An Unexpected Surprise

By Rebecca and Tracy

This is a sequel to Houseguests, hope you enjoy.

Providence, Rhode Island

"Syd, darling, wake up," Lynda Hansen said, shaking Syd awake.

Sydney Hansen rolled over and groaned. "Five more minutes."

"No, you have to get up now," Lynda said. She pulled the covers off of Syd and pulled her up. "You're going to miss your flight."

"What flight?" Syd asked as she slipped on her robe. "Is there something you're not telling me?"

"No, of course not. You do remember that you're leaving for LA tomorrow?" Lynda asked. "For a lecture at your old practice?"

Syd sighed. "I don't even know why I even agreed to go. Everyone I see there is going to ask me why I left and then I will have to tell the whole story over again. Besides, they need me at the clinic."

"Syd, no buts, you're going," Lynda said. "Besides, I think you have a few people there you haven't seen in awhile."

"Who?" Syd asked.

"Sorry, dear, I can't help you on that one. I promised Lilly and Lucy I'd help them get ready for homecoming, well just Lilly, not Lucy," Lynda said and then she was gone.

"Mother." Syd awoke with a start and sighed, this was going to be a long week. Syd dressed and went into the house. She found the whole family gathered around the table in the kitchen.

"Morning, Syd," Joanie said cheerfully. "Are you ready for LA?"

"I guess," Syd said unenthusically as she poured herself a cup of coffee.

"You don't sound to thrilled about going," Jim said. "Something wrong?"

Syd kissed Hannah on the forehead and sat down at the table beside Joanie. "No, it's just that I'm afraid I'll run into Jerry and get stuck doing favors for him. I'm going to see Kerry King and to see what the lecture's all about."

Joanie gave a you're not telling the whole story look. "Is that all?"

"Yes, that's all, Joanie," Syd snapped. "I haven't seen Kerry in a while, and that's Kerry King not Kerry Weaver."

"Speaking of Kerry Weaver, have you talked to her in a while?" Joanie asked.

"No, I've been so busy lately," Syd said. She got up and put her coffee cup in the sink. "Well, I'm off. I'll call when I leave for the airport."

Syd waved and headed for the door.

"Have a nice time, sweetie," Jim said as Syd opened the door.

"I will," Syd said. She slammed the door behind her and headed for the clinic.

Chicago, at Cook County General

Kerry Weaver walked into the lounge to find Carter and Mark there, standing at their lockers. "Mark, how's the patient load?"

"Not bad," Mark said as he put on his coat. "So, you and Lizzy are really going to LA?"

Kerry opened her locker put her coat away and turned to Mark. "Yes. It should be a great experience." Kerry slammed her locker shut and headed for the door. "Our plane leaves at 1:00." Kerry walked out of the lounge and headed for the admit desk to check the board. She found Lizzy there and went over to her.

"Kerry, I was just coming to find you," Elizabeth said. "We need to leave here around twelve in order to make it to the airport on time. I'm so excited, I've never been to LA before."

"Syd says it's not as glamorous when you've been there awhile," Kerry said picking up a chart from the basket.

"You talked to Syd?" Elizabeth asked.

"No, not recently," Kerry said. "She told me about her life in LA that time all of us went to Providence"

"We can take the El to the airport, it's so much easier," Elizabeth said. Then her pager went off and she looked down to check it. "I'm needed in the OR, I'll see you around twelve."

"Okay," Kerry said.

Chicago Airport, on the plane

Kerry put her bag in the overhead bin and sat down. Elizabeth sat down beside her and put her bag under her seat. Finally, they were on their way to LA.

"Hopefully this flight won't be too bad," Elizabeth said.

"Hopefully we won't end up in the situation we wee in when we reached Providence," Kerry said.

"We shouldn't be, we don't have Dave with us this time," Elizabeth said.

Kerry laughed. "That's one good thing about this trip. We don't have Syd to bail us out this time if we get in a jam."

Elizabeth nodded. "I haven't spoken to her in a while. I wonder how she's doing?"

"Maybe we should call her when we reach LA," Kerry said.

Then the captain came over the speaker. "Ladies and gentlemen thank you for flying Delta lines. We should be reaching LA in about three hours. The weather looks good, and we're going to see a short film on safety. Hope you have a nice flight, and thank you again for choosing Delta."

Kerry sighed and leaned back in her seat. Soon she found herself asleep.

Providence Airport

Syd thanked the man and headed for the plane. She found her seat and put her bag in the overhead bin. Syd sat down and put on her seat belt, she could already tell that this was going to be a long flight. No, better yet, this was going to be a long week. Syd sat back and closed her eyes, soon she was asleep, not even hearing the captain's voice over the loud speaker.

"Syd, I think you should wear this to the lecture," Lilly said. She held up a blue sweater and a short black skirt. "Lilly, what are you doing here?" Syd asked. "Has my mother gotten you into something again?"

"No, I just wanted to come see you," Lilly said. She sat down beside Syd. "Can you tell me what your life was like in LA?"

Syd sighed, she really didn't want to go through the details. "Don't worry Lilly, you'll find out soon enough."

Lilly stood up. "Well, I have to go. My roommate has disappeared again."

Lilly gave Syd a hug and headed toward the front of the plane.

Syd smiled and looked down at the clothes Lilly had left her. She wished that she didn't have to see Lilly just in her dreams. Then Lynda appeared beside her, making her jump.

"Is Lilly giving you fashion advice?" Lynda asked noticing the clothes in Syd's lap.

"Mother," Syd said laughing. She looked down at her hands, a sad expression on her face. "I wish that I could see both of you not just in my dreams."

"I know dear," Lynda said.

"I miss you mom," Syd said, her voice full of emotion.

"I know, and I wouldn't have it any other way," Lynda said. She stood up. "Well, I have to go find Lilly and her roommate. Be careful, Syd."

Syd awoke with a start and heard the Captain's voice over the speaker announcing that they had landed in LA. Syd gathered her stuff and walked off the plane. She saw someone she was not expecting to see, Jerry. Syd groaned and walked over to him.

"Sydney, you're breathtaking," Jerry said. "I've come to pick you up from the airport. When I heard you were going to be here, I just had to come and see you."

"You didn't have to do that," Syd said walking toward the baggage claim.

"I have you a room at the Plaza Hotel, where the lecture is going to be held," Jerry said.

"The lecture is going to be at my old job," Syd said. She found her bag and got it off the ramp.

"Even better," Jerry said. "Come on, how about I take you to your hotel and then show you that nothing has changed around here." "Sorry Jerry, but I'm very tired and I have to be at the center in three hours," Syd said. "But you can take me to my hotel."

"Thank God for limos," Jerry said.

Syd sighed, now she knew that this was really going to be a long week.

"Hello Dr. Weaver," Lucy said appearing beside Kerry.

"Lucy?" Kerry asked, surprised. "What are you doing here?"

"Just to say hi and see how you are doing," Lucy said. "How's Carter?"

"Fine, he just got back from drug rehab," Kerry said.

Lucy became quiet. "It's all my fault. If I would have been more persistent with Carter and told him he was needed right then and there none of this would have ever happened. Now he's paying for my mistake and so am I."

"Lucy, it's not your fault, nor is it Carter's," Kerry said. Then she saw Elizabeth heading back toward their seat. "I think there is someone else who would like to see you."

"Lucy," Elizabeth said when she saw her. "What are you doing here?"

"To check up on you and Kerry, plus I want to see the sights of LA for myself," Lucy said. "Kerry just told me that Carter just got back from rehab. Actually I already knew that, I was with him the whole time."

"Of course you were," Elizabeth said. She sat back down in her seat and looked out the window. "I think we're about to land, I can see the city."

Kerry leaned over and looked for herself. "Wow, Syd was right, it is pretty."

Lucy smiled. "Well, I have to go find my roommate. She's probably back in the back raiding the refrigerator." Then Lucy saw Lilly and waved her over. "Kerry, Elizabeth this is my roommate Lilly Gallagher."

"Hi," Lilly said. "I'm a friend of Syd's."

Kerry awoke with a start and looked over at Elizabeth. Then Elizabeth sat up quickly, like she'd had a nightmare. "Weird dream?"

"Yes, how did you know?" Elizabeth asked rubbing her eyes.

"I probably had the same one," Kerry said. "Was Lucy there?"

"Yes, she was." Then the Captain's voice came over the speaker. "I think we're about to land."

Syd got out of the limo and walked toward the hotel. There were tons of people gathered around the outside of it and Syd knew exactly who they were there to see. Syd made her way through the crowd and up to the front desk.

"Can I help you?" the lady behind the desk asked.

"I have a room reserved, I'm Sydney Hansen," Syd said.

"Kerry King's best friend," the lady said.

Syd gave the woman a questioning look. "Excuse me?"

"Ms. King told me to inform her when you arrived. She wants you to meet her in the hotel restaurant." the lady handed Syd her key. "Room 312, on the fifth floor."

Syd took the key. "Thank you." Syd made her way toward the elevator and pressed the button. Then Jerry and his driver came up behind her with her luggage.

"Hope you don't mind if I help you get settled?" Jerry asked.

"Actually I do," Syd said as the elevator doors opened. She stepped inside. "I'll see you later, Jerry."

Jerry's driver stepped into the elevator with Syd, leaving Jerry alone and speechless.

Syd walked into the room and threw her bag on the bed. Jerry's driver put her bags on the floor. "Thank you Harry, now I think you'd better go before Jerry has a fit."

Harry nodded and walked out of the room.

Syd laughed and sank down on the bed, exhausted. Then she remembered Kerry's invention to meet her in the hotel restaurant. Syd unpacked quickly and went to find Kerry. She found Kerry in the main lobby, surrounded by fans.

"Ms. King how do you manage to throw a party and a wedding all in the same week?" Syd heard a fan ask.

"Look in my latest book, Time Management," Kerry answered quickly as she made her way toward Syd. "Syd."

"Hi, Kerry," Syd called. When Kerry finally escaped the crowd, she gave her friend a hug. "How are you?"

"Fine," Kerry said as the two friends made their way toward the restaurant.

"I was so excited when I heard that you were going to be here. I was hoping to get to spend some time with you. My TV show is doing reruns now so I'm a free woman."

"Great," Syd said as they found a table and sat down. "How long were you waiting for me?"

"Not long," Kerry answered. I got here about an hour ago, and not long after my fans soon followed."

"I noticed," Syd said. "There's a lot of people standing outside the hotel."

Kerry nodded. "So, what brings you back to LA?"

"Actually I'm here for a lecture, but mainly to see you," Syd said. She was glad to be spending time with her best friend.

Kerry Weaver and Elizabeth made their way toward the exit of the airport. They hired a cab and were soon on their way to the hotel.

"What time do we have to be at the center for the lecture?" Elizabeth asked.

"I think about six," Kerry answered. She checked her watch. "It's only four."

"I hope we don't get you and Kerry King confused," Elizabeth said. "I hear she's going to be out and about this week."

Kerry nodded. "You won't. Hey. what did Lucy say to you?"

"Nothing much, she just wanted to know how everyone was."

"She told me she blamed herself for what happened," Kerry said. Elizabeth sighed. "She didn't deserve that."

"But look at it this way, she's happier and she as a bunch of great friends," Kerry said.

Elizabeth laughed, she knew Kerry would say something like that. "Yeah, I know."

Twenty minutes later they arrived at the hotel. They got out and saw a lot of people standing in the door way.

"Wonder what's going on?" Kerry asked as the cab driver handed her the luggage.

"I don't know," Elizabeth said picking up her suit case and paying the cab driver. "Someone famous is probably here."

"Elizabeth this is LA," Kerry said as they made their way past the crowd. They made their way up to the desk and rang the bell.

"Can I help you?" the lady behind the desk asked. v "Yes, we would like one room with two double beds," Kerry said. She looked around at her surroundings. "Wow, this is nice."

"Your room is 314 on the fifth floor," the lady said. She handed them their key. "And what is your name?"

"Kerry Weaver," Kerry answered. "And what is going on outside?" "Oh, that. Well Kerry King is here visiting a friend and her fans decided to join her," the lady answered.

Kerry nodded and headed for the elevator. Then she saw a very familiar face, Sydney Hansen.

Sydney smiled and waved at Kerry and Elizabeth. After a few moments of visiting with various members of the crowd, Syd came over to greet her Chicago friends. She hugged them both, smiling broadly.

"What a terrific surprise!" Syd exclaimed. "What are the two of you doing in LA?"

"We're here for a medical convention," explained Elizabeth.

"That's odd," Syd said. "I'm giving a lecture at my old practice."

"At six o'clock tonight?" Kerry asked.

Syd nodded and chuckled. "It's like we're following each other around the country or something!"

"How does one decide what to do in LA, for nightlife?" Elizabeth asked. "There's so much to choose from,"

"That was never much of a problem for me," Syd answered, "since Jerry usually had all these little social functions lined up with his clients. He barely asked me if I wanted to go."

"A pity," sympathized Elizabeth.

Kerry nodded in agreement. "So, we heard that Kerry King is here. Isn't she one of those homemaker gurus? Kind of like Martha Stewart?" While she enjoyed cooking, Kerry Weaver had neither the time nor the desire for all of the domesticity which the "homemaker gurus" demonstrated.

"She was my best friend from high school," said Syd. "And, I've never thought of it that way, but I guess she is a little like Martha Stewart!"

Two hours later, after Elizabeth and Kerry had attended the lecture at Syd's former practice, they had decided what to do for entertainment. A small coffeehouse was presenting a jazz vocalist from the 1950's who was still recording and performing today.

"Peter is going to be so jealous," Elizabeth commented as she stirred a tall mocha latté. She and Kerry had been there for one set, and were eager to stay for more. "Even though we haven't seen each other for months, I remember his fondness for jazz."

"I don't blame him, this singer is absolutely terrific!" Kerry exclaimed. "Makes me wonder if there's a good record store around here."

"There is, just two blocks away," Syd Hansen approached their table. "Mind if I join you?"

The three friends sat together, enrapt in another set of superb music, until a beeper went off. Each woman checked her purse to make sure it wasn't hers.

"It's me," Syd said, holding her beeper up into the light. Her relaxed expression vanished as she dug for her cell phone and walked toward the hallway to make the call. Her beeper lay forgotten on the table.

Elizabeth couldn't help but see the message. "It's a message from Kerry King," she said.

When Syd reached the pay phone she dialed her friend's cell phone. Kerry picked up on the second ring, sounding like she'd been crying.

"Kerry, it's Syd. I got your page, what's wrong?" Syd asked.

"Syd you're not going to believe this but I'm actually trapped in my limo right now. My driver accidentally rammed into another car. He's unconscious and I'm stuck between the seat and.." Kerry couldn't finish her sentence for her cell phone had gone dead.

"Kerry!" Syd screamed. She slammed down the phone in frustration, blinking back tears. Her best friend was in trouble and Syd had no way of knowing where she was or how bad she was hurt. Syd walked down to the table where Kerry and Elizabeth were waiting for her. Her head had suddenly started to throb, making it even more difficult to think.

Elizabeth immediately noticed the pained look on Syd's face. "What did Mrs. King have to say?"

Syd used all the energy she had to stay focused. "I think Kerry is in trouble. She called from her limo and said that they've had an accident. She was completely conscious and started to say something but then we got cut off or something."

"Do you know where she is?" Kerry Weaver asked, concern in her voice. "I don't know, we got cut off before she had a chance to tell me," Syd said. She stood up, and raced out the door, Kerry and Elizabeth right behind her.

When the cab reached the wreck site, Syd jumped out. She raced over to the car and peeked in. The car was smashed in the front, but no glass was broken in the back where Kerry was. Syd turned to the officer who had come up behind her.

"Are you Dr. Hansen?" the officer asked.

"Yes," Syd said trying to be as calm as possible. "Why haven't you gotten her out yet?"

"We're doing everything we can Dr. Hansen. Mrs. King can't tell me her injuries or her driver's. It will be awhile before we can get her out. The middle door can open, but Kerry is stuck in between the seat, and the door Kerry and Elizabeth had come up behind her.

"Is she stuck?" Elizabeth asked.

"Yes," Syd said. "I'm going in there to see how bad she's hurt, and wait with her until they can get her out."

"Syd, that's dangerous," Kerry Weaver said.

"I have to, she's my best friend," Syd said. She waved to her friends and with the help of an officer, climbed in the smashed car. "Kerry?" Kerry opened her eyes slowly and smiled when she saw who it was. "Syd, what are you doing in here. Is there a way I can get out?"

"Not without getting you unstuck from the seat," Syd said. She pulled the bag the officer had given her up close. "Do you think anything is broken?"

"No, but I can't feel my legs," Kerry said.

"Did you hit your head?" Syd asked, trying to be as professional as possible. She noticed that Kerry seem to be drifting into unconsciousness. "Kerry, you have to stay awake. If you hit your head and you go to sleep you could go into a coma."

"I can't Syd," Kerry said. "It hurts to move."

Syd pulled out the portable IV bag. "I'm going to start an IV to hydrate you, then I'm going to put an oxygen mask to help you breathe."

"I'd never thought I'd say this but I'm scared Syd," Kerry said. Her voice was becoming weaker from the head trauma.

"It's OK," Syd said. "It's lucky you were conscious enough to call me."

Then they heard the sound of a saw.

"Don't worry, we're trying to get your driver out," an officer said. "We'll have you out shortly."

Syd squeezed Kerry's hand, drained from the emotion of the events that had taken place.

Twenty minutes later, Kerry King was out of the car and loaded into an ambulance. Kerry and Elizabeth followed the gurney into the ER.

"Her lung has collapsed," Syd said. "She needs surgery now." Kerry had lost consciousness.

"Do you think they would mind if I scrubbed in?" Elizabeth asked.

"Syd, her GCS is a three," Kerry Weaver said. "How long was she alert?"

"I don't know, long enough to call me, and then when I climbed in the car with her," Syd said. Her headache was worse then it had been an hour ago, and Syd was afraid she was going to pass out any moment. "I think she was going in and out of consciousness the whole time."

"BP's 90 over 170," a nurse said.

"Page surgery," an LA doctor said. "Dr. Hansen, you and your friend Dr. Corday may assist if you like. Syd I think you know the surgeon, his name is Phill."

Syd moaned to herself, not wanting to explain why she suddenly left LA for Providence. "Thanks." Twenty minutes later Syd was in scrubs and was scrubbing in.

"Syd I know how you must feel," Elizabeth said as they scrubbed up. "But Kerry is going to make it."

"She better, as you put it she's the next Martha Stewart," Syd said not looking up. "Besides, she's my best friend, I don't know what I would do without her."

"When was the last time you saw her?" Elizabeth asked.

"About two months ago," Syd said. She remembered she hadn't told Kerry Weaver or Elizabeth about her little experiences in the hospital, so she kept her mouth shut. Finally, after a few seconds Syd spoke up again. "She was in town for our high school reunion, and I found out that she had OCD."

"Is she getting treatment?" Elizabeth asked as she rinsed her hands.

"Yes, finally," Syd said. She ignored the throbbing pain in her head as she made her way into the OR, hoping she wouldn't pass out during the surgery.

Once Syd and Elizabeth were in the OR, Kerry Weaver wearily sank into one of the waiting room's overstuffed chairs. Kerry wasn't the kind of woman who found it easy to wait. Yet, as an ER doctor, it was her job to stabilize the patient and send them on. Sometimes she never found out what happened to some of the patients she had worked on. Kerry picked up a magazine but flipped idly through the pages. This was going to be one long night. If only they were still at the jazz club...

In the OR, things were going rather smoothly as the surgeons worked to repair Kerry King's collapsed lung. Elizabeth was as sharp a surgeon in LA as in Chicago, taking over the operating room as if it were her own. Syd found it hard to ignore her pounding headache, which was getting worse by the moment.

"All right, I'm ready to close," Elizabeth exclaimed triumphantly. Syd nodded, her eyes becoming somewhat glazed. Even though Elizabeth was standing right next to her, it sounded as though her voice was coming from far away, as if they were underwater.

"Syd?" Elizabeth finished sewing the incision and turned to her friend. With a soft moan, Syd crumpled to the floor. Sights and sounds faded completely. "Syd!"

"Hello, darling," Lynda was strolling in the hills atop the San Fernando Valley.

Syd rubbed her eyes and blinked in the sunshine. "Oh, no, Mother, not Paradise Inn again."

"No, dear, we're not at the Paradise Inn. We're in LA. I heard you went to a jazz club. Well, I was hoping to catch some of the scene for myself," Lynda said.

"I don't understand," Syd was more puzzled than ever.

"It's not like I don't go anywhere, darling. Come along with me, I'm sure we'll have a wonderful time."

The palm trees were swaying in the gentle, warm breeze as they walked along the streets of Los Angeles. "What were you doing here in LA, anyway?" Lynda asked.

Syd tried to remember. "I'm not sure." "It wasn't Jerry, was it?"

Syd shook her head. "No. Absolutely not!"

Lynda stopped when she came to the doors of the Hollywood Bowl, a famous concert hall over the decades. "Here we are! You really must come see the show, Syd!"

Syd didn't answer, as she was staring at a picture on one of the billboards. "Dad is leading the orchestra? And Kerry and Elizabeth are traveling with him?"

"No, silly!" Lynda was amused. "Where are you seeing that?"

"Right there!" Syd pointed to the sign.

Lynda sighed heavily, looking disappointed. "Your heart is still with them. That's why you're seeing them. Very well, you may go."

Syd opened her eyes, to find herself in a hospital bed with a very worried-looking Elizabeth and Kerry standing over her.

"You didn't tell us about the encephalitis," Kerry was saying, holding her cellular phone. "If we'd known, we would have been more careful not to wear you out running around the city."

"No," Syd said, trying to find her voice. "I didn't want the plans to change on account of me. There's been enough of that."

Elizabeth smoothed Syd's hair in a comforting gesture. "We've called your family, and they're coming in on the first flight."

"What about Kerry? Kerry King, I mean." Syd remembered Kerry's condition with a start.

"She's just fine," answered Elizabeth. "She'll be back on her feet in no time at all. Just relax. You could use some sleep."

"I had the strangest dream, about the two of you and my dad." Syd said as she closed her eyes. "He was a jazz orchestra leader and you two traveled with him as singers." Elizabeth laughed. "That was a dream, for I can't carry a tune in a bucket. Just ask Mark."

"It's legendary," Kerry said, laughing also. "Truly legendary."

In Providence

"I can't believe we let her to in the condition she was in," Joanie said.

"I know," Jim said as they loaded their luggage in the back of the car. "Are we taking Hannah?"

"Yes, I could get Elizabeth or Kerry to watch her while we visit Syd," Joanie said. She looked around the yard for her missing brother. "Where's Robbie?"

"Packing his stuff," Jim said. He took Hannah from Joanie and put her in the car. "OK, kiddo in you go."

"Robbie come on," Joanie called to her brother when she saw him in the kitchen window.

"Coming," Robbie said as he came out of the gate and onto the driveway.

"Have you called Syd's therapist yet to let him know what happened?"

"He wasn't available but Dr. Hopper is already in LA at that lecture. I told Kerry to give him a call," Jim said. "OK gang, let's move."

Four hours later, the group arrived at the hospital. Kerry Weaver met them at the front desk and gave them a hug.

"What happened?" Joanie asked Kerry.

"She passed out while performing surgery on Kerry King," Kerry said. "Mrs. King is in recovery and doing great. It's Syd I'm worried about. She was unconscious for about an hour after she passed out. I've got her on IV fluids to hydrate her. Her chart is being faxed over from County in Providence." Kerry pushed the up button on the elevator.

"I need to contact her doctor, Dr. Hopper who is here in LA at the lecture," Jim said as the group got into the elevator and rode up to the fifth floor. "Is Syd awake?"

"She was but only for a short time but was asleep when I went to wait for you," Kerry said. She pushed open the door to Syd's room, Jim, Joanie and Robbie following.

"Hey, Joanie," Elizabeth said giving her a hug and kissing Hannah on the forehead. "Hello sweetie."

"Hey," Joanie said. She looked down at her sleeping sister. "She's just sleeping right?"

"Yes," Elizabeth replied. She bent down to the bed and shook Syd awake.

"Syd, your family's here."

Syd stirred but didn't wake up.

"Syd, it's Joanie," Joanie whispered. She gave Hannah to Elizabeth and bent down beside the bed. "Syd, can you hear me?

No answer.

"Syd," Joanie said shaking her sister awake. She turned to Elizabeth. "Why isn't she responding?

Elizabeth gave Hannah to Robbie and rushed to Syd's side. She checked Syd's eyes. Why was her friend unresponsive all of a sudden?

Elizabeth discovered that Syd's eyes were fixed to the left side. "It looks as if she's had a stroke," she said, not wanting to believe it.

"As a result of the encephalitis?" Jim asked, ashen-faced.

"I'm afraid so," responded Elizabeth. "Kerry," she said urgently.

Kerry Weaver, who was busy checking Syd's vital signs, turned toward Elizabeth. "What?"

"Mark told me about the time he used a special drug to reverse the effects of a stroke. It was before I came to the United States. You weren't sure if it should be used, but it worked." Elizabeth narrowed her eyes, trying to think of any other solution. She was scared, but had long ago learned that she had to put the patient ahead of her own feelings... even if the patient was a dear friend.

Kerry nodded, understanding what Elizabeth was after. "We've got nothing to lose." They paged Syd's doctor, who administered the drug. Elizabeth, Kerry and the Hansens sat in near-silent vigil, waiting for something to happen.

An hour later there was a knock at the door. "Hey, everyone, what's going on?"

"John!" Kerry looked up to see John Carter, her fiancee, standing in the doorway. "Syd's... Elizabeth thinks it may be a stroke as a result of the encephalitis." John was puzzled. "Encephalitis? What encephalitis?"

Jim Hansen sighed. "It's a long story, John. How've you been doing? Why are you here?"

John pulled a chair up next to Kerry, where he took her hands in his and let her weep into his arms. "Things are going well for me. Somehow I've found myself the most wonderful woman to marry. As for why I'm here, Mark Greene told me about Syd. I knew Kerry and Elizabeth were here, and I had the weekend off." He reached for a small package and gave it to Kerry. "By the way, I found that CD you've been looking for. I thought I'd have to search the entire West Coast, but Malucci gave me a few good tips on where to look."

She murmured her thanks, but her thoughts were still immersed in Syd's condition.

"Malucci?" Elizabeth mused. "More sides to that man than I ever thought possible." All of sudden, she desperately missed Mark. It would be nice to have him by her side, as John was with Kerry.

Joanie nearly jumped out of her chair when she saw her sister make a small motion with her hand. "Look!"

"Syd?" Elizabeth pulled her penlight out of her pocket. "Can you hear me, Syd?"

Syd struggled to form words but finally asked, "What happened?" When she saw that all of her family and friends were gathered around her bed, tears formed in her eyes.

Kerry cleared her throat and spoke up. "When Mark's right, he's right."

"Where's Kerry King?" Syd asked, remembering her friend.

"She's going to be just fine," Elizabeth said reassuringly.

Syd sighed with relief, glad that her friend was going to be OK. Syd wondered if Dr. Hopper had been by to see her. Her limp was slightly fading and was not as noticeable as it had been which was why she had chosen not to walk with her cane.

"What happened?" Syd asked again. She hoped her illness wasn't coming back.

"You suffered a stroke, caused by the encephalitis," Kerry said. "We're going to take you downstairs for a CT in a few minutes. You need to rest, give your body a chance to calm down." Kerry checked Syd's IV.

Then the door opened and Syd's doctor, Dr. Hopper entered the room, followed by John Flemming, Syd's therapist. "Hi, I'm Dr. Hopper how's the patient doing?"

"Better, now that she's awake," Joanie said. She sat down beside Syd's bed and took her hand.

"Syd, we're going to take you to do a CT," Dr. Hopper said. He picked up her chart and started reading through it. "How's the therapy going?"

"Not as well as I'd like," Syd said, giving her therapist a hard look.

"Could the stroke have caused more damage to the nerves that control my left leg?"

"It's possible, the CT will tell us more," Dr. Hopper said. He unlatched Syd's bed and wheeled her toward the door, Kerry and Elizabeth following behind him.

"Dr. Weaver, Mrs. King is requesting to see Syd," a nurse said coming up to Kerry. "What should I tell her."

"Tell her that Syd is busy at the moment, I don't want to alarm her," Kerry said. She walked back into Syd's room.

"Is she going to CT?" Joanie asked as she rocked Hannah to sleep.

"Yes," Kerry said. She sighed, wishing that all of this was just a dream, that they all were at the Jazz club having a blast.

"Dr. Weaver can I ask you something?" Joanie asked.

"Sure," Kerry said. She sat down on the couch beside Joanie and kissed Hannah on the forehead.

"The night Syd came home from the hospital she convinced us she was fine. She drove to the clinic to get a text book and saw Izzy there. She was driving and hit a tree. Syd said she suffered a type of seizure where you lose focus and your motor skills shut down. She's suffered quite a few of them in the last month and I was wondering if that would have caused her to have a relapse?"

"That doesn't have anything to do with what happened here tonight," Kerry said. "But it is an after effect. Did you notice any change in Syd's behavior?"

"Yes, she was a lot more moody," Joanie said. "But now she's back to her normal self, except for the slight limp."

"I'm glad you mentioned that. I didn't even notice her limp. Syd did a very good job of keeping this a secret."

Joanie looked at her watch. "Do you realize that it's almost five in the morning?"

"I'm not surprised," Kerry said. Then she heard the door open. Kerry got up and went out in the hall to see Syd being wheeled back into the room, Jim, Robbie, Elizabeth, Carter, Dr. Hopper and John Flemming all behind her. She hadn't realized how much time had passed.

"Did you all go to a party without me?" Joanie joked.

"Have the x-rays come back yet?" Kerry asked Elizabeth.

"No," Elizabeth said. She checked her watch. "Wow, I feel like I've been working a double shift."

"We gave her something to help her sleep," Dr. Hopper said. "Why don't all of you go get some sleep, there isn't much you can do right now."

Everyone nodded in agreement and headed for the hotel.

"Well, dear, seems like you made enough exciting events to last a lifetime," Lynda said appearing beside her daughter.

"Mother, not now," Syd snapped sitting up in bed and giving her mother a hard, cold stare.

"Syd, I'm glad you decided to stay," Lynda said. "Believe me, I'm not ready for mother-daughter bingo night over here. You made me proud Syd."

"Even though I have no clue what you are talking about, I'm going to thank you anyway," Syd said. She looked around. "Mom what if I'm not the same as before. It's not my leg I'm worried about it's-" Syd was cut off.

"Syd, you're going to have to stop focusing on the bad things and start dwelling on the good. Do what John Flemming said, take control of your situation, let nothing stand in your way. Believe me darling, you'll feel a whole lot better when you do." Lynda patted Syd's shoulder and then disappeared.

Syd awoke with a start and felt a very familiar hand on her shoulder. She opened her eyes to find Kerry King sitting beside her bed. "Kerry?"

"Syd, I was wondering when you were going to wake up," Kerry said. "I know I'm not supposed to be out of bed but I threatened to sue this hospital if they didn't let me see my best friend. A nurse told me that you were busy but she wouldn't tell me what it was until just a few minutes ago. Syd, how did this happen?"

Syd sighed. "It's a long story but I guess you deserve to know what happened. Well, I was in a coma for a week from a disease called encephalitis which is caused by getting bitten by bugs. I've been undergoing physical therapy to try to make my limp go away which hasn't' been easy."

"I didn't know you had a limp," Kerry said. "I didn't even notice it."

"That's because it's getting better or it was," Syd said. She hoped that her stroke hadn't caused any more shock to the nerves that had already suffered a lot of trauma.

"Did Syd's x-rays come back yet?" Kerry Weaver asked Elizabeth as they walked into the main entrance of the hospital.

"I'll go check as soon as we get to Syd's room," Elizabeth said. "Are the others coming later?"

"Yes," Kerry said as she pushed the up button on the elevator. "Carter and Jim went walking this morning after breakfast and I haven't seen them since."

"And what time was that?" Elizabeth asked as they stepped into the elevator.

"About an hour ago," Kerry said pressing floor five. "Liz did you notice that Syd had a limp?"

"No, not really," Liz said. "Why do you ask?"

"Joanie said something to me last night about Syd having a limp caused from shocked nerves. She said that Syd is undergoing physical therapy to try to relieve that shock." Kerry stepped out of the elevator and the two headed for Syd's room. When they entered the room they found Syd sitting up in bed, talking to John Flemming.

"So what did my x-rays show?" Syd asked. She wanted to know if she would have to undergo more therapy.

"We're fixing to tell you," Kerry said approaching the bed, x-rays in hand. She put the films on the light board and switched it on. Syd still had swelling in the area that controlled the left leg.

"What do you see?" Syd asked. She tried to get up but John eased her back down on the bed.

"The nerves in your leg are still in shock," John said. "I'm afraid you'll be spending more time with me."

Syd smiled, though she didn't want to endure more therapy, she was happy to be spending more time with John. Syd kissed him on the lips and smiled.

"That's not a problem. Though I don't think I can take any more hikes." John Flemming laughed. "Promise, no more hikes." John stood up and headed for the door. "Well, I'm going to head over to the lecture, I'll fill you in later."

"OK," Syd said, smiling. After John closed the door Syd sighed and leaned back on the bed. "He's so wonderful."

"You two make a good couple," Kerry said.

"I hear it's the same for you. Is it true about you and Carter?" Syd asked, glad to be talking about something besides medicine.

"Yes," Kerry said, smiling. She held out her hand to show Syd her ring. "Is this proof enough?"

Syd smiled, she couldn't believe it. "Congratulations Kerry, I'm so happy for you."

"Thanks," Kerry said. "How are you feeling Syd?"

"I don't know," Syd said, suddenly becoming quiet. "Ever since I came out of that coma I've been so afraid."

"Of what?" Kerry asked. "What can be bad compared to a coma."

"Being out of a coma is not the same thing as being out of a coma and being normal. It's not my leg I'm worried about. What if I can never practice medicine again?"

Elizabeth and Kerry looked at each other, stunned.

Then Kerry spoke up. "Syd, you're strong you can beat this thing. You will practice medicine again."

"That's what I thought last time and look where I am now, back to square one," Syd snapped. She sighed. "Thank you for saving my life."

"Not a problem," Elizabeth said. "That's what friends are for right?"

Syd and Kerry both nodded in agreement.

A week later, Syd was able to go back to Providence. Elizabeth had gone back to Chicago but Kerry had gone back to Providence with Syd, wanting to see the place again and to check up on things at the clinic. Syd would have to undergo more physical therapy but would somehow get through it. Syd smiled to herself as she looked out the window at the familiar houses, thinking about all the things that had taken place that week. Kerry King was out of the hospital and doing great. She was home now, recovering. Syd smiled to herself as she reflected on how much she'd accomplished, and that it was a miracle that she was able to still help people.


© 2000 Rebecca and Tracy

DISCLAIMER: Characters mentioned in this story that have appeared in the NBC series "Providence" and "E.R." are the property of National Broadcasting Company. No copyright infringement is intended.