NOTE from the PHOENIX: SPOLIERS. This is a Stargate Continuum piece that as a studying therapist I just couldn't keep myself from writing. In the movie Daniel appears to have a below the knee amputation, since my experience has only been with above the knee I have changed his injury to 'above'. I know, I know they said something about giving them new names, but the movie didn't mention what they were so I went with Daniel Jackson…sue me. Or better yet enjoy!
This story is one of medical fact.
The Looking Glass
Daniel jerked in his sleep in the grip of a recurring nightmare. Despite the sweat the rolled off his skin he shivered uncontrollably. Every breath seemed to lance ice directly into lungs. What had started as a disturbing numbness suddenly shifted to a searing pain that went from the tips of his toes all the way up his left side and into his jaw.
A loud cracking sound jolted Daniel awake. He sat bolt upright and scrambled back into the bed's headboard. With his heart pounding he looked around his surroundings for a threat. The sound had actually been someone knocking at the nearby front door. Relaxing somewhat Daniel swung his legs over the edge of the bed and went to stand.
The phantom limb sensation had been so powerful this time that in his half awake state Daniel had completely forgotten about the recent loss. Pushing himself up into a seated position he glared at the floor angrily as if it was its fault that he had fallen. Leaning back against the bed he closed his eyes and tried to will the intense pain in his knee to go away. The pain had nothing to do with the fall, and he knew that it must be in his mind since the knee that was in agony wasn't even there to feel pain.
"Dr. Jackson, are you okay?" A male voice drifted through the front door.
"I'm fine. Go away."
"I'm here to take you to your appointment."
"I don't need or want your help. Go away."
"I have orders, Sir. …I also have a key."
"Shit." Daniel muttered.
Casting his eyes around Daniel realized that he had actually managed to get out of bed on the 'wrong side'. Gripping the edge of the bed Daniel hauled himself up. In the end he decided it was easier to crawl across the bed rather than hop around it. Retrieving his crutches he made his way over to the door.
Daniel opened the door just enough to look out at the young Airman standing in the hallway of his apartment. He did not back up to allow the man to open the door further and enter. The Airman smiled brightly, but only received a dark stare in return.
"Good morning, Dr. Jackson."
"Whatever. Look…I honestly don't need a babysitter. If my leg was simply broken I'd be in the same basic condition I'm in now and no one would be hovering over me like I was incapable of caring for myself."
"I'm not a babysitter, Sir, I'm simply here to make sure you have everything you need."
"What I need is a time machine."
"Never mind." Daniel sighed. "There is no chance of you leaving me alone, is there?"
"Fine. I need a few minutes to shower and get dressed…unless you'd like to help me with that too." Daniel snarled.
"I can if you need me to."
Daniel narrowed his ice blue eyes in irritation and simply closed the door in the Airman's face.
"Or I can wait out here for you, Sir."
"Don't hold your breath while you do so."
Rolling his eyes Daniel made his way into the small bathroom. He took far more time than he truly need to shower and dress in hopes that the Airman would leave. However half an hour later the young man knocked on his door again.
Resigning himself to his fate, something he'd become skilled at lately, Daniel grabbed his keys and headed out the door. The Airman was still smiling despite the hard case he had been assigned to deal with.
"Would you like me to drive, Sir?"
"I have a car, I can drive."
"I know you can, Sir. It's just that I know the way."
"Fine, you can drive under one condition."
"Stop calling me 'Sir'."
"My apologies, Dr. Jackson."
"Do you have some sort of special training in dealing with people like me?" Daniel asked seriously.
"If by 'like me' you mean people who take their frustrations out on the messenger, then: yes, as a matter of fact I do."
Daniel was forced to chuckle and invited the Airman to lead the way. Daniel knew where he was going in general, just not the specific location. The Veteran Affairs Medical Center was just about the last place on Earth he wanted to go. However the military had insisted that he at least talk to their physical therapist once.
No one could force him into therapy and prosthetics and he had already decided that he wasn't interested in either. As an English as a second language teacher he spent most of his time just sitting in front of a class room anyway. He realized that he had slipped into classic depression, but one of the major symptoms of the disorder was the fact that he didn't care that he had it.
After all he had fought for, after everything he had sacrificed, none of it had even happened anymore. Worse yet he wasn't even allowed to speak to the only two people in the world he had left to care about. Daniel stared out the car window simmering in his dark thoughts. He knew Ba'al would be coming, perhaps not in a day, or year, or even with in his life time, but he knew nothing was going to keep the Goa'uld away forever.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"I said 'we're here'. I'd ask if you want help, but I'm fairly certain that the answer would involved some veiled form of 'go to hell'."
"Look, I'm sorry about earlier."
"Don't worry about it, I'm used to it."
Daniel smiled and nodded. Getting out of the Airmen's car he made his way to the front doors, which automatically slid open. After checking in with the receptionist she lead him to a small room that held an adjustable plinth table and a single chair. The receptionist sized him up for a moment before rummaging through a cabinet for a pair of black cotton shorts for him to change into. After she left Daniel simply lowered himself into the chair, uninterested in changing his clothing.
Daniel looked around at the charts and pictures on the wall while he waited. Being a VA center there was a lot of what Daniel considered propaganda on the walls along with some medical charts of bones and muscles. About ten minutes went by before there was a gentle knock at the door.
"Are you decent?" An oddly familiar voice asked.
"Depends on who you ask."
When the petite physical therapist stepped into the room Daniel's jaw dropped in shock. She noticed the look she was getting and smiled warmly. She glanced at the abandoned pair of gym shorts and looked at Daniel with a disapproving look. Daniel was still in shock and had a hard time finding his voice.
"I know the shorts aren't exactly a fashion statement but they are necessary."
"That's what the nametag says." Janet smiled. "Although most go with 'Dr. Frasier' the first time meeting me, something about professional courtesy to strangers."
"I…I'm sorry. I just wasn't expecting…"
"A female doctor?" Janet finished with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh, no, it's not that…"
"Look, Dr. Jackson, you can insist on a male therapist if you want to, but I assure you I am more than qualified."
"I know that you are, Dr. Frasier."
"Good." Janet smiled. "As long as that is settled you can call me Janet."
"Nice to meet you."
Janet gave Daniel a questioning look. She seemed to think about her new patient for a few moments before putting his chart down and walking up to him. Despite her small size Janet held out both her hands to Daniel as if she was going to help him stand.
"Come on, Solider, time to get to work. We need to get you back on your feet."
"I'm not a solider."
"I'm sorry, I haven't had a chance to go over the details of your chart. I know how you Flyboys can get when we mistake you for those ground bound Army guys."
"I'm not in the Air Force."
"Hmm…I'm usually better at this. I honestly didn't peg you for a Navy man."
"Janet, I'm not in the Armed Forces."
"Really? Well, Uncle Sam must love you. Not many civilians get a free ride through here. This is a VA after all."
"I noticed." Daniel gestured at the walls. "I appreciate your enthusiasm, but you really shouldn't be wasting your time on me. Spend your time on the men who need your help."
"You don't need my help?" Janet asked skeptically.
"Ooo…ornery. I like that."
Daniel just shook his head sadly. Seeing Janet alive and well was becoming more painful than anything else. He really just wanted to hobble home and go back to bed. Janet watched him silently and then stepped back to sit down on the plinth table.
"Okay, Daniel, if you can make it out the front door on your own I'll believe that you don't need my help."
Daniel rolled his eyes and reached for his crutches.
"Ah-ah," Janet admonished "you can't use those."
"You weight, how much? Two-ten?"
"Good point, you're probably down to two hundred even these days. A year on crutches and the US taxpayer are going to have to pay for your double shoulder surgery as well. So no crutches."
"That's not fair. What do you expect me to do…hop?"
"You could try that, balance might be an issue. Of course what I was really hoping is that you'd admit that you need the prosthetic and that for that to happen you need my help."
Daniel fell into a sullen silence, crossing his arms over his chest he just stared coldly at Janet. Completely undisturbed by her difficult victim Janet tilted her head to the side and inspected what was left of Daniel's leg. Daniel shifted his weight uncomfortably, he was more used to people doing everything in their power not to look at it.
"So if it wasn't in the war, how did you lose your leg?"
"You're bedside manner hasn't changed." Daniel replied.
"I'm a physical therapist…we don't have manners. We're the ones who force people into doing exactly what they don't want to do."
"Sounds like a skill."
"It is. I've been called a 'Physical Terrorists' more than once." Janet chuckled. "Are you going to answer my question?"
"I lost it in a card game."
"Really?" Janet asked with a raised eyebrow. "I always knew gambling was trouble."
"The problem is I have no poker face."
"Well I do know that you are a terrible liar."
"Does it really matter how I lost it?"
"No." Janet shrugged. "I was just trying to make conversation to keep you here long enough to make you change your mind about accepting my help."
"I know how you feel, Daniel. I know it doesn't seem like you've just lost a limb, but rather your entire life. But trust me in time the pain in your heart will fade and in the mean time learning to walk again will give you just the challenge you need to take your mind off things for the time being. And I don't ask me why…but something tells me that you and I could be good friends. Granted you give me a chance."
Daniel took a breath to thank her for her concern, but he still wanted to just leave. However the expression on her face stopped him. She didn't look like she had just gone through a rehearsed speech to keep him in therapy, she looked truly concerned. He looked down at his leg, annoyed by an itch on the bottom of what used to be his foot.
"Okay." Daniel sighed.
"So…what's the first step?"
"You've already taken it."