The next day passed quickly. Jacob slept through most of it, only ever staying up long enough to take his medicine and have a meal. The therapists busied themselves preparing for the trip back to St. Ives for Jacob's two-week follow-up appointment. Angelique went out to get a full tank of gas in the car, and Simon compiled a list of all the noticeable changes they had seen in Jacob's behavior over the past week. Now, they just had to get him to the appointment without a tantrum.
Jacob had mostly recovered from his cold with small sniffles and a few short coughs every now and then. That morning, he was coloring while his caregivers cleaned up the kitchen. He knew they were all going out. The clothes that Simon dressed him in had given that much away, but he didn't know anything else. But he wasn't focused on that; his attention had been shifted to the new coloring book he was presented with.
"Jacob, we're almost ready to leave. Come over so I can put your shoes on," Angelique shouted from the kitchen.
When he didn't join her in the kitchen, she walked over to find him engrossed in his coloring, kneeling next to the coffee table. He had the yellow crayon in his hand, filling in the lines of a mane.
"That's a nice lion," Angelique commented, rubbing his back to get his attention. "But it's time for us to go in the car."
"Can I color in the car?" Jacob asked, looking up at his caregiver.
"You sure can," Angelique promised. She took a seat on the couch and lifted him onto the cushion next to her.
"So, where are we going?" Jacob asked, watching her slip his shoes on.
"We're driving to Richland," she answered, knowing Jacob didn't know where St. Ives was.
"What's in Richland," he asked.
"Someone is curious today," Angelique observed, tying his shoelaces. "You'll find out when we get there." She finished tying his shoes and helped him off the couch. "Come on, Simon's waiting."
Jacob quickly grabbed his coloring book and his box of crayons and followed Angelique to garage where Simon was waiting in the car. His caregiver opened the backdoor for him and helped him into his car seat. While she buckled him in, Simon turned around from the driver's seat.
"Do you want Batman?" he asked, offering Jacob his toy.
"Yes!" Jacob answered, enthusiastically taking Batman from him and stuffing him into the car seat with him.
Once Angelique got in the passenger's seat, Simon opened the garage door and they began the trip back to St. Ives. Jacob spent most of the trip occupied with coloring his pictures, but every now and then, he paused to ask if they were almost there or for a snack. Finally, two and a half hours later, they made it to St. Ives.
Simon pulled into the parking lot and shut off the car. "Now, we're here," he told Jacob. He stepped outside and opened the door to the back seat, quickly undoing the car seat's buckles.
Noticing the crayons and coloring book in his hands, Simon told him, "Sorry, buddy, but you can't bring the coloring book."
"But I want to color!" Jacob whined as Simon took the coloring book and crayon away from him.
"I know you do, but you might lose some of your crayons in the building," he said, helping him out of the car. "How about you bring Batman, and if you're good, you can have a special treat on the way back."
"Can I have ice-cream?" Jacob asked, allowing Simon to hold his hand.
"Sure, but only if you're good," Simon promised.
They made walk through the parking lot in silence. Jacob had no idea where they were, but he assumed they were going to a museum. He remembered Simon telling him stories about dinosaurs the day before. When they walked through the double doors into a lobby, Jacob began to worry about where they might be.
"We're here for an appointment," Jacob heard Angelique tell the receptionist at the front desk.
"Simon and Angelique?" the receptionist asked.
"Yes, that's us," Simon answered.
"You're in room 46. Walk down that hall, and it will be on the left. The doctor will be in to see you shortly."
When Jacob heard the word "doctor", adrenaline began to pump through his veins. He realized they had to be at St. Ives, and he didn't want to see the mean doctor again, not when she might make him smaller than he already was.
As Simon led him along through the halls, he immediately stop walking forward and pulled at Simon's arm. "I don't want to go," he cried. "No doctor!"
"Jacob, it's going to be quick. It's just a checkup. There's nothing to worry about," Simon said, trying to console the boy before he had a meltdown in the middle of the hall.
"No!" Jacob cried with tears beginning to fall down his face.
"Alright," Simon said, realizing that Jacob was clearly too distressed to be reasoned with. He lifted the toddler into his arms and encouraged Jacob to rest his head against his shoulder as he continued the walk down the hall.
Angelique bent down to pickup his Batman toy that he'd dropped when Simon picked him up, and she followed closely behind. They found the room that they were supposed to wait in, and Simon took a seat in one of the chairs, holding Jacob in his arms as he sobbed. After five minutes of crying, Jacob finally calmed down.
The trio heard two quick raps on the door, and a nurse walked through the door. "Hi, I came to get a reading of Jacob's vitals. Would you mind sitting him on the exam table?" she asked, turning on the equipment in the room.
"No problem," Simon said, standing up and taking Jacob over to the exam table. When the little boy, pulled at his shirt, he told him, "It's only for a second, Jacob."
Once he was on the exam table, the nurse took a reading of his temperature with an ear thermometer. Next, she attached a small device to the tip of his finger and wrapped a cuff around his arm. Once they beeped, she removed all the devices.
Jotting down the readings onto a clipboard, she said, "Everything looks excellent. The doctor will be right over," and left the room.
"You did so well," Angelique said, reaching over to pat Jacob's head.
Simon was still standing next to Jacob while he was seated on the exam table when Dr. Kelly entered the room.
"Simon and Angelique. It's nice to see you both again," Dr. Kelly began. "Thanks for bringing Jacob in today. Has everything been going well?"
"It has. Thank you for asking," Simon said.
"That's good to hear," she replied, pausing for a moment to look at the clipboard in front of her. "I asked you two to bring in Jacob so we could run a few standard tests to see how his regression is coming along, but we did say that we wanted to do a case study. So, the plan is to do a few specialized tests if that's alright with you two?" she asked.
"We're fine as long as it isn't very invasive." Angelique said, glancing over at Jacob who was grabbing onto Simon in fear of the doctor.
"Everything will be non-invasive. We only want to get a picture of how the Restalsis is affecting his brain. It will be as simple as a few extra flashcard tests and an EEG," the doctor promised.
"Okay, that sounds simple enough," Simon said, put to ease by Dr. Kelly's explanation.
"One more thing," the doctor started. "We were able to get a transfer of Jacob's electronic medical records, and I think it would be best to make sure his vaccinations are up to date for today's requirements of a two-year-old. We don't want him contracting anything serious."
"That would be great actually. It will be easier to get him enrolled in daycare," Angelique said.
"Excellent," Dr. Kelly said, turning to rummage through the drawers before asking, "Did either of you have any questions or concerns that you wanted to talk about?"
"Yes," Simon replied. "We noticed that Jacob's regression has seemed especially accelerated over the last few days, and we were a bit concerned since we weren't told to expect that."
"Oh, that's good that you noticed that," Dr. Kelly said, smiling and unpackaging a syringe. "We have a working theory about the way that Restalsis affects brains that aren't fully developed. We think that they final stage is accelerated in those who are under the age of 25, but we aren't sure yet. It's still only a theory because the circumstances for those who are older when they are regressed tend to be different than those who are under 25."
"That makes sense. Thank you for explaining that Dr. Kelly," Simon said.
"Not a problem," she replied before asking, "Anything else?"
"No that was all we had," Simon confirmed.
"Look Jacob," the blonde woman said, pulling out a small lollipop from her coat. "This is for you, but I'm going to give it to Angelique so she can unwrap it for you."
The doctor waited until Jacob's attention shifted to the piece of candy she handed to his caregiver. Quickly, she uncapped the needle and injected the vaccination into his upper arm. Feeling the pinch in his arm, Jacob turned back around to face the doctor, and when he saw the needle in her hand, his frustration at being deceived grew until it released into another short crying fit.
"I'm sorry," Dr. Kelly apologized to the couple, seeming remorseful.
"He'll be alright," Angelique assured her.
"Great," Dr. Kelly said. "The nurse will be in to take Jacob to his testing, and we have an event going on for caregivers of regressed children if you two would like to attend while you're waiting."
"That sounds good, doctor. Thank you," Simon said, patting Jacob on the back while the toddler finished crying.
"You're welcome, and I'll see you all again in another two weeks," she said, grabbing the clipboard and slipping through the door.
"Jacob, are you feeling better, buddy?" Simon asked when Jacob's cries finally dwindled down.
Jacob nodded slowly, sniffling and rubbing away the tears on his face.
"Do you want your lollipop?" Angelique asked him, holding the wrapped candy up for him to see it.
"Yes," Jacob replied softly, reaching out for it.
"Okay," Angelique said, unwrapping the lollipop and handing it to him.
Jacob popped it into his mouth and immediately enjoyed the rush of flavors on his tongue. He didn't get to enjoy his candy for too long before his caregivers decided it was time to spring the bad news on him.
"Jacob," Angelique began, rubbing his arm to get his attention. "In a few minutes, a nurse is going to come, and you have to go with her to take a few quick tests."
Seeing that the boy looked ready to cry again, Simon added, "But you're going to be a big boy for the nurse and go with her to do the tests right. You can go with Batman and he'll remind you to be brave."
A few minutes later, the nurse did come to the room to get Jacob ready for his testing, and after quick hugs from his caregivers, he hesitantly allowed the nurse to hold his hand and lead him out of the room.