Chapter 16. Yuri : Storm.
Blinding light and Jessica's grip on my arm served as warning a few seconds too late. My instinct kicked in. I hit the gas pedal desperately while turning the steering wheel hard to the left, seeing that braking wouldn't help much because whatever vehicle that came screeching toward us didn't show any sign of slowing down.
The collision couldn't be avoided though. The massive impact came with a loud bang. My ears rang, my head hurt after a sudden contact with the car window panel. My heart ached even more. Even without seeing I knew Jessica's side of the car got hit the hardest.
I blinked trying, trying to reach for Jessica's hand. I called out for her. The vehicle that rammed my car dragged us forward a few more meters before another impact with something solid. My head got hit again, harder this time, sending pain that crept from my temple to my neck.
I was afraid. Very afraid. Not for myself, but for Jessica and our baby.
Despite my best effort to fight the dizziness, unconsciousness wrapped me like a tight blanket.
“Jessica.” I tried to call once more, hoping that she would answer me.
“Jessica!” I called for her, the one that meant life to me. I felt stabbing pain in my chest as oxygen was wheezed out of my lungs.
“Jessica!” I felt someone holding me down before I could open my eyes. I fought whoever it was, sitting up despite the sudden dizziness.
“Sir, I think you need to stay down.” When I opened my eyes, I could see a stranger in front of me. His hands were on my shoulders.
“Help... my wife...” I turned my head, realizing that I was on the curb of the road. People were flocking around me. “My wife! Help her!”
I stood up despite the pain, limping pass the many strangers to see my car crushed between a truck and a street light pole. The silver BMW was bent out of shape and I could see paramedics just stood around.
“Hey! Where's my wife? Jessica!”
“Sir. You need to stay down. Another ambulance will come for you soon.” A paramedic hurriedly came to my side.
“No.” I coughed, tasting blood in my mouth. “My wife.”
“We're trying to help her, sir. You need-”
“What do you mean trying? Is she still- Oh God.” I nearly fell on my knees. I could see Jessica through the shattered windshield of my car. Her pale bloodied face was the reflection of my deepest fear. Her lifeless body with her neck supported by some kind of brace made me want to scream my lungs out. She had oxygen mask on but I couldn't even tell if she was breathing.
“Jessica!” I ran forward, almost climbed the hood of the car if wasn't for a few more people stopped me.
“What are you doing?” I punched and kicked, pushing my way through the restrain of many arms. “We need to get her out! Help her! Help my wife!”
“Sir, calm down!” A cop held me back. “That's what we're trying to do. A paramedic has checked your wife a moment ago. Look, my friend is backing the truck at the moment so we can get your wife out of the car safely.”
I saw the truck slowly moved backward, my wrecked car fell to the ground with a clank.
“Jessica!” I hurled myself forward, reaching through the broken window for my wife. “Jessica. Baby. Please, wake up.” I held her hand in mine. It felt cold. I touched her cheek, her forehead, but she didn't even bat her eyelashes.
“Sir, please. Let us help your wife.”
I moved to the side, didn't let go of Jessica's hand as I watched paramedics and cops gathered to assess the situation.
“Just like I said, her foot stuck. ” Someone said.
“The passenger door has caved in so bad.” Another man spoke.
I saw the cops trying to pull the car door open to no avail. At that moment I wished I had the strength to rip the door apart.
“We need to cut the door. Alert the fire station. They must have something we can use.” Someone made a suggestion and I silently thanked whoever it was.
Paramedics talked to each other, examining Jessica while cops made arrangement. I watched closely despite the pounding in my head. They said awful words like bleeding, fracture, puncture, and heartbeat. No one cared to explain what was actually happening to my wife. No one told me if Jessica was okay.
It felt like forever until someone came with a chainsaw. People backed away and I reluctantly let go of my wife's hand when someone asked me to step back.
“Excuse me, Sir.” Someone came to my side and pulled me to a sitting position. “Your wound is bleeding again.” I felt a soft touch of cotton on my temple. “Do you feel any pain?”
“My head. My chest.” I gulped. The chainsaw had been and despite my intention to see the whole process I turned my head away. The device would be operated so close to Jessica's leg. I could imagine the friction sending sparks around and how scared my wife would be if she had been conscious.
“My wife..., will she be okay?”
“Further examination will determine her condition, Sir.” I felt something stung the skin of my temple but too worried to care. “Right now, our main focus is too get her out and stop the bleeding.”
“Bleeding? Our baby-” I couldn't even voice the question that has been nagging me since I regained consciousness.
“The blood probably comes from the open wound on her right leg but we shall find out more at the hospital, Sir. At this moment we need to contact your family.”
“My family?” I d my pockets only to remember that I had put my phone on the middle console of the car. My mind went to my parents and Jessica's parents. This news would tear their hearts apart.
“Yes. Your family or close relatives. We might need blood donor for your wife.”
“My family. I don't think they can take this at the moment.” I gazed away, thinking about my parents who were both old and not actually at the peak of their health. And my in-laws, they were all out of town.
“Can you... Can you contact Doctor Choi Sooyoung instead?” I mentioned the name of the hospital where Sooyoung was working after thinking for a moment. “Or Choi Minho, her husband.”
My head felt like it was hammered from the inside. My hands were trembling as I rubbed my face. “Their numbers. My phone is probably in the car. Can you get it for me.”
“Doctor Choi Sooyoung from Saint Mary's Hospital should be easy to find. I'll contact her immediately.”
“Tell them not to tell our parents. Not now.” I gulped, the chainsaw had stopped whirring. When I looked at the wrecked car again, paramedics were carefully transferring Jessica to a gurney. The lower part of her gown was torn by the paramedic. Blood dripped from her leg to the ground. The sight made my stomach revolted.
I stood up, whatever it was, I had to be with her. But people stopped me again and I could only watch as they tended to Jessica's motionless body before loading her to an ambulance. I insisted on riding with her, telling myself not to let her went out of my sight ever again.
The ride felt horribly long. Monitors were beeping. Charts were filled with notes as the paramedics talked to each other. Most of their words were medical terms I couldn't even comprehend. The ones that I actually understood, imprinted fear in my heart. When I asked them, their vague answers only gave me more headache.
“How far along is your wife sir?”
“Her pregnancy? How far along?”
“Thirty... thirty two weeks.” My throat felt dry. “Is... Is our baby okay?”
“We'll have to wait for further assesment from the doctors, Sir. But at this moment, we can still detect your baby's heartbeat.” The paramedic showed me a monitor. I could see lines and numbers, hearing some beeping too. I wished they could just translate them all into words, ensuring me that our baby was safe. That Jessica would be alright.
I squeezed Jessica's hand, kissing the soft skin on the back of her hand. “Our baby is alright, Jess. You should be too.”
Her fingers moved in my grip and I nearly jumped in shock. Her eyes fluttered open. I immediately alerted the paramedics.
“Yul...” Tears flowed to her cheek. Her other hand moved to her stomach. “Baby... our baby...”
“Your baby will be fine, ma'am.” One of the paramedic came closer and took of the oxygen mask off Jessica's face while the other checking on the monitors. “We're taking you to hospital now. Can you tell me if you feel any specific pain in your head or in your stomach?”
“Everything hurts.” Jessica cried again and I had to bite my lips to stop myself from crying too. “Yul... our baby, please...”
“Ma'am, do you-”
“Please Yul...” Her eyes fluttered close again as her hand lay limp in my hold. I yelled, calling her name. Couldn't even contain the tears anymore. I tried to shake her up but the paramedics stopped me. They told me that she only passed out but it didn't feel that way for me. They told me that we were about to reach the hospital but it didn't even matter to me. I wanted my Jessica to open her eyes again. I wanted her to wake up and walk away from this nightmare with me.
I fell to the car floor as the vehicle stopped. The backdoor was opened and I could see people in white coats and nurses waiting for us. If I had the strength, I'd probably run to them and beg them to fix everything. But I couldn't even prop myself up. My legs were trembling, my head was pounding.
My heart shattered.
Sooyoung ran to me, still in her red gown with her stilettos in Minho's hand. My best friend wordlessly hugged me while his wife rubbed my back and said comforting words.
“They don't let me in.” I croaked, tilted my head toward the emergency room. “Can you tell them to let me in.”
“They need to focus on treating Jessica, Yuri.” Sooyoung fished her phone out of her clutch bag. “I'll change into more comfortable clothes and try to find out more.”
She came back a while later, in her working attire. Two nurses followed her with trolley filled with medical equipment. Seeing Sooyoung's white coat and hospital ID gave me a little comfort. I had a professional with me. She'd help Jessica get the best treatment.
“I've read some of Jessica's charts. We should wait for more information from the ER to know more. I already contacted YoonA and took care of blood donor too. Jessica will get everything she needs.” Sooyoung spoke as she sat by my side, putting a hand on my knee. “They said you refuse further treatment. We need to get you checked too, Yuri.”
“No. I'm not leaving my wife.” My head was still pounding but I'd be damned if I let them whisk me away to an emergency room too.
“Head injury can be dangerous and you might not be able to feel any pain from many injuries immediately.” She put gloves on. “At least let me check you.”
I nodded weakly, letting Sooyoung and the nurses did their job. She asked me to take off my jacket and my shirt and I suddenly realized that a sharp pain could be felt on my ribs when I lifted my left arm. They ended up cutting my clothes open.
“Bruises.” Sooyoung mumbled. She gently pressed three fingers against my side but the light pressure made me wince. “We need you to get scanned, Yuri. There might be fractured ribs.”
“I'm not going anywhere until I know my wife is safe.”
Sooyoung sighed. “The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can come back to Jessica. Minho can stay here and alert us if-”
My stubbornness worked. Sooyoung stopped prodding and worked on what she could see from the outside instead. She mentioned the many abrasions and bruises while cleaning my wounds. I didn't even care about them all.
Minho's phone beeped and he took the conversation away. When he came back, his face showed even more concern.
“It was Seunggi. The accident is on the news. Your parents. Jessica's parents. I think they need to know from us rather than from the media.”
I let out a heavy breath. “Jessica's parents. Give them a call. My parents. They don't really watch TV anymore.”
“Alright.” Minho was about to walk away again but turning around. “Seunggi asked if there's anything he can help. I told him to deal with the media and the cops on your behalf.”
“Yes.” I looked down. The memory of the accident flashed in my mind. The traffic light had been green, I had done nothing wrong. When this was done, I'd make sure I get my hands on the truck driver. I'd put whoever it was to the same pain Jessica had to deal with right now. “Do whatever you need to do. Make sure the one who did this to us get jailed."
At the tail of my words, the door to the ER room sprang open. A doctor and a nurse came out.
“Doctor Ok.” Sooyoung stood up.
“Sooyoung.” The doctor nodded at Sooyoung. “Are you Jessica Jung immediate family?” The doctor took a chart that the nurse offered.
“She's my best friend. Kwon Yuri here is her husband.”
I stood up too, wincing because now I could feel the nagging pain on my knee.
“Alright. We stopped the bleeding.” The doctor glanced at the chart. “The possible back and neck injury. The fractured Tibia. All have to wait because we have something more important at the moment.” He handed the chart to Sooyoung who hurriedly read it. “The baby.”
“The baby shows sign of distress. Heartbeat is declining fast. We need to perform a surgery to get your baby out.”
“Do it. Do anything to save my baby girl.”
“Of course, Mr. Kwon. But first, we need you to understand that the Cesarean performed will put your wife's life at risk.” The doctor continued. "Your wife has lost a lot of blood due to the open wound and all."
"What do you mean?” My throat was parched now. My heart beat fast. “What should I do? Can we find another way? Sooyoung?”
“We can wait until Jessica is further stabilized to be on the safer side but there's no guarantee that the baby will be safe by then.”
“You mean...” I couldn't even voice the horrible thought in my mind. My eyes darted from Sooyoung and the doctor. Their somber expression confirmed my suspicion.
“I'm sorry, Yuri.”
I could feel Sooyoung's hand on my shoulder. I could also feel the invisible weight of decision as reality sunk in slowly. The corner of my eyes caught sight of doctor YoonA who came running toward us. But what was the different of more skilled doctors in the room could make if the options were clear.
“You... you want me to choose between my baby and my wife?” The tremor that had stopped a while ago came back. I felt weak on the knees. I felt like vomiting my guts out.
“It's never a fight or flight situation like that, Mr. Kwon.” The doctor spoke again. “However slim, there is always a chance that both parties will survive. Whatever choice you make, we'll do our best to save both your wife and your baby. But you need to understand that there's a risk to every procedure taken.”
“Sooyoung?” I looked at our friend again, silently begging her to make decision for me. But she just averted her eyes to the chart.
Jessica's words in the ambulance rang in my ears. If she had a say in this, she would tell me to save our baby without even a millisecond of hesitation. But the question was if I was even ready to lose the love of my life.
I gulped, feeling Minho's hand on my shoulder. All eyes were on me now. Every second ticked was a a precious time I couldn't afford to waste.
I didn't even believe the words came out of my mouth a moment later.
In my heart, as I signed on the paper the nurse had prepared, I told Jessica how much I love her. Over and over again.
Author's note : I have no medical background at all. Despite the nauseating research I've done on the internet, I know I might got a few medical fact screwed here. Feel free to correct me via comment boxes so I can build a better story.
I also apologize for updating in the speed of an intoxicated snail. Thank you for keeping on subscribing. Your support means a lot. ^^