|Safely Amongst Friends
Author: elfmaiden4legs PM
****Jack recives a call out from Will to tend him at the side of the road... and some more potentially serious problems are flagged up as a result of a panic attack. Another fic set around Will and his depression and how Jack and Beth help him through!Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Words: 2,552 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 4 - Published: 02-14-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7836789
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Safely Amongst Friends
"Have you taken anything Will?" Jack frowned in concern as he kept two fingers on his wrist, and checked the rate of his pulse against his wristwatch, but Will shook his head – he was still struggling to catch his breath and his pulse was slightly irregular, and Jack was beginning to worry that there was something more serious than a panic attack going on.
"No – why?" He asked.
Jack had initially been afraid that his severely depressed friend might have been desperate enough to take an overdose when he'd received the call from a seriously distressed Will to join him on one of the quiet country lanes surrounding their small home village of Cardale, and he'd raced out immediately to find him. Upon discovering Will parked up at the side of the road not too far from his large country home it had become clear that the doctor was actually in the grip of a rather severe panic attack, but the longer his symptoms continued to persist the more Jack became concerned that there might be something a little more serious and underlying going on.
He'd now been with Will for nearly half an hour and still the other man had shown little sign of making any improvement in that time – even if he did now at least appear a little calmer.
"Well, your pulse is still slightly irregular." Jack explained. "I'd expect you to be feeling a little better by now, do you mind if I check your blood pressure?"
Will shook his head. "What are you thinking?" He asked.
"Well you're a doctor Will, but nothing too serious." He smiled reassuringly. "You've been suffering from major reactive depression, untreated, for quite some time, you probably haven't been eating properly – I'd suspect a probable case of anaemia, but we'll know more when we get you off to hospital and get you checked over properly."
"Hospital?" Will suddenly looked quite alarmed. "I'm not going to hospital!"
"Now Will," Jack eased as he gently slipped the cuff of the blood pressure monitor over his friend's arm, putting his stethoscope to his ears, and gently inflating the cuff, "you're having difficulty breathing, and your pulse is irregular – at the very least you could do with some oxygen to help you breathe a little easier – what would you say to one of your patients if they presented with similar symptoms? It's a little on the low side." He finally sighed, once he'd finished with his preliminary observations.
"How low?" Will asked.
"Just slightly." He smiled – adopting his positive bedside manner in an attempt to reassure his friend. "How are you feeling?"
"Still a little tight." Will sighed, taking long, unsteady breaths. "And still a little breathless." He explained – breathing in through his nose and out through his mouth.
With this Jack placed the stethoscope back in his ears. "Lean forward for me please Will. Let me have a little listen to your chest." He frowned, rolling up the other man's shirt and listening to his chest and back intently, as Will continued to draw shaky breaths.
The other man had obviously been crying, he looked exhausted, his complexion was pale and there were dark circles under his eyes.
"I'm just so tired Jack." He confessed. "Tired and fed up of life."
"Beth told me what happened with Sarah." Jack explained.
Will nodded. "I really didn't mean to frighten her." He spoke almost apologetically, with a heavy sigh. "But she just kept on going on and on and on at me – I just couldn't cope with it all anymore."
"I know." Jack sighed, patting his friend on the shoulder as he finished listening to his chest and back and hooked the stethoscope back around his neck. "You don't need to explain yourself – your chest sounds clear, no sign of any infection, but your heart rate is quite fast." He explained. "Do you have any pain anywhere?"
"No." Will shook his head. Jack looked down at him and smiled meekly – he looked so broken and so vulnerable, as though with one harsh word he would crumble into a million pieces. "It's just these panic attacks I get Jack, and these headaches." He sighed. "I don't wish I was dead anymore, but I don't particularly want to go on living. I just feel numb."
"You've got to give yourself time to recover Will." Jack sighed. "Stop pushing yourself so hard before you're ready, nothing's going to be taken away from you, but if you keep pushing yourself like this you're only going to make yourself iller. You need to rest, and stop being so hard on yourself."
Will's breathing was becoming more laboured again now though, and Jack was becoming increasingly concerned – he was worried that an untreated case of persistent anaemia might have led to some more serious lasting damage.
"I think we'd better get you off to hospital now Will." He explained. "You know they're not likely to keep you in, but I want to get you checked over just to be on the safe side. I can take you in myself save calling an ambulance, we can go in my car, I'll come back and pick the Land Rover up later?"
"I'm sorry Jack." Will suddenly looked back at him, and alongside the fresh tears glistening there was renewed fear in his eyes. "I didn't know who else to call. Beth has already bent over backwards for me. I'm so scared – I feel as though I'm losing my mind Jack. I'm such a burden on you all."
"You're not a burden Will." Jack insisted. "And you're not losing your mind."
"I've just never felt like this before." He continued. "I never thought I could ever feel so lost, or scared, or confused. The amount of people I've treated over the years for depression and anxiety, I never thought I'd ever be one of them."
He suddenly burst into tears, and Jack then did the only thing that seemed obvious – putting all male inhibitions aside he did the one thing Beth too had done when she'd first found their friend in the same state a couple of weeks before – he wrapped his arms around Will's waist in a gentle embrace as the man sobbed desperately into his shoulder.
"It's alright Will. He smiled, rubbing the other man's back and shoulder soothingly. "We're all here for you you know, everything's going to be alright. Come on its getting cold." He observed as he helped Will up, locking the Land Rover and guiding the other man towards his much smaller vehicle before helping him onto the car.
"Thank you Jack." Will dried his eyes and forced a smile once Jack had settled him in the passenger seat and joined him at the driver's side.
"Don't mention it." Jack smiled.
"You've been a long time." Beth frowned when Jack finally arrived back at the Beeches a couple of hours later. "I was about to send a search party out for you. You missed our meeting."
"Oh, I'm sorry Beth." Jack sighed – he'd completely forgotten about the partners meeting Beth had called regarding the state of the remaining pair's workload in Will's absence in light of the emergency call – and the hours which had followed had completely pushed it out of his mind.
"Where have you been?" She asked, arms folded, a note of warning within her tone as the young doctor shook off his coat, placing his medical bag down on the reception desk and, pinching the bridge of his nose, did his best to get his head around the previous couple of hours.
Jack sighed gravely, averting his partner's gaze as he pushed past her on his way to his consulting room. "Can't this wait Beth?" He asked.
"No Jack," She exclaimed, following him, "it can't! As a partner in this practice you have an obligation to us and your patients. You can't go gallivanting off whenever the fancy takes you. If this job means anything to you…"
"I've just had to take Will into hospital!" He explained. "If you must know why I'm late…" He faltered, he hadn't wanted to let Beth know like this. Will was a good friend, an excellent doctor, and a much loved colleague, but he also wasn't about to stand back whilst his senior partner ripped into him for not making it to a meeting which could easily be rescheduled, especially when there were much more pressing issues occupying his mind.
He respected her greatly as a fellow physician, and valued her as a friend, but she was so frequently prone to overreaction, and this was one occasion which Jack was not prepared to stand back and take any of her presumptuous insults lying down.
"If you must know Will didn't want anyone to know." He explained. "Not yet anyway…"
"What, Will, no?" Her expression immediately softened with the shock of this sudden revelation, as she slowly sank into the seat opposite Jack's desk, as Jack took the other.
"Why?" She asked.
"I received a call on my way here." He explained, looking at his watch. "Oh, about three hours ago. He had another panic attack whilst driving, Lord knows where he was off to. Anyway by the time I got there he appeared quite a lot calmer but still seemed to be having a bit of trouble breathing – rapid, irregular pulse." He sighed.
"Poor Will." Beth breathed a sympathetic sigh.
"I'm pretty sure he's suffering from acute anaemia, probably brought on by poor diet as a result of the depression, and he's definitely a little run down." He explained. "They've run some bloods, and we'll know more when we get the results of the tests back. They're not keeping him in though, I'm popping back to pick him up later."
"Mind if I come with you?" She asked.
Jack frowned, but he shook his head. He didn't see the need for the two of them to make the trip, but on the other hand Beth had known Will longer than he, even if she hadn't been entirely fare on the other man lately, and he could clearly see the worry lines etched into her brow.
"No… no…" He faltered. "I'm sure he'll be pleased to see you."
"I'm sorry I went off at you like that Jack." She sighed apologetically. "It's no excuse I know, but I guess we've all been a little over stretched lately."
He took one look at her tired face and smiled – she returned the gesture.
"It's alright." He nodded. "No harm done."
But with Will gone for at least the foreseeable future they were all going to have to start pulling together more over the next few weeks if they wanted to keep the practice ticking over, otherwise under the circumstances the difficulties they now faced might very easily end up tearing them all apart.
"Will you're exhausted. You can't carry on like this." Beth urged her friend in the hospital waiting room a further couple of hours later. "You need help."
He looked at her with dark, sunken eyes and sighed.
"I know Beth." He finally confessed tiredly. "I know I can't, but if I've got to talk to somebody I don't want it to be some stuffy, stuck up private consultant I don't see from one year to the next. Let it be you and Jack…"
"I can't." Beth shook her head. "You know we can't do that Will. It's highly unethical. You're our friend."
"Oh come off it Beth." Will exclaimed. "Irregular yes, but hardly unethical. We're country GP's Beth, three quarters of the people we treat we also socialise with outside of consulting hours… all I'm saying it that if I'm going to have to bare my soul to somebody I'd rather it be someone I already know… someone who won't judge me for what I'm going through…"
Beth sighed. "I'll have a word with Jack." She finally conceded. "See what he says about it. If he agrees then I'm happy to put your name down on the books on a temporary basis – but we'll have to keep old Rowland informed, let him know everything we prescribe, everything that's going on."
"I can't promise anything though." She emphasized. "It all depends on what Jack says, I don't even know if he'll be happy with the idea. Have the hospital given you anything?"
Will sighed and shook his head.
"Then I'll prescribe you a short course of anti-depressants to tide you over." She explained. "And some sleeping pills to help you sleep. Make sure you take them!"
"Thank you Beth." Will forced a tired smiled. "I'm sorry."
"In the meantime," She smiled as she handed Will the doctor's script, "stop being so hard on yourself, you're ill Will. You're no different to any of the other patients you see in your consulting room everyday… the only difference is you seem to be under the illusion that doctor's don't get sick!" She chuckled, clasping her warm palm over his cold hand.
"I'll try and remember that." He smiled lightly.
"Doctors aren't heroes Will." She soothed, cupping his cold and pale cheek in her palm and rubbing the side of his face affectionately with her thumb – it was a gesture of friendship certainly not out of place or uncharacteristic between the two close friends. "We're people too." She smiled. "What are we going to do with you?"
"Bang his head against a brick wall until we make him see sense." Jack remarked with a smile as he returned from fetching the car.
"How long have you been there?" Beth frowned, but there was a knowing glint in her eye and a wry smile on her face.
"Oh, a while." Jack chuckled in his rich Northern accent. "And I for one don't have a problem with taking Will on as a patient at the Beeches, we know his personal circumstance better than anyone…"
"You were listening?" Beth frowned – but Jack faked innocence.
"No, not listening." He shook his head, eyebrows raised. "But I heard what Will said about wanting it to be us who he talks to, and I don't see that there's a problem with that. We're his friends Beth, we have a duty of care towards each other as well as to our patients. I don't see that it makes any difference whether Will talks to you or me, or to old Doctor Rowland… but he can't go on like this, something has to be done."
"You're a jammy little man sometimes when it suits you aren't you Jack Kerruish?" She laughed, shaking her head in disbelief, and Jack smiled.
"Thank you Jack." Will mouthed, and Jack clapped him gently on the back.
"Don't mention it. Come on, let's get you home." He insisted, as both he and Beth helped their exhausted friend to his feet. "Just remember Will, take it one day at a time. We're all here for you. Don't even think about tomorrow – slow and steady. Don't push yourself too hard – for now we just take things one moment at a time."