Summary: Tony's take on his illness. #6 in the 'Blue' series. This is the last installment. I hope you enjoyed it. It was a fun, quick little series to write. In case you missed anything there's Blue Ponderings, A Nightmare in Blue, Black and Blue, Navy Blue, Blue Steel, and Dress Blues. ENJOY!
How does one contract the plague in the modern world? Didn't it go out in Middle Ages with open sewers and pestilence? Any why me? Why did I have to open that damned envelope? That is what it really comes down to. Why did I open that damned envelope? But that begs another question. Would Probie Wan Kenobi have opened it? Would Kate? Would Gibbs?
That then leaves me to ask, what would I have done if it had been one of them? Would I break down at the prospect of losing a friend? Would I have been strong enough to get the rest of the team through it if Gibbs had opened that envelope instead of me? I would like to think I would, but, honestly I don't know. I don't know if Kate and Tim would have accepted me as their leader. I know intellectually they would have had to. I'm the next in line, but I wonder sometime. They way things are between us. Would it work?
That, as they say is the million dollar question. And the answer is I don't know, and that scares me. I have my reasons for the way I treat them. It is not out of meanness or spite. I, in all honesty, am trying to help them. Kate, for starters was way too serious when she first came to work here. You can't take yourself so very seriously when you deal with the horrors this job entails on a daily basis. So, I joke, I prod, I pick to try to make her loosen up.
Kate's comebacks to me, however, are far from kind. She wounds. She jabs and then she goes in for the kill. I try to dial it up, though. I try to make her see that what she does hurts. I try to make her understand that. But usually all I get for my efforts are more, deeper wounds. I tend to be the one who concedes. The one who crawls away wounded and bleeding, needing time to heal.
And I am ashamed to say, my relationship with Tim is not much better. I also have tried to help him. I knew when he first came here he was ill prepared to see corpses day in and day out. He needed to be toughened up a little. I knew his computer background did nothing to prepare him for this job. I also knew I needed to take time to build create that tough skin he would need. I also knew I needed to build his confidence. I figured that those things would go hand in hand. And they did, but along with building confidence, I built resentment. That was a truly unexpected and unwanted byproduct of my teaching method. His resentment, though, thank God, does not rear its ugly head in the same way Kate's does. He did, though, blind-sided me on my education. I told him I had a P.E. degree and you could almost see his attitude towards me change. He then started questioning my methods and my conclusions. He and Kate did actually. So I guess he told her and then they have come to the mutual conclusion that I am just a dumb jock.
If I remember correctly the words 'dumb jock' did come out of my mouth when I told Tim about my degree. But, I was talking in reference to the techno jargon he was spouting to me at the time. And I didn't mean it as a putdown on myself, obviously. I just wanted him to explain things a little. He, however, took it as a sign of my 'enormous stupidity' and ran with it. He never seems to miss an occasion to throw his MIT degrees in my face. He would be surprised to know how much education I do have. I guess he has never read the reqs for someone of my ranking.
My comebacks to Tim are not as severe because his attacks are not as hurtful. I usually just dial up the obnoxiousness just a little and he backs down quickly. I am not ashamed of my education and there have been several times where I have almost told him how many degrees I do have and where they are from. (I'm quite sure he would be impressed by my Ivy League credentials.) I don't tell people about my higher education a lot. I guess, especially with Harvard. (OK, the cat is out of the bag.) It's like people are really, really impressed and happy for your achievement or they label you a uppity rich snob and want nothing to do with you. And for me, it seems to be more of the latter. Also, at least for me, people can't believe people who look like I do can be smart. It's like everybody else had to choose between looks and smarts and it's not fair that one person might have both.
That really sounded conceited and I didn't mean it that way. I mean I look OK, nice hair, nice eyes (so I've been told.) I just know that people can be intimidated by looks. I just don't see how my looks could be intimidating, but I do get that impression sometimes.
I am not sure why I am even thinking about this now. Dr. Pitt just told me I have the plague and I start on this little, I don't know. I don't know tangent, I guess. I just don't know how I am supposed to feel right now. I don't know what I am supposed to think. But maybe just being introspective is enough. I don't think I even realized until now how much those things Kate and Tim said really bothered me. I need to address that, but I don't know how, and now is definitely not the time.
I don't believe Kate is infected. Her mouth said the words, but her eyes. Her eyes told me she was not. Still, she stayed. I don't know why she stayed. I don't get it. I heard Brad telling her to leave. I heard other snippets of their conversation also, but nothing I could put together to make any sense.
I don't have much time for introspection here lately. My time is taken up with coughing and breathing and trying not to do both at the same time. Nurse Emma is here with me pretty much constantly now. I can't seem to do anything that doesn't induce a coughing fit. I can't even thing about coughing and not start doing it.
My chest hurts now, almost constantly. My back too.
I remember getting injured at lot in college sports, it came with the territory. I can remember broken ribs, cracked ribs, bruised rib cages and bruised backs. But I think if I had all those injuries all over, at the same time, that pain would only be fraction of the pain I feel now. I never knew it could hurt to lie down. I never knew it could hurt to sit up. My chest and my back hurts so much every position is uncomfortable. I can usually only fall asleep after I have coughed so much, that I am exhausted. So, I guess, technically, it's not so much falling asleep as it is passing out.
I never knew how horrible it was not to be able to breathe. I mean, when I was a kid I panicked once when I dove into our pool, the deep end, and it took me longer than I thought it should for me to break the surface of the water. But that was nothing compared it this. I know that is air out there. I'm surrounded by it. And I try to inhale, but for some reason nothing happens, so I try again, then I get a little something, a little air. It's like you're sucking air through a straw anyway, and then you hit the bottom of the cup. Like when you finish your soda at McDonalds and you're sucking hard on that straw to get every last little bit of soda out before you have to throw the cup away. Only it's EVERY breath ALL the time. The total breathlessness only happens, luckily, immediately after a particularly long or hard coughing spell.
I tasted blood a little while ago, I think. Emma wiped something off my face She then showed the tissue to Brad and he nodded. I think they both thought I missed it. I thought I saw a worried look pass between the two of them, I'm not entirely sure. I don't like where this is going. I only know it's never good to be coughing up blood.