Authors note: I was watching the Food Network weeks ago. There was an episode about this chef, and the commentator stated that diabetes was a cruel disease for a cook to have. That stayed with me and this story came about.
If any one is interested in Beta reading it for me, please drop me a note.
The aftermaths of a bullet
Roadblock remembered seeing the bullet coming towards him, followed by excruciating pain. In the laps of time that followed, it could have been minutes or hours, he lay on the ground listening to the battle around him. A part of his brain (that oddly sounded like Beach Head) was yelling at him to get up. He was one of the elite; he was not to be taken down by a small bullet. However, his body refused to move.
Then, a medic was at his side, assessing his condition. "We have to move ya," Lifeline's assistant said. "I'll give ya something to make it bearable first."
In moments, Roadblack was basking in the fuzzy oblivion of morphine. Doc had morphine syringes, destined to emergency med packs, loaded in two doses: Joe and greenshirt. The first dose was on the high end, since most Joes had a high body mass. Besides, they were usually the less cooperative patients, and Doc liked his injured and bleeding clients as cooperative as possible. In addition, several studies had demonstrated that the rapid administration of sufficient painkillers in the field following injury reduced the occurrence of PTSD. Soldiers of lower body mass, like Lifeline and the lady Joes got the 'greershirt' dose.
At the field triage center, Roadblock's wound was packed to reduce haemorrhaging. He was then shipped out on the next medivac.
Roadblock woke two days later, in the familiar smelling confines of the PIT's infirmary. The first thing he became aware of was two arguing voices nearby. He identified one was being Clutch and the other was Doc. He started to open his eyes, but the room began to spin, so he closed them again.
"Welcome back," said the familiar gentle voice of Nurse Maggie. "Are you in any pain?"
At the mention of pain, Roadblock became aware of the burning in his abdomen and the stabbing of each breath. He grunted. He was G.I. Joe, he could take a little pain. He heard a click and seconds later the fire in his belly was quelled.
"I know my Boys," Nurse Maggie told him with her velvet glove that covered the iron hand. "Doc wants you to stay quiet just a while longer. He wants to put you through another MRI, to make sure we got all the shrapnel out. Now, don't jump, I am going to prick your finger." He felt the little needle and jumped a little, despite the warning. Seconds later he heard a beep. "It is all done. Doc will be with you in a few minutes."
Roadblock opened his eyes slowly, this time the room did not spin. He looked over to the other side of the room. Clutch was across the room, two beds down. His right leg was in some sort of traction.
"There is no way you can get out," Doc was saying. "You'll only injure yourself more and have to spend more time here. I'd hate to have to cut that leg off. It took me three hours to get all the bone pieces aligned again. If you don't tug at it, you'll fully recover without even a limp." Clutch grumbled sometime intelligible. "I'll ask Nurse Maggie to bring you something to do, if you are good and I can find a working TV, we'll set up the PS2."
Clutch sighed. "Okay Doc."
Doc rose from the foot of Clutch's bed and came towards Roadblock. "Good to see you are back among us. How do you feel?"
"Nurse Maggie just dosed me," the larger man said, vaguely pointing towards the door where the nurse had left.
Doc pulled the isolation curtain around the bed, before he sat on the chair by it. He opened Roadblock's file. "I am not going to beat around the bush. That bullet and the shrapnel from the vest did a lot of damage to your insides. We had to take out part of your intestine and pancreas. We also had to sew up a large hole in your stomach. The good news is that by some miracle, both kidneys and liver appear to be intact." Doc spoke in a voice that was just low enough for Roadblock to hear and not carry beyond the curtain. "You'll be going through an MRI within the hour to see if I missed anything. You follow me so far?"
Roadblock nodded. "I think so, Doc. You had to sew my insides back together. I assume that means no food for a while and then really bland tasteless stuff for too long after that.
"Yes, you will be on a restricted diet until things have healed a bit. Do you know what the pancreas does?"
"Uncle James has diabetes; I think it is because his pancreas does not work."
Doc nodded. "It makes insulin that controls the levels of sugar in your blood. The lack of insulin is the cause for diabetes. Roadblock, we had to take your pancreas out. It was ripped to bits by the shrapnel and important blood vessels were cut, the few vessels that were left were packed too tight to provide any blood flow to what was left. I am sorry, I really had not choice."
"What does that mean Doc?"
"You are now insulin dependant. That means you will have to check your blood sugars several times a day. While you are here, we will be checking it through the night too. We have to figure out exactly how much insulin you need given how much you eat. Any food you ingest will have to be tracked. You will have to inject your self with insulin before every meal, and sometimes in between."
"Doc, what does it mean for in the field? I can't stop in the middle of a battle to check my blood."
"Roadblock, I am sorry, but there will not be any more field work."
"Am I discharged?" Roadblock said, raising his voice in indignation.
"Not necessarily, but you will be restricted to base duty."
Roadblock was silent for along moment. The idea of going inactive, just like that, hit him hard. As a soldier, he knew intellectually that he could get injured in a way that would prevent him from keeping on with his military career. He had seen it happen to others. But this was not the same. He had not lost an arm, or a leg, or broken his back.
"I am looking into getting you an insulin pump, so you won't have to inject yourself so often. Once you are recovered enough to be released from the infirmary, we will arrange for you to get diabetes training at Memorial Hospital in town. In the mean time, Nurse Maggie is brushing up on what she knows and will come to give you some basic information on managing your condition."
"Doc, Doc stop!" It was too much for him to take in. "What happens if I do nothing? No sugar check, no insulin."
"Ignoring your condition will lead to your death. You could possibly harm others. If you hide somewhere so you don't harm any one, your death will probably be pleasant, unless you go into a diabetic coma in your sleep. Nurse Maggie will have a full list of symptoms and consequences. I will not hide it from you. You are facing a rough road. You will be fighting this battle for the rest of your life. If you fight it right, you will live long and healthy."
Roadblock pressed his head against the pillow. His barely post anaesthetic brain could hardly sense of half of what Doc was saying. Doc saw the confusion in his patient's eyes and knew it was not the time to press. He patted Roadblock on the arm reassuringly.
"Nurse Maggie will tell you more later. Right now, I am sending an orderly in to take you to get a scan. Just rest."
Doc left, leaving the curtain pulled around Roadblock, who just laid there, staring at the light and dark green striped fabric. He did not know what to think. His brain refused to function, it was stuck on the 'no more field work'. Thankfully, the orderly came a few minutes later and that distracted him from his uncooperative brain.
Doc was being overly cautious, since he knew that Roadblock's capacity to heal could be compromised and his risk if infection increased. He was tempted to transfer his patient to a hospital with an endocrinologist on hand, but injured Joes were a handful to treat even with trained staff to deal with them. While roadblock was in the infirmary on a restricted diet, coordinating his food intake and insulin would be easier.