|You Learn Not To Get Too Attached
Author: Juliana Eschette PM
Dr. Jones isn't used to losing patients. He's one of the best doctors out there! But when an unfortunate situation forces him to pull the plug, he has a hard time dealing with his failure. Leave it to Nurse Kirkland to comfort the doctor back to full ego. AU. Based off of: askdrjonesandnursekirkland.tumblr. com /post/22095584201/you-learn-not-to-get-too-attached One shot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - America & England/Britain - Words: 2,383 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 80 - Follows: 8 - Published: 06-03-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8180252
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
You Learn Not To Get Too Attached
Losing patients shouldn't be hard. It happens all the time. It's a natural process. Lives are created and lost in the hospital. That's how it works. That's how it always works. But for Alfred F. Jones, losing a patient was harder for him than for most other doctors. He was new here, and younger than the rest of the staff, which may have explained why he was having so much trouble with this particular case. He was brilliant, but inexperienced.
The patient had been comatose for nearly three weeks. Nobody had come to claim him. Nobody even knew his name. It was the result of a hit-and-run earlier that month. There was no identification on the patient, and nobody had filed a missing person's report. All Dr. Jones had to go on was his estimated age of around 60, his height of 5'8", and his approximated weight of 155 pounds. He looks like a nice person, thought Dr. Jones one day upon inspection. I bet he likes baseball. But other than assumptions, the young Dr. Jones knew nothing about his resting patient.
Hospitals can get busy without warning. It's almost frustrating. Especially for Arthur Kirkland who always needed to track down his doctor and drag him to the emergency room. Nurse Kirkland had it rough, considering he had to have the more eccentric and intelligently wilder doctors as his responsibility. There were days when Dr. Jones just wouldn't stop talking to his patients. It was dangerous to learn about them. The nurse had seen it before with doctors previously assigned to him. You never knew what awaited them. Your judgment becomes skewed, and you act upon emotion and impulse. Growing attached to your patients was never a good idea.
"Dr. Jones," said Nurse Kirkland hurriedly. He was out of breath after having dashed to the other side of the hospital to track down the doctor. "We've been calling you over the intercom for the past fifteen minutes. Didn't you hear?"
"What?" said Jones with an annoyingly perfect raised eyebrow. "Sorry, dude. I didn't catch that."
"There's been an accident on the freeway. We're going to get about fifteen criticals. We need you in the ER."
"I'm coming, I'm coming," sighed Dr. Jones as he stood up.
"A little more haste would be much appreciated," Arthur said with a roll of the eyes. Nurse Kirkland noticed the patient Dr. Jones had come to visit. It was John Doe #3 in Room 132. "Not again…" he muttered bitterly.
"'Not again' what?" inquired Alfred as he passed through the doorway.
"I told you already. Stop coming to visit him unless it's for check-ups."
"Oh, don't get your panties in a twist," he chuckled. Arthur's face reddened. Panties?
"That's not the expression," he grumbled. "It's 'Don't get your knickers in a twist.' Panties sound so undignified. And I'm serious."
"Yeah, yeah," nodded Dr. Jones as they walked down the hallway together. "I hear you."
"Do you really?"
"No," admitted Dr. Jones with a chuckle.
The emergency room was busy. It was a Friday evening, after all. It was as if people planned to get hurt specifically at this time. It was never Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday… It was always Friday that people seemed to get hurt. Maybe it was because of the rush to hurry home for the weekend. That was probably it. While most people were getting ready for a relaxing two day break, Dr. Jones and Nurse Kirkland were here helping those who had a little too much fun. The waiting room was jammed pack, and by the flashing lights outside, Alfred knew that the EMTs had already arrived. It was about to get even more claustrophobic.
"Alfred!" exclaimed Matt. "There are four more on their way. We had to divert six of them to Trinity."
"Alright," nodded Alfred to his brother. Matt could have been a doctor, too. He was a hard worker, his Canadian half-brother, but for some reason he had decided to resort to being a paramedic. "Let's get to work then," continued Alfred as Nurse Kirkland handed him a folder.
There first patient merely had a broken rib which Alfred was able to set quickly and bandage him up in a flash. He was in the middle of assigning him an x-ray, but had been interrupted by a swarm of three other patients.
"Arthur, can you take care of this?" asked Dr. Jones as he walked over to the other patients.
"Sure," nodded Nurse Kirkland, reading the notes he needed to discuss x-ray prices.
The second patient had glass shards imbedded in her upper left arm from the crash. The third patient was simply in shock. There seemed to be no serious injuries on this one. And the fourth was a broken leg, cuts all over his face and arms, and a swollen eye and bloody nose. Dr. Jones worked quickly. There was a reason why he had graduated early. He was a genius when it came to diagnostics, but he was also fantastic at working under stressed situations.
The emergency room always smelled of disinfectant and clean floors and a little hint of puke. The light greenish walls really needed a paint job. It wasn't exactly the most welcoming colour. Then again, the hospital was never really a welcoming place. It was probably the last place you wanted to be. Everything was dull coloured and sick looking except for, maybe, the maternity wing. Dr. Feliciano Vargas, the hospital's resident pediatrician, had had a very long discussion with the hospital board about how babies should be brought into a place with colour and life. Somehow, after what Dr. Jones heard was an hour's worth rant, the maternity wing had a complete makeover. Perhaps, if he tried, Alfred could get the ER redone as well, though that seemed unlikely. Maybe if the place looked more tauntingly sick, people would learn to stay away at all costs.
"Dr. Jones," said Arthur. The nurse was busy stitching up Patient #2.
"What is it?" asked Alfred.
"Lili just called. She has informed me that there aren't enough beds to keep the patients."
"Then we'll make room," stated Alfred simply.
"We can't. We're already full."
"What are you saying?"
"You know what I'm saying… We have to let go of some of them."
Dr. Jones frowned. He could usually tell when Arthur was being sarcastic. Snarky was practically the nurse's middle name. This time, however, there was no hint of a joking aura in the nurse's green eyes. His expression was blank and cold and serious. Normally, Dr. Jones would have thought Arthur was dead sexy when he was stoic, but not now. Not when he was implying that… Dr. Jones swallowed uneasily.
"Wrap this up," he ordered firmly first. "I'll… go and…" He didn't finish his sentence. He just left the room and wandered dizzily to Room 132.
John Doe #3 was still sleeping peacefully. His heart rate monitor beeped steadily. He was still alive. He had to be. Somewhere in the dark abyss of his brain, he was awake and alive and trying desperately to wake up. Maybe if he gave him a few more minutes. Maybe he would wake up and Alfred wouldn't have to pull the plug. Just a few more minutes, thought Alfred. Maybe he'll… But even the young, inexperienced doctor knew that was unlikely. It was just that he didn't want to see this old man go.
Arthur was an intuitive man. Once he had bandaged Patient #3 and dealt with his comments about how nurses should be women in pink uniform and that men as nurses seemed unnatural, Nurse Kirkland hurried down the halls. He stopped at the doorframe of Room 132. He stood there and he simply watched. Dr. Jones had a perfect record. He was new, so his record was short, but nonetheless it was impressive. Every single one of his patients had been nurtured back to perfect health. But no this time. Not John Doe #3. This would be his first loss, and Arthur couldn't imagine what was going on inside the young doctor's head. He was a doctor. He was supposed to save lives, not take them.
"Do I have to, Arthur?" whispered Alfred.
"I'm afraid so," said Arthur simply. He hated to see Alfred like this. Granted, it was the first time he had seen him so down, but it still hurt to watch that awfully wondrous grin disappear from view. This wasn't right. Alfred needed to smile, and be silly, and help others. This wasn't him. "We need the beds. It's costing the hospital a fortune to keep this guy alive."
"What if…" his voice drifted off.
"Alfred," said Arthur firmly. "Don't do this to yourself. I told you already that it was dangerous."
"I know, but…"
"Alfred," said Arthur again, a little softer this time.
Alfred looked down at the patient. What were the chances that his eyes would flutter open at this very instant? About 0.125%. What where the chances that one of the patients down in the ER would suffer more if Alfred didn't do anything? About 98%. Alfred exhaled, and rubbed his eyes. Fine. He knew where this was going. He knew that there was nothing he could do. The math proved it. His gut feelings proved it. But his conscience. His conscience wanted to scream and kick himself to bits. This felt so wrong. There was still life in this lifeless face. That made no sense, not even to him, but still…
His hand hovered for a moment over the ON/OFF switch. It was the switch that would quite literally turn of this man's life. It was sick, really, to think that the length of a life could be so easily determined by a flick of a lever. There are people who need this space, thought Alfred to himself. They're hurting. At least he'll be at peace. Right? So his thumb came down slowly on the plastic switch, the action creating a small 'click' sound. Alfred watched as the heart monitor's pulsating line eventually slowed and flattened out into a single line. The long, high-pitched tone filled the room. It was done. He was gone. Just like that. This man that Alfred F. Jones would never get to know. Gone.
Alfred turned slowly, eyes guiltily cast upon the floor. With a bite of his lip in an attempt to stop his face from crumpling in from sadness, he quickly glanced at Arthur, who hadn't moved an inch. He nodded sadly, an expression of equal fault on his face. He held out his arms slightly, arms which Alfred immediately walked into. He pressed his face against Arthur's shoulders. Arthur placed a comforting had on back of the doctor's neck. Alfred swore he would never forgive himself if the nurse saw him crying, but screw it all. He didn't care. His shoulders trembled as he tried to keep his sobbing to a minimum. He didn't like this. He should have listened.
A week passed. Nurse Kirkland was actually quite surprised how quickly Dr. Jones had recovered. He would have been somewhat alarmed by his quick dealing of his emotions, but then Nurse Kirkland noticed something different in his doctor's eyes. Experience.
It was just a little after lunch when the school group arrived to learn about the hospital and all the dealings and goings-on that happened behind the ER doors. It was the fifth grade, Arthur had heard. He didn't much like giving tours with the overly enthusiastic doctor, but it was admittedly much more fun than all the paperwork. Instead, he would be dealing with a bunch of ten year olds asking questions about the most random things.
"Are you a doctor?" a little girl asked Arthur. Alfred exchanged an amused glance with his British co-worker.
"No, dear," said Arthur with a small smile. "I'm not a doctor. I'm a nurse."
"Are you a girl?" the child asked.
"Do I look like a girl?" asked Arthur with a raised eyebrow.
"An ugly girl," muttered one of the boys in the back.
"No. I'm a man," said Arthur with a shake of the head. Ah, children. Alfred was doing his best not to laugh like a maniac.
"But nurses are girls, aren't they?" asked another child in the group.
"Well, not really," said Arthur, flustered. "You don't have to be a girl to be a nurse."
"But it's such a girly job," commented one of the boys with a bored expression.
"Now listen here, I–"
"Shall we continue the tour?" interrupted Dr. Jones. He was so amused. Arthur could tell. How annoyingly wonderful was that grin of his. God. Just stop this madness now please, Arthur thought bitterly.
So the little group of loud, obnoxious pre-teens followed Dr. Jones and Nurse Kirkland around the hospital wing. Dr. Jones would occasionally stop and answer questions, though none of them were really related to medicine now that they knew Nurse Kirkland's weak point.
"Are you two married?" asked one child.
"Why isn't your uniform pink if you're a nurse?"
"Why're your eyebrows so thick?"
"Why's you're accent so weird?"
Nurse Kirkland let out an exasperated sigh. "No, we're not married. I don't like the colour pink, so I opted for green, I like my eyebrows very much, and I'm from England."
"Then are you two dating?"
"Do you love each other?"
"I like pink!"
"They look like caterpillars!"
"I have a cousin from Ireland. That's pretty close to England, right?"
Dr. Jones laughed. Nurse Kirkland looked like he was about to have a stroke. They continued to laugh and point at the poor nurse. They passed the baby observation room, the x-ray room, and right past Room 132.