Disclaimer: I don't own Trauma, or the characters thereof. This is just for fun.
I hope everyone enjoys this fic!
It had been a long day for medics Marisa Benez and Reuben "Rabbit" Palchuck, and it wasn't over yet.
Earlier in the day they had treated an elderly man with meningitis, and as they had been in contact with the highly contagious patient, they were placed in quarantine pending blood test results. Rabbit's results had come back clear several hours before, but Marisa's had been inconclusive. Since then Rabbit had been anxiously watching over his partner as they awaited the new test results.
Rabbit was dozing on an unused hospital gurney in the hallway when intern Diana Van Dine approached him, she was closely followed by a nurse, Rebecca, who pushed a tray loaded with medical supplies. Both the nurse and Diana were wearing masks, gloves and gowns, and to Reuben that spoke volumes.
" So, um... What's the verdict?" Rabbit asked apprehensively as the young intern walked over to him.
"We have Marisa's second test back, the test was positive for bacterial meningitis. I'm sorry," Diana said apologetically.
Rabbit ran a hand through his hair, "Crap ...So what happens now?"
"Rebecca here is going to start Marisa on vancomyocin and ceftriaxone to treat the meningitis, as well as dexamethasone to reduce swelling in her brain. Once the meds have been started, we'll move her upstairs to the ICU."
"ICU? Seriously, she's not that sick," Rabbit said in shock as he looked into the isolation room that held his partner, "She's not that sick."
"I know she looks okay at the moment, but this disease progresses very quickly, death can occur within hours if it isn't treated aggressively. Doing anything other than this is just wasting time that she might not have," Diana told Rabbit, "I'm sorry, but we need to get in there."
He'd been playing along up until then, but hearing that news, Rabbit couldn't just remain on the sidelines, watching from a distance, Marisa deserved better than to be left in there alone. "I'm coming in with you."
"You're not hearing me, I'm coming in with you," Rabbit said with determination, he was not going to leave her to go through this on her own.
Diana held up her hands in defeat, "Fine." She then went over to a nearby stand, where she gathered up a set of personal protective equipment, much like what she was wearing, she handed the gear to Rabbit as she said, "Put this on."
"Thank you," Rabbit said gratefully, accepting the gear. He slipped it on quickly, and a minute later they were ready to go in.
At that time, Marisa was already showing symptoms, though up until that moment she had hoped that it wasn't real, that thinking she was getting sick was the only reason she had a fever, that the stress was giving her a headache, and the way she had been lying on the uncomfortable gurney was the reason her neck was stiff, but as soon as she saw Reuben enter the room, wearing full protective clothing, closely followed by Diana and Rebecca, she knew that there would be no good news.
They had agreed that Reuben could be the one to deliver the news, and so the others remained a respectful distance away as he made his way over to her bedside.
"Please, just tell me."
"You're test is positive, Marisa, but look, you don't need to worry, coz we're gonna get you through this, you're gonna be fine."
Reuben was lying, Marisa knew he was lying, but she said nothing as nurse Rebecca came over, and got started on connecting her to a total of four IVs, two in each hand; they would later be replaced by a central line, while Diana began to explain to her the symptoms of the disease and its progress.
As Rebecca was tending to Marisa, Dr Joe came into the room, Marisa looked up as she heard the approaching footsteps. "So what happens now doc?"
"We treat you," Dr Joe said directly.
"How?" Marisa questioned the senior physician, trying to wrap her head around everything.
"Rebecca's starting you on antibiotics right now; we have already determined the strain that the patient had, so we can target it more directly. We are also giving you dexamethasone, to suppress inflammation caused by the bacteria fragments in your bloodstream, and fluids to prevent any dehydration. Hopefully we'll catch it before you get very sick at all Marisa, but-"
"But you don't think so?"
"No, you were exposed over twelve hours ago, we will start you on the treatment now, but more likely than not you will get a lot worse before you get better."
"How much worse?" Marisa asked, her voice was shaky as she spoke, betraying her fear more than she would usually allow herself to.
"In all honesty, your life is in danger. Bacterial meningitis, what you have, as I'm sure you know progresses very rapidly, death can occur within hours of symptoms appearing, you are already showing early symptoms of infection. We'll be moving you upstairs to the intensive care unit shortly so that they can keep a close watch on you."
"But you don't have anything to worry about, okay Marisa. I'll get you through this okay, we're partners, and I swear to you right now that I'll get you through this," Rabbit quickly reassured Marisa, seeing the fear in her eyes, hearing the fear in her voice. "I'll get you through this, and we'll be back up in the air in no time."
Minutes later two orderlies arrived to take Marisa upstairs, it wasn't long before that made Marisa panic; she clung uncharacteristically to Rabbit, seeking comfort and reassurance, "What's going on? Where are they taking me? Rabbit, please."
Trying to maintain a calm facade, Reuben told her, "You're being admitted to the intensive care unit."
"What?" Marisa's breathing sped up, she began to panic.
What was said next did little to ease Marisa's anxiety; Rebecca had to correct Rueben, "Dr Joe has actually written for a central line, as well as an ICP monitor to be placed. We'll take you up to surgery, and you will most likely go from there to the intensive care."
"...Whoa, wait," Rabbit said, "ICP monitor? We're not there yet are we?"
"From what I understand Dr Joe just wants to be able to monitor Marisa's condition very closely over the coming days. That is also the reason why we are admitting you to the intensive care unit."
Marisa was terrified, and getting frantic, she tried to stand to get out, but it was too difficult with the IVs in place, "Please, no, I don't want to go there, I don't want to die."
Rabbit moved to help Marisa back into bed, "You're not dying, Marisa. You just need to be somewhere where they can keep a real close eye on you. I'll stay with you until we can leave her together, okay?"
Marisa visibly calmed, "You promise?"
"I promise, okay. I'm not going anywhere."
Three hours later Marisa had was being settled in upstairs in the ICU following the minor surgery when Dr Saviano came in, accompanied by intensive care specialist, Dr Mike Lawrence.
Marisa had been placed in complete isolation from the patients and staff of the intensive care unit, the room had glass walls, unlike how around every other bed was just a curtain, and this room had a small anteroom where staff and visitors had to scrub before and after visiting, and don masks and gloves. The last thing that any patient in the ICU needed was to be exposed to bacterial meningitis, meningococcal.
"Marisa, how are you doing? You hanging in there alright?" Joe asked, before introducing her to the other physician, "Marisa, this is Dr Lawrence, he's going to be taking care of you from here on in."
Marisa was still a bit groggy from the anaesthetic, but at least she was now calm, "Hey."
"Hi Marisa. How are you travelling? Feeling alright?"
Marisa was feeling worse by the minute, and she was frightened as to what was going to happen in the coming hours and days, she'd read up on bacterial meningitis on her phone earlier, she knew what she had to look forward to, but still she tried to remain stoic, "'m alright."
"Okay then, I'll be back in a while to check in on you. Is there anything I can get for you?"
Quietly Marisa asked, "Can I get something for the pain, please my head really hurts."
"No worries, you have a small hole drilled through your skull for the ICP monitor, pain is very much to be expected. I'll write up for the nurse to give you some morphine. We'll start with two milligrams, get the nurse to give me a buzz if that doesn't work."
That day had been no easier for the other medics, Nancy and Glenn were knee deep in legal problems, a prank that Tyler had played on Cameron had backfired, causing tension, and generally it hadn't been a good day, but all their own problems were forgotten when they were called into the captain's office when they arrived the next morning for their shifts.
He did not say why he wanted to see them, but knowing of the situation with Rabbit and Marisa, it was a safe assumption that it was to do with them, and the fact that he didn't just tell them over the phone did not bode well in their minds.
And they were right in their concern.
Captain Basra ushered the two teams, along with others from the station into his office. His tone was solemn as he delivered the news, "As most of you know by now, yesterday afternoon Reuben and Marisa had a patient with meningococcal meningitis, and I spoke earlier today with Rabbit, he's fine, but Marisa, Marisa wasn't so lucky. She's been admitted to the ICU at City, and I'll keep you updated."
"How is she?" Nancy asked.
"Stable right now, they've started treatment; hopefully they'll have got it in time. Okay, now we've got calls backing up, I need you all out there. Speak up now if you don't think you're up to working."
In the hours that followed Marisa's condition deteriorated rapidly, first she became irritable, then confused and drowsy, then she had the first of what would be many seizures.
There was nothing Rabbit could do but watch as Marisa's condition worsened.
As her condition worsened, the decision was made that they needed to stay a step ahead of the illness, and as her respiratory function decreased, the decision was made to intubate her in a controlled setting rather than waiting until she crashed, to do that they had to sedate her.
Marisa was scared, terrified as she felt the sedatives rapidly taking effect, she reached out desperately for comfort, and Reuben was there for her, he held her hand, and comforted her as the drugs pulled her under.
"Please, call my mum... Tell her I love her, please," Marisa pleaded with Rabbit.
"You can call her yourself in a couple of days, okay?"
"No, please, I want her here, please."
"Okay, I'll call her, but you don't need to worry okay, you'll be fine. Just take it easy. You're okay, breathe, I've got you, you're okay," Reuben continued to comfort Marisa in much the same fashion as he had not that long ago when Nancy had been hurt, only stopping once he could see that the sedatives had taken full effect, and he had to step away to give the doctor room to intubate her.
Trying to give him comfort, the nurse assisting said to Rabbit, "It'll only be for a few days, she'll be alright."
Looking on as a breathing tube was slid down his partner's throat, and she was connected to a ventilator, Rabbit didn't believe the nurse whatsoever, he was sure that Marisa was going to die, that he was going to watch her die.
"There's a phone at the nurses' station if you want to make that call now," One of the nurses told Reuben.
Rabbit looked up at the nurse numbly, "Sorry, what?"
"If you want to call her mother, you can use the phone at the nurses' desk," Rabbit remained silent, and a moment later the nurse suggested, "If you'd rather, give me the number and I can make the call."
Rabbit scrubbed his face with his hands, he let out a groan as he headed for the door of the room, "No, it's okay, I can do it."
"Come with me," The nurse said softly as she led Reuben out to the nurses' station.
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