I'm only up to the end of Season 3 on Private Practice, so that's when this story is set-right after everyone finds out that Dell has died. A little nervous, as this is my first PP fic, so I hope it's okay!
Death is something you have to get used to if you're in the medical profession. Of course it's still hard, losing a patient, but after awhile, as terrible as it sounds, you become desensitized. It's still a horrible thing, and of course we want to avoid it at all costs, but it's inevitable. As hard as we try, it's impossible to save every single patient that we have.
I just wanted to put that out there first, because I just want you to know that we're no strangers to death. Although my colleagues and I are some of the best of the best, there's never going to be a hundred percent safety guarantee. As good as we are, we can't save everyone.
It's different when it's one of your own.
When I look back on that night, it's just a blur. I remember clearly the moment when Violet told me that something was wrong with Maya, and then everything after that moment becomes a little hazy. Suddenly, the only thing I was concentrating on was making sure that I didn't lose my daughter. My baby was the only thing on my mind all that night.
And you know throughout this whole ordeal, no one thought about Dell? Everyone's efforts were concentrated on saving Maya, and the baby, and none of us even thought about making sure that he was truly okay. He seemed to be; he was buzzing around that whole night like the busy, helpful bee he always was, doing whatever he could to make sure Maya was okay, and I'm not even sure if I thanked him. Not even sure if any of us did. Quite truthfully, I don't think I even glanced his way. All my efforts were concentrated on Maya.
I was overjoyed when Addison told us that Maya and the baby were both okay. My immediate reaction was that everything was all right with the world. Stupid, selfish me. Always about me. I had no idea...
It was only when we looked at Amelia's face that we realized that everything wasn't okay. We hadn't even thought of Dell! No one did, not even then. We were just so used to him being there taking care of things, doing things for us, that we all failed to see when he needed us. And then Amelia opened her mouth, and the whole world fell apart.
Would we have been able to save him if we'd gotten him checked out sooner? Probably. I prefer to think that we wouldn't have, if only to help myself sleep at night. I can't think about the alternative without breaking down. Knowing that we could have saved him, that we wouldn't have to tell his child that she's an orphan...I can't deal with that. If I, or any of us, had just thought to check him...but I suppose it's a moot point now. There's no use thinking on what could have been, because the possibilities will drive you crazy after a while.
I can't describe my reaction, because I think we all just kind of stared at each other in shock. The earlier events of the evening may have gone by in a blur, but this was more like a slowing down of time. My grief was immense and immediate. It's the worse kind of way to lose someone, suddenly like that. At least, if someone's sick, you can say your goodbyes to them before they're gone. You can make sure they know how much they meant to you. The grieving process is more manageable because you know what's happening before it actually does. This wasn't the way with Dell. Dell's death was like a swift blow, one that takes you aback and knocks you out with the sheer force of it.
Working with someone everyday, you become close to them, whether you want to or not. It was like that with him too, of course. At first he seemed like just a kid; I wasn't expecting him to become such a good friend. As time passed, it was hard to believe I hadn't known him my whole life. He would go out of his way to make sure that I had everything that I needed, and even covered me when I needed it. I couldn't have asked for a more loyal friend.
The hardest thing to believe is that I'll never see him again, which seems impossible. Even now, I still want to ask where Dell is when we're all together, because he was such an irreplaceable member of our group. There's a space between us all that can never be filled, no matter how hard we try.
The cruelest part of all this is that he'd just gotten accepted to med school, something he'd worked so hard for. Our little Dell, he was going to go big places. He was destined for greatness.
He was a single father, but you never heard him complaining about how hard it had to be to raise Betsy on his own; he simply grinned and bore it. He wasn't perfect; he had his problems, but so do we all. It still hasn't completely sank in, and I'm not sure how I'll deal when it does.
You become numb to death after awhile. But it's different when it's one of your own.