The smell of cleaning products wafted into Arya’s nose as she stepped through the hospital doors one Monday morning, a cup of hot chocolate with sex mini marshmallows in it in one hand. A handmade red scarf by her mother was wrapped securely around her neck, protecting her from the harsh cold of Winterfell.
“Good morning, Arya.” Greeted the head of the nurse department, Mordane, greeted her. The wrinkles around her eyes becoming more visible as she smiled.
“Morning.” Arya replied as she signed in her attendance, “Anything interesting for me today?”
Arya Stark, a graduate student at Winterfell University, is currently working on her internship as part of her Communication Science Disorder program. She had to work with a local hospital for the span of three months for at least five hours a day to have a full on experience with meeting patients and helping them before she had the opportunity to graduate. Arya mainly focused on audiology, speech and hearing therapy. But she also worked with autism-related disorders and general health care. The reason she decided to major in CSD is because of her brother Rickon who had delayed speech development. It fascinated her that the mind can sometimes be late with certain tasks. And when she went to college and was exposed to the many fields of Communication Disorder, Arya couldn’t choose just one.
“Well, you have a coma patient to be taking care of.” Mordane replied as she looked at the computer on the desk.
“Coma patient?” Arya scrunched up her nose, “I don’t remember hearing anything about that.” Arya had been working at Winterfell Saviors Hospital for about a month now and she hadn’t heard of or seen any new coma patient. Which is a bit odd since the staff of this hospital loved to gossip about their patients.
“He was in ICU for two weeks, his condition was pretty critical but he’s stable now. Dr. Celgane wants you to take care of him until he wakes up.” The old woman replied.
Dr. Sandor Clegane was a diagnostic medicine doctor and general surgeon at Winterfell Saviors Hospital. He was a tall man with a scowl on his lips. Half of his face is scarred from burnt marks that he doesn’t tell anyone where had gotten it from. Arya heard one of the female nurses saying that he used to work for the mafia and fixing up anyone who was injured. Another nurse said that he had worked in the army and that a bomb had gone off. Arya didn’t believe any of them.
Although Dr. Clegane looked intimidating, he spoke with care and was very gentle to his patients. No one doubted what he said and the patient always had faith in him. Arya sometimes thinks it’s because they pity him. Other times she thinks it’s because he is one of the best doctors in the country and is pretty well known.
“Does he have a file?” Arya asked as she peered behind the counter.
“Printing it now.” The sound of the printer whizzing followed Mordane’s answer.
“Does he have any family?” the brunette asked as she waited for the papers and sipped her lukewarm chocolate milk.
The old woman shook her head, “I’m afraid not.” And slid the paper across the counter.
Arya nodded her head before taking the paper in her gloved hands and headed to the changing rooms to change into her uniform and begin her day.
She had a simple routine at Winterfell Saviors Hospital. Every day at 9 am sharp she would visit Olenna Tyrell who suffered from Aphasia. Arya would greet her with a smile and ask her how she’s doing. The old woman would slowly tell Arya about herself before indulging the graduate students with gossip about her grandchildren. She would whine about how her grandson, Loras, found a new lover named Renly and would have nothing but high praises for her favorite granddaughter Margery. Arya would laugh whenever Olenna complained about her foolish son and offer her own remarks her and there. After that, she would help Olenna practice her writing and speaking skills before heading out and seeing her next patient.
Varys suffers from presbycusis, or simply, age related hearing loss. He didn’t reside at the hospital like Olenna, but he came every day at 9:30 so that Arya could monitor his hearing and to make sure that he did nothing else to damage his ear.
At 10 am to 11 am she would be working with Aemon Targaryen who is blind and had recently had a stroke and lost his speech and motor ability. Arya would work with a nurse by the name of Samwelll Tarly to help her with the physical related treatments for Aemon. Afterwards, she would briefly check in on her other patients before having her lunch break around noon.
It was after her lunch break that she decided to visit her coma patient who resided in the east wing of the hospital in room 201. As she made her way, she began reading her coma patient’s file. Arya learned that his name is Gendry Waters and is 25 years old. Prior to his accident, he had no speech or audio impairment but could develop either one after he wakes up from his coma. The accident was a car crash from two weeks ago. He suffered broken ribs, a broken arm and had to go under surgery to remove a large piece of glass impaled to his head that, miraculously, evaded his brain and vital veins.
Room 201 was quiet save for the sound of the monitor beeping every couple of seconds to indicate that Gendry was in stable condition. The man lying in bed was covered in bruises and cuts as Arya walked closer to his bed. His arm was in a cast while a gauze was wrapped around his head. His left eye was bruised and the skin turned into an ugly purplish black color.
Arya felt her heart ache for Gendry. He was only two years older than her yet he was on the brink of death. She briefly imagined herself being in that position and wondered what her family would do. She felt her heart tighten as she remembered what Mordane had said earlier about Gendry not having any family. Arya sighed before checking her patient one last time before walking out.
It’s been three weeks since Arya had first visited Gendry and the man showed no signs of improvements. It can be a bit frustrating working with coma patient since you have to log in any new movements from the patients. The problem was that most doctors brushed off any movements as involuntary reflexes. The worst part with working with coma patients is that when they won’t wake up and you have to make the dreaded decision: should they continue on life support or is it time for them to move on and pass? It was something that bothered Arya immensely. She was one of those rare doctors who would rather wait years for her patients to wake up than pull the plug. Some would argue that she’s making the patients suffer. But she would argue back that not everyone wants to die, especially when you aren’t aware about your life.
Arya had tried many of her methods to gain a reaction from Gendry but nothing seemed to be working. She followed some of the methods in her medical textbooks from one of her lectures but those didn’t work either. Gendry was in a blissful sleep and had no intentions of waking up soon. And the hospital didn’t like that.
“We can’t continue having him on life support, Clegane.” Dr. Roose Bolton barked at the scarred man. “We have other patients to take of, alive ones.”
Sandor scowled, “Paying ones is what you mean.” He sneered at his boss. Clegane never really liked Roose Bolton. He was greedy and cared for the hospital when it came to business and money. He didn’t care for the patients, especially ones who couldn’t afford to pay. Sandor sometimes wonders why they never fire Roose and unethical thinking.
The old doctor with white hair said nothing as he engaged in a staring match with Dr. Clegane. “One week.” He finally spoke up, “One week and if Gendry doesn’t wake up, we pull the plug.”
Arya was currently in room 201 in the east wing cleaning Gendry’s room. She was humming a song under her breath as she moved from one spot to another. She walked to the window and pulled it up a bit to allow some fresh air into the stuffy room. She was checking Gendry’s monitor, while absent mindedly reciting the lyrics to the song she was singing, when she noticed movements from her peripheral vision. Turning to look at Gendry, she saw no movements. She was about to look away from his body when she suddenly noticed faint movements from one of his fingers, a small jerk really. But it was enough for Arya as she pushed the red button and waited for Dr. Clegane to come to the room and tell him about the improvements.
“His finger twitched!” She exclaimed excitedly as Clegane examined Gendry’s eyes, “I was humming to myself when I saw it moving!” Arya couldn’t help but smile. She had been taking of Gendry for almost a month now and he finally moved.
But Clegane did not share his excitement as he sighed while pulling away from the coma patient, “Arya we’ve been through this.” He pinched the bridge of his nose, “involuntary reflexes doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s waking up.”
“But he moved!” she cried, “That must mean something.”
Sandor sighed once more, “Look, Arya. I know that you care for this patient and you don’t want him to die. Hell, I don’t want him to die either. But the board just informed me that if Gendry doesn’t wake up within a week…” his voice drifted towards the end, making the implications heavier on Arya.
“He’s going to wake up.” Arya said challengingly, “You’ll see.”
Davos Seaworth sighed in the small hospital office, his excitement from earlier had completely vanished.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Seaworth.” Dr. Clegane apologized once more as he avoided the old man’s gaze, too shameful of what he had just informed him. How can Dr. Clegane be a caring doctor when he just told one of his patient’s guardian that if he didn’t pay up, then Gendry would die.
“’S alright.” Muttered Davos, eyes unfocused. “I knew it would happen anyways. Guess I was just postponing it.” He ignored the look of pity from the doctor and the nurse.
“Can I have a moment with him?” Davos asked Dr. Clegane, eyes pleading him.
“Yes you can.”
Davos felt his feet automatically walk him down the familiar corridor of the east wing towards room 201 where Gendry resided. His heart felt heavy and he could feel tears stinging his eyes. The only person he ever cared for beside Shireen could be dead by the end of the week. He couldn’t believe the only man who came close enough to being a son figure in his life will be taken away from him. God, life could be so cruel sometimes.
As he grew closer to Gendry’s room, he couldn’t help but hear the sound of singing. At first, he ignored it. Thinking that it was coming from another patient’s room. But when he stood in front of the opened door of Gendry’s room, he saw the source of the singing.
A short girl with shoulder length brunette hair was standing beside Gendry’s bed singing her heart out. Her voice wasn’t very special, to be honest. It was a bit shaky and it cracked here and there but it was comforting. Similar to how a mother would sing a lullaby to her child before going to bed. Davos said nothing as he watched the young woman continue singing.
“It’s only me who wants to wrap around your dreams and, have you any dreams you’d like to sell?”
Davos allowed for the woman to continue her song and waited patiently for her to finish before clearing his throat. The woman jumped in surprised before sharply turning around to face him with wide eyes and blushing cheeks.
“Hello.” Davos greeted as he stepped into the room.
“Hi.” The woman greeted back cautiously, “May I help you?” she asked him as he walked to the chair besides Gendry’s bed and took a seat.
“Just here to visit Gendry.” He replied calmly, his eyes never leaving the unconscious man. The bruises and scratches have mostly disappeared now.
“Are you his family member?” The woman asked. To which Davos shook his head no, “Not by blood. But I am his legal guardian.”
Arya felt herself inhale sharply, “How come I’ve never seen you before?” she asked the mysterious old man.
“I work long shifts during the day and can only visit him at night.” Finally, the man looked up from Gendry locked gazes with her.
“Are you his nurse?” he asked her.
“No,” Arya shook her head, “I’m Arya Stark, his care taker.” The man nodded at her and lowered his gaze to Gendry’s form.
It was silent in the room except for the heart monitor. Neither of them said anything and it was almost suffocating.
“What happened to him?” Arya finally asked.
Davos was expecting this question. It was only fair for his care taker to ask such a thing but remembering that dreadful night ached his heart.
“I’ve been taking of Gendry since he was 15 years old. He was just this scrawny looking kid working at a garage fixing up cars when I first meet him. He looked tired and hungry, it made something in me stir. I’ve never been a father nor have I been around children much, but something inside me told me that I need to take care of this lanky boy. To protect him from this cruel world before it broke him. And somehow, life was kind enough to grant me that wish.” Davos chuckled dryly, “He became a son to me. He is my best friend and my son. Life was great for the both of us.” Davos’ expression became sullen, “Until that fucking night when he barged into my room going on and on about how he had finally found his biological parents that he was going to meet them. I begged him not to go. Why should he go after people who didn’t want him? Why did he long for them when I was right there? I was the perfect father for him but I guess it wasn’t enough. We fought, insults were thrown and threats were told before Gendry stormed out of the house and into his car. I remember it was snowing heavily that night. Although the stubborn but of me didn’t care, the fatherly side did. I called Gendry to apologize, to convince him to come home. But he didn’t answer. And when he did, it wasn’t him. It was an EMT telling me that my son was in a car crash and that his car drove off the railings.”
Arya watched as a single tear slid across the man’s wrinkled skin and land on Gendry’s arm. She could feel her own throat tightening and hurriedly wiped her own tears away.
“He can’t die.” Davos said thickly, “Not when the last thing we did was fight.” The tears flowed down his cheeks freely as he cried for his son.
“He won’t.” Arya heard herself say shakily, “I’ll make sure of it.”