2.55pm. Now, after what seemed like a lifetime. They strolled into the ward, having been given prior permission by the ward sister. A group of doctors were congregating in the middle of the ward, studying some patient notes. Some of the group, he discovered, were students. The notes, turned out to be Jill's. Notes they were busy discussing.
They found her, sleeping soundly, completely unware of the attention she was receiving. James had brought flowers, Gordon had brought one thing he knew she loved.. His smile, and bedside manner.
Gordon had overheard the group discussing her case, and that they were going to bring her round, albeit slowly. They then approached, accompanied by Matron.
"Will someone tell me now she is?" Gordon asked, forcing the group to acknowledge them.
"Yes, she's still got a slight fever, it's risen a little since this morning, we're keen to wake her now. Her fluids have been increased. It's a waiting game now." Matron nodded in full agreement.
Gordon noticed the tray next to the bed. Needles, syringes, gloves. The sound of the senior doctor putting on the gloves made him cringe. It was never a sound he'd liked very much.
All they could do was watch, and listen as the doctor went about waking her. He explained everything to the students as well as Gordon and James, which was appreciated.
She'd started choking as the breathing tube was removed. James, not having seen anything like it before, found it hard to watch. He looked concerned, not knowing what to say, or do. In the end, it became too much. "I'm sorry…. I can't watch this. I'm sorry Gordon…" and he left, leaving Gordon to deal with the situation alone. However he hadn't seen the ward sister follow James out, hoping to talk and bring him back.
Despite all the commotion, Gordon's gaze hadn't faltered. It was still, as it always had been, transfixed on Jill. The coughing continued, even after the tube had been removed. It stopped after a while, thanks to Gordon's quiet words of reassurance, and rubbing her hand,
"It's ok my darling. Everything will be ok." He'd whispered once more, yet something else caught his eye.
Her eyes began flickering. Once, then again, and again, opening more and more each time. Eventually, after a few minutes, and the students having left to complete tasks elsewhere, her eyes fully opened.
Only the senior doctor and Matron remained, keen to check over their patient, whereas Gordon, was the first friendly face she saw.
"Jill… Jill… I'm here my love." He hadn't let go of her hand, his soothing tones providing much needed comfort. She turned her head to look at him, smiling, nodding.
"Gor… Gordon?" She whispered, her voice hoarse from the anaesthetic and tubes. She tried desperately to speak, but her words weren't coming.
"Sssh… ssh… don't talk now. You need to save your strength. You can talk later eh?" He poured some water into a plastic cup, which he then offered to Jill, in an attempt to help soothe her throat. Helping her to sit up, he encouraged her to take a few sips, which she did.
She didn't say much after that. Gordon's presence was enough for her. So, she closed her eyes, and slept, albeit sporadically. He hoped James would return, as he had such wonderful news to share, yet he daren't leave her. Not for a second. He hoped that sister would entice him back.
Dr Cameron returned, smiling as he saw that Jill was sleeping comfortably. He checked her infusion, and her drip, before sitting down on the chair next to the bed.
"It's nice to see her awake now. I'm monitoring her fever, it happens sometimes after major surgery. She really had us worried." Gordon nodded, placing the back of his hand on her forehead. She was warm, more than he'd have liked.
"Yes. I understand. Thank you." He heard footsteps outside, stopping by Jill's bed. Gordon looked up, and there, stood next to the ward sister, was James.
"Gordon, I'm sorry. I panicked. Is she…?"
"Yes. Yes she is. She has a sore throat so isn't talking much, and she's rather tired, but yes. She's doing well. I haven't told her that you're here. Thought you'd like to do that."
"Yes, thank you. I'm glad she's doing well." James edged closer, smiling, pleased his sister was now awake. The coughing, the commotion had worried him, and he couldn't watch. He'd never even thought of not going back.
All he needed was air, and time to think.
For the next 90 minutes, they sat quietly, watching her sleeping mainly. She'd open her eyes, not for long, before shutting them again, not realising that James was sitting next to her, however she was aware of Gordon's presence.
Supper time. The smell of food filled the ward, and the clattering of plates and cutlery distracted them from their thoughts. Gordon thought Jill wouldn't be up to eating much, if anything at all.
"Gordon…." James whispered, looking down at Jill, who was waking up, tightening her grip on Gordon's hand. Gordon, meanwhile had also nodded off, the lack of sleep catching up with him.
"Gordon… Look.." James smiled at Jill, who had opened her eyes once more, this time looking over at James, who she hadn't noticed till now.
"James… is that…?" She whispered, trying to clear her throat, to no avail. He offered her some water, which she took a few sips of, before handing the cup back.
"Yes… it's me. I've come to stay for a few days." Jill smiled. "Good." She closed her eyes again.
"I think we should leave her to sleep. Pop back in the morning, she might be more awake by then." James nodded,as he too hadn't had much sleep. He'd tell her his news in the morning, if she was feeling well enough…