Don't Leave Me Part 1
Robert paced the sitting room wondering why the family had not yet been called down to the hospital. The welcome news that Mary had safely delivered a healthy baby had come well over an hour ago, but they had been asked to wait before coming down to the hospital to allow Mary to introduce Matthew to his child in private.
"What is taking so long?" Robert asked aloud to no one in particular.
"Oh Robert, they just want some time alone with the new baby. It is perfectly understandable," Cora said, sympathizing with the new parents' desire for some private time.
"They have had over an hour. How long do they need?" he complained. "I will not wait any longer. We needn't stay long and then they can have more private time if they wish."
"Have you forgotten that we came back early and Lynch is away visiting his family until tonight. How do you plan to get there? Best you wait for Matthew and he can drive us," Cora said.
"Tom can drive," Robert replied as he rang for Bates to bring his coat.
"Tom is our son-in-law, not the chauffeur. Just wait for Matthew," Cora urged, not wanting to offend Tom when he had come so far from his days as chauffeur.
"I truly don't mind," Tom said, standing to get his coat.
"Excellent. Cora, Edith, are you coming or do you wish wait?"
"Oh very well, but if they are angry with our early arrival, I shall blame it entirely on you," Cora said with a smile.
"I shall happily take the blame."
Shortly after leaving the abbey, they came upon a commotion on the road.
"Goodness Tom, what is going on?" Cora asked from the back where her view was obscured.
"There appears to have been an accident," he replied, noting the truck on the side of the road and seeing smoke billowing up from the ditch below. "We should stop."
"Of course. If there are any injuries, perhaps we can get them to the hospital. Cora and Edith, you stay in the car," Robert stated, wanting to shield them from any unsightly injuries that might upset female sensibilities.
Tom and Robert quickly exited the car and made their way down into the ditch. Tom's breath caught in his throat and he began to run when he recognized the overturned car at the bottom as Matthew's.
"Oh God no," Robert gasped when he saw the car.
"Is he alive?" Tom called to the truck driver he saw kneeling next to the car.
"I think so, but just barely."
Tom made at to the car to see Matthew stuck below and bleeding from the head. "Matthew, can you hear me?" There was no response. A quick check revealed that he was breathing shallowly and had a weak pulse. Tom quickly removed his own coat and tore the sleeves off.
"What are you doing?" Robert asked.
"We need to stop the bleeding. We have to wrap the wound and put pressure on it," he replied, working quickly to accomplish the task.
"What can I do?" Robert asked, trying to remain calm.
"Grab an arm. We have to pull him out and get him to the hospital if he is to have any chance." Together they pulled him from the car and carried him up the hill to the waiting car.
"Good Lord Robert, is that ….." Cora's hand came over her mouth and she could not finish her question.
"Oh God it is Matthew," Edith cried.
"Edith, Cora, you need to sit up front with me. We need to lay him across the seat. Robert, sit on the floor and keep pressure on the wound," Tom ordered and they were quickly on their way to the hospital as quickly as the car could travel.
"How did you know what to do?" Robert asked.
"Sybil," he replied softly.
When they arrived at the hospital, Tom and Robert carried Matthew in. "Cora, get Clarkson immediately and do not let Mary know, not yet, not until we know more."
"Why shouldn't we tell Mary?" Edith asked. She was not especially close to her sister, but something told her it would be wrong to keep this from her.
"She just had a baby. We can't risk upsetting her," Robert replied as he and Tom rushed by her. Edith followed and lingered in the doorway to see the men lay Matthew on a bed as Clarkson rushed in with Cora following in his wake.
"There was a car accident. We tried to stopping the bleeding. He hasn't been responsive since we found him," Tom explained.
"He is unconscious. His pulse is very week and his breathing is shallow and irregular," Clarkson said after a quick examination. "He has lost a dangerous amount of blood though. Thankfully the bleeding has stopped or I doubt he would have made it here alive. We can try a blood transfusion, but it is risky. The body sometimes rejects the transfusion, but without it, we cannot get his blood pressure up and there is little chance of survival."
"Whatever it takes. The risk is worth it if there is a chance to save him," Robert said.
"Right, we shall get him into the operating room and start the transfusion right away."
At that, Edith swiftly left her place in the doorway in search of Mary's room. Regardless of what her father thought, she knew that Mary had a right to know what had happened to her husband and to be a part of decisions that could determine if he lived or died.
Mary looked up in surprise as Edith burst into her room.
"Well I hardly thought you would be the first member of the family to visit me," Mary said before remembering Matthew's recent urging that she try to be nicer to her sister. She had just been given everything she wanted so she decided that she could afford to be more generous to Edith. "Well, come see you nephew," Mary said with what she hoped was a welcoming smile.
Edith stood still, seemingly rooted to the floor. It was then that Mary noticed the look of horror on Edith's face, and she knew at once it was not a result of the unkind words she had spoken.
"What is it? What has happened," Mary demanded, handing the baby to Anna as a sense of dread began to set in. She only remembered this look on Edith's face once before - that awful night during the war when Edith had told her that Matthew was missing.
"There is something you ought to know. Papa said not to tell you, but I don't think he's right," Edith said, unknowing using the same words she had used years before. Mary however remembered those words and her sense of dread heightened. She rose from the bed, ignoring the pain, and gripped Edith's hand.
"It's Matthew. There has been an accident, and he is very badly injured."
"Where is he?"
"In the operating room. Dr. Clarkson is attempting a blood transfusion." At that Mary swayed unsteadily on her feet and Edith reached out to steady her sister. "Mary, you shouldn't be out of bed so soon after childbirth."
"I must go to my husband. He needs me."
"Let me get you a wheelchair, and I will take you," Edith suggested.
"I cannot wait even for you to bring a chair," Mary said, rushing toward the door before turning back to her sister. "Thank you for telling me," she said simply before hurrying to find Matthew.
Author's Note: Blood typing was discovered in 1907 but rH factors were not discovered until 1940 so there could be major complications if a patient received blood that was the right type (A, B, AB, or O) but the wrong rH factor. This was the cause for blood transfusions being much more risky in the 1920's.
Let me know what you think and if I should continue.