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Stroked: part 3
ICU Unit


The next time Mulder became aware of his surroundings was
the next day. He was aware that the tube was still in place
but the needed to expel the device was quailed by heavy
drugs. He felt very groggy and even the effort to move his
arms or hands was difficult. He heard the monitors and they
seemed distant. He felt very lightheaded. He was comforted
by the firm grip on his right arm. Scully was talking to
someone but he found it very difficult to concentrate on the
voices. It didn't take very long for the drugs to overwhelm
his desire to stay awake. He relaxed and allowed the drugs
to retake him. Soon he was sleeping the drugged sleep again.

Scully stood and stretched her tired, achy body. She turned
and made sure her partner was sleeping and walked out into
the hallway. She was hoping that Dr. Harriman would return
to ICU to extubate Mulder so he could move to a regular step
down unit. She knew his dislike for the tubes and the
restrictions that ICU required. He would care less if the
rules really were for his own good.
She was startled by the voice behind her, "Agent Scully. How
is Mulder?" Skinner asked as he rounded the corner with a
steaming cup of coffee in hand.

She felt tired and basically exhausted, she wanted to say
that he was doing great but he wasn't and she felt the need
to talk to someone. " He is still intubated and sleeping due
to the drugs. He doesn't seem to be in any pain at least."
She hesitated for a few minutes and looked up at the very
attentive Assistant Director. " I am worried about him and
what his mental status might be when he wakes up from the
drugs. We both know how he gets when he works a case
concerning children."

Skinner nodded and handed Scully the cup of coffee. " Take
this, you need it more than I do right now." He too looked
exhausted from staying awake and working the case of the
baby killer. "Listen, I need to get back to the office. We
have a slew of reporters outside the bureau and I need to
wade through them and all of their questions. Tell Mulder to
take care and I will see him later to get a statement when
he feels up to it."

" That may be a while. He is drugged to the gills and will
be for a while due to the pain in his leg." She knew Mulder
also had a propensity for getting into trouble in a hospital
setting. It was the Mulder rule.

" Understood. I will see you later." He turned to go and
hesitated and turned," Take care of yourself Agent Scully.
That is an order." A small sad smile crossed his face and he
turned and left.

She walked back into Mulder's cubicle and saw that Mulder's
nurse, Rachel, was giving his bath. She felt that she was
intruding so she stepped back out into the hallway to wait.

Rachel walked out of the cubicle and turned towards Scully,
" I am going to take his temperature. I will be back in a
few minutes."

Scully walked back into the cubicle and saw that her
partner's eyes were wide open but he was not struggling.
"Hey. How are you doing sleepy head? Are you in any pain?"

He shook his head and tried to lift his arm but the
restraints stopped him quickly. He felt so heavy from the
drugs that the tubes and his leg did not bother him so he
lay quietly watching the movements of his partner.

"Rachel will be back in just a few minutes. She needs to
take your temperature." She laid her hand on his and she
noticed that it felt warm to touch. She did not let him
see her concern though, so instead she started to worry over his
sheets and pillow. "Are you comfortable Mulder?"

He rolled his eyes then stopped and stared at her with a sad
look. It was the look of hating to be in the hospital again
and that he felt bad that she had to worry over him while he
was ill. She read the look and shook her head, "Mulder we
are going to get rid of some of these tubes today. How does
that sound?"

His eyes widened and he almost grinned but was stopped by
the tape around his mouth. He was very tired and the need to
go back to sleep was getting overwhelming again. He would
close his eyes, for a few minutes. Scully would understand,
the drugs were strong and they were making him very sleepy.
He closed his eyes and felt Scully's soft lips on his
forehead. He felt safe.

Rachel entered the cubicle with the thermoscan and placed it
into Mulder's right ear and it beeped. After reading the
numbers she placed the thermometer into Mulder's left ear
and she frowned. Scully caught the look and wanted to say
something but did not want to alert Mulder. She walked out
of the cubicle with Rachel.

Rachel closed his door and looked at Scully. His temperature
is elevated to one hundred and two point four. Dr Harriman
is upstairs, I'm going to page him now.

Scully nodded and walked back into Mulder's cubicle and sat
down beside his bed. He had stayed asleep during Rachel's
task, mostly due to the effects of the Haldol drip. She took
his hand into hers and rubbed it gently. She feared that
Mulder had developed some type of infection.

Dr Harriman entered Mulder's cubicle like a protective
father bear. He was shouting orders, which included a urine
culture, blood cultures from two separate sites and he wanted to
take a look at Mulder's leg. He saw a very sweaty patient
when he entered and concern was written all over his face. "
Rachel,let's order a stat chest xray too." He pulled off his
stethoscope and placed it on Mulder's chest and listened,
"When was the last time he was suctioned?"

Rachel was at the cubicle door giving orders to the unit
secretary. She turned around to Harriman, who still had the
stethoscope to his ears listening to Mulder's chest. " It's
been about twenty minutes ago. I got a lot of thick white
secretions out. He did seem a lot wetter tonight than
earlier."

He nodded his head and pulled back the sheet. Mulder was
quiet and seemed to be sleeping until Dr Harriman pulled off
the leg brace and his eyes opened wide. A painful grimace
was on his face and he was pulling at the restraints again.
The tube was silencing his scream.

"Sorry Mulder. I just need to look at that leg." He reached
over and hit the PCA button and delivered a dose of the
morphine. Within a few minutes he was calming down and
trying to close his eyes again. Dr Harriman waited for a few
minutes for the medicine to kick in and then started
removing the dressing. He started to take off the last layer
of gauze when he heard the xray machine outside Mulder's
door. He stopped and covered the wound with a sterile towel
and placed the brace back on the leg. " Let's let them do
the xray and while they are here let's get a film of the
leg."

Rachel nodded and instructed the xray tech and they started
positioning their patient. Dr Harriman and Scully walked out
into the hallway.

When they returned after the xrays Dr. Harriman gloved and
gowned and removed the brace again. He then removed the
sterile towel and the gauze. The incision looked good and
there wasn't any drainage. He then took the forceps and
removed the packing from the open wound. The dressing and
packing were bloody but did not have any green or yellow
drainage but he cultured it anyway. The tissue looked pink
and healthy.  He was almost finished repacking the wound
when he looked up and open eyes were staring at him. He did
not seem to be in any pain though due to the drugs." Hey
Mulder. Your leg looks good. I'm going to go out and look at
your xrays in a few minutes. To be honest I think you might
have developed pneumonia. Your lungs are very congested."

Mulder nodded in understanding but he had a very concerned
look on his face. He must of realized that the tube would
stay in if he had pneumonia. Dr Harriman sensed this and
patted Mulder on the shoulder. " Mulder I'm going to do my
damnedest to get you off that ventilator. I know how much
you hate those tubes."

Mulder nodded and closed his tired eyes. The drugs were
strong and pulled him back into a restless sleep.

Dr Harriman took off the gown after he replaced the brace.
He then walked out to the cubicle and the xrays had just
arrived. Scully was already looking at them at the nurse's
desk and seemed very concerned. She turned when Harriman
walked up to look at them himself. " Right lower lobe
pneumonia."

" Does he ever get a break?" Dr Harriman asked sadly.

" Not this time evidently." Scully answered softly. " He's
going to hate keeping that tube down. We might need to keep
him going on the Haldol drip for a while. At least until we
can get him extubated."

" I agree. I'm going to start him on a couple of antibiotics
in addition to what he is already on at the present. They
have some nasty side effects but none are harmful. He has a
nasogastric tube down so I won't worry about him vomiting.
But I worry about him developing diarrhea. I don't want him
moving too much with that leg and I don't want stool getting
into the wound." He paused and looked over to Scully," He's
going to hate being suctioned but it will be necessary. He
will also need chest percussion to help loosen the secretions. 
He has a long road ahead ofhim."

Scully went back into Mulder's cubicle and sat down. Rachel
had just given him a Tylenol suppository and a tepid bath. A
thin sheet was covering his sweaty body and he had been
turned onto his left side with his leg elevated on pillows.
He seemed to be resting fine and the ventilator was quiet.
She picked up her book and started to read.

Mulder's temperature was down to one hundred point one the
next time Rachel took his aural temp. Mulder was still
sleeping the drugged induced sleep and was being turned
every two hours to prevent bed sores. He was sleeping trough
the breathing treatments but instinctively would turn his
head and try to move away from the torturous device of
suctioning.

Dr Harriman had left orders to lower the Haldol drip every
two hours and allow Mulder to come up enough to be assessed.
He was very groggy the last time they let him come up and it
was difficult to assess anything. He did seem to however be
having a lot of difficulty with pain. Instructions were left
to give an extra dose of pain medication prior to awakening
him the next time they allowed him to come up from the
drugs.

A different nurse walked into the cubicle with a tray with a
syringe and a thermometer. She also had a Tylenol
suppository ready for him in case his fever was still
elevated. " Hi, my name is Cindy. I'm going to Mr. Mulder's
nurse tonight. Rachel filled me on what has been going on
with the Mr. Mulder." She spoke in a quiet tone to Scully.

Scully nodded, " He seems to resting a lot better in the
past hour. Hopefully the pain in his leg is not going to be
so intense this time."

" I'm going to give him an extra dose of pain medicine in
addition to what his pump is delivering." She took the
syringe from the tray and inserted it into the intravenous
port and pushed the contents into the IV. She then took the
aural thermometer and placed it into his right ear and
smiled, "Hey, Mr. Mulder, your temp is down to one hundred.
You are doing great." She whispered into his ear. She patted
his shoulder and assessed the drip and then lowered the
dose.

Within a couple of minutes Dr. Harriman entered the cubicle
and smiled at the nurse," Have you lowered the dosage?"

" Actually just a few minutes ago. His temperature is down
to one hundred." She continued to replace some worn monitor
leads and changing out some IV tubing.

Dr Harriman pulled out his flashlight and started pulling
Mulder's eyes open and shining the light into his eyes to
check for awareness. The tube still remained but he was too
weak and drugged to fight. The lights were then dimmed and
Scully stood and held his hand, waiting for Mulder to open
his eyes.

They did not have to wait too long for his eyes to flutter
open. He tugged weakly at the restraints but gave up on it
quickly. He was able to open his eyes completely a few
minutes later. He looked around and saw the crowded room and
felt nervous. His eyes found Scully and she gave him a
reassuring smile. He then relaxed and tried to concentrate
on what they were saying.

Dr Harriman was saying something about pneumonia and keeping
the tube a little bit longer and Scully was holding his hand
listening attentively to the words of the doctor. He felt
confused but knew that it was the effect of the drugs. He
was getting tired of hearing what they were doing to him, he
just wanted to hear Scully's voice. He needed to hear it
before the drugs pulled him back down into a blissful sleep.

He looked towards his partner and stared blankly for a few
minutes then the room cleared. They could read his body
language, he needed some time with his partner. She smiled
down and reached over the bed rail and kissed his cheek. His
eyes got bright and a tear fell from the corner.

"Mulder, hey." His partner whispered to him softly.

Her voice was so sweet and he tried to return her greeting
but the tube stopped him from speaking any words. He used
his eyes to communicate his appreciation for her as his best
friend and partner. The heavy feeling still permeated his
mind but he was feeling better. The pain in his leg actually
did not bother him as bad as it had previously.

Scully gently took his restrained hand and just a tiny
squeeze reassured him that he was doing fine. " Mulder you
have pneumonia and Dr. Harriman also is culturing your
wound. We've started you on antibiotics and increased your
pain meds. The leg brace is to restrict you movement in the
leg so there is no further damage to muscle, nerves or bone.
Dr Harriman is going to keep your restraints on until you
are free of the heavy pain medications and the ventilator."
She hesitated long enough for him to let that information
sink into his drugged mind then proceeded, "Mulder, from
what I can gather a crate fell down and hit your leg and
then you were shot. You had damage to your femur, and the
surrounding muscles and nerves. You also had a lot of blood
loss but we gave you transfusions. Right now you have a
fever and we are treating that along with the pneumonia."

Mulder nodded but he was feeling so tired. He had been shot,
that was strange he didn't remember the baby killer firing a
shot. He was sure that he didn't remember seeing Barter
shoot him but maybe it could have happened, it was dark.
Scully was still talking and he needed to try to listen but
he was so tired and the damned drugs were so strong. His
eyes were starting to drift shut but he needed to try and
remember what had happened.

Scully sensed Mulder's tiredness and that he had given it
his best attention but he starting to slip back into his
drugged state. She wanted to talk to him some more but
thought better of it, she would talk to him when he felt
better. " Mulder go to sleep. I will be here when you wake
up." A moment passed and she added, "I promise." She reached
over again and kissed his cheek again and pulled up the
sheet. Within a few minutes he was sleeping soundly again
and the nurse came back in and increased the Haldol back to
it's original drip rate.

Unfortunately Mulder's luck started the next day, if it
could go wrong it would. His fever elevated and he started
hallucinating. He was being very combative and fighting his
medication, the nursing staff and Scully. He had escaped the
right hand restraint and attempted to pull out his central
line. He had also attempted to dislodge the tube down his
throat, which Rachel had walked in and interrupted. Dr
Harriman stood at Mulder's bedside trying to decide whether
to assess the wound again or send him to get a Cat scan. The
decision was made, Mulder was going to get a CAT scan first
and some more blood cultures. Dr Harriman was thinking possible
sepsis or swelling of the brain due to the increased fever
and hallucinating. He quickly gave orders and grabbed
Mulder's chart. He wanted answers fast.

Scully stood at Mulder's bedside holding his sweaty hand and
allowing Dr. Harriman to take charge, she trusted him and
she knew that he would make good decisions for her partner.

Part four

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