The Flip Side
SUMMARY: Carson sees the flip side when he's a patient after his experience with Sora. Post-ep for The Eye.
SEASON/SPOILERS: Season One. Spoilers for The Storm/The Eye.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I had a hankering to whump Carson. But then there was a discussion of people liking post-eps and missing scenes and I haven't tried my hand at one of those. So here goes my muse.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Stargate: Atlantis or anything associated with it. I'm simply borrowing, but I promise to return all in one piece. Eventually.
Recent experience taught him one thing: he much preferred being the doctor as opposed to being the patient.
After the tidal wave had passed, the only sound left of the monstrous storm was the pounding of heavy rain against the shield. And to a person with a head injury, each raindrop felt like a tiny little spike being drilled into their head.
Carson Beckett had the pleasure of experiencing such a feeling first hand. As soon the danger had passed, he squeezed his eyes shut and clung desperately to the gate room's console. He feared if he let go, he'd pass out for sure.
In the end, it didn't really matter. He passed out anyway. He awoke to Rodney staring him in the face, not exactly the sight he was hoping far. But that didn't matter much either, since Rodney darted away the second Carson started throwing up.
"Carson, gross!" he heard and frankly, didn't care. Teyla, bless her soul, leaned down and helped him sit up against the very console that he'd, just a few minutes before, claimed as his lifeline.
It was ironic, really; he'd diagnosed plenty of concussions during his intern days, but had never been on the receiving end of one before. Not anymore. This was definitely a concussion. Even as his head spun and he swallowed against the persistent nausea, he ran the symptoms through his head.
Headache, check. Nausea, check. Blurred vision... He blinked at Teyla, or rather Teylas. Check. He'd need skull x-rays and probably a CT scan. Lovely. Though considering he was the only physician in Atlantis at the moment and that the hallways could still be filled with electricity, Carson doubted he'd be moving anytime soon.
"Carson?" He blinked again. It was Elizabeth, this time. She had crouched down next to Teyla and wore a concerned expression.
"I'm okay," he managed, though he felt far from it. He swallowed again. Okay, probably not. Mild concussion, most likely.
"He sure as hell doesn't look okay." Sheppard.
"Well, duh, he passed out and puked on the floor. Of course, he's not okay! Great, now who's going to look at my arm?"
"What? I'm still bleeding here."
"So is he." Teyla again. Carson noticed something trickling from his nose and tentatively reached a hand up. It came back red. Nosebleed. Wonderful. That lass packed a mean swing. He hoped she hadn't broken his nose. He closed his eyes.
"No, Carson." Someone was shaking him. He cracked his eyes open again. Elizabeth.
"What?" he muttered. She gave him a small smile.
"You need to stay awake," she told him.
He started to shake his head, but winced as the slight movement sent a new wave of pain through his skull. "Who told you that?"
"You did," she answered, smile still in place.
"Right." He realized he was beginning to slur his words. Not a good sign, he knew, but his brain refused to connect with his mouth to state that fact out loud.
"McKay, we can still get to the jumper bay, right?" Sheppard again.
"Yes. It shouldn't be affected."
"Great. There's a first aid kit in all of the jumpers. Maybe it can help."
"Good idea, Major."
Carson closed his eyes again and wished they'd stop talking. Someone shook him again.
"Carson." He opened his eyes again.
"Can't go to sleep," he muttered.
"Right," Elizabeth told him.
"But I'm sl'py." She was shaking him again, but he didn't care. He heard someone call out in a worried tone, then darkness.
The next time he woke up, there was a light shinning into his eyes. It bore through his skull and awakened new pain. He batted at it.
"Dr. Beckett? Carson?" A new voice this time.
He blinked and finally the light moved away to reveal Mary Aters, the emergency care doctor on his staff and his recently appointed second-in-command. She was holding the dreaded penlight. He blinked again. How long had he been out? More things started to come into focus and he discovered he was still on the floor next to the console.
"You with me?" she asked.
"Yes," he managed. His voice sounded rusty.
"Good. Now can you follow my finger?" He tried, really, but got dizzy somewhere in the middle. She frowned and turned to someone.
"I want to start an IV before we transport. Saline."
That certainly got his attention. He tried to push himself up. "No IV. Mild concussion, there's no need for a line." Wow, he was able to get through two whole sentences. He supposed the threat of a large bore needle cleared his head.
Aters was quick. She pushed him back down, gently. "You've been vomiting, you've lost consciousness repeatedly, your BP is low, and you're having trouble tracking a slow moving object."
"I threw up once, lost consciousness twice, and you were moving your finger too fast," he snapped back and pushed himself up again. That was a bad idea. The nausea came back full force and he proceeded to further dirty the floor. His head pounded in time with his heartbeat.
"You've getting an IV," Aters told him and sure enough, he was rewarded with a sharp prick to his left hand. A moment later, he felt the saline enter his veins. He couldn't help shivering.
He suddenly wondered about McKay. Rodney had been complaining about his arm. "Rodney?" he asked, as he felt himself being readied for transport.
"He'll be fine. I send him ahead with Harper. He was worried about you."
"About me? Really?"
"Yep," she answered. Carson heard the wheels of a gurney approach.
He gave her a small smile. "I don't suppose you'd believe me if I said I could walk?"
She laughed. "Not a chance."
So, up he went and got a great view of the ceilings of Atlantis on his way down to the infirmary. Or had such a view part of the way. Truthfully, the passing lights made his head hurt and his stomach protest and he closed his eyes most of the way there.
"On my count. One, two, three." He was moved onto one of the treatment beds and made the mistake of opening his eyes, which only gained him further nausea and pain. He thought he saw Rodney, but wasn't too sure, as another penlight was clicked on in his face.
"I don't need stitches! You just want to shove another needle in me, don'tcha? I'll wait for Carson, thank you very much."
Oh, yes, it was Rodney, no doubt. He turned his head from the light, but it just followed him.
"What's his BP?"
"As you can see, Dr. McKay, Dr. Beckett is bit indisposed at the moment. I need to see your injury. It could easily be get infected."
"90 over 70. Temp's ninety-nine three."
"I think I can handle it. I just need a bandage."
The two conversations were impossible to follow. He half-listened to his own vitals while he watched Rodney stomp out, trying to wrap gauze around his sleeve as he did so. He tried to tell his brain to check on him later, but his brain wasn't exactly up to saving such a memo. Instead he was barraged by questions.
Was he still nauseous? Could he rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10? Did he remember how many times he lost consciousness?
"Um, six," he answered. "And two, I think?"
"Weir says three." Three? When did he...oh, right.
"Three," he agreed. "Mild concussion."
Aters just shook her head. "I think I'll do the diagnosing, Doctor. Trust us and let us do our jobs."
"My job, you mean," he muttered and absently toyed with his IV line.
Aters gently moved his fingers away from the needle. "No, our job. The one you hired us to do. Treat patients. And right now, you're the patient."
He sighed. "You're going to make me go through a CT scan, aren't you?"
"You lost consciousness three times. What do you think?"
"I think I'm getting a CT scan."
"And a skull series. And at least a night of observation."
"Even if the CT scan is clean?"
She shook her head slightly. "Lost consciousness. Three times."
"Fine, fine. I get it. Why don't you tell the whole bloody city," he muttered. He closed his eyes. "My head hurts."
"I'll bet. You still nauseous?"
He swallowed. "I guess I'd be lying if I said no."
"Probably. And I wouldn't believe you anyway. I'm going to give you some Compazine, and that should help. If the scan looks good and you have a good night, I'll let you go in the morning."
"Okay," he agreed reluctantly. "How much did they take?" She looked confused. "The Genii. I know they took medical supplies."
"Genii?" She was still a little confused. "I'm not sure. Dr. Weir didn't say much about Atlantis' state and I headed straight for you."
"Could you get someone to start taking inventory while I'm in the scanner. I can make a list from that and-"
"You'll rest, is what you'll do. But I can get someone on the inventory."
"Thanks. And make sure someone follows up with Dr. McKay. He left earlier and I know Harper wouldn't exactly want to be looking for him."
"Who would?" the woman muttered, then cleared her throat. "Of course. But reminder, you're the patient and I'm the doctor. Right?"
Two hours later, he'd been x-rayed, scanned, poked and prodded. Thankfully his nose wasn't broken, but to his dismay, the IV was still in place after he'd failed to keep the Jello he'd been presented with for dinner down. The infirmary was in a bit of disarray and Carson ached to get up and help organize, especially when he saw a member of his staff put something in the wrong place. He went as far to get to get up and move something.
He fell flat on his face.
So instead, he was forced to doze, dressed in a pair of burgundy scrubs and feeling completely useless. Everyone was busy helping Atlantis recover and there was much to be done.
Which was why he was surprised that the next person to shake him from his sleep wasn't a nurse ready to take vitals and ask him his name, but Rodney.
The physicist seemed in high spirits and had a new bandage, this time correctly laced around his arm and not his clothing.
"How are you feeling?" Carson asked him and Rodney frowned.
"Should I be asking you that question?" He paused. "I ate dinner and was helping Zelenka on the west pier when that second-in-command of yours found me and dragged me off, on your orders, apparently."
"Yes, well, it could have waited."
"No, it couldn't have. Not until tomorrow at least, when I'd have a chance to really look at it."
"Who said I needed you to look at it? I can get along just fine without any of your voodoo."
"Aye. Bandages usually go over the wound, Rodney, not your jacket."
"How did you? Never mind." He stared at Carson a moment. "You really okay?"
"Head's pounding and my staff won't let me help put my own bloody infirmary back together, but I'll be fine. Why the sudden flash of concern?"
"You're my friend. I can't be concerned about my friend?"
Something else was bothering Rodney, but Carson doubted he'd get the man to spill. Besides, his head hurt too much to try. Perhaps tomorrow after he'd rearranged the medical supplies into their correct positions, he'd pull Rodney away from whatever project he was working on and have lunch. Rodney was always easier to talk to when food was involved.
"Of course you can be," he said finally. "Thanks."
McKay nodded. "Well, I better head back before my expertise is missed."
Rodney turned to leave, but stopped a few feet from the bed. "View's not so great from the other side, now, is it?"
He gave Rodney a small smile. "No, not really."
Carson hardly thought he'd forget. He much preferred the other side of the bed.