Chapter 14 –By Kirsty Welsh-
Hutch paced the small corridor outside the treatment room to which Starsky had been brought. He was beginning to come around a little more by the time the ambulance arrived, but the paramedics and his blond partner were adamant that he should go to the hospital to be checked out.
In the ambulance he'd been tired and had drifted in and out of sleep, but by the time he'd gotten to Memorial and Dr Jefferson had been sent for, the brunet was wide awake and was beginning to make his feelings on once more being in the hospital known.
'I don't need to be here' he said as the paramedics lifted him from the gurney onto the bed.
'Well why don't you just walk out then?' Hutch said, not unkindly.
'Oh ha ha, very funny! What I mean is I'm not sick. Hospital is for sick people and I'm not. Just a bit frayed around the edges'. The brunet whined. He opened his eyes wider, hoping to maybe see something. The colours he's viewed when the pains had been at their worst had given him a crazy sense of optimism, but now there was just the cloying blackness again.
Dr Jefferson arrived and pushed his way into the room and took a look at the curly haired man. 'Can't stay away huh?' he asked good naturedly. 'What happened?'
'Nuthin' Starsky said sullenly.
'He fell' Hutch explained. He tapped his partner on the arm. 'Tell him'.
'About the colours. You said you saw colours' the blond persisted.
'What colours? What did you see? Jefferson asked.
Starsky sighed. 'It's probably nuthin. I was on the phone, I got a blinding pain in my head, saw all these psychedelic colours like I was on LSD or sumthin, then I passed out'.
'Where was the pain?' the doctor said, shining his pen light into the deep indigo eyes.
'Kinda over my temples. Like someone was tightening a band around my head, but it was intense. Why? What's it all mean?'
Jefferson paused. 'I don't know. Maybe nothing. But I want to run a series of tests.
'And if you do these tests you can tell if I might be able to see again?'
'There's a possibility. Although I don't want to raise your hopes. I couldn't see any damage to your optic nerves. There's nothing to say why you can't see. But at least these tests will rule out certain other factors'.
'I dunno Doc. I just get the feeling that if it's gonna come back it'll do it on its own. But it's been weeks now and nothing has happened'.
'Are you saying that you don't want them done?'
'Starsky! The pain was so bad that you passed out. You've gotta do something!' Hutch said.
'I know. I'm gonna go home and go to bed and then tomorrow I'm gonna plan my trip up north'.
'Partner, listen to me. One night here and maybe the Doc can sort something out for you, put our mind at rest. Or at least make me feel better?' Hutch persisted.
The brunet sighed, resigned to his fate. 'Fine. Give it your best shot. But ya won't find nuthin, I know ya won't'.
'David we're going to do a new test. It's called a CT scan and it'll take photos of your head and brain, like slices through a cake. It's a slow process, but it might give us the answers we need. And the good thing is it isn't painful. You just need to remain absolutely still for a couple of hours' Jefferson explained as Starsky sat in front of the huge doughnut shaped machine. The room was quiet and although he couldn't see the scanner, he felt it's presence in the room, as though it were looming over him. It was hot in the big room and he could feel the prickle of sweat down his spine, but at least this was one test where he didn't have to take off any clothes – a first for him and a matter for which he was grateful. Being on those stupid dresses always made him feel vulnerable. At least with his sweat pants on, stretched tight over his casts, he felt almost normal.
He lay down on the gurney, flat on his back, arms at his side as the nurse smiled at him and draped a blanket over his legs. He felt her tighten a strap of some sort across his body at waist level, trapping his arms to his sides and stiffened, crazy memories of rough hands on his body and pain making his breath hitch in his throat. God sometimes he longed just to be able to see a comforting face or smile.
'It's ok Dave. I just need to do this to make sure you don't move. A lot of our patients fall asleep during the test, and I'd hate to have you move and we start it all over again!'
'K' he said softly, but braced himself anyway. He'd had the misfortune to be on so many of these so called "painless" tests that had, in fact, left him sweating and panting as sympathetic doctors and nurses looked on. He had always preferred that they just tell him straight out that things would be painful, then at least he could prepare himself. But there again, maybe this time might be different?
'I'm going to put a strap across your forehead too. It will be tight, but hopefully not uncomfortable'.
Starsky nodded his consent and felt the pliable plastic strap tighten across the top of his head. It pressed against the fresh scar over his left eye and he hissed a little, but said nothing. He felt the gurney move and the nurse told him that the test was about to start. He felt nothing, the only sign of anything happening being the whir of the machine. The soft sounds eventually lulled him into a sleep and he dreamed happy dreams of running down the perps that he and Hutch had dealt with over the years. In Starsky's dreams it felt good to have the reassuring weight of his Smith and Wesson in his hand again and to feel his legs powering him along as the wind rushed through his curly hair.
Two hours later he was almost sorry when the technician shook his shoulder gently. His muscles felt cramped from having to remain in one position for so long and as he sat up he felt a little dizzy, but he also felt an odd calmness. He knew they wouldn't find anything, but at the same time had the sense that all of this would eventually come right. How he knew he had no idea, but thoughts of what Dan had said kept coming to him. It was all for a purpose. And maybe that purpose wasn't something for himself. Maybe it was to help another. Maybe Hutch? The blond had been clear of the drug and booze for a week now, and although Starsky still heard him prowling the living room in the middle of the night, he had no sense that Hutch was looking for more Vallium. He seemed less agitated and more focussed and that in turn, comforted the brunet.
Starsky returned to his little side room and knew that Hutch was there waiting for him. He'd sent the blond home the previous evening. He wasn't sick, and Hutch deserved a night on his own without having to keep an ear cocked for Starsky's needs. One thing about this blindness thing, Starsky mused. Although people's sentiments about "other senses taking over "was a load of crap designed to make them feel better, he did understand that there were times when he could smell something or hear something that he would not have noticed before. Now, it was the lemon fresh scent of Hutch's shampoo and the rasp of his partner's fingers over the stubble on his chin.
'Hey Blondie. Sleep well?' he asked.
'Sure. How was the CT test?'
'Piece o' cake. Best test ever. I fell asleep. They should make 'em all like that' the brunet replied, leaning heavily on the orderly as he transferred himself to the bed, the chair being taken up by Hutch.
'Did they tell you anything?'
'Nah. Nuthin. Doc says it'll be a while before they can tell me the results. It's all so new they're just learning how to interpret the readouts. Good news is, I can go home now' Starsky smiled happily'.
The next day, Starsky rang Pat Morris back to thank him for calling for Hutch. The old detective was relieved to hear from Starsky and settled easily into conversation.
'I've been looking after your place. When are you coming back up here?' Morris asked.
'I'm planning on getting up there soon. Hutch is gonna drive me. I should get these casts off fairly soon, then we'll drive up to New York and take care of business. I need to pack up. Gonna move back down to Bay City'.
'You do what ya think is right, son. Have you given any thought to what you might do? For a job, I mean?'
'Only every waking hour. Pat. I just can't over the sightless thing. Who's gonna want to employ a guy who can't see? One thing is for sure. It won't be BCPD'.
'Seems like a waste to me. You have so much talent and such a good career history. Will ya let me think about it? I got one or two more years in than you, an' I got talking to your Captain Dobey while I was askin' how you were. We may have something cooked up by the time you're back on your feet'
'Yeah? What?' Starsky was intrigued, but at the same time didn't want any favours. He knew Dobey. The Captain had a gruff exterior, but at the same time a heart of gold. If there was any way he could make this work for the brunet he would do. But Starsky wanted a proper job, and not just something cobbled together as a give away. He may be blind but he was no charity case. And he still had Hutch to consider.
'Never mind for now. You need to rest, boy. Rest and get better, an' give me a call if you need anything, huh?'
'Hey, you've done enough. You're looking after my place. Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll be back up there. Doc says my legs are healing well and the ribs are doing great. I can't fly for a while, which is why we'll make the trip by road, but I'm doing good'.
'You sound good' Morris said, an edge of surprise in his voice.
'Ya know, I feel it. Dunno what happened while I was out, but somehow I feel more at peace now than I have done for years. It's almost like the blindness has given me permission to think about me for a while… Jeez, I sound like that police shrink! I guess what I'm trying t'say is although not being able to see sucks big time, its not as scary as thought'.
Morris listened to the young man, amazed at the fortitude of the curly haired cop. He and Dobey had talked for over an hour on the telephone and had finally come up with an option for both Starsky and his blond partner to work together again, in the PD and still at the sharp end of proceedings. They both agreed it was too early to discuss any of it with the two men, but at the end of their telephone conversation, both Dobey and Morris were happy with their ideas and knew both former detectives would leap at the chance they would be offered.
Now Morris prepared to say goodbye. 'Some things are just meant to be, boy. Sometimes we have no idea why they happen and they seem so unfair at the time. But I'm a firm believer in Karma. What's gonna be is gonna be. You look after yourself son. Be speakin' to ya'. TBC