The hour was still quite early. He wasn't due to start work for another hour. He had a growing mountain of paperwork awaiting him on his desk; he had been ignoring it for a while but it was becoming so that the pile was becoming unstable. Still, he entered his office only to deposit his bag before returning to the corridor to make his way to the wards.
"How is she?" He stopped Matron in the corridor, relieved to see a reassuring smile.
"Ah good morning Doctor. She hasn't vomited all night. I think she's finally over the worst."
"Thank goodness." He sighed, already continuing on his journey, not stopping to make pleasant conversation with his colleagues, so desperate was he to see his wife. "Hello darling." He smiled down at Jill as he reached the side of her bed. The smile soon slipped as he met her tired eyes. Her cheeks were flushed and he was sure she was trembling beneath the blankets. "Jill?" He questioned urgently.
"I- I'm fine."
"You're shivering." He reached forward and cupped her face in his palm. A frown creased his brow as soon as their skin made contact. "You're burning." He brushed the back of his hand across her forehead, immediately turning and bellowed, "Nurse!" bringing one rushing forward. "Take Doctor Weatherill's temperature please."
Nurse Davenport nodded, plucked the rod of glass from a small trolley and placed it in Jill's mouth. Gordon watched on in concern as Stella removed the thermometer and relayed the reading.
"Fetch Mr Rose and Doctor Banner please nurse."
As soon as the nurse departed, Gordon turned to his wife. He brushed a hand across her damp, heated cheeks and forehead, noting the deep flush that had coloured them. "I thought you were over the virus Sweetheart. It must be something else. Do you hurt anywhere? Darling?" He prompted when she remained silent.
"My… My stomach." She eventually, reluctantly, choked out. A soft, uncharacteristic whimper was released as Gordon pulled down the bedcovers and raised her nightdress, being careful to preserve her modesty. The temptation to cover herself up was strong and Gordon had to gently remove her hands as she made to tug the nightdress down.
"What have we here?" Mr Rose's booming voice and a puff of smoke heralded his presence. He stepped up to the bed, looking down at his fellow colleague.
Jill cringed at the attention and had to fight the even stronger urge to cover herself.
"High temperature and guarding." Gordon provided, outlining the area he was concerned about. His hand brushed gently over her stomach, Jill hoped it wasn't accidental. "I erm." He sighed heavily before continuing. "I think the incision site may have reopened, internally."
It was as Jill had thought, and she closed her eyes briefly at the unwelcome confirmation.
"Nonsense." The surgeon denied. "That was first class work."
"But she has been vomiting."
"Hmm." Was Mr Rose's reply as he bent down to begin his own investigation.
As the unwelcome intrusion upon her modesty increased, Jill merely averted her eyes and stared at the ceiling, trying to ignore the worsening pain in her stomach, and the embarrassment of it all. If only she could detach herself from her own body…
A sharp gasp was realised as Mr Rose prodded an especially painful area.
"Sorry my dear." He muttered, though didn't pause in his analysis of her condition.
Gordon had been watching Mr Rose's examination, yet upon hearing the gasp of pain, he drew his attention to his wife. The sheer embarrassment was evident in her expression; he could no longer be sure whether the pink that tinged her cheeks was purely from her fever. He stepped closer to the head of the bed, reached out and brushed a hand across her forehead to rest in her hair. His other hand covered her tightly formed fist, his thumb stroking a soothing motion.
"I'm afraid, my dear, we'll have to cut you open again."
"As I thought." Jill sighed, clutching at the sheets as Gordon arranged them over her again.
"We'll whip you in straight away." Mr Rose, already departing, paused at the ward doors. "Quick as you can Gordon, let's get your lady wife sorted once and for all."