Piece of Mine
Sometimes it can be the small things in life that make a difference. And, at this point, any difference mattered. Currently, the doctors were trying to get Mary stabilized enough for surgery but it didn't seem like any of the normal procedures were helping.
Normally, it helped to have family sit with a patient. The familiar voices of loved ones could sooth an unconscious mind and help lull the patient into a more comfortable place. But, in this instance, having her family with her seemed to send Mary spiraling.
Jinx had been the first one allowed in and the nursing staff in the room with Mary could have predicted every moment of this visit. Every mother gasped in horror, burst into tears and then spewed meaningless platitudes about how everything was going to be ok. Granted, Jinx was a bit more vocal and dramatic than the average mother, but it was the same scene that the nurses had seen a hundred times before. That is, until Mary's monitors had gone crazy. Jinx had been hustled out of the room and it had taken ten minutes before Mary had returned to a semi-stable state.
Raph had been allowed in an hour later. Once again, the nurses could predict what was going to happen. They called it the 'Cop's Wife Plea'. It would start with a shudder as the injuries were inspected and then tears would quickly follow. There would be the murmured words of love and hope. Eventually, three sentences would be said and the nurses were not surprised to hear them from Raph.
"Your job is too dangerous. I don't want you to get hurt again. I want you to quit."
It was normal. Hell, it was on cue. The 'wife' would run 'her' hands through the beloved cop's hair, kiss 'his' forehead and then say those words. Granted, the gender roles were reversed this time but that was getting to be normal too. There was nothing about this scene that surprised the nurses.
Until Mary flat-lined. That was a surprise.
As soon as Raph was out the door, Mary's heart resumed a normal rhythm without any help from the nurses. It seemed as though Mary had found a way- despite unconsciousness- to let Raph know that she wasn't going to be quitting her job. The phrase 'over my dead body' sprang to one nurse's mind- though she chose not to share that with anyone.
Brandi had to wait two more hours before the nurses escorted her into Mary's room. The nurses took one look at Brandi and mouthed 'numb and dumb' to each other. This was less common but it was still something they had seen numerous times. Brandi would- and did- talk to Mary about trivial things. There would be no tears until the nurses led her out of the room.
The nurses didn't get to that part though. One minute, Brandi had been babbling about what she had been doing while waiting and, the next, Mary's blood pressure had sky-rocketed. There had been no reason for the sudden spike in Mary's vitals. The nurses had been paying close attention because Mary had been reacting strangely to her visitors and the last thing Brandi had said was, "I mean, I know he's busy or whatever, but he did ask if I needed anything and I still don't have an ink eraser so I can't finish the crossword."
Stupid? Yes. But there was no reason that it should have sent Mary's blood pressure that high. The nurses just pushed Brandi out into the hallway and prayed that there wasn't going to be any more visits. They all knew that Mary had to be ready for surgery and that it had to happen soon.
Forty-five minutes later, the monitors in the nurses' station indicated that Mary had finally stabilized. When the head nurse went into Mary's room to check up on her, she found Marshall standing next to Mary's bed talking quietly. The nurse was conflicted- finally someone had been able to visit Mary without any adverse reactions but Marshall had snuck in without permission. Finally, sympathy for the poor man's plight won out and she decided to leave with only a cursory check-up on Mary.
Crossing the room, the nurse found her self shocked once again. She stared, disbelieving, at what Marshall had placed under Mary's limp hand. It was scandalous. It was mind-boggling. It was. . . it was. . .
"What the hell is that? Get that out of her hand!"
Marshall blinked in surprise from her seemingly-abrupt appearance. He looked at her guilelessly and gave the nurse a look of confusion. Apparently, he didn't think there was anything wrong with what he had done and he said as much, "What? She always feels better holding it."
In all her years, the nurse had never been as stunned as she was at that moment. People, no matter who they were, followed a script when they were in a hospital. But not once, in the nurse's frame of reference, had she ever been in this type of situation.
"Are you insane? Do you know where you are?" she blurted out, "Put that away!"
Marshall just looked at the nurse curiously. There was no sense of guilt or shame in his expression. His lips puckered in irritation as he insisted, "But it makes her feel better. She's been stable since I put it there."
"No!" The nurse couldn't think of anything else to say. The whole situation was just. . . no. It was just no.
"I'll bet you any amount of money that Mary will stay stabilized if you let her keep holding it," Marshall insisted.
"But it's not like it'll go off!" It may have been the stress of the day or the lack of sleep, but Marshall would not bend on the subject. Mary would have wanted it and Marshall was more concerned with what she would want than he was of offending the delicate sensibilities of some nurse.
"What the hell is going on in here," a voice from the doorway demanded to know. Mary's surgeon stepped out from the darkness and into the well-lit confusion next to her bed.
"Doctor! Thank god. Tell this madman that he has to put that away." The head nurse was almost hysterical as she waved her hand in Mary's direction.
"Put what away?" The doctor was very confused. All he saw was the seemingly-unflappable head nurse yelling and a calm man- Mary's partner, he remembered suddenly- standing over Mary's bed.
"I gave her a piece of mine," Marshall responded blandly as he reached over to run his fingers through Mary's hair.
"Some peace of mind?"
"No," Marshall replied, "A piece of mine."
The doctor stared at Mary's hand and realized what had sent the head nurse off the deep end. There were specific rules against that type of thing in a hospital but the doctor had learned- long ago- that rules were tossed out the window when a law enforcement officer was involved. Sighing, the doctor was willing to concede to Marshall's point but, first, "I think you need to explain this to us marshal."
Marshall stared down at Mary as he spoke, "I promised her that I would leave her my gun so she could feel safe. It's not loaded and the safety is on so there's no risk of it going off but it's her version of a security blanket. She always feels better with a gun in her hand and she's been stable since I gave it to her."
The doctor closed his eyes for a moment to contemplate the situation. On one hand, guns were banned from the hospital. But, on the other hand, Mary did seem better and more relaxed. And, as long as the gun wasn't loaded, there didn't seem to be any reason as to why she couldn't keep it with her. The doctor had to try to convince Marshall to take it back, though, so he tried to reason with the marshal one last time, "But don't you need it?"
A wistful smile crossed Marshall's face before he answered, "I told her that I would get her gun back from APD and use it to shoot the son of bitch that shot her."
That ended the argument. The doctor and nurse went about their business and declared Mary fit for surgery after a few minutes of debate. Marshall was allowed to stay until they were about to wheel Mary out. Right before he left, Marshall bent down and whispered a few words to Mary before giving her a quick kiss on the forehead.
After Marshall left, the doctor turned to the nurse and asked, "What did he say?"
"You have to fight. It's your job and you can not quit."
The doctor's eyebrow quirked in surprise, "Hmmm- that seems like a strange thing to say."
The whole situation had been strange though. Shrugging it off, the doctor indicated that it was time to go and Mary was wheeled off to the surgery- with a gun in her hand.