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“Yes.” Paul’s mother actually found a gasp of air necessary to join the conversation.
Paul watched her take a few shaky breaths. “What?” He hadn’t paid any attention to the holographic projection.
“I asked if there was any blood in the vomit.”
Paul looked in the bowl. The green and yellow mess didn’t have a hint of red in it.
“Please make sure,” the woman said. “It might look black or even like coffee grounds.”
Paul looked again, half terrified that he’d find specks of black in the vomit, but no matter how hard he looked, all he saw was green and yellow.
“I’m sure,” Paul said. The relief at what he didn’t see helped him get a handle on his temper. “That’s good, right?”
“Yes.” The woman actually smiled. “It’s horribly uncomfortable and painful to vomit, but as long as there’s no blood, then it’s very likely just bile.”
“Almost certainly,” the woman said. “How much has she had to eat?”
“Not nearly as much as she’s vomited,” Paul said.
“Some fruit,” his mother added. “Just a few servings here or there.”
“OK.” The woman gave a smile as she nodded. “What’s probably happening is something called delayed nausea, which is very frightening, but not terribly uncommon. That combined with fruit and the color of the vomit indicates that it is just bile.”
Her eyes glanced down, and Paul herd some distinct clicking, fingers pressing keys on a keyboard.
“I’m sending you a list of food that will probably go down better and will be less likely to come up.” A small envelope appeared in the bottom right of the holographic projection to indicate the file had already arrived. “Give her some water and maybe a bit of broth, and try to help her get back to sleep.”
“That’s it?” Paul asked.
“You can always bring her to the hospital to get checked up, but it seems like the worst of it is over, and what she needs right now is something to ease her stomach and help her rest,” the woman replied.
Paul gently rubbed his mother’s back. “Do you want to go to the hospital?”
She shook her head.
“OK,” Paul said.
“How should I know if I need to take her in,” he asked the hologram.
“Bleeding or blood in any situation is cause for concern. The darker the color of that blood, the more serious it is,” she said. “I want to be clear that you can and should always visit the hospital if you feel it is an emergency.”
Paul nodded as he listened. She stayed on the line for what had to be a full minute, watching Paul’s mother.
Paul looked at the woman. “Thank you.” It was clear she was just giving his mother a bit of attention.
“Your welcome,” she said. “Get some water and broth in her, just a little, and see if you can get her back to sleep.”
“OK,” Paul said.
The hologram blinked out of existence. Paul gently helped his mother up and into her bedroom. Just a few weeks ago, his mother seemed so vibrant. Now he worried he might break something if he gripped her too hard.
And this is just after one treatment? How bad is it gonna get?
He tried to hide his concern as he covered her up. He went into the bathroom, flushed the toilet, washed his hands, and grabbed the PID before coming back out. He set the PID back on the night stand next to her bed.
“I’ll be right back.”
True to his word, Paul fought himself to avoid sprinting to get his mother something to drink. He filled a pitcher with ice and water and brought a small cup back to his mother’s room. Some small part of his mind reminded him to snag a hand towel as he walked, and he set it on the night stand to catch the condensation of the water in the pitcher. His mother would go insane if something put a ring on any of her furniture.
He poured water into the small glass, and helped his mother drink. She only managed a few sips. The cup couldn’t have contained 8 ounces, and she still only drank half of it, but at least she drank.
“It’s right here for you, and if you need help, just tap your PID. I’m just going to make you some broth.”
Paul waited for his mother to nod before heading to the kitchen. He grabbed a can of soup and got to work cooking it. Once he had the contents heating in a pot, he made his way back to her room.
She was there, sleeping. Her hands were still folded together in prayer. She was clearly exhausted, but she didn’t look uncomfortable. Paul took a moment to finally head to his room and grab his PID. Then he returned to his mother’s side and watched her sleep until the soup was ready.
He quickly went to the kitchen to turn off the stove. He carefully used a lid to pour the broth into one container and the rest of the soup, vegetables and chunks of chicken, into a bowl. He covered the broth to keep it warm and set the bowl on top. He carefully walked back to his mother’s room, breathing out a relieved sigh when he saw she was still sleeping. He set the broth and noodles down and pulled up a chair.
He left for another moment just to get two spoons. She was still resting comfortably when he returned, so he picked up the bowl, deciding to eat the noodles and chicken while he watched over her.
… to be continued …