Summary: Pre-ep for 100,00 Airplanes.
Feedback: Feedback is greatly appreciated.
And here we are again. State of the Union number four is tonight. A big part of me can't help but wonder if this is it, the last one. As I contemplate the reality of the situation I hear Jed turn off the shower and get out of the tub.
I should get up and at least have breakfast with him before he heads over to the West Wing. But I am way too comfortable here in bed. I got a good night's sleep for the first time in a while. This cast has really got to go. It is getting more annoying by the day. I tried to convince the doctor to cut me loose but he held up my latest x-ray and vetoed that idea quickly. Unfortunately, I had to agree with him as I took a look at the picture of my yet unhealed ankle.
Jed wanders out in his bathrobe and walks to the little fridge in the corner to grab an ice pack. He sits on the couch and turns on CNN while he holds the ice against his right thigh. A bottle of Betaseron sits on the table warming up. For a change he remembered to take it out of the fridge before getting in the shower.
"You take some Advil?" I call from the nice warm bed.
"Jeez Abbey, I didn't even know you were awake." he calls, sounding quite startled.
"What? Yeah, I took Advil."
He turns his attention back to the TV for another minute or so. He's ignoring me at the moment but I'm used to it.
For the past 8 months I've made him give himself the majority of the Betaseron injections. He rotates the sites so the only ones I give him are the ones in the butt. At which point he likes to make some joke about me being a pain in the ass.
He was less than enthusiastic about learning to do them himself. When he was first started on Betaseron he tried to do it himself but he was just too squeamish. After a couple days of watching him nearly hyperventilate I just started to do them myself.
So back in May, after his MS was made public I put my foot down. I can remember that conversation as if it were yesterday.
"Oww" he yells as he pulls his arm back and rubs the spot where I have just injected the Betaseron. "Hope you're a little more gentle with your paying patients." he mutters as he gets up.
I roll my eyes and shake my head a little as I clean up. He goes into the bathroom to look at the arm in the mirror.
"Oh, that's going to bruise." he hisses.
It takes all my energy not to go off on him yet again. It's been 3 days since the Press Conference and let's say, I'm just getting started. We've spent hours yelling and going back and forth over the past 3 days. Nothing is getting accomplished and we're just pissing each other off even more.
Now that we are both pretty worked up it's time to drop my little bomb.
"Jed, it's time you did this yourself." I say as I lean against the doorway to the bathroom.
"Do what?" he asks with a mouth full of Colgate.
"No way Abigail. I can't. I won't."
"Josiah, you can and you will."
"But everyone already knows you give me the shots, what's the big deal. The cat's out of the bag, the jig is up."
I roll my eyes again and cross my arms, letting him know I mean business.
"Yes, the secret is out. I'm about to get crucified and pardon me if I don't feel like continuing the very action that got me in this mess in the first place."
"I can't do it. I tried, remember?"
I remember all too well but I try to push the memory of my husband about to pass out from hyperventilating from my mind.
"You're going to have to learn." I shoot back in a tone that leaves little room for argument. "So you have 48 hours to learn how to do it."
"You'll help me won't you?" he asks as he wipes his face and moves to sit on the counter.
The look on his face tells me he honestly thinks I would just shove the vial and syringe at him and leave him alone. Against my wishes I can feel my heart breaking at the sight of him sitting there, terrified.
"Jed, of course I'll help you."
And so 48 hours later we are sitting on the edge of the tub. He's managed to fill the syringe and wipe his thigh without passing out. So far, so good. His hands are relatively and surprisingly calm at the moment. With a deep breath he pinches up a little skin on the top of his leg with his left hand. He's concentrating so hard he's biting down on his lower lip.
"Honey, you can do it. Just take a deep breath." I say as I try not to look him in the eye.
He takes another breath and with a swift motion, inserts the needle, pushes down the plunger and pulls it out. I let out the breath I didn't realize I had been holding.
"I did it." he says proudly holding up the empty syringe.
"Yes you did."
I take the syringe and kiss his cheek.
"Abbey, I did it." he repeats, sounding like a kid who just hit a homerun.
"Yes, Jed. But now you have more important things to do like run the country." I remind him, trying to find that happy medium between the pride I feel for him at this moment and the fact that I am still pissed as hell at him.
He tosses the ice pack on the couch cushion and fills the syringe with practiced ease. He injects it without even a flinch.
After about 2 months of giving himself the shots he was a pro at it. It is second nature to him now. Something he just does every other morning. It has gotten to the point where he doesn't even care who is in the room at the time. I think most of the Senior Staff has witnessed it at least once.
The only one it ever bothered was Josh. But I was in the room at the time and grabbed the smelling salts in a hurry. Jed already had an ice pack out so I just tossed it to Donna who came over to walk Josh back to his office. He ended up with a pretty big bump on his forehead and a bigger wound to his ego. Poor Josh, he took a huge amount of teasing that day. I'm still not sure he's lived it down.
Jed is still sitting on the couch, watching CNN, distractedly rubbing his leg.
Suddenly aware that I have been watching him, Jed looks up and smiles broadly.
I motion for him to come sit on the bed. He sits down indian-style next to me. I hold the ice against his leg for another few minutes. The ice helps the swelling and the pain at the injection site. The Advil helps to ward off the flu-like side effects that plague him every once in a while. He's pretty good about remembering to take the Advil half an hour before the injection but tends to forget the second dose 6 hours later. I can always tell when he's forgotten to take it. He'll drag himself back to the residence at night with that "death on a Triscuit" look about him. I'll tease him about forgetting to take it, help him into the shower and afterwards, rub his back until he falls asleep.
"I already have big bottle of Advil sitting on my desk." he grins.
"Good. You ready for tonight?"
He takes a deep breath as he stretches out across the bed, his head resting on my thighs. I reached down to brush back a stray lock of hair that's fallen across his forehead.
"I think so." he answers in a voice that sounds like he is trying to convince himself of that fact.
We stay that way for another 20 minutes or so until Charlie calls from the West Wing to let Jed know Leo is waiting for him.
"You'd better get going, Leo's waiting." I say as I caress his cheek.
He gets quiet again and his face takes on a sad look. I can tell he's thinking about how this could be his last State of the Union.
"Have faith, Jed." I whisper as I squeeze his hand.
The speech was a success and the celebration is starting to die down. I'm on one of the couches in the Oval Office, enjoying the relative peace and quiet of this hallowed room.
Jed is on the other couch, sound asleep. He had been going non-stop for 21 hours and things finally caught up with him. He's only been out for about 10 minutes, which is about 9 minutes longer than it took him to fall asleep once he stopped moving long enough for his body to relax a little.
He did great tonight. I'm realizing just what this job means to him. You'd think I would know by now but I guess I really didn't fully understand it. And it's weird, there was this defining moment where everything just clicked together, it was just a feeling that's been building for a while now. Seeing him up there, standing before Congress and the nation, something just clicked and it became crystal clear why he wanted to run again.
It's not even something I can put into words. I just saw the desire and the drive in his eyes. I saw the passion with which he spoke the words of Sam and Toby. I saw it in the way he smiled and modestly accepted the applause at the end of the speech. He was where he belonged. I saw it in the way he celebrated with the staff. The way he collapsed on Leo's couch next to Toby with a piece of apple pie somewhere around 2 in the morning.
He deserves another shot and there is no way I can take that away from him.
Let's just hope the voters of America saw what I saw tonight and that they remember it come November.