Callender had been found. We got the antibodies. I thought everything would be okay. I thought Hutch would be okay. I thought he'd be better by now. Judith was supposed to give him a shot and "Ala-ka-zam Captain Marvel" --
I'm sorry for making that stupid comment Hutch. I wasn't trying to be insensitive. I wanted to cheer you up. I wanted you to believe you were gonna be okay. I thought if I could be strong enough and confident, I could make you believe too -- that we were gonna get through this -- like we have everything else. Now Judith told me we're losing ground buddy. She said -- she said it might be too late. You're not responding like she was hoping you would, and that maybe it's gone too far. She said your immune system has been badly compromised -- and you're so weak -- your fever's so high. They're afraid your kidneys are failing now.
Please keep breathing Hutch. Take each breath with me. C'mon partner. I can't stand to see you struggling like this -- fighting for each breath. Judith said if it gets much worse, they'll need to put a tube down your throat into your lungs, and have a machine breathe for ya. I know you don't want that Hutch, but if it'll keep you alive until you can get better, we need to do it. It'd only be temporary, I promise.
God Hutch -- I wish they'd let me in that room with you. I need ya to know I'm here. No, that's not all of it. I need to be in there with ya for me too. Damn it. You gotta start getting better Hutch. These nurses are gonna think I'm a wimp, sitting here with tears running down my face all the time.
I'm gonna run to the bathroom Hutch. I gotta "go", but I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere on me. Judith keeps tellin' me I gotta get some sleep -- gotta eat. But don't worry buddy, the only place I need to be is right here -- with you. I'll catch up on all that other stuff when you're better.
Hutch! -- What's happening? Oh God! Did you stop breathing? Please -- please NO! What is this? Nurses, doctors -- all running into you your room! I know what this is! I've seen it before -- on TV and stuff. What do you call it -- a crash cart? God! Everything on there's supposed to save your life. Please Hutch, don't die! I wanna help you, but all I can do is stand on the other side of this freakin' window and watch. Oh no -- that must be the tube Judith was talking about. I'm glad you're not awake for this buddy. It looks like it would hurt -- but it's gonna help you -- I promise. Please hang on babe -- please.
Here comes Judith. I need to know what happened!
Why is she looking at me so funny?
"Dave! You need to sit down!"
I felt hands guiding me into a chair. Where'd that chair come from? Now I'm looking at the floor! Someone put my head between my knees. Oh God -- I hope I don't throw up! I'm making a spectacle out of myself here in this hospital Hutch. I'm fallin' apart. I need ya to get well and put me back together again. I don't feel so good -- I think I'll close my eyes -- Hutch.
What happened? Where am I? White walls -- smell of antiseptic -- sterile -- cold -- HOSPITAL! Damn! Why do I have an IV? How long have I been here? "Hutch --" God -- where is everyone? If you were okay Hutch, someone would be here. They'd let me know. I wanna see Judith. No -- I don't! Stop your damn crying Starsky! I don't wanna hear what she has to say. I can't hear it! She's gonna tell me you died. That there was nothing more they could do -- that they did everything they could. I don't wanna hear that. I can't bear to hear that. Oh Hutch -- I wish you were here. I need you so badly. Why do I feel so weird and fuzzy? Here comes the nurse. Why is she carrying a needle? Don't -- please, don't put that in my IV. I don't want to sleep anymore. They're doing this because they don't want to tell me! Why can't I wake up enough to stop her! Hutch -- please -- please still be alive. I'll be there soon partner -- I promise.
They don't think I can hear them Starsk. But I can. These two nurses earlier Starsk -- they went on and on while they were giving me a bath.
I sure hope they pull the curtain for stuff like that. With that window being right there, I feel like a hamster in a cage. Like I'm on display or something. Guess I'm not giving them much of a show huh? Well, I hope I look better than I feel, cause its not so good Starsk. I wish I could either wake up, or sleep for real. I don't want to hear what they're saying.
Anyway, these two nurses this morning -- they were saying what a shame it "was" for me. "So young," -- "Had his whole life in front of him." Then I heard other one's saying things like, "It won't be long," -- "hopefully he'll go peacefully."
What got to me the most though Starsk, was when I heard them talking about you. They said, "they feel sorry for my partner -- that he hasn't left the window in the front of my room for almost 24 hours -- how sad and scared he looks -- and that they wonder if you'll be okay when I die --"
Starsky -- no matter what happens here, you need to take care of yourself. Let Huggy, the Dobey's, and our friends help you. Don't shut them out babe. I know it'll be hard if I don't make it. I don't know what I'd do if the tables were turned. I'm remembering Bellamy, and what he did to you. I remember telling you that it's 'always harder on the ones left behind'. I didn't mean to sound insensitive there buddy. I just didn't know what to say. I was afraid. I couldn't face loosing you.
Oh God! The pain! I heard one of the nurse's say; " at least he's not in any pain." How the hell do they know? It hurts Starsk -- it really hurts. I can't swallow either. There's something in my throat. That hurts too, and I'm so hot -- or cold -- I don't know -- I don't know anymore.
Aw Starsk. I'm sorry. I wish they'd let you in here with me. I mean as long as it was safe for you and you wore a mask. I don't want you getting sick Starsk. I just really need you here. I need to know you're okay. No -- it's not just that. I need you here for me too. I don't wanna die alone Starsk. I'm so scared. Why haven't my parents been here? I haven't heard their voices. It doesn't matter anyway. You're my family Starsky. I just need you here.
I hear the nurses coming again buddy. I wish I could open my eyes. Well, I'll let ya know what they have to say this time. Most of um have me dead and buried. I hope they're not right. I'm trying Starsk -- just don't feel like I have much left to fight with. I'm tired partner -- I'm so tired.
I've never seen two friends this close before. I make it a rule not to get personally involved with my patients -- but they're also my friends. In the short time I've known them and worked with them -- well, I adore them. They've taught me a lot too. I've already decided to make a lot of changes in my own life. I thought I was pretty tough. I tried to be tough, and was proud of it. Now that I think about it though, that attitude was pretty poor. Here are two "tough" street cops -- homicide detectives, and from what I hear, they're two of the very best. Yet they're so compassionate and kind. They really do care about people. That "tough" act is just that -- an act. Underneath that badge, they're just a couple of little boys who love kittens and pinball machines -- and most of all, each other.
When Ken's test results came back positive, I excused myself from the lab and went into my office and cried. Now don't tell anyone about that -- I'll deny it. I knew we had to tell them. I just didn't know how. Sometimes I really hate my job. I knew I had to hand down a death sentence to Detective Hutchinson, "Hutch" as I've come to call him. I had to put on the "tough" girl act again.
I think Starsky took the news even worse than Hutch. Both men went through all of the stages -- "denial" at first, until at last "acceptance" had set in. Yeah right -- like there was any other choice. Hutch doesn't have much time left. He's a fighter and he's strong, but this virus is stronger -- and Hutch doesn't have the strength to fight it anymore. Honestly, between you and me, I'm surprised he's made it this long. I have to give credit to Starsky, his partner. Starsky's been at that window, looking in as his partner fades. He's fading with him. He won't leave. He's been all but begging me to let him go into the room with Hutch. It's just too risky.
Starsky was there, walking back to Hutch's room, when Hutch stopped breathing. The nurse was in the room at the time luckily, and she acted quickly, calling a "Code Blue." I knew Starsky was witnessing all we were doing to his partner -- some really awful and painful things, but I didn't have the time to console him just then. I didn't want to give him any false hope either. I got Hutch intubated and on a respirator. I just hope it was in time. I'm hoping he didn't suffer any brain damage from the loss of oxygen -- that is, if he even survives.
When I left the room, Starsky was waiting for me. I wanted to tell him that his partner was still alive, but I didn't get that far. You see, Starsky hadn't eaten or slept in just over 24 hours. He's totally exhausted. I took one look at him and I knew he was going down. He was so pale. I never got to tell him that we got Hutch breathing again. On a ventilator, but breathing either way.
I had the nurse and orderly take Starsky to a private room down the hall, which was empty, and ordered a strong sedative. I didn't know what else to do. I was starting to think I'd lose Starsky before -- well, before possibly losing the blond one. That was ten hours ago. I need to go and get him now. I think it's time for him to be with his friend. You see, Hutch is really sick and he's not responding to any of the treatments we've tried. I'm afraid his time here with us is limited. God -- how to tell Starsky.
When I entered his room I thought he was sleeping. He was on his side, with his back toward me. I knew he was awake when I saw his shoulders shaking. It broke my heart when I actually heard him crying.
"David?" I called softly. He didn't respond, so I walked over and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. I think the man was beyond words. He knew his best friend was in serious trouble.
"David, I'd like you to go and sit with Hutch." That got his attention.
"You mean -- you mean he's still alive?"
Red swollen eyes looked back at me. "Yes, we were able to keep him breathing by putting him on life support."
"Then -- then he's got a chance?"
God this sucked! "David -- I'm sorry. Hutch is dying. I think you should be with him now."
Starsky sat up on the side of the bed. I didn't know what to expect. What happened next took me by surprise. This strong, once jovial man I'd met just over a week ago, held his arms out to me. When I reached him he held me tight and sobbed like I've never heard before. I didn't think he'd ever stop. By then, I was crying too, and didn't think I'd be able to pull it together either, but we both did.
I had Starsky gown up and put on the mask. I told him he didn't need the gloves. I doubted Hutch was going to scratch him or anything. Sometimes you just gotta break the rules. This was one of those times. I knew the contact would be good for Starsky, and for Hutch, if he'd even know Starsky was there at all.
Leading the forlorn man into that isolation room felt like I was leading him to the gas chamber. I knew he had to be with Hutch, but I was afraid too of what would happen to him when his partner slipped away. Modern medicine had done all it could do. Only a miracle could save Ken now. I left the two men alone. I knew Starsky would need to say his good-byes in private.
For the first time since this ordeal started, I went in search of the hospital chapel.
For the first time, probably in his entire life, Starsky was speechless. He sat in the chair next to the bed, almost afraid to touch his partner. The awkwardness passed quickly though. He realized he might not have much time, and there was so much he had to say. He thought he'd have a lifetime to talk to Hutch. Now he may have only precious minutes. Judith told him that Hutch's bloodpressure was dangerously low and that his lungs had filled with fluid.
The oxygen tent was gone and Starsky took Hutch's limp hand in his own. He wanted to say so much, but all he managed was, "I love you." He laid his head down on his partner's chest and cried.
Starsky stood in Hutch's apartment, looking around at the way his partner had decorated it. It was so -- 'Hutch'. It felt good to be here in the warm and familiar surroundings. He wandered into the greenhouse. This was Hutch's favorite place. Starsky marveled at its beauty. Edith Dobey had watered Hutch's plants when he was in the hospital. Hutch would appreciate this.
Starsky started cleaning up the kitchen. It seemed like 'forever' since the whole nightmare began. He'd do the livingroom next and then the bathroom. He wanted to make sure Hutch's car would start too, remembering that Hutch had told him it "wasn't turning over right" -- how long ago was that?
Returning from the kitchen, a glimmer caught his eye. Hutch's guitar. Hutch played so beautifully, and his voice was golden. Starsky had always encouraged him to pursue this passion. Hutch would only laugh at him and tell him he was being 'partial'. Starsky was serious though. He loved Hutch's singing and music. He wished he could hear it now.
He quietly went to the bedroom and over to the bed. Hutch must have moved the covers off in his sleep after he'd been tucked in. Starsky didn't want to wake him. It seemed like the first good sleep he'd gotten in a long time.
Starsky smiled, wiping yet a few more tears from his eyes. These were happy tears though. Hutch had made it. He gently brushed a few stray blond strands off of his partners' forehead. Judith was right; Hutch did look like a little boy when he was sleeping.