Disclaimer: I don't own Trauma, or the characters thereof. This is just for fun.
I hope everyone enjoys the final chapter of this fic!
The doctor paused his conversation, at first neither Leticia paid much attention, but as the conversation continued they realised that he was speaking about Marisa, he sounded very surprised, but positive.
Dr Lawrence was on the phone for a good five minutes before he turned his attention back to the anxious pair, "That was Kaitlin, Marisa seems to have turned a corner, her vital signs are stabilising, and her ICP is close to normal, she has even started triggering the ventilator. I simply cannot explain it."
Rabbit couldn't get out of the room fast enough, he had to see this for himself.
There was a strange atmosphere in the ICU, by now news had spread amongst the nurses of Marisa's seemingly miraculous turn around. No one had expected her to survive, well no one but Rabbit.
Though Marisa's condition had drastically improved, she still had a long way to go before she would leave the hospital. She was still dependant on the ventilator to breathe, and would be for some time, but at least now, and given how sick she was it was a big step, she was triggering the vent sporadically. The cardiac bypass would be removed later that day. She remained on dialysis, as her kidney function would never return, but in the circumstances that would be a small price to pay. The jury was still out so to speak on if she would wake up, and if she did, if she would have suffered brain damage as a result of the swelling of her brain.
The next day Marisa began to regain consciousness. Not having expected Marisa to have woken so soon, they hadn't even known if she would wake up. Leticia had gone home for a rest, leaving Reuben to sit with Marisa.
Rabbit had been dozing at her bedside, his hand gently resting over hers. He startled when he felt her hand shift. "Marisa?"
Marisa's eyes slowly opened, and though at first it took a moment she focused on Reuben. There was fear in her eyes.
"Hey partner, good to see you again. You had us worried for a while there," Rabbit paused, he couldn't help but notice how tightly Marisa was now holding his hand, "You're okay."
Marisa opened her mouth, trying to speak, but the breathing tube prevented it, she quickly became panicked.
"It's okay Marisa, just breathe, you're okay. It's the breathing tube, I'll call the nurse, see if they can take it out, okay."
Marisa slightly released her hold on his hand, then squeezed it again before letting him go; in the only way she really could letting him know that it was okay for him to go.
It took a couple of minutes for Rabbit to come back in with Kaitlin, given the process of scrubbing out of and then back into the isolation suite.
Kaitlin greeted Marisa warmly; she checked her over before going to find Marisa's doctor.
Dr Lawrence was overjoyed to see that his critically ill patient was regaining consciousness, as he checked over Marisa's chart, Dr Lawrence introduced himself, "Hello Marisa, do you remember me?"
Marisa shook her head, no. She vaguely remembered him, but she didn't know who he was.
"I'm Dr Lawrence, I've been taking care of you for the past few days. Is it okay if I check you over, see how you're doing?"
"Okay. Do you know what has been happening since you came into the hospital?"
Marisa shook her head, the last thing she remembered was bringing in the meningitis patient, getting stuck in isolation for hours as a precaution.
"You have been very unwell. The illness you have is called bacterial meningococcal meningitis septicaemia, a severe form of infection that has affected multiple body systems. We have been caring for you here in the intensive care unit for four days now."
"When can you take out the breathing tube?" Reuben asked.
"Not yet. We need to give her body a bit of time to recover." The physician turned to Marisa, telling her, "Your condition has turned a corner, and you are now stable, but you are still critically ill. We have you on a ventilator, dialysis, cardiac bypass, and multiple medications to treat the infection, as well as to support you until the antibiotics clear the infection from your system."
"What about the rash? Is it going to get better?" Reuben queried, then when he saw how Marisa tensed, he soothed her, "It's just a part of the illness, like the doctor said you're doing much better. We'll be back out there in no time."
"The bypass has maintained blood supply to the extremities, there is some tissue damage, which looks like we may need to do some skin grafts to cover. I think the arms and legs should be salvageable, a couple of the toes are a bit dusky, but that's minor considering." Dr Lawrence turned his focus to Marisa, "You're a very lucky girl, Marisa. You came very close to not surviving, but now I think it's safe to say that you will walk out of this hospital."
Two days later Marisa was extubated, and soon after she was moved out of the ICU. Her life seemed to be out of danger, there at last was hope.
But then that hope was being dimmed by the fact that the circulation in Marisa's legs had deteriorated when they took her off of life support, and it was soon realised that if they were to save Marisa's life it would be necessary to take her into surgery to remove the dead tissue.
There was no choice, septicaemia had done its damage.
Rueben and Leticia sat by Marisa's bedside, listening in stunned silence as Dr Lawrence informed Marisa that she would need to go into surgery to have the 'dead tissue removed from the lower extremities and possibly hands', in his words. He didn't mince words, explaining to Marisa that it was very likely that the surgeon would need to amputate one, possibly both her legs, and at least two fingers on her left hand.
It surprised everyone just how well Marisa took the news. But the way Marisa saw it was very simple, she had nearly died, by comparison this was just a bump in the road, and back in Afghanistan she had seen many soldiers come back from amputations, some even going back into combat, she could do this.
Marisa stayed calm as the nurses prepared her for surgery, despite the fact that it was very likely that she would wake up from the operation without her legs.
Marisa spoke without fear, even comforting her mother, assuring and reassuring her that she would be alright, whatever the outcome.
It was only as Marisa was wheeled towards the operating room that she became fearful, her mother had stayed back in the room, unable to cope with the idea of her daughter going into surgery, but Rueben was there for her.
Marisa clung to him, as though she was drowning and he was a lifebuoy, speaking metaphorically I suppose he was.
The orderlies stopped the gurney just short of the OR doors, allowing the pair a moment.
Rabbit did not even try to release himself from Marisa's iron grasp. "Hey, hey, you're okay Marisa. Whatever happens you'll be okay, so, calm down."
Marisa's breathing was getting shallower, "No, no, I can't do this. They can't take my legs, please Rabbit, don't let them do this."
"You've got to have this surgery, 'member what the doc said about infection, and trust me, that's not pretty and it could kill you. This has to be done, and you know that we'll be here, whatever happens, me and your mum, and you will get through it. You will."
"I don't want to," Marisa said softly, she was calming, but now seemed to be near tears.
"I know, I know. But just think a couple of months down the track we'll be back up in the 'copter, and this'll just be a memory."
"But what if they don't let me back? I need to work, I need to fly."
"And you will, I'll make sure you do. But you have to do this."
"You promise?" Marisa asked, sounding almost childlike.
It was a long time before Marisa got back to her life as it was before the meningococcal.
After two months she was released from the hospital, and true to his word, Reuben had stayed with her, only going home to sleep and shower every second day until he helped her into her mother's car.
It was another four months before she learned how to walk on the prosthetic legs, another two months after that she was cleared to return to work; and a further four months before she could get back behind the controls of a helicopter, or car for that matter, due to the seizures she had suffered when she was ill.
It was a long road, but Marisa had no problem walking it, she was just glad to be alive.
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