Disclaimer~ SCRUBS and all other related characters and material are the property of NBC television, I do not own them nor do I claim such ownership. All new material and plot lines are my own creation and belong to me.

Head Above Water

By: Ansa

No one here takes death easily, especially when it's your patient. Sometimes you get by, it's a natural thing, but then there are the times where you wonder if you could've done more. You can always tell its bad when Dr. Cox can't insult you, that is exactly what happened today. Today's one of those days when you can't bring yourself to go back home, when the only thing you can do is sit on a stiff bar stool and try to drown yourself in booze.
The Tavern was fairly busy that night, considering the hour that had already passed them by, each second that pulsed cued a new sip of the long neck in front of them. J.D. was sitting somewhat toward the end; next to bathroom, which gave him, the unfortunate view of those who had their fill went to unload their burdens. He had been out of work for over two hours and three beers and he still had his blue scrubs on him. The smell of the hospital still hung on him, consuming his ever sense. In mind he was still there, quietly staring forward, never diverting, thinking back to the unfortunate day behind him. Not a soul had bothered him since he had perched himself upon his stool, nor had he sought any out. Time passed, and the bar quickly emptied to two or three in the back playing pool, the sound of the jukebox mixed into the soft clack of the billiard ball to create their own ruckus in the background. While not too loud to most, it was loud enough for J.D. not to here someone sit down next to him.
"So, is this where we come to when Mommy isn't here to lend her apron?" J.D. didn't have to turn to know whom it was, by now he could recognize the tone of voice, sometimes even predict the words that would come out of his mouth.
"That's the first time today you insulted me. I see at least you're over it." Taking the last sip of his beer the bartender set a fresh one in its place, then turning to take Dr. Cox's order.
"Well, when you become a real doctor you have a lot of experience with that kind of thing. Besides, I don't believe she was my patient." J.D. would have loved to strike back with his own comment but none came to mind, besides, he probably wouldn't have the guts to say it if one had.
"I guess I'm the only one that needs to feel bad then?"
"No, that woman was under all of our care, you might have been her doctor, but she had nurses and surgeons too. You only feel bad because you were the one that had the most responsibility for her after the surgery." Dr. Cox lifted the bottle to his lips and took a long drink, he was so used to drinking it had become almost an art to him. The only thing different about this one was that he was sharing it with someone he continuously gave a hard time to, sometimes more than he deserved.
"I gave her all the proper treatment, according to the charts."
" 'According to the charts,' that's the thing. The charts are only the bare minimum, if we all only did what was required by the charts without question then there wouldn't be a job for any of us. Sometimes they need something more and in order to find out what it is we need to look deeper into the situation."
"I had so much to do."
"Balance is the key newbie, balance. You need to be able to control everything at once, sometimes its impossible and can't be helped, but other times."
"Do you think It couldn't have been helped this time?" For the first time that night J.D. turned his head and looked at Dr. Cox. It was a tough question, even Dr. Cox wasn't sure of what to say. He hadn't been in total control, he had his own problems so he had no idea what the situation was, but he needed an answer.
"Well, I think that's a question you need to figure out for yourself, like I said, she wasn't my patient." Dr. Cox rose, pulling on his jacket and quickly finished what was in front of him. "One thing I do know is that things like this, you can't lose sleep over every time. In this business death is a constant thing, and if you let every patient get to you it will eat you alive." J.D. contemplated this, since he knew Dr. Cox, he had never given him bad advice, except for that time he suggested the cafeteria's meat loaf. "One more thing newbie, when you come in tomorrow I want to see you with some pants on ok, leave the skirt at home." J.D. smiled.

I think it was then that I actually was able to overcome my issues with death. When you think about it, we're all dieing since the day we are born, and if we spent all our time worrying about it, we would have no life to worry about.