|In My Nature
Author: Viv-B PM
Commencing in the last ever episode of The Flying Doctors, 'Life Lessons', In My Nature follows on from the conversation between Jackie and Guy of the story of the Scorpion and the Frog. Sometimes the need for control is just in a person's nature.Rated: Fiction K - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Rowie L. & Jackie C. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 28,022 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 05-10-13 - Published: 12-16-11 - id: 7643521
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
0920, Thursday, 19/03/92
Turning around from the radio, Clare watched as Johnno walked through the entrance hall and into the room.
"Clare Bear," he sighed.
She crossed the room and gave him a consoling smile. "Didn't think you'd be in today?"
"Nothin' else to do," Johnno placed his flight bag on the top of his desk.
"I just wish they'd all stop gossiping; it's all I can do to not turn the damn thing off." Clare gestured towards the radio.
"What, the locals got wind of this?" Johnno frowned.
"Since eight o'clock this morning, it's been like Chinese whispers. Nothing specific of course, just that one of the doctors ended up in hospital last night. But of course the speculations are flying." Clare walked back over and took a seat in front of the radio.
"Have you heard anything?" Johnno asked, leaning back against the room divider.
"No, nothing," Clare replied.
"Feel useless just sitting around here." Johnno shook his head.
"Well, I guess there's nothing we can do, is there?" Clare answered.
Both of them turned around at the sound of the door opening.
Geoff strolled through the entrance hall, looking between each of them in turn.
"Morning." Geoff rubbed his eyes.
"Geoff?" Johnno turned quickly.
"Sorry for not getting back to you two sooner last night," Geoff apologised.
"How is she?" Johnno asked directly.
With a deep sigh, Geoff considered his answer. "Better than I expected for the moment. Jackie hasn't left her side."
"I had to tell him, Geoff. It was the only way to stop him ending up at the hospital earlier this morning," Clare explained.
Trying to catch up on the developments, Geoff looked from Clare to Johnno.
"Well, did Row say who did it?" Johnno asked impatiently.
Running his hands through his hair in sheer exhaustion, Geoff tried to deal with Johnno's question as diplomatically as he could. "I can't talk about it, mate. In a few days, once the police have investigated, we can debrief, but until then, we have to handle this with absolute discretion."
"Yeah, you're right, Geoff." Johnno nodded. "So, you need me for anything?"
Geoff breathed a long, exhausted sigh. "Not at this stage. It's going to be chaotic for the next few days; God forbid we have an emergency before we can get another doctor here. Clare, can you cancel tomorrow's clinic run, please."
"Will do, Geoff. I've left a message with head office. Jim Anderson is going to get in contact with you as soon as he gets in." Clare answered diligently.
"That's all I need." Geoff frowned. "Coffee, coffee, coffee," he mumbled under his breath as he made his way over to the percolator.
Tapping his hand against his knee thoughtfully, Johnno looked between Clare and Geoff, deciding to cross the room to Geoff.
"Look, ah, I know you said you can't talk about it. But, well, maybe you should talk to Clare. She said there was some stuff between Guy and Rowie she should have reported to you." Johnno kept his voice lowered.
"I see." Geoff prepared the coffee. "I'll have a word with her. Thanks. Johnno, for what it's worth, I'm sorry." Geoff looked away awkwardly. "The police should be getting in sometime today; they'll want to have a chat to you."
"Right," Johnno answered quickly, not picking up on the more subtle meaning behind Geoff's words.
"Look, there's no easy way to say this Johnno. Until Rowie has made a formal statement, I need you to stay away from the hospital." Geoff slowly lifted his gaze.
Realisation dawned on the pilot. "Gee, thanks for your support. So that's what all that 'can't talk about it' stuff was; I'm a suspect until Rowie says otherwise."
Geoff shook his head quickly, "Not in my mind you're not. But, it's important that we play this by the book."
"Yeah, yeah," Johnno trailed off. "Thank God I was playing pool with Steve last night."
"Mate, off the record, I think we all know who did this; we just have to keep our opinions to ourselves until the police have investigated. Sorry, I'm probably being more blunt than I should be; it's been a hell of a night." Geoff sighed, watching the coffee begin dripping into the jug.
"I'll bet. So there's nothing you need me to do?" Johnno asked.
"No, no. I'm going to request a relief pilot for a few days, thought you'd want some time off." Geoff added milk and sugar to the nearby mug.
"I'm all right. Seriously. I mean, unless you need to transfer Row and you think she'd prefer someone else, but I'm all right to work," Johnno stated firmly.
"You sure?" Geoff reached for the jug of freshly brewed coffee.
Johnno nodded, also reaching for a mug.
"Right, well that takes the pressure off a bit. I was dreading the reaction from head office when I told them I needed three replacements." Geoff poured the coffee into his mug.
"Geoff?" Clare called from across the room. "Phone call; it's Jim Anderson."
"Main office, thanks Clare." With a long sigh, Geoff took a slow sip of his coffee. "Here we go."
0940, Thursday, 19/03/92
"Thanks Tracey." Jackie looked up as the cup of tea was handed to her.
"No probs, you must be exhausted," The younger, brunette nurse answered.
"Can you let me know when Geoff gets back?" Jackie asked.
"Will do." Tracey nodded and quietly left the room.
Slowly taking a sip of tea, Jackie heard the sound of movement from across the room.
Carefully placing the cup down, she watched as Rowie turned her head slightly.
Jackie remained where she was, watching for several moments as Rowie sat up, her attention quickly going to the IV in the back of her right hand.
Before Jackie could react, Rowie had pulled back the op-site dressing and removed the cannula, the IV line falling to the floor.
"Rowie!" Jackie arrived quickly to the opposite side of the bed, stopping the IV and managing to grasp Rowie's shoulders just as she pulled herself to the edge of the bed.
"Just wait," Jackie realised she didn't even have a free hand to call for help.
"I don't need to be here," Rowie answered assertively.
"Rowie, please. You've got a concussion, you've got a catheter in, just give me a minute," Jackie pleaded, awkwardly managing to press the call bell.
"Why won't you let me leave?" Rowie protested further.
"We just need to get Geoff here, and we can talk about it, all right?" Jackie kept her left arm tightly on Rowie's shoulder.
"Jackie?" Tracey poked her head quickly back into the room.
"Call Dr Standish, Tracey. I need him back ASAP," Jackie answered, keeping her voice calm.
"Ah, right," Tracey paused, looking worriedly between each of her colleagues.
"Now!" Jackie ordered, waiting until the nurse had scurried from intensive care. "Sorry," she glanced back to Rowie.
Her breathing rapid with panic and exertion, Rowie looked from Jackie back down to the edge of her hospital gown.
"Do you remember what happened last night?" Jackie asked slowly, stalling for time.
Rowie shook her head as she spoke, "I don't want to talk about it."
Jackie watched as Rowie studied the bruises above her knees.
"That's all right, you don't have to. But do you remember coming to the hospital last night?" Jackie kept her voice low.
Hesitantly, Rowie nodded. "I remember being in the ambulance." She swallowed. "I remember the x-ray." Rowie clenched her jaw at the intrusive memories.
"Good." Jackie nodded. "Come on, just lie back for me? Geoff will be here soon, I promise."
"Can you please take out the IDC?" she pleaded.
"You'll be all right to walk?" Jackie asked.
"I'm fine," Rowie replied immediately.
"Headache, blurred vision, dizziness?" Jackie prompted.
"Jackie?" she begged.
"All right." Jackie opened the top draw of the bedside table to locate examination gloves and a syringe.
Without a further word passing between them, Jackie carefully lifted the blanket back and commenced removal of the indwelling catheter.
Her eyes flickering between the top of Jackie's head and the ceiling, Rowie tried to ignore the mild discomfort.
"Just about got it all," Jackie continued draining the saline solution from the cuff before carefully attempting removal. "All right?"
Rowie nodded quickly, trying not to think about the events of the previous night.
"There." Jackie sighed, moving the blanket back up and clearing away the used medical equipment.
Rowie clasped her hands together across her stomach.
"Geoff should be here soon," Jackie reassured.
"Jim, I'm it, until Dr Lang is fit to return to work; and at this stage, I've got no idea how long that will be. Now, I can't operate, I can't leave the Crossing, until I get another doctor here. That means, all clinic runs, all surgical procedures, emergency and non-emergency, are suspended. Apart from the patients I currently have in hospital, and seeing patients here at the base, we're non-operational."
"Standish, how the hell did you lose two doctors in one night? And where's Reid?" Jim Anderson bellowed down the other end of the phone.
"I've no idea about Dr Reid. No-one has seen him since yesterday evening. Now, I realise this is a logistical nightmare; but I've had two hours sleep since six o'clock yesterday morning. I can't do it all," Geoff defended sharply.
"Yeah, well, I'll see what I can do. It'll be a few days, though. Monday at the earliest," Jim replied gruffly.
Geoff turned, hearing his office door open without a knock.
"Geoff, it's Rowie. Jackie needs you at the hospital urgently," Clare raised her voice in order to obtain his immediate attention.
"Jim, I have to go." Geoff pulled the phone away from his ear, still able to hear Jim Anderson's tirades as he dropped the phone down to the desk and ran from the office.
0955, Thursday, 19/03/92
Out of breath, Geoff arrived to intensive care, taking a quick glance through the circular window before entering.
"Geoff," Jackie looked up from the bedside with a relieved sigh.
Gradually regaining his breath, Geoff crossed the room, not expecting the apparent calmness he now saw before him. "Is everything all right?" he asked tentatively.
"We've had a bit of an unscheduled IV and IDC removal, Geoff." Jackie glanced subtly towards her patient.
"I see." Geoff nodded, arriving at the other side of the bed opposite Jackie. "Rowie, how are you feeling?"
"Geoff, I'm fine. I just want to get out of here," she answered immediately.
"Really?" he frowned suspiciously. "Your GCS was on the low side last night. I'd feel more comfortable if you stayed in for observation for another night." Geoff looked awkwardly between Rowie and Jackie, having no way of knowing if there had been any improvement to the amnesia since the last time he'd seen his patient.
"I told Jackie, vision's fine, I don't have a headache. I certainly don't need to be in intensive care for crying out loud," Rowie rolled her eyes.
"Well, that was my decision. I thought you'd prefer the privacy." Geoff shrugged.
"I don't need to be here at all," she replied indignantly.
Slowly, Geoff considered her objection. "Will you at least let me run some obs?"
Looking down towards the foot of the bed, Rowie nodded.
"Jackie, can I have a word outside?" Geoff looked over to the door.
Mouth opening, Jackie glanced in Rowie's direction.
"You'll be all right to stay here for a few minutes?" Geoff asked.
"Fine," Rowie sighed, not looking at either of them as they left the room.
Closing the door and walking down the corridor, Geoff turned sharply to Jackie.
"What the hell was that? You removed the IDC without consultation, Sister?" Geoff frowned.
"Geoff, she pulled the cannula out! I think if I hadn't, she would have removed the catheter herself, too!" Jackie defended her actions.
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry. I think I underestimated what I'd left you with in there," Geoff replied.
"Yeah, you're damn right!" Jackie exclaimed.
"Something's not adding up, here. Why's she so anxious to get out of hospital? Does she think she's going back to the pub?" Geoff scratched his chin, looking back in through the window.
"Who knows!" Jackie exclaimed. "My money's on the notion that she's just trying to block it out completely."
"Has she said anything about last night?" Geoff probed.
"She remembers the ambulance ride and x-ray. She certainly reacted as if she remembers the assault; but when I asked, she refused to discuss it." Jackie brought him up to speed.
"Well, what're your thoughts on management?" Geoff folded his arms across his chest.
"I think it's important that if she's stable medically, that we let her have control. If she wants to be discharged, then, so be it. She can't go back to the pub though." Jackie shook her head.
"No," Geoff agreed. "Are you okay to take her out to our place? I'll run it past Kate, but I think a few days away from town will help. The police will be arriving at some stage today. They'll want to speak with her."
"Well, sure," Jackie shrugged, "That's probably the best solution I could come up with. Gives her some privacy away from everyone too."
"Right, you go back in, I'll give Kate a quick heads up and join you back in for the examination. Don't say anything until I get back, just in case." Geoff muttered succinctly.
"Geoff, you'll need to discuss oral antibiotics with her, won't you? And I'm not convinced that her refusal of the Yuzpe regimen this morning was an informed decision." Jackie shrugged.
"All right, but just leave it until I get back. We'll go through it all as part of a discharge plan, okay?" he answered, with a final nod, heading back towards the examination room to call Kate.
1020, Thursday, 19/03/92
Vic looked up from behind the bar as the door opened.
"Morning," Penny arrived into the Saloon followed closely by Clare.
"Any news?" Vic asked glumly.
Penny glanced back to Clare awkwardly.
"Rowie's all right, Vic. She's going out to Geoff and Kate's for a few days. We've just come to get some of her clothes and things." Clare nodded, holding the room key in her right hand.
"I see," Vic answered, clearly still distressed.
"Have the police arrived yet?" Clare asked.
"Nup," Vic looked down at the top of the bar.
"Oh, Clare," Nancy raced over from the kitchen doorway, as soon as she saw her.
"Clare, we'd better get back as soon as we can," Penny headed towards the corridor leading to the stairs.
"Nancy, we can talk upstairs," Clare circumvented the discussion as politely as she could.
"Of course," Nancy followed behind Penny and Clare, as all three arrived to the bottom of the stairs.
"Is it really true?" Nancy enquired, as soon as they were out of general earshot.
"As far as we know, Geoff's not giving much away," Clare answered. "Poor man has been up all night practically, the base is non-operational. It's a nightmare."
"My goodness, so no-one's seen Guy either?" Nancy continued.
"No," Clare trailed off awkwardly.
Penny stopped abruptly at the landing between the two flights of stairs.
"Is he the one who did this or something? Did Guy rape Rowie?" Penny's gaze flickered between the older women's stunned faces.
"Oh, heavens," Nancy sighed, turning to Clare for confirmation.
"I don't know why you're both looking at me," Clare answered defensively. "I told you, Jackie and Geoff are playing this close to the chest. Just as they should."
"Come on, Clare, they can't stand each other; is it true or isn't it?" Penny pressed, blocking the top of the staircase until she had an answer.
Clare sighed, in a mixture of fatigue and frustration.
"I told you Penny, I don't know. Now, can we just get this over with? Geoff said we needed to get back urgently." Clare frowned.
"Surely Guy wouldn't do something like that. Would he?" Nancy reached for Clare's upper arm.
"For mercy's sake! All I know is that Jackie told me that Rowie had been raped. I don't know anything more than that!" Clare raised her voice in exasperation.
"Well, where the hell is he, then?" Penny thought back over the late night conversation she and Guy had had at the hospital several days earlier.
"Penny, please," Clare glared.
With a sigh, the young girl relented, and all three silently finished climbing the stairs.
"Ah, what are you doing?" Nancy touched her index finger to her mouth worriedly as Clare and Penny stopped outside Rowie's room.
"Geoff told us to get some clothes and things. It's all right, he gave us the key," Clare reassured.
Nancy nodded, remaining in the middle of the hallway as Clare unlocked the door and stepped into the room.
"Whoa," Penny exclaimed, as they both gazed around the hotel room.
"Oh my God, is that blood?" Nancy gasped, clasping her hand over her mouth.
"Penny, don't touch anything, all right?" Clare took several tentative steps into the room behind Penny, both of them avoiding Rowie's medical bag and assorted dressings and bandages scattered around it.
"We just need a bag or something." Penny quickly spotted the red backpack on top of the wardrobe. "Clare?" She pointed, before receiving a nod of approval and pulling it down.
Slowly opening the wooden door of the wardrobe, Clare brought out several blouses, a pair of jeans and some black trousers. "There."
"Shoes?" Penny shrugged, reaching for the white sneakers at the bottom of the wardrobe.
"Underwear?" Clare turned around, carefully crossing the room to the bedside table.
Penny looked between Nancy and the bloodstained quilt, as she quickly folded and stuffed Rowie's clothes into the red bag.
"Here," Clare quickly retrieved several pairs of bras, socks and underwear, and brought them over towards Penny.
As they both helped packing the bag, their attention was drawn to the sounds of soft sobbing from the hallway.
Looking up, Clare saw Nancy pull the handkerchief from her sleeve and dab at her eyes.
"Nancy." Clare sighed, quickly crossing the room and arriving back out into the hallway to place a hand on her shoulder.
"I just feel so terrible. To think this happened under our own roof. Rosie was practically like a daughter to us. We've known her since she was born. I've probably spent more time with her than her own parents. Especially after her mother passed away." Nancy tried to hold back the tears.
"Let's just get this finished, and we can sit down with a cup of tea, hmm?" Clare squeezed Nancy's shoulder.
"Anything else?" Penny asked, having finished packing the bag.
"I can't think of anything," Clare shook her head.
"Oh, nightie and toiletries," Penny answered, quickly spotting the pale blue t-shirt behind the door and the toiletries bag on the small table next to the sink. "And hairbrush," Penny muttered. She added the grey hairbrush and other items to the red backpack. "All done."
"Let's get back," Clare nodded, looking down at the keys in her right hand as Penny slung the backpack over her shoulder. "Hey, what about a book?" Penny paused, spotting the book open on the floor, beside the bed.
Clare looked back, as Penny bent down to retrieve it. "Penny, wait!"
Looking up sharply, Penny froze, realising its proximity to the bed.
"Leave it," Clare repeated.
"Yeah," Penny sighed, taking a final glance around the room before arriving out into the hallway.
"You be all right, Auntie Nance?" she looked over, concerned.
"I suppose," Nancy shrugged, slipping the handkerchief back up her left sleeve.
"The police should be here shortly." Clare locked the door once again. "Have you got a spare key, in case they need it?"
"Oh, yes," Nancy nodded as they all proceeded back towards the stairs. "Do tell Geoff, if there's anything I can do, anything at all."
"I will," Clare brushed Nancy's arm. "I think the best thing we can do for Rowie at the moment, is to keep this confidential. It's going to be hard enough for her to get over this, without the entire town knowing about it."
"Of course," Nancy agreed, as they filed silently down the stairs.