed less
than an hour ago. His stomach growled at the thought of eating
and William had fallen fast asleep in the crook of his neck as he
rocked the infant. He stood and gently placed the sleeping infant
into his bassinet and tucked him under his blanket. Mulder turned
to go into the kitchen and his foot caught on the edge of the bed
and he fell forward hitting his jaw on the corner of the dresser.
It had almost knocked him out, now he knew how George Foreman had
felt when he got hit. He gathered his wits and stood, looking
over to see the still sleeping infant. That was close, he thought
to himself. He closed the door to the bedroom and walked down
into the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror. Bruising
had already started to form around his bottom right jaw. He
attempted to open his mouth but he couldn't because of the pain.
Fortunately there was no bleeding but unfortunately his mouth
would not close or open any further.

Scully had heard a thump but had been transferring the hot food
to the table. No crying baby was a good sign, at least Mulder had
not dropped the baby. She washed her hands and proceeded to go
back and find her partner.

" Mulder, are you okay?" she called from the hallway in a hushed
tone.

He tried to open his mouth to answer but his jaw would not work
and the pain in front of his ears was excruciating. He decided
that he needed a little Scully help and walked out into the
hallway holding his aching jaw.

Scully turned and saw Mulder, " Hey. William asleep?"

He nodded, trying to not cause any more jarring of his aching
jaw. Tears came into his eyes when he applied too much pressure
to the right side.

"Mulder, are you okay?" she asked noting the bruising on his
right jaw.

He rolled his eyes, afraid to move his aching face.

Scully immediately jumped into doctor mode and went to his side,
" Mulder, you need to sit down." She guided him to the living
room and sat him down gently on the sofa." Did you fall Mulder?"

His eyes moved toward the bedroom and he looked back at Scully.

"Evidently you fell in the bedroom. Did your mouth hit
something?" she asked worriedly.

Why did she keep asking questions? Did she not understand that he
could not talk and movement of his head caused tremendous pain?
He motioned for a sheet of paper and a pen. After getting the
needed materials he wrote, 'FELL. HIT FACE ON DRESSER. HURTS LIKE
HELL!"

She understood finally that Mulder had really hurt himself and
that he probably had a broken mandible. She went to the freezer
and gathered some ice and placed it into a baggy. She then
wrapped it in a cloth and placed it gently on his jaw. " Mulder I
need to get you to the hospital. You are at risk for several
problems and you need immediate medical attention."

Mulder looked over and pointed to her but she shook her head. "No
Mulder. You need an emergency room. I will call Mom and she can
take William. As soon as she gets here we need to go to the
hospital."

Scully called her Mom and then packed a small bag for William.
She would check occasionally on Mulder and make sure he was
breathing fine. He seemed to be in a lot of pain and she wished
that she had some liquid pain medicine.

Thirty Minutes Later

After he got into the car he pushed back the seat. The pain
seemed to increase with sitting up straight or lying down flat.
He held his jaw in place with his hands with the ice pack in
place to the right side of his jaw and he closed his eyes and
tried to relax. After the first few bumps his eyes were wide
again and he was hurting. Drool was rolling down his chin and he
felt like he might vomit. That would not be good to do in
Scully's immaculate car plus the increased pain that action would
take on his jaw.

She looked over to her miserable partner and smiled, " We'll be
there in a few minutes. You doing okay?"

He still could not speak or nod his head but his eyes let her
know that he was in a lot of pain.

Georgetown University Hospital

When they arrived in front of the doors of the emergency room
Scully instructed Mulder to stay in the car and that she would
come back with a wheelchair. He did not feel like arguing the
point and he did not feel like walking. A few minutes later she
produced the desired object. She assisted him into the chair
avoiding any extra jarring of his jaw. Soon they were going
through the double doors.

The triage nurse sent him straight back to the emergency room
after her short assessment. A doctor was through the door before
Mulder could get on the gurney. He was ordering blood work, xrays
and IV's. They assisted him in taking off his clothes and
slipping into the gown and before he could lie down they were
getting him up in a wheelchair to go to xray.

After the xray they placed him on the gurney. The time in
radiology had taken a toll on the patient and even Scully noticed
that he would not open his eyes and that he was drooling worse
than prior to xray.

A few minutes later the nurse was entering with the IV tray and a
bag of fluid. "Mr. Mulder I am going to start an IV for some
fluids and medicine. This won't take but a few minutes." She
proceeded to locate a vein and placed alcohol over the area and
wiped the area with a sterile gauze with her gloved hands. It
only took a few seconds to thread the angiocath and get the
fluids started. A few minutes later she had the tubing taped
securely to his arm and he was ready for something for pain. She
looked over at her patient and smiled, she noted that he had not
opened his eyes and she felt that he was probably in a lot of
pain. "Hey I'm going to get the doctor and see about getting you
something for pain. I will be back in a few minutes." She patted
his arm and left the small room.

Scully leaned over and gave him a small kiss on his forehead,
"Mulder are you doing okay?" she asked as she wiped the drool
from his chin.

He did not open his eyes but nodded slightly. He felt so bad and
the pain was so bad. He wanted drugs and sleep. He also was still
hungry but the thought of trying to chew was painful. He felt
Scully's hand snake into his and he squeezed it gently.

A doctor entered and was telling Scully that his mandible was
broken. He was saying something about surgery and wiring his
mouth shut. Oh that is great, he thought to himself. The thought
of surgery was upsetting and he worried about William and who was
going to help Scully with taking care of the infant. Of course,
Maggie would help but she was also trying to recover from recent
minor surgery herself. This was great, William had a clumsy dad.

When his attention went back to the conversation he was hearing
the words surgery and preop medicines. He tried to relax but he
felt panic rising up inside of him. He did not want to have
surgery but knew that he really did not have a chose. A few
minutes later Scully and the doctor were talking to him and he
found it very hard to concentrate. They wanted to know if they
had his permission to do the surgery and he could barely restrain
himself from shaking his head. Instead he nodded and a pen and a
permission slip were presented to him with the promise of pain
medication to follow. A quick signature was given and within
minutes a nurse came with a few syringes and injected the
medicines into his IV. It did not take long for the medicine to
kick in and he was sleeping.

The Next Day

Mulder awakened with the feeling that somebody had glued his
mouth shut and overdid on the glue and metal. His face felt tight
and sort of numb except for the pain that was radiating through
it and the feeling that he was going to vomit at any time. He
pried open his sticky eyes and saw a blurry Scully standing over
him smiling.

" Hey Mulder. Don't try to talk you are still intubated. Your
mouth is wired shut so they had to place the tube down your nose.
It will be taken out tomorrow." She hesitated for a few seconds
and pushed the call light, "Are you nauseated Mulder."

He nodded once and she knew that she had to get him something
quick, if he started vomiting then he would have to have the
wiring cut. The wire cutters were to be kept by his bed at all
times and Mulders were taped the ICU bed wall. Usually they were
kept around the patient's neck but they had placed them on the
wall due to him being intubated.

When the nurse answered she quickly told her what she needed and
almost immediately the nurse came with the needed medication. She
injected it into the port and stayed until he fell back to sleep.

Four Hours Later

Mulder awakened this time but he felt better. They must have
started him on something IV or the nausea would still be there
and he would be throwing up all over the bed. The pain was also
improved so he must be on the good stuff. He knew that Scully
would remember all his other surgeries and that he always got
nauseated when he was in pain. He looked over to find a sleeping
Scully sitting in an oversized chair and she had a blanket tucked
over her thin frame. For a moment he wondered if she was running
back and forth to William, who required her at least every three
hours for nursing, and him, surgery boy? He knew the answer well,
she was wearing herself out running back and forth. He felt
guilty, he should have been watching where he was walking. What
if he had been carrying William when he fell?

A nurse appeared out of nowhere with a syringe and a bag of
fluid. She looked down at her now awakened patient and smiled.
"How are you doing?"

Surely she didn't expect a big 'I'm fine.' So he just shrugged
his shoulders and rolled his eyes. That should communicate
something.

" Are you in any pain or having any nausea Mr. Mulder? She asked
again.

He thought about it for a few seconds and he really did not feel
bad. He shook his head gently so as to not change the pain free
status of his face.

She nodded and injected the medicine into the IV port. " I just
gave you some medicine for the swelling and inflammation. It is
called Solumedrol and I also gave you some pain medication and
something to keep you relaxed. You need to try to allow the
medicines to help you sleep. Your doctor will be up shortly, he
will probably extubate you then move you to a surgical floor
today and you might even be going home tomorrow. Isn't that
great?"

He nodded and his eyes got a little bit brighter. He wanted to
know how long he would need to keep the metal in his mouth but he
would keep that question for his doctor.

The nurse looked down at her bruised patient and thought for a
second, " You need a way to communicate until that swelling goes
down. You'll be able to communicate much better when the swelling
is down. I'll get you a pad and pencil. In the meantime I want
you to rest." She fluffed his pillow, adjusted his vent tubing
and dimmed the bright light and exited the room.

The anesthesia drugs and the combination of antinausea medicines
and the pain medicines soon put him back to sleep.

When he awakened again he quickly spotted Scully beside his bed.
She was reading a baby book about the first year of life. She was
so engrossed that she did not notice that he was awake. He did
not want to disturb her and did not want to lay in the same achy
position any longer. His tube had been removed and so were  his
restraints. He attempted to reach for the siderails and pull
himself over but that little movement made pain shoot through his
jaw. He quickly let go of the rail and grabbed his jaw. Scully
sat up and stared at her partner.

" Mulder, what were you trying to do?" She reached over and
pressed the call light and asked for the nurse to bring Mulder
something for pain. She again looked down at Mulder and noted the
grimace on his face and the tears in his eyes. She felt bad that
he had felt so independent and tried to move himself. Within
minutes he was throwing up a small of old blood but he was able
to bring it out between the wiring with the help of the Yonkers
suction tube attached to the wall suction.

The nurse entered with the physician. The physician had Mulder to
try and relax and he motioned for the nurse to give him something
else for pain." Mr. Mulder I do not want you moving or straining.
I don't want my good work undone. You need to lie still and rest.
You just got extubated this afternoon and you have had a lot of
work done to your mouth"

Mulder looked repentant and tried to do what the physician was
instructing him but he was having a hard time relaxing after he
started hurting again. He was really having a lot of pain and his
pain was mostly on the right in front of his ear and his mouth
was very sore.

The nurse entered and had a couple of syringes. She injected them
into his IV and after about ten minutes he started feeling
better. The physician had taken a seat at the end of the bed and
Scully was sitting at his side holding his hand. He was able to
finally open his eyes.

Scully saw that her partner was alert and she stood, " Feeling
better?" She asked as she pushed back his sweaty hair.

A very groggy Mulder nodded and his eyelids almost slipped back
shut. He felt very sleepy and totally relaxed.

The doctor stood and held Mulder's chart at his side," We gave
you some Demerol and Valium. You really need to sleep and let the
drugs work. When you wake up we are going to try some  liquids.
Hopefully we can get you out of here in a few days."

Mulder wanted to smile at that statement. Within a few seconds he
closed his eyes again. He wanted to sleep, the medicines were
pulling him under.

The morning went by quickly and when Mulder awakened again he
felt better. He did not attempt any quick movements and the nurse
had left a pad and pencil on the bedside table. He looked around
and he was by himself. It was probably around noon, he could hear
the clatter of lunch trays or dinner trays, surely he had not
slept all day. A nurse entered with a tray and he almost laughed.

" Hey your friend went down to get something for lunch. She will
back in a few minutes. How would you like to try something to
drink?" She asked as she pulled the lid off the tray to show a
variety of liquids.

He did want something to help with the metal taste in his mouth
and his mouth felt sore and his lips were dry. He nodded and was
going to pull himself up in the bed but quickly remembered what
that action did last time he tried to move on his own. He
motioned for the nurse to raise his head.

The nurse raised his bed and readjusted his pillow and gave him
the glass of water to wash away the taste in his mouth. After he
attempted a few sips without any nausea she poured him a glass of
cold ensure. " Your doctor wants you to have drinks high in
protein. You will need to drink one every two hours while awake.
He also wants you to try some broth but we are going to hold off
on that until this evening."

Mulder nodded but after a few sips he handed it back to the
nurse. He hoped that she got the hint. He was not going to drink
the foul tasting fluid.

She shook her head," They said you were stubborn but I was
instructed by the physician to either get you to drink it or he
would need to place a nasogastric tube for your feedings." She
placed her hands on her hips and lost her smile, " What will it
be Mr. Mulder?"

He grabbed the pad off the small table and wrote a few words and
turned it towards his stubborn nurse.

She read the words out loud," Tell the doctor to shove it because
I'm not drinking the shit!" She shook her head and was about to
start in on a great lecture for her patient but his partner
walked back into the room and had overheard the conversation.

Scully looked over to the nurse and motioned her out of the room.
" Mulder, either drink the ensure or I will personally put down
the tube. William needs his father at home. Mom told me he is
missing you really bad."

The words stung and he felt he might cry. If he had not been so
clumsy he would not be here in the hospital, he would be with
William. The argument stopped and he picked up the can of ensure
and started sipping on the milky liquid. It had a chocolate
cardboard taste. He almost felt that if he did refuse that she
might not let him go back home with her and William. She could
get pretty mad at him for being stubborn. After several minutes
he finished the can and she smiled. That made him feel better but
he hated the nasty chalk in a can.

Scully reached into her pocket and came out with some photos of
William. " Want to take a look at your son?"

Mulder nodded enthusiastically.

Scully had taken some pictures of him and William at the
apartment and he immediately reached up to take the pictures.
"Not yet Mulder. You need to finish your breakfast first and then
this can be a special treat afterwards. We need to get you strong
enough so that you can help me take care of our son." She placed
the pictures on his table within reach and handed him the juice
to drink.

He nodded, then drank the juice and a glass of water. He would
need to visit the urinal soon, he thought to himself. Afterwards
he looked up at Scully, who gave him the go ahead to pick up the
pictures. He wished that he could smile. The pictures were great
of him and his son. The baby was so content in his arms. It was
the best incentive to do what the staff wanted him to accomplish.

After he finished looking at the pictures Scully took the photos
and taped them to his wall in his direct sight. "Don't let us
forget those when we move to the medical floor. I'm sure they
have already made arrangements."

Mulder picked up his pad again and wrote. He then handed the pad
to Scully.

She read the note," I am not hurting. Can I go home? I miss
William." She handed the pad back to Mulder and shook her head. "
Maybe tomorrow Mulder. The anesthesia is still not out of your
system and you're still on intravenous pain meds." She reached
down and kissed him on the cheek, " Believe me Mulder, as soon as
you are ready to be discharged I will be more than happy to take
you home. I really need you at home with us."

Scully's words felt good and he felt very emotional. He also felt
tired, the lunch had worn him out and the pain medication was
still elevated in his system. He leaned back into his bed and
tucked the note pad under his pillow. He needed to take a nap and
Scully immediately understood and turned down the light. Within
minutes he was sleeping.

2 Hours Later

He was awakened by his nurse and was instructed he was moving to
the medical/ surgical floor. He needed something for pain and he
reached underneath to retrieve his pad but it must have fallen on
the floor and Scully was nowhere to be seen. He made the sign for
the needed utensil but was ignored as the busy nursing assistant
gathered his things to take downstairs with him. He motioned to
the pictures on the wall and she quickly took them down and
stuffed them into his bag. He let out a low moan and was ignored.

Soon his nurse was back in the room and she was assisting him
into a wheelchair. She quickly gave him his medications, Dimetapp
and some the Afrin nasal spray for his stuffy nose. Evidently
they needed his bed for someone else because they were basically
ignoring him to get what they needed. Soon they were on there way
downstairs. He wondered if Scully knew where to find him but knew
that she would tear the place down to locate his whereabouts.

When he arrived to the floor he was placed into a private room
and given the nursing call light and then everyone one was gone.
He sat down on the bed and tried to adjust his IV so that he
could lie down and try to stop the aching in his jaw. Within a
few minutes and a few attempts he gave up and lay down with the
IV underneath him. The pain in his jaw was getting unbearable and
he decided not to wait for Scully but to push the call light for
the nurse. When a voice answered it was not very polite and he
was told that he would need to be patient. Unfortunately his
patience had worn thin and all he wanted was to be pain free.

He looked up and saw his favorite object, the television. He
found the controls on the side of the bed and switched the set on
and started flipping the channels. After a few minutes the pain
in his jaw was so bad that he could not concentrate. Again he
pushed the call light but when the voice came over this time it
was impatient. They wanted him to answer and he could not talk.
They hung up but nobody appeared.

He finally decided that enough was enough and he stood on shaky
legs and started towards the door with the IV pole and machine
attached in tow. He needed something for pain and he needed it
now! He walked up the desk and saw a lady sitting behind a
computer. She did not smile when she looked up at him but instead
she bellowed out. "Can I help you?"

He nodded and pushed out " Yeah." From his painful mouth. He
recognized the impatient voice from the intercom. She seemed
rather rude and intolerant of anyone standing in front of the
desk, especially a patient.

" Well tell me what you want, I haven't got all day." She
responded to his presence.

A voice came from out of nowhere, " If he could talk he wouldn't
be standing out here. Mulder, are you hurting?"

He turned to see a very angry faced Dana Scully and nodded
sheepishly. She was about to get someone fired and he knew that
he needed to calm her down but she was upset. " It okay Scuwy."
He could barely form a sentence due to the pain in his mouth.

 She looked down at the dumbfounded secretary and again spoke,
"We need Mr. Mulder's nurse right away. I am a physician and this
patient is in pain. He can not talk due to his surgery. He has a
broken jaw and his mouth is wired shut, you might want to put
that on his call light so next time he can get prompt service!"
She turned and grabbed his arm and assisted him back to his room
and adjusted his tubes. She looked down at her partner, who was
evidently in a lot of pain, " Sorry I wasn't here for you Mulder.
I had to run home and feed William. This was inexcusable and I
will go to administration over this inexcusable incident." She
tucked the blanket over him, plugged in his machine and turned to
exit the door again. The nurse had still not shown up and she
wanted something for her partner's pain.

He was hurting and he did need something for pain. The feeling of
wanting to go home was over. His jaw was pounding and so were his
ears.

Within a few minutes he was hurting to the point of no return.
The pain was a definite ten on a scale one through ten. The pain
was beating with every beat of his heart. He pulled up into a
ball and started to feel nauseated from the pain. The urge to
bring up what he had taken in earlier was overwhelming. Within
minutes he was feeling the hot liquid starting to roll up in the
back of his throat and through the wiring. He looked up to the
find the wire cutters that he knew that he would soon need but
they were not on his table or around his neck. He must of left
them in ICU. He felt that he was going to choke on this stuff
because it did not have anywhere else to go, even sitting up he
felt the liquid move down his windpipe and he started to let out
choking coughs.

He again grabbed for the call light and hit the emergency red
button and hoped that someone would show up before he died.
Within seconds he felt that he could not breath no longer and he
felt consciousness slipping away. He heard Scully's voice right
before he closed his eyes and lost consciousness.

24 Hours later

A voice was telling him to wake up but the pain in his jaw was
telling him to stay oblivious if possible. He had a bigger desire
to sleep. He felt something in his nose and it was bulky and it
gagged him, evidently they had intubated him again down his nasal
passage. He remembered choking and trying to breathe and then
blackness engulfed him completely. Unfortunately the voice was
getting stronger and more persistent. He needed to open his eyes
and tell them to go away.

After a few minutes he was able to open his eyes and with his
blurry vision he saw tubes and he knew that he was definitely
back in the ICU. He heard a sweet voice and it was telling him to
relax, he must have been trying to fight the tube in his nose. He
eyes finally found the object of the sweet voice, it was Scully.
She was talking softly and telling him that it would be fine. She
looked tired, so very tired. He was hurting and his hands were
bound in the soft restraints. His grimace must have been all that
it took for pain medicine to get delivered because within a few
seconds he was feeling numb again and his eyes slid shut.

Scully was upset at the turn of events. Mulder would not be back
in the unit if he had gotten medical attention on the floor. She
had talked to Mary Kleinsmith, the Nursing Supervisor and was
told that due to the nursing shortage that the nurse's loads were
heavier and was assured that this problem would be addressed. She
understood that nurse's had much more to do now and that there
were fewer of them working in the hospital. Unfortunately
patients did not get the kind of care they deserved and it upset
her because now Mulder would need to go back to surgery once he
was awake. She looked down at her watch and knew she had to run
home and feed William. She would go and be back before the drugs
wore off again.

Mulder's doctor wrote orders for Mulder to get rescheduled for
surgery for that afternoon. They would keep him heavily sedated
until they replaced the wires. They had cut them when he was
choking on his vomit. The wire cutters had been accidentally left
in the unit and they had to send for them so they could cut the
wires. Mulder had basically stopped breathing due to the aspirate
but had been resuscitated. He had also written an order for
Mulder to stay in the unit until discharge.

When Scully arrived Mulder was getting prepped for surgery. His
face had swollen more due to the resuscitation efforts of the
code team. Mulder had to be suctioned and briefly intubated down
his trachea but his physician had replaced the tube in his nose
and also placed a nasogastric tube.

Mulder opened his eyes and found Scully standing over him. He
knew that she would be back before they took him to surgery.

She reached up and pushed back his sweaty hair, " Hey. Hear you
are going to try it again. I think you just like the surgeon."

He opened his weak eyes and rolled them thoroughly at Scully.

" William said to tell you 'Hi' and to stay out of trouble. I
think he even smiled for you." She giggled into his ear.

He wanted to see his son but the way things had been progressing
to get him out of this hospital and been rather slow and here he
was going back to surgery.

She stepped back from the bed and allowed the staff to transfer
him to the gurney.

Mulder managed a weak wave as they rolled him off to surgery. The
preop meds had made him very sleepy.

Post op

Mulder could feel someone messing with his finger. He slowly
opened his eyes to see a nurse placing a device on his finger.
She was saying something about measuring the amount of oxygen in
his blood. He nodded in understanding. He had been there done
that before. He looked around but evidently the surgeon was
talking to Scully.

A few minutes later she placed an ice pack on his face." Are you
in pain Mr. Mulder?"

He did feel a little bit on pain in his right jaw. He wanted to
get something for pain but he also wanted to wait till he got
back to the unit. They had left him intubated him after surgery
and actually his nose and the back of his throat hurt worse than
his jaw.

He finally responded with an affirmative on the pain and she
quickly inserted a syringe into his IV port. Sleep reclaimed him
quickly.

When he awakened again he was back in the unit and Scully was
sitting at his bed. He wanted her to go home and rest. William
needed his mom and he was taking too much of her time away from
home. The nurse had left him a new notepad and pen on his table
and he picked it up and wrote, " Scully, please go home and take
care of our son. I will do fine here in the unit." He then handed
the note to Scully, who was taken by surprise that he was awake.

" Forget it Mulder. I'm not going anywhere. William is doing fine
and I do not want you to worry. You are the priority right now.
I'm not going to leave you alone in this hospital again." She
handed his pad back to him.

He shook his head and wrote on his pad, "Ms Kleinsmith told you
that they were having staffing problems on the floor due to a
nurse shortage. That is why I am here in the unit. Lucky me. One
on one care!" Again he handed the notepad to Scully.

She shook her head. "You almost died Mulder. I know it wasn't the
nurse's fault but I do not feel comfortable knowing that you
cannot talk and that you would be alone. End of discussion
Mulder." She gave his pad back to him and took a seat beside of
his bed.

He rolled over and closed his eyes. Scully was the most stubborn
woman he knew. She should be home with William, not babysitting
him in the hospital.

The respiratory therapist entered and announced that he was going
to be giving a breathing treatment every four hours due to the
aspiration. Mulder was at risk for aspiration pneumonia and they
needed to be preventive due to his mouth being wired shut. He
would not be able to tolerate a bad coughing bout. Mulder
complied and when the nurse entered with a small bag that
contained a red label he knew that he was in for a round of
stomach churning antibiotics too. She hung the antibiotics and
exited the room.

His physician showed up within the hour to extubate him and to
free him of his hand restraints. He would get to go home if he
did not develop a fever or cough the next day. He was also told
that he would not be having anymore IV medications that he needed
to try the liquid Lortab or Tylenol with Codeine. If the liquid
pain meds were keeping the pain controlled he could lose the IV
as long as he took in the fluids the nurses were giving him to
drink.

0400am

He missed his television. He would be able to watch a good
baseball game if it weren't for having to stay in the unit. He
turned over and saw Scully curled up in the chair asleep. He knew
that it was almost morning and the nurse would be bringing the
liquids again and doing his mouth care but he really was hungry
and he wanted something good to eat. That would be a long time in
waiting. He turned back over and pulled out his pad and pen. He
wrote a note to the nurse," Can I have a television?" He would
give it to the nurse when she entered. He placed the note on the
table and tried to get comfortable. His jaw actually felt a
little better but he was having to stifle the urge to let out a
good cough. When the nurse arrived he would ask for the Tylenol
with Codeine, it would help to stifle the cough. He was going
home regardless.

When the nurse entered she was carrying a thermometer. Mulder had
started having chills about thirty minutes ago. He did not want
to stay another day and he was not going to either. She started
to place the thermometer into his ear when he stopped her hand
and he moaned out the word, "Hurt."

She seemed a little concerned, " Mulder is the pain bad?"

" Na bad. But it hurts." The swelling had gone down enough now to
where he could actually talk through the wiring but he still
relied on his pad.

" I'll be back in a minute. I need to get your temperature and
give you something to drink." She left the room to get the pain
medicine.

Mulder glanced over to Scully and saw that she was sound to
sleep. She had pumped enough breast milk to get William through
the night. He picked up his water pitcher and pulled out a piece
of ice and held it in his ear for a few seconds and then the
other. Hopefully he could not show any fever.

A few minutes later she reentered and was carrying some Tylenol
with Codeine in a small cup. She handed him the syringe and he
squirted the medicine between the wires and she then handed him
some water in a cup with a straw. He took the water greedily. He
seemed more thirsty than usual." Be careful with the water Mr.
Mulder. Don't drink it too fast." She admonished sweetly.

She then placed the thermometer into his ear and the reading was
ninety-nine point four. She furrowed her eyebrows and retook the
temp in his opposite ear and the reading was ninety-nine point
two. She adjusted the tubing and instructed him to take some deep
breaths but he knew that might get his coughing started. His wire
cutters now stayed around his neck, just in case they were needed
really fast. He stifled the cough and when she left the room he
let out a deep sigh. He had fooled her but Scully would not be as
easy. He glanced over to see that she still was sleeping. That
had been pretty easy but he knew that it would get harder to
continue the charade.

The pain medicine made his drowsy and he allowed the sleep to
retake him, he felt tired. He pulled the blanket up over his
shivering body to stop the chills.

0600am

When Scully awakened her partner was well tucked underneath his
blankets. She thought about getting a cup of coffee but did not
want to miss the morning rounds of the surgeon. She stood and
stretched and walked over to her partner's bed. She pulled back
the blanket and noted that Mulder was drenched in sweat. "Mulder.
Hey, Mulder wake up." She whispered into his ear.

He awakened but the effects of the medicine was still in his
system and seemed to have improved his chills. He pulled himself
up in the bed and looked up at Scully. "What's wrong?" he managed
to say through his wired teeth.

" Mulder did you have a fever last night?" she did not trust
Mulder to tell her the truth, he wanted to go home too badly.

He hesitated a few seconds and shook his head, " I'm fine Scuwy.
Just got too hot wast night." He picked up his damp washcloth the
nurse had used earlier giving his mouth care and wet his dry
painful lips.

Scully reached over and took the wet damp cloth and wet it with
cool water from the ice pitcher. She then got some Vaseline and
placed it on his dry, cracked lips. He was stubborn and she knew
that she had to be a little sneaky with Mulder. " The doctor will
be in soon. Let's get up in a chair and get your bed a little
drier."

He would be more than cooperative, when she slid down the
siderails he stood and walked a few steps to the chair and sat
down. He actually felt a little better and the medicine seemed to
help to decrease the desire to cough.

Scully rang and got the nursing assistant to bring some dry
linens and together they changed the bed and Mulder's gown.
Mulder opted to sit up for his breakfast tray of liquids. He had
tolerated them well through the night. When the nurse entered she
was carrying the tray and a thermometer. " Good morning Mr.
Mulder. How are you this am?" She asked as she sat his tray down
on the bedside table.

He nodded and started to pick up the can of juice when he was
stopped," I need to get your vitals first." She placed the
thermometer in his ear and it read one hundred one point two. She
then placed it in the other ear and it read one hundred one point
five. She quickly understood why the bed was damp, the Tylenol
had helped to break his fever early in the morning. She took her
stethoscope off and started listening to his breath sounds and
heard some harsh rhonchi in his right upper lung field. She shook
her head and looked down at her very quiet patient." Are you
coughing any Mr. Mulder?"

He had been caught and now he had to confess. " I feel wike I
need to cough at times." She did not need anything more than
that, it would have to do for now.

She nodded and handed him his juice and a straw. She also handed
him a needleless syringe to use if he needed to squirt it into
his sore mouth. " I need to page the physician. I'm sure he'll
want an xray and some blood work. I'll be back in a few minutes."

Scully looked down at her partner. " Mulder, I'm sorry. I know
that you wanted to go home today."

He thought she would give him a lecture but instead she was being
very nice. He probably needed to confess about the chills last
night but instead he would just play dumb. " I can still go
home."

She shook her head, " The surgeon won't let you go home until
you've been forty eight hours without fever Mulder." She felt bad
giving him the bad news but she knew that he probably had
aspiration pneumonia.

He had lost his appetite with those words. He wanted to go home
and be with his son and Scully, what was wrong with that? He
pushed back his tray and pushed himself up out of the chair and
with Scully's assistance he laid back down in bed. " I'm tired."

She watched him as he pulled up the sheet and blanket and closed
his eyes. She didn't have the heart to fuss at him for not
drinking. She knew that he didn't feel good. She turned off the
light and pushed the bedside table against the wall.

The nurse came back in and announced quietly to Scully that the
surgeon would be down in just a few minutes but he had instructed
her to get a white blood count and a chest xray portable stat. He
would probably make some med changes after he assessed Mulder.
She also noticed that Mulder had not touched his tray but she
decided to take it out and give him another chance later. When
she left the room she closed the door.

Soon the room was filled with Scully, the surgeon, the nurse, and
the lab tech. The xray tech was awaiting patiently outside of the
room. Mulder stayed quiet and let everyone else talk. He allowed
his arm to be stuck by the lab tech and he allowed the physician
to listen to his lungs front and back and to assess his mouth. He
would nod and shake his head when appropriate but otherwise he
did not play the game of being the sick man. He was tired of
being in the hospital and he was definitely tired of not being
able to see his son.

When the room cleared and finally it was just Mulder and Scully
he closed his eyes. He knew Scully needed to leave soon and go
home to feed William. He wanted to just go to sleep but the
doctor had ordered him to start on a new antibiotic, Unasyn 3.1
grams every eight hours or at least something that sounded like
that but he really did not have the heart to know or care. The
diagnosis of pneumonia was enough to kill his spirit.

"Mulder I will be back in a couple of hours. Do you want me to
bring you something back from home?" She felt bad for her
partner. She also knew that he was getting tired of being ill and
he really missed his son.

He shook his head and closed his eyes. It was almost time for his
meds and he would sleep. " Tell William I love him." He slurred
between his teeth, drool running down his cheek.

She nodded, " I will Mulder. I'll be back in a while." She bent
down and hugged him and kissed him gently on his forehead. His
lips were raw and painful and she did not want to cause him any
more discomfort.

As she left the room the nurse entered with a new small bag of
intravenous medicine. She thought he was sleeping when she heard
him moan, as if he were having some pain.

"Mr. Mulder are you okay?" she flipped on the light to see her
patient better.

He was having chills again and he felt weak and shaky. The fever
had elevated again and he felt so cold. The nurse hung the
antibiotic and left to get the thermometer. She quickly returned
and placed the aural thermometer in his ear and the reading
surprised her, one hundred four point two. She rang to the desk
for a page to Mulder's physician. " Hey we are going to make you
feel better in a few minutes. Hang in there." She started to pull
back the blankets but he stopped her hand.

He tried to get his dry lips to work but it was a little
difficult. " Cold." He managed finally.

She understood, " Mulder, when the chills stop I will need to get
your fever down and I will need to remove your blankets."

He opened his eyes and stared up at his nurse and nodded in
understanding. He had been there before with cooling blankets and
tepid baths. He sort of wished the chills would stay a little bit
longer so he didn't have to give up his blankets.

When his surgeon reappeared he was ordering blood cultures and
Tylenol liquid. He was to get a cooling blanket for all fevers
above one hundred one point five. He also ordered for Mulder to
get suctioned if he started bring up any large amounts of
secretions. He wondered what that might involve but almost was
afraid to actually find out what that little task might require.
He remained quiet and again the surgeon listened to his chest. He
then ordered more xrays for the following day.

After the surgeon left a host of people entered and took blood
and gave breathing treatments and administered meds. He was
exhausted afterwards and fell asleep, he was too tired to realize
that his nurse had taken away his warm blanket and replaced it
with a cooling blanket.

Three Hours Later

When he awakened he was met a bright smile from Scully. She was
standing over his now very cold body. They must have put the
cooling pad over him at some point. He was so cold now and all he
wanted to do was to let a big cough. He finally could not hold it
any longer. He coughed so hard that he actually thought that he
would dislocate his jaw again. His mouth was full of secretions
and Scully had the Yonkers suction in his mouth trying to pull
out the thick green sputum but was being unsuccessful. She
pressed the button for the nurse.

When the nurse arrived she reached over the bed and brought the
tubing down from the wall. His eyes did not leave her hand
movements. She then pulled a package with a tube that looked like
a trumpet off the shelf and she placed some gel over the small
tubes slender body. " Listen this will not feel good but it is
called a nasal trumpet and it fits into your nostril. I will
insert it and then put the tubing down and suction." She paused
for a second, seeing how bright his eyes got over something being
placed into the only method he had for breathing. " First I will
suction your mouth and then go down your nasopharyngeal passage."
She then proceeded to push the tube into his nostril.

Mulder responded quickly with grabbing her hand and holding onto
it, but she had to get rid of the secretions so he would not
choke. She looked over to Scully who took both his hands into
hers and held them tight. The nurse continued to push the tube
into the nostril. She then took the sterile tubing and hooked it
up the wall suction where the Yonkers suction had been and gently
placed it into his mouth behind his back teeth. She suctioned the
thick green mucus from his mouth and then proceeded to place the
tube down the trumpet and down the back of his throat. He choked
and sputtered and the thick green sputum was flowing up the
tubing and Mulder's face was beat red and he struggled against
the feeling of discomfort that the tubing was causing his tired
body.

After the ordeal of suctioning the nurse placed the oxygen mask
over her patient's mouth and nose. He was doing better and she
noticed that he looked exhausted from the ordeal of suctioning.
The nurse rang the light for the secretary to get respiratory to
come and do a blood gas.

He was exhausted and he could barely stay conscious after the
suctioning ordeal. This was almost like the time he was infected
by tobacco beetles but worse because he had to be awake during
the infliction of torture. Did he hear her correctly? Blood gas?

Scully was talking to the nurse and he felt muffled due to the
mask over his face. He was not staying for this party. He would
rather not have anything else done today, he had experienced
enough pain for one day. He pushed the mask away from his face
and that got the attention of the nurse and of Scully. "No more.
I'm going to sleep. Get this out of my nose!"

" Hey, I know it is uncomfortable but this is actually helpful in
getting those secretions out of the way so you can breathe
better. Unfortunately it is necessary." She felt bad for her
patient but knew that the procedure was helping to clear his
airway.

When the respiratory therapist entered with a syringe and a cup
of ice Mulder shook his head. " I can't do it. Enough, please."
He looked tired and Scully could tell that Mulder could not deal
with anything else but just at that moment he started coughing
again and the suction device was again necessary. She held on to
Mulder's flailing hands and watched as the tears ran down his
face. The therapist grabbed onto a wrist and if Mulder could
scream he would have and loudly too.

After an hour of suctioning and getting blood from the most
painful area on his body he finally fell into an exhausted sleep.
Scully sat beside his bed. The nasal trumpet still in place and
the suction device still within reach in case he had another
coughing spell. The blood gases, which measured the oxygen levels
in his blood, looked a little off and therefore he was now
wearing an oxygen mask and was given an arterial line by the
intensivist. He was given a small amount of Valium to help him
rest more comfortably.

When he awakened again this time he felt weaker. He looked around
with blurry eyes and tried to find Scully. The drugs were keeping
the coughing urge contained though. He saw the suctioning device
lying on his bed and he felt the thing in his nose. They had
propped him on his side with a few pillows to his back. At least
they didn't put the tube down his throat again or replace the
restraints, he thought to himself. He reached over and tried to
dislodge the pillows but found it was too difficult. He did not
want to call the nurse or she would put the suction tube back
down his nose. No way in Hell was anybody going to do that again
if he had his way about things. It was about time that he let
them know that he had experienced enough and was going home.

He pushed the cooling blanket back and raised himself up in bed.
No monitors to alert the nurses except for the pulse oximeter
attached to his finger. Experience in the past with such devices
had been plentiful and he silenced the device. He reached over
and eased the siderail down and pushed himself on the edge of the
bed. He sat still for a few seconds and let the dizziness pass.
His face did not hurt and he felt that if he hurried he would not
be caught escaping. He pulled out the IV but left the arterial
line, Scully could remove it later. He stood and allowed his body
to adjust to the upright motion. After another few seconds he
wobbled over to the closet and retrieved his clothes and rushed
putting them on, being careful not to look down and risking
getting dizzy and falling on his face.

Dressing had been a breeze and he wondered where his tormentors
had disappeared too. He suddenly realized that there was some
chaos in another room which was distracting the other nurses and
personnel. He slid his jacket on and proceeded down the hallway
out of the ICU unit.

Two Hours Later

He finally made it home. His fever was causing him a little
confusion and he had a difficult time finding the apartment. He
was chilling and if his teeth could chatter they would be
clicking a beat of their own right now. He opened the door and it
was dark. He switched on a light and made it across the room. He
wondered where William and Maggie were at this time of evening.
He laid the key down on his television set, pulled off his jacket
and wet pants and threw them to the floor. He kicked off the
shoes and wandered into his bedroom. He was tired from his trip.
He quickly pulled off the rest of his clothes and crawled
underneath his comforter. He was so cold.

Scully was certain that Mulder would have gone back to her
apartment. She was going to kill him when she found him right
after she hugged him. The hospital was frantic to find their lost
patient. She had decided that he could only be at one other place
and that would be his apartment. He had kept it due to his work,
it needed to be done somewhere other than home. She opened the
door that stood ajar and entered cautiously. " Mulder! Mulder!"
She called out in a calm tone of voice. She walked past the
clothes which lay in his floor and then into his bedroom. He was
sound asleep on his bed with notable shivers running through his
body. She did not want to awaken him or startle him so she exited
the room, shutting the door behind her as she went to call 911.
She knew Mulder would not be very happy.

Four days Later

Mulder was showing great improvement even with the minor setback
due to his escapade out into the cold and wet streets of
Washington. He was going to get to go home in a couple of days
and he felt so much better. He was doing everything right so that
he could go home and be with his son and Scully. He was even
taking the nasty ensure without any fuss. The suctioning was no
longer necessary and his fever had improved. He was finally
allowed out of bed with assistance and was sitting up most of the
day.

Scully entered with a wrapped present. Mulder had fallen asleep
in the chair and was drooling. She bent down and whispered into
his ear, " Mulder. Wake up. You're drooling."

He slowly opened his eyes and tried to smile with his dry,
cracked, sore lips. "Hi. Where have you been?"

" I've been home with our son. He sent you something." She
giggled out loud.

"He did not. He is too wittle." His voice was raspy from
sleeping. He quickly tore open the package she had handed him. He
was surprised that it was a tape, "Is this "Alien Babe Does the
CIA" ?

She went to the door and pulled the portable TV/VCR into the
room. She then took the tape from Mulder and rolled her eyes then
flipped it into the VCR and hit play. Mulder's face brightened
when he saw William's face come into focus. He leaned forward and
shook his head, " He has groan."

She smiled and sat down on Mulder's bed and picked up Mulder's
hand, " He grows more and more every day."

"He is like you Scuwy." He paused a second, "That is a good
thing."

" Oh no Mulder. He is like you. He does not like to sleep and he
is a fickle eater. He is his father's son." She smiled and
squeezed Mulder's hand.

" He is not a klutz at weast. That would not be good." He pushed
himself back into the seat. A sad look covering his pale
features.

" Fox Mulder! You are not a klutz. It was an accident that you
fell. We are just lucky that you didn't hurt yourself worse.
Bottom line is that we need a bigger home. A place to have a
nursery and a bedroom or two. We need to expand Mulder." She
smiled and pulled out a picture of a house and handed it to him.
" Want to go house hunting when they release you from this
place?"

He nodded and his eyes moved up to meet hers, "Ready when you are
Scully." He looked at the picture of the moderate one level home
and a serious look crossed his face.

" What's wrong Mulder?" she was concerned that her desire for the
commitment had caused him to become upset.

He shook his head, " Instead of baby proofing we will need to
Mulder proof it."

She smiled and shook her head, " Mulder, the four of us will be
fine. Just wait and see."

The word four had almost slipped by without a reaction then it
suddenly hit him and he smiled, "Another one?"

She nodded slyly and smiled, "Well. That's what the doctor tells
me Mulder."

The end.

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