Yeah, another of those RL thingies adapted to the TS universe. I hurt, they hurt. I’ve finally found the guts to go to the doctor in half an hour, so we’ll see how this one ends….

Note: FYI, this will probably end up as the prologue to my UAUS (unfinished AU series) "Self-serving, spineless goober".

 

BACKACHE

by

Ceci, unofficial keeper of the Wheeler Jim clone


Blair Sandburg couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned in his bed, wishing he could dial the pain down. That’s something he envied about Jim. He knew that to possess heightened senses was no stroll in the park, but to be able to regulate how much you feel… "Sentinel 1, Guide 0," he muttered to himself. But, not surprisingly, Jim had heard him.

As he opened the door, Jim whispered his friend’s name. "Blair? You OK, buddy?"

Blair sat up slowly, wincing with the pain. "Not really."

"Your back still hurting? I thought you said you’d take two painkillers before you went to bed." Jim was concerned. Blair had been in pain for the last week, but now had it increased to the extent that he couldn’t sleep.

"I did, Jim. They’re not helping. I lie down, it hurts. I sit up, it hurts. I walk around, it hurts. I’m soooo tired, man."

"Call in sick tomorrow, and we’ll go have you checked out. It could be serious, you know."

When Blair’s back had first started hurting, both he and Jim thought it had to do with Blair having fallen asleep on the couch for a couple of nights in a row, but now they were sure that was not it. Now they needed to find a reason and a cure.

 

The next morning, Blair sat in an examination room at Cascade General. 

The door opened, and a woman whose nametag read 'Dr. Emma Ferguson' walked in. "So, Mr. Sandburg, I understand that your back is troubling you?"

"Yeah. Can’t lie down, can’t sit up, can’t walk around."

"I’d like you to leave a urine sample, so that we can rule out a urine tract infection," Dr. Ferguson said emphatically.

"You won’t be watching, will you?" Blair tried to lighten up the situation.

Dr. Ferguson smiled. "Oh, no. This is not a drug test. The bathroom is right over there. A nurse will be waiting for you."

 

Five minutes later, Blair re-emerged. The nurse took the sample and went to do a quick analysis. It turned out negative for a UTI, and Blair soon found himself back with the doctor. She looked at his back, pressed on certain points and asked him where it hurt. She told him that he needed to have some x-rays of his back, and then return to her with the prints.

The radiology room was cold. Blair didn’t know if the room was REALLY that cold, or if it had to do with all the huge medical equipment as well as his own nervousness. However, a smiling radiology assistant soon warmed up the room.

Mental note: Remember to ask for her phone number, Blair thought to himself as the young woman gave him instructions.

 

A half-hour later, the x-rays had been developed, and Blair returned to the exam room. After studying the pictures carefully for a while, she sat down opposite to Blair. "Mr. Sandburg, are you familiar with the condition spina bifida?"

Blair nodded hesitantly. "Well… Not too well. I know that people with the condition are born with a lump on their back…What’s that got to do with me, anyway?"

"Spina bifida is a collective name for a number of congenital spinal cord malformations where the spinal cord hasn't closed correctly. In the most severe forms – meningocele, myelomeningocele and encefalocele - there is a "hole" in the back where cerebrospinal fluid as well as part of the spinal cord and nerves protrude in a sack, and in order to ensure survival this sack or lesion has to be corrected. Many of the children born with these conditions face paralysis and other physical as well as mental problems   " She paused for a moment, making sure that Blair understood what she was saying. "There is also another, milder form – spina bifida occulta or 'hidden' spina bifida, SBO for short. In this condition, there is no lesion. Usually, people with SBO go through their lives without even knowing they have it."

"So I have this…condition? Why is my back aching then?"

"Yes, Mr. Sandburg, you do. Your back is aching because you have strained the lesion area. With rest, you should be just fine in a couple of days."

"Will this affect me otherwise?"

"It’s hard to tell. There are many question marks around this condition, I’m afraid. There is a risk that minor injuries to your spine may affect you a bit more than it does people who do not have SBO, but it varies from individual to individual."

"But if I live my life like I always have, I will not even 'know' it’s there?"

"Usually that is the caset."

"Thank you, doctor. I need to go, my friend’s waiting."

"Sure, Mr. Sandburg. If you have any questions, anytime, don’t hesitate giving me a call."

"I’ll remember that. Thank you." With that, Blair left the room to meet Jim. I so can’t tell Jim this right now, I’ll just tell him the ball game left me stiff or something, he thought. As he rounded the corner, he almost ran into his friend.

"Hey, slow down, Chief! You almost sent me to the floor there!" Jim had an expression of both surprise and worry on his face.

This is going to be so hard, Blair thought. "Hey, Jim…" he began, but Jim cut him off.

"What did the doctor say?"

It’s now or never. "Stiff from the ball game, that’s all. A little worse than usual, but a couple of days rest, and I’ll be fine." Hey, a little obfuscation doesn't hurt. If I told Jim what the doctor said he'd just worry for nothing.

Jim's facial expression changed to show his relief that Blair was going to be OK. "Nice to hear, Chief. Now, are you hungry? We could stop by at Wonderburger on the way home."

"No, thanks. I'm not really that hungry, and I especially don't want to go to Wonderburger!" Blair giggled a little, and he hoped his nervousness didnĘ't show. "I just want to go home. My back’s not aching right now, I might even be able to get some sleep."

Jim smiled. "Whatever you say, Chief. Whatever you say." 

Blair felt bad about lying, but why worry Jim when there was nothing to worry about? He would be fine, he just had to take it easy for a while and not get run over by a car. That shouldn't be too hard, now, would it?

 

THE END, for now. 


Feedback, anyone? Oh, btw, thanks SA Listsibs for your kind comments! My appointment went well, no UTI that time./Ceci

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