Brain Strain


brennan_icon.gif jay_icon.gif

Scene Title Brain Strain
Synopsis Jay needs help, so he calls up the Suresh Center when Max is gone, and gets a housecall from Brennan who tells him to stop thinking so hard.
Date October 14, 2009

Many Locations like Roosevelt Island and Queens.

The call gets passed through various switchboards at about noon on the 14th. There are nurses on duty to handle that sort of thing; either the story from the person at the other end has impressed reason to worry on them, or Dr. Brennan is an unusually generous and un-busy doctor and has the spare time to answer a phone instead of see a patient face-to-face. Jay did specifically ask to talk to a doctor, and he protested when given a nurse - not because nurses can't help him, but because, frankly, he's terrified. The voice on the end of the line is young, teens or early twenties, and male. The tone is a bit strained and rather faint. "Hello?" He's been passed through so many switches, Jay has no idea who he's speaking to yet.

White physicians coat on, Harve stands at the nurses station while he signs off stuff that came through. Today was SC day, which meant gratuitous use of his ability and fixing up scrape, bumps and otherwise helping out and doing the job. His hours here are for a pittance in salary, but it's good work, honest work and helping out those who might otherwise get turned away or too afraid to go to a hospital or doctor for care lest they get found out or as with a vast majority of evolveds, their ability might flare.

So when the nurse hands him the phone, he's not surprised. He gets a half dozen of them a day, on his own cell from his regular patients. "Dr. Brennan speaking, I was told you needed to talk to a doctor" His illegible scrawl is affixed to one sheet, two sheets, four in total before the clipboard is passed to an admin to take care of.

Oh. Shit. An actual doctor. Moment of truth. Jay drags in a deep breath, hesitates a second, and keeps an eye on the door in case of Max's return. "Hi. I, uh…" Gulp. "I have an, an ability. And I… um. I think I broke it." Who else is he going to turn to? Real doctors would test him and make him register. This is as safe as it gets, and it's not safe at all. "I can't do it anymore. I try and my head just splits open and my nose starts bleeding, and it hurts so bad I want to pass out." He's trying so hard to keep this anonymous. Even his faint voice is an attempt at that - he's keeping his tone different from his own. He's also trying not to aggravate the headache.

THat's a new one. I think I broke my ability. "Abilities don't break, not in the traditional sense sir" Brennan's attention goes from the second clipboard that's pushed in front of him to the person on the phone. "Ever strained a muscle? Like a knee, or a back, or ankle, anything of the sort" The nose bleed really sealed the deal frankly. He's seen that how many times? "If you come in, I can get you signed in and take a look at you if you like. They don't charge down here"

"No. No registration." Very quiet. "Look, it just… it isn't going away. Every single time." Then comes a quiet noise, a strained little sound, almost like a whimper. "I'm sorry, I just… I pushed it too far. They said I had a stroke." Brain hemorrhages are nothing to sneeze at. Ha, sneeze. "I can take painkillers, I just… is it gonna get better?" There he stops awkwardly, punctuating the sentence with a little gulp.

The pen freezes mid signature when Jay utters the words. I had a stroke. "You realize that they won't force you to register here, yes?" But he's had a stroke. And nosebleeds and headache. "I don't suppose you can come in right?" Harve glances to the big round institutional clock on the wall with it's white background and black hatching to denote the passage of time. "I get off in.. half an hour, where are you? I can possibly come to you"

If it's too bad, he'll just call an ambulance and have them drive him here. Something. Shit. Michelle was going to kill him. He was supposed to cook tonight and he had a few appointments still at his own practice. One bouquet of roses for both his wife, and his secretary. Flowers were expensive.

"No, no, they said… they said it was okay, they just wanted to do some more tests. They were… they said something about surgery if it happened again." Jake drags in a deep breath and tries to remember exactly what he heard while his doctor was talking to his twin in that post-waking drug haze. "They said I responded to medication. I just keep… having headaches. And since I left… I checked out, I mean…" He did not, but that's semantics, "I didn't want to go back. I just… figured you guys would know if it's bad. Right?" A cracked little laugh. That wasn't a joke, he's just trying to laugh it off. It's not serious. Really.

"A stroke actually, is tremendously serious. Where are you right now?" Finish the signature, push the clipboard over and dig out a pad of paper. "If you like, i'll just come, take a look at you. No more, no less" Worst case, he negates the guy and can see if it really is an ability that's causing this, or not. "I'm evolved too, if that makes any difference"

It does, actually. Jake drags in a deep breath. Cautious. Lets it out. "What's your ability?" This guy could be lying. Could have HomeSec on him like fleas on a dog. He could just as easily be a HF plant, or some other kind of danger. Nevertheless, he's a doctor, and Jake needs a doctor - it's either that or just head in to a hospital equipped to handle this, and end up registered anyway. Not much option here.

"I'm a negator actually. Power Negator. Registered even. So, worst comes to worst, I can park beside you, wherever you are and just keep you from accessing your ability and give you a bit of a break. Sometimes, we strain our ability. Is your's new? Did you just manifest or realize you had it and been actively using it a great deal? Experimenting with it?" The nurses are looking at him funny but return to their business when he turns his back to lean against the counter.

That's actually pretty reassuring. Jake lets out a quiet sigh. "I guess… maybe this would be better to talk about in person." He really, really doesn't need whoever might listen in on this phonecall knowing what he does. "Please, please don't bring anybody. Just you. I'm, um, staying with a friend." He gives an address rather hesitantly, but there's only one pause wherein he ends up taking a sharp little breath, and adds, "Could you maybe bring some vicodin or something? I dunno. They said no aspirin." The poor kid sounds miserable.

"We'll see about the drug part" Pen meets paper as the address is scribbled. "Stay put, don't go anywhere, I'll be there within the hour" Provided that there's no traffic and her figures out where there is. "We'll get you sorted buddy. Just get some rest, don't move around much. Anything else?"

"Um… my friend's out, but if he comes in he might be mad at me. Don't… don't piss him off, okay?" Jake lets out a raspy, quiet chuckle. "I'm gonna have enough trouble explaining to him that I brought someone else into this."
"I'll do my best" He's already flipping open his cellphone, firing off text message to his wife to warn her, his secretary, mentally tallying what he needs to bring. "You just keep him calm too buddy. We'll figure this out okay? But to get to you, I gotta get off this phone, so this is me, asking for your name, so that i'm not banging on a door going "hey, stroke guy, let me in" got me?"

"Jay," says Jake, the standard name he gives people he doesn't trust. "There's a buzzer, I'll let you in." He can walk. He's just not very stable when he does it. "Thanks, man. …Um, what did you say your name was?"
"Call me Harve, Jay. Dr. Harve Brennan. Get back in bed. I'll buzz up once I get what I need" With that, he's passing the phone back to the nurse to hang up and sighs. "I tell you Joanne. This has got to stop. Folks afraid to come in and get treated because they're afraid of finding out their evolved" He shakes his head and heads towards his small corner hole of an office. "See you tomorrow

Harve. That sounds harmless! Jay veeeeery carefully hangs up, so the noise won't kill him, then meanders off to get dressed in something besides boxers and a tee shirt. Then maybe make a sandwich. Gotta stay awake till the doc shows up, keep from jittering himself right into calling Max or running like a fool.

45 minutes later

Time passes, leather satchel fetched, flowers ordered and sent as Harve makes his way towards Queens and to the residence of 'jay' or at least his friends residence. A few phonecalls as well, one of them to let someone know where he was going and what to do if he doesn't answer again within an hour or two. Never know these days with the Humanis people running about. So within the hour there's the expected buzz to Jay's location. Harve is below waiting to be let in, keeping an eye around him and an eye on the time. If he doens't answer, he'll buzz someone else and get let up. Call 911. Guys and strokes.

Terrible that an entire movement should be made around a spelling/spacing mistake. The buzzer buzzes, and is answered almost immediately. Almost. "Yeah." The same voice, a bit louder and very strained. Jay's got a headache. He's been worrying about registration, and that leads to wishes to avoid it, and that results in serious head trauma.

"Jay? It's Harve" Same voice on the phone, slightly distorted by the buzzer of the building. "Buzz me up and lets get a look at you eh?"

"Okay." Bzzzzt. Jay's a bit too fried not to accept at this point. He ends up leaning next to the door, not too close lest the knock hurt his ears. The apartment is on the second floor, close enough that Max can take the stairs instead of the elevator if his ability starts acting up. The moment the door gets knocked on, Jay leans forward, peers through the peephole, and then… it gets tugged open. He's fully dressed in his own clothes, worn and dirty though they may be. There are spots of blood on the collar of his hoodie. If he has to run, better not to leave anything of his here for someone to set bloodhounds on him with. "Hi." His green eyes are squinted mostly closed; the light bothers him. There are traces of blood beneath his nose, freshly wiped away, flecks of dried stuff. He's pale as a sheet. He doesn't hold the door, just pushes it aside and stays out of the way. "Come in." And if there's a SWAT team here to claim him, well, maybe they'll have Vicodin.

No swat team, no police hiding around a corner and barging in to try and take down an unregistered evolved. When the door opens, it's just Harve in his corderoy blazer and dress shirt beneath, jeans and loafers bearing a leather doctors satchel. When brown eyes land on Jay, he turns his own ability on. Negation settling in at just a thought and whatever Jay can do it cut off. "Jay I presume?"

"Yeah," says Jay, and then blinks, wide-eyed. "What the fuck?" One hand goes to his forehead, touches gingerly, then swipes beneath his nose. No blood. "Oh my god. Dude, you're a lifesaver." Sad thing is, he wasn't being facetious. "Please, sit down, um, whatever you need - do you want a beer?" The door gets pushed shut; he's suddenly moving with a lot more energy. …Of course, once he gets out of the radius of that power-dampening thing, he's going to be in a whole 'nother world of hurt.

"Been a long time since someone called me dude" Harve enters, making sure to keep Jay in sight so that his own ability will work. One diagnostic down, how many more to go. "I'll skip the beer and so should you. You need to sit so I can look you over stroke boy. That working? Something feels different now?" The guy had put his hand to his forehead. "The pain go away just now or something else?"

"Like a switch. Like… you just made it stop." Which he did. The apartment is a nice one, but it's fairly sparse - Max only just unpacked and hasn't really set to decorating yet. The couches, at least, are comfortable. Jay drops onto one end and looks up at the doc. "How do you do that?" He's insanely grateful, and it shows in those plaintive green eyes - Jay's had a rough few days.

"Like a light switch. It'll stop when I go away or not paying attention to you" Harve maneuvers with his bag to sit on the couch beside Jay, setting about to taking vitals, grasping wrist with two fingers while looking at his watch. "If whatever you're feeling has stopped, then it's your ability. Whatever it is. What is it?"

"Shit," Jake says, and quiets for the pulse-taking. Mustn't distract the doc while he's counting. Once that's done, he says quietly, "I… make stuff happen. Anything. I just… do. Like wishing. Only it's coincidence or something. That's why I don't want registered. They'll stick me in Moab for sure. Or something worse." He swallows hard, looking briefly nauseous.

"Moab? Some sort of resort?" So, what he wants, happens. "Freshly attuned to this ability or did you do some really hard wishing lately there Jay?" Satisfied, he sets about to rummaging in his bag, break out the stethoscope and carry on with that process as well.

"Dude, don't you listen to the street? It's where they stick the hardcores." Jay makes a face, and straightens up a little. "I figured it out when I was twelve. I didn't think it was for real, just… silly kid superstition. Then I knocked some guy out with a baseball when he tried to hit my friend." He swallows the lump in his throat, all but vibrating with tension. This isn't something he's really shared with anyone. "Last week. Miracle Day. I, um." Sheepish, sheepish Jay, guilty as hell. "Tried to make the Red Cross win the lottery. That's when I had the stroke."

Well, that makes sense now. "So you're the one that did that. I should say, for shame, but. It's the red cross" Satisfied, he pulls away the stethoscope from ears and Jay's chest. "Sounds to me, like maybe getting all the numbers, was a bit of an overkill in the ability area there Jay. You can turn it off or is it always on?"

"Thought I could turn it off, but…" Jay makes a sheepish little movement, a shrug, and watches the stethescope fall. "I keep… it's habit. It's so much easier. It's like… I feel things. Don't take that stairwell, take this one. No, skip the elevator today. Jump that ramp, make it look good. I want to… you know, do a flip, impress some girl? All it takes is a thought." And he winces. "And then here I am and this thing's on the news and every time I see it I get this tight feeling in my stomach and hope god they don't catch me, and just like that I've wished, only it's like hitting a brick wall, slamming into it over and over again. It's not working and it hurts."

"Well buddy, it's gonna hurt again when I go. But sounds to me, like you need a short break from it. Like say a sports star, who wrenches his knee. It's not gonna get better unless he rests the knee. You're going to have to not think about it, lest you end up with another stroke. Those are nothing to sneeze at" Time for the penlight to come out, follow the light jay, follow the light.

So long as that power is nullified, his eyes focus just fine. "That means pretty much not thinking, doc. I mean… it goes away when I sleep, so I've been trying to sleep a lot, but…" Can't do that forever. He trails off, blinks, and flashes the doctor a look. "How long's this gonna last?" There's serious anxiety there.

"That, I couldn't tell Jay. Maybe a couple days, longer if you keep using it. Not like I can knock you out for a few days. Stop wishing, hard as it is, and you'll pull through. I'd seriously recommend coming to the center, but you've already stated that it's not an option" Harve shrugs his shoulders up one, hands out in a questioning way. He turns off his own ability then, as quickly as it turned on, it's gone, without telling jay, waiting to see hwat happens, how long he can go.

Right in the middle of Jay hoping for some way to get things back to normal faster. "Aah!" The young man curls forward, hands clamped to his head, gasping. "Fuckfuckfuckfuck ohgod, fuck…" His voice dies to a whisper towards the end as he begins managing the pain as best he can. "Shit," he breathes, when he's got a hold on it. "Fuck, doc…" Thinking straight is impossible; he can't finish the thought to ask whether or not that was deliberate or something just went wrong.

"On a scale of one to ten? Ten being the worst you've ever felt and 1 being a twinge" From where he's sitting, he's pegging it as a six, possibly seven. "Jay, my body. That is a mighty interesting ability you have there" He's not turning it on just yet. "Clear your mind. Don't think of anything beyond breathing, and existing any place other than this room, take the focus off the pain, don't think about the pain.

"Ten," says Jay, raspily. He's never had kidney stones. "Okay, maybe an eight. Jesus fuck. Okay." Sad thing is, it hurts - so he wishes for it to stop hurting. It's natural to want things. It's not natural for that to feed into itself until one is broken. Focus on something else. Uh. He shuts his eyes. At least the doc's not doing the penlight test again - that would kill him. Deep, slow breaths, and he manages to shut it off, sort of. "Dull throb. I'm thinking about… nothing." Yeah, right, but whatever he's thinking about is at least not something that upsets that too much. "God, please don't…" Twinge. Wince. "Tell me I have to do this for days." He'll go nuts.

"I think, that you need to go do some Yoga Jay. Do something that's gonna get your focus and keep it,because you almost had it controlled for a few moments there." He can help him with something at least, for the pain. prescription pad is dug for and a small prescription for Vicodin is written out in that traditional doctors script. Aka unintelligible to anyone but a pharmacist.

"About a weeks worth, at two or so a day. But, your gonna come by the center, understand? They're not gonna demand you register and there won't be homeland people standing outside the doors with evolved tests and snatching you up. You get your ass in there in a few days and ask for me. Have your friend bring you. They can help you too there, to better get it under your thumb instead of under your pinky finger where it keeps slipping. That's my deal, with you, in exchange for writing this. You don't stop, you will likely have another stroke. you get me?"

The piece of paper is torn off, held out waiting. "I got a private practice too, that you can visit me at, but the Suresh Center is the better place. Hell, there's a help group there. Evolveds Anonymous."

Doctors have codes or something. Either that or they go pass it to a nurse - verbally - and the nurse types it up so the pharmacist can read it. God only knows, Jay sure doesn't. "How do you know HF ain't watching?" Again with the wince, and the pain. That time it was the standard wish of don't-wanna-get-caught. "I mean, c'mon. If I were them I'd have some homeless guy parked in front of the door across the street with a camera in his lapel, just taking pictures and writing a kill list. That's what registration is - it's a fuckin' kill list."

He sucks in a deep breath and manages to not wish that to be untrue. It's not like such a wish would affect anything, but he's made a habit of wishing good thoughts in the direction of things he favors when he's sure of them. Despite the nay-saying, though, he reaches for the paper. That's pain relief right there, and god knows he needs it badly.

"When you want things bad enough Jay, you do it. Without an ability. You want help, we'll give it, but I'm not always gonna make house calls. You have two options open to you. Suresh center, your best, or my private practice which is in the vicinity of the police station. As for Humanis first" There's a shrug as he relinquishes the prescription. "Sometimes, you gotta have faith. Now, I got 45 minutes. If you want, you can get set up on the couch here to sleep and i'll negate you, watch some TV, what have you. Hopefully, it'll give you a bit of respite and you can start to sleep. Sleep will do you good. But I expect you to show up. Or i'll drag you there" It's a promise and he look slike he could physically fulfil that promise.

In Jay's current state, resistance would be a matter of a bit of flailing, a fist swung, and then a collapse in pure pain. He flinches. "Sure, man." He's not gonna. Not if this gets better on its own. "I don't wanna sleep, though, I just… I've slept too much these last few days." He shoots a cautious look at the doctor, though. "Tell you what, though. Play you poker? Time I played a game for real, without giving myself an aneurysm." A lopsided, cautious smile gets flashed. It might be interesting to actually lose a game of something for once. …Assuming the doc's a decent poker player, anyway.

"I'm the best way of making sure you don't heat buddy. Lemme call my wife and let her know i'm okay, to not send the swat team. You get the cards and after that, i'll give you my version of take two aspirin. Deal?"

Jay breaks into a grin. Anticipation - but not desire, because what he wants is coming his way. "Deal." Pain-free for 45 minutes, a game of cards, and some company for the afternoon? Life is looking up. He heaves himself up, faces the desire to go get the cards down with a wince, and meanders over to the kitchen to go through Max's junk drawer. He put a pack in there to experiment with and forgot about it.

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