Nurse Hale entered the private room quietly, focused on her job, and was met by the familiar noises made by the life-support machines as they monitored and sustained the faltering body of the comatose man in the bed before her.
She took a moment to study him before setting to work. His complexion, though still fairly pale, was thankfully not the deathly pallor that it had been in the immediate hours after his life-saving surgery, which had been long and exhausting for the doctor and had taken a lot from the patient, the two bullets aside, leaving him extremely weak.
Moving around the bed, she carried out the observations on her patient. The ventilator and additional nasal cannula were still in place, indicating that he was still unable to breathe on his own but a once over of them told her that he was getting the required oxygen intake. Examining his blood bag, she saw that it would need replacing soon. However, a check of the heart monitor showed that his injured heart was finally managing to produce a more stable beat. Taking a hold of his lower right arm, she slipped two fingers under his limp wrist, feeling the steely throbbing beneath. She waited.
After a minute, she slid the pen from her breast pocket and picked up the patient chart from the sideboard, then made a note of his pulse, along with his blood pressure. Fortunately, it seemed his vital signs were stabilising, which she found reassuring, yet somehow strange. Not that long ago, his output had been barely measurable. Could the dopamine infusion administered earlier really have strengthened him so much in so short a time?
Still, stranger things had happened.
Silently, she admonished herself for allowing herself to be distracted from her task. It wasn't her place to hypothesise how or why, that was the doctor's job. Replacing the items, she turned to the cabinet against the wall, next to the stand which housed the ventilator, from which she withdrew a vial of fluid and a syringe. She uncapped the syringe, used the vial to fill it, and then slid it into one of the many lines inserted into the man's supine body. When the contents had been injected, she retrieved the cap from the sideboard.
Hearing a slight change in his heart rate, she turned around, in time to see his eyes fly open. She watched, bewildered, as he lay there, eyes wide and…unseeing, before they quickly closed again.
"Mr. Doyle?" She called out tentatively, "Mr. Doyle, can you hear me?"
When no response was forthcoming, she reached for his wrist again, at the same time studying the heart monitor for any change in the readings, of which there were none.
What on Earth had just happened?
Concerned, she hurried out of the room, in search of Dr. Seigel.
She found him in his office. She knocked lightly on the door and waited, using the brief pause to compose herself. Belatedly, she realised she needn't have come out here, could have just called and asked for him to come out to the room. Well, she was here now, and—
The doctor's dulcet tone sounded from behind the heavy oak, interrupting her thoughts, the monosyllabic answer neither admitting nor denying entrance. Pushing it open, she found him behind his desk, poring over some papers, or some such. Looking up from the official-looking papers, he gave her a small smile, which she duly returned, and waved her to the vacant seat in front of his paper-strewn desk.
"Ah, Nurse, what can I do for you?"
She coughed nervously and lowered herself into the proffered seat.
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything important, Doctor, but you asked to be immediately informed of any change in Mr. Doyle."
Mr. Doyle… Ah, yes. The young CI5 agent currently fighting for his life in Intensive Care after being shot. Well, not young exactly, he was pushing 40. Taking into account his almost fatal injuries, it surprised him that the man was still managing to hold on. Still, a lot that could go wrong. And, like the old adage said: "What can go wrong, will".
"Yes, that's right. Has there been?"
"Well, not precisely."
The doctor frowned at her for clarification. "What happened, then?"
Nurse Hale relayed what had just taken place, and the doctor removed his glasses and sank back into the worn leather of his own chair, his papers seemingly abandoned as he listened. Hearing what had happened, he raised an eyebrow in surprise.
"I see. Well, it's certainly something, although I can't explain it. Vital signs?"
"No major change, although he has begun slowly stabilising over the past few hours." The nurse replied.
The doctor smiled again. "Good. Very good. Well, we'll continue to monitor him closely. If he stays stable and shows more improvement, then, touch wood…"
He paused to tap his desk for emphasis.
"…we'll be able to move him over to the High Dependency Unit."
The nurse nodded. "Are you going to inform Major Cowley, Sir?" she enquired politely.
Doctor Seigel seemed to ponder this for a moment, chewing on the arm of his glasses as he did so.
"No. No, not just yet. Of course, if and when the transfer goes ahead, or Mr. Doyle wakes from his coma, or deteriorates again, then I shall telephone him. I'll come along and check him over myself, in a bit. Thank you for informing me of this, Nurse."
Nodding again, she stood and left.