When You Believe

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Another 48 hour day in the OR. The deluge of casualties was almost as stifling as the heat. Doctors called for towels more often than any one surgical instrument. Corpsmen moved in and out of the OR, delivering things such as water and juice to the weary surgeons. Radar and Klinger kept tabs on pre-op, sending the casualties into OR in their assigned order.

Father Mulcahy moved throughout OR, keeping his prayer vigil. The task exhausted him. He'd run out of words to say hours ago. He'd recited all the pre-written prayers he knew. He'd said all kinds of original prayers. Now he had one prayer left: A repeated plea for God's help in this situation.

As spiritually and even physically draining as this task was, Mulcahy never felt it was enough. Only when the nurses bugged out and left the men behind was he allowed to get his hands dirty, and then he knew that he didn't know nearly enough to be effective. He'd helped save lives during those times, but he had a hard time seeing that. Especially in these moments.

"Suction!" the chief surgeon called. "Father, we could use a little cross action over here!"

Father Mulcahy hurried over to Hawkeye Pierce's table and began his pleading. Noticing Hawkeye's increasing frustration, he asked, "Is he going to make it, Hawkeye?"

The surgeon shook his head. "I don't know, Father. Half his spleen and liver are gone. If he makes it out of the OR alive, we could lose him any time in post-op."

"Dear Lord," Mulcahy breathed. He fell silent, continuing his prayer mentally.

Many nights we've prayed

With no proof anyone could hear

In our hearts a hopeful song

We barely understood

Now we are not afraid

Although we know there's much to fear

We were moving mountains

Long before we knew we could

Private Jensen was moved into post-op at last, and three patients later, Hawkeye was relieved to find his table empty. He headed to the changing room and began planning his afternoon drink and nap. Or was it evening? He found Mulcahy in the changing room, head against the wall, half asleep.

"Hey, Father, you can do that in your tent, you know. The deluge is over."

Mulcahy startled into wakefulness. "Sorry, Hawkeye. I just...needed a moment to rest."

The other surgeons shuffled into the changing room, all looking throughly worn out.

"53 hours in surgery," BJ groaned as he stretched. "Man, my feet are killing me."

"How's Jensen?" Colonel Potter asked Hawkeye.

"Touch and go," the chief surgeon answered. "To be honest, I don't think he's gonna make it. Not without some kind of miracle." He glanced over at the priest, who acknowledged him with a raised eyebrow.

"All I can do is ask," Mulcahy said.

"You fight just as hard as all of us," Hawkeye said. "Believe me, you don't get to the point of wanting to pass out from just standing around."

A grin tugged at the corners of the chaplain's mouth. Sometimes he wondered if the agnostic surgeon had more faith than he did.

Charles threw his dirty scrubs in the laundry bag. "Well, since I haven't a thing to do until my shift in post-op, I'm going to go back to my tent for some much needed rest."

"Sounds like a plan to me," BJ said.

"I plan on curling up with a good Zane Grey novel," Potter said. "Although, I probably won't get through the first page before I drop off."

The other three surgeons left. Hawkeye glanced over at Mulcahy again.

"C'mon, Father, I'll buy you a drink," he offered.

"No thank you, Hawkeye," Mulcahy responded. "I think I'll go over to post-op for a few minutes."

In this time of fear

When prayers so often prove in vain

Hope seems like the summer birds

Too swiftly flown away

Yet now I'm standing here

Heart so full I can't explain

Seeking faith and speaking words

I never thought I'd say

Kellye Nakahara was checking Private Jensen's vitals and comparing them to his chart when Mulcahy arrived. The priest sat down beside the soldier.

"How's he doing?" he asked the nurse.

"He's stable for now," Kellye said. "Hawkeye says it's gonna be touch and go. If he makes it through the next twelve hours, his chances are good. But that's a big 'if.' I guess this is where you come in, Father."

Mulcahy nodded dully. He was so tired, and it never seemed like his prayers did any good anyway. But dutifully he pulled out his purple stole and began his vigil.

"Lord, you know how tired I am. Give me words to speak and the strength to speak them. Heal Private Jensen. Let him be one less death in the midst of this war."


Mulcahy glanced up to see Hawkeye standing at the end of the bed. The doctor fingered the chart that hung there.

"I'm glad someone's still able to do something for this kid," Hawkeye said. "I've run out of tricks."

"I've run out of words," Mulcahy sighed.

"Aren't you the one who always says God knows what you mean?"

Mulcahy said nothing. The two friends maintained their positions for several moments before Hawkeye headed back to the Swamp.

There can be miracles

When you believe

Though hope is frail

It's hard to kill

Who knows what miracles

You can achieve

When you believe

Somehow you will

You will when you believe

Hawkeye had scarcely been asleep two hours when he was hauled out of his bed by Nurse Kellye. Jensen was in bad shape. Hawkeye would need to open him up again.

Potter stopped them on the way to the OR to see what was going on. Hawkeye told him the situation. Potter ran over to Mulcahy's tent and rapped on the door. The door opened to reveal a groggy, wide-eyed priest.

"Colonel, what's going on?"

"Get your prayer kit, Padre," Potter said. "Pierce is going back in on Jensen"

A look of concern crossed Mulcahy's face and he moved to follow his CO's orders.

It was 3 am when Mulcahy joined the doctor and nurses in OR. Stole around his neck, Bible open, Mulcahy began fighting once again for the life of the boy lying on the table.

They don't always happen when you ask

And it's easy to give in to your fears

But when you're blinded by the pain

Can't see a way to get through the rain

A small but still resilient voice

Says hope is very near

Six hours later, both Hawkeye and Mulcahy were still on call. The priest had already anointed Jensen with oil once in post-op. He hoped he wouldn't have to do it again as part of the last rites. He was growing increasingly frustrated. It seemed like his prayers were serving only to make him more and more tired. He went back to his tent.

"Lord...please!" he whispered as he dropped off to sleep.

Hawkeye was monitoring Jensen's vital signs. He didn't want to wake Mulcahy up again. Jensen wouldn't make it another hour, he guessed. And Mulcahy was probably more exhausted than he was.

Hawkeye lost the pulse. Jensen was gone. The doctor sighed. Now he would have to get Mulcahy. At least this would be the last time. The priest could sleep some after this. Hawkeye called for an orderly and wandered over to the edge of the room, rubbing his temples.

"Doctor?" Kellye called.

Hawkeye turned around. Kellye had taken the stethoscope and was listening for Jensen's heart beat.

"He just sighed and groaned," the nurse explained. "It scared me at first. I thought I was imagining things. But then I found a pulse."

Hawkeye scrambled to take the stethoscope from her and pressed it to Jensen's neck. Sure enough, he found a pulse. It wasn't the strongest, but it was there.

"I can't believe it," he said. "He was dead. I didn't even do anything."

Kellye was grinning from ear to ear. "This is that miracle Father Mulcahy prayed for."

Hawkeye checked Jensen's vitals and laughed aloud. "He's gonna make it! He just might make a full recovery! I gotta go get Father Mulcahy!"

Hawkeye jumped up and kissed Kellye on the cheek. "Keep an eye on him for me. I'll be right back."

Kellye laughed as the jubilant surgeon dashed out of post-op.

Father Mulcahy woke up to find Hawkeye shaking his shoulder roughly. He panicked for a moment, but relaxed when he saw that Hawkeye was smiling.

"Sorry to wake you, Father, but I think you'll wanna see this!"

Mulcahy scrambled to get up and followed Hawkeye to post-op.

When they arrived, Jensen was stirring. This would be the first time he opened his eyes in days. After hearing the events of the last few minutes, Mulcahy stood wide-eyed.

"Amazing," he said. Then he smiled. "Praise the Lord!"

"We owe it to you, too," Hawkeye said. "You're the one who fought for him. You brought in a miracle."

Mulcahy laughed. "All I did was ask for it. Plead for it. Thank You, Lord! Our prayers have been answered!"

There can be miracles

When you believe

Though hope is frail

It's hard to kill

Who knows what miracles

You can achieve

When you believe

Somehow you will

Now you will

You will when you believe

You will when you...believe