Chapter 8: A Condition that is Disadvantageous for Romance
A/N: Now this is the last chapter, and yes I'll write a sequel (after all my other sequels…or before…whenever inspiration hits!)
Camille woke the next morning feeling slightly less sore but still really rather groggy. A nurse was fussing over her, taking her vitals and writing on her chart. After a few moments, she realised her carer was Marguerite Descamps, an old friend of her mother's. Camille had the feeling this was not a coincidence, and that every detail of her condition would be being reported back.
After exchanging pleasantries, she asked, "When do you think I can go home?"
"That will be up to the doctor. I'm sure he'll be by sometime this morning. Now would you like some breakfast? A little toast, perhaps?" She might have phrased it as a question, but the nurse placed a plate with the aforementioned toast on in front of her and Camille knew it wasn't actually an option, though she still felt a bit nauseous.
"That Doc Martin is quite something, isn't he?" Camille presumed her nurse was still present to ensure she ate something, but at least Camille was going to get an opportunity to have a moan.
"Oh, tell me about it!" She proceeded to nibble on her toast whilst she waited for Marguerite to share some shocking story with her about how Martin Ellingham had behaved.
"Such a talented surgeon, you really are very lucky." Oh, that was not what Camille had been expected. The older woman must have realised this from her expression, so smiled at her kindly and explained. "You know, my dear, I spoke to the theatre nurses and some of the other doctors. There aren't that many people round here that could have performed the surgery as he did – they may well have opted for a hysterectomy."
"Oh." It was all she could come up with for the moment.
"Yes, well, he was in the right place at the right time I guess. Like I said, you're very lucky. Speaking of lucky, there is a young man hanging about, annoying my nurses and asking after you every few minutes or so." She gave Camille a knowing sort of smile that actually made her blush. "You feel up for seeing him?"
Camille was suddenly very aware that she might not actually be looking her best after surgery and felt really rather self-conscience about that fact. She subtly tried to catch her reflection in the mirror over the sink on the other side of the room, and her fears were concerned. She was now torn, as she did really want to see Richard, but she also knew it would take her a fair while to look anywhere close to decent. Right now just getting out of bed to get to the mirror seemed like a massive task, but she would do it if necessary. Marguerite was still smiling at her, so Camille guessed the woman could read her mind.
"I could put your hair up for you?" She offered kindly. "And finish that toast!"
Richard had bought flowers on the way to the hospital, then panicked and given them to a random woman on the street because the only other time he had bought her flowers was after Aimee died and he was worried it would bring back bad memories. Earlier he had found a card, though had yet to write anything in it. He'd then run into a store to look at chocolates, but had realised she probably wouldn't have a brilliant appetite after surgery. Knowing his luck the site of the things would probably be enough to make her feel nauseous. He walked out of the shop thinking hard, and very nearly ran straight into Louisa.
When a man came close to colliding with her, Louisa turned around to give him a lecture about looking where he was going. After all she was carrying James and he could have been really hurt! The rant never materialised though as before she could speak she recognised a rather harassed looking Richard and instead greeting him warmly. "Richard, hello! James and I were just off to the beach since Martin is going to go check on your Camille this morning." He didn't respond immediately, and she peered into his face feeling somewhat concerned. "Are you okay? You look a bit flustered."
"Sorry, I was going to visit Camille but I, um, I was trying to find something suitable, you know, to bring…" He looked a bit concerned then, perhaps worried she would perceive him as completely useless, so hurried to add, "I got her a card!"
He flourished the thing in front of Louisa, who plucked it from his hand and resisted the urge to shake her head in disbelief. Richard must have caught something in her face though, because he asked, "What's wrong with it?"
Actually, it wasn't nearly as bad as some of the card's Martin had given her, "Well it's not the usual sort of get well card."
"It's The Blue Boy by Gainsborough. It's his most famous piece. My tutor at Cambridge made me do a module on the Rococo movement. I think it's a classic painting…"
"It's fine Richard! So, do you want some help picking out flowers?" Judging from his choice in get well soon cards, Louisa imagined he may need some guidance when it came to floral arrangements.
"Not flowers!" He cried, apparently alarmed by the idea. James whimpered, taken aback by the volume of his exclamation, and Richard looked apologetically at her. "Sorry, the only other time I gave her flowers was when her friend had died, you see."
"Right…well, I don't think that means flowers are out of the question for the rest of your life but I can see where you are coming from. Have you considered buying a nice plant instead? One she can keep?" Louisa didn't say 'and it will remind her you are actually quite sweet when you want to be whenever she looks at it', but she did think it. Something about those two was definitely turning her into a bit of a matchmaker.
He looked like it was the revelation of the century, "Yes, a plant, that's a fantastic idea! Thank you!" Richard looked like he was going to immediately rush off to buy one but something caused him to pause, turn back to her and ask, "Any advice on what kind of plant?"
Ah yes, Louisa thought, here was a man that could be trained.
Richard sat in the waiting room, carefully clutching the Hippeastrum papilio he had bought for Camille (with Louisa's help). He really hoped Camille didn't ask for the common name, because he couldn't remember it for the life of him. He wasn't allowed to see Camille straight away because she was asleep, and he got the impression he may have rather annoyed some of the staff with his regular queries. Thus he was currently attempting to sit quietly in the waiting room, and not worry the leaves off the poor plant. The florist who supplied the plant gave him a card to go with it, and Louisa had gently suggested he use that instead of the one he had. Richard did actually know how to take a hint.
"Inspector Poole?" He jolted at the voice and very nearly dropped the plant, but luckily the nurse that had addressed him quickly stooped to steady it. "Camille is awake and would like to see you."
Though you might think that after he had waited so long he would immediately leap to his feet, he paused for a moment to consider the way the nurse had phrased that. Camille would like to see him? God, he was probably reading far too much into that, what a sad man he was.
"There was a bit of a delay because she was worried how she looked, poor thing." Then again, perhaps he wasn't. "I think the doctor is due quite soon so you might have to leave, but I am sure you'll be okay to see her afterwards."
He knocked and stuck his head round the door. She smiled and beckoned him in.
"I, um, bought you a plant," he stuck it out nervously in front of him, and was relieved to see her smile was a genuine one.
"Oh, it's beautiful! Could you put it down on the table here please, beside me?" He did as instructed, and then sort of stood there in awkward silence. "God, do I look so bad I've left you incapable of speech?"
"No! No, you look fine, really. Um, how are you feeling?"
She shrugged, "Fine, mostly. A little sore. I think Martin is going to come talk to me soon. We did speak last night but I was a bit groggy, and maybe a bit rude to him."
Richard smiled, "I get the feeling you won't be the first patient to have lost patience with him…"
Richard had to stop himself, because at that moment the man himself bustled into the room.
Martin paused when he realised Richard was there, he hadn't expected him in so early, "Ah, good morning. I had come to check on Detective Sergeant Bordey and make sure she understands her prognosis."
Richard immediately made to leave by Camille said, "Wait!" Then turned to Martin and asked, "Is there going to be much prodding and poking?"
"I would like to check the incision that is all."
"Oh well then you can stay," Camille told Richard. This surprised him as much as it did Martin. Camille proceeded to explain, "It's nothing he hasn't seen before!"
Martin merely raised both eyebrows at that comment, and Richard stepped in hastily to clarify, "She was in a bikini! I was arresting her!"
"You arrested a fellow police officer?" Martin asked, wishing he could just get on with the damn examination.
"I didn't know she was a police officer at the time!" Sergeant Bordey seemed quite amused by the whole situation, and Martin decided it really wasn't worth trying to unravel the whole story at this very moment.
"Well I appreciate that, Sergeant Bordey, but I also wish to discuss your condition with you so perhaps it would be best if Richard steps out…" Richard looked perfectly willing to comply, but Camille interrupted again.
"Oh he can hear it now or read it in the official medical report in a few weeks, what difference does it make?" Richard smiled at her statement, and Martin marvelled at her near perfect repetition of what Richard had argued the night before. Perhaps they spent too much time in each other's company. She was clearly determined that Richard should stay though, and if she had his permission to continue there was really no reason why he shouldn't. Richard seemed to understand Camille's desire for his continued presence as well, he was looking at her with a ridiculously sentimental expression that Martin shuddered to think may sometimes grace his own features when with his wife.
"Very well, how is your pain this morning?"
"Still a bit sore," she said. She grimaced when he pressed the area around the incision, "That doesn't exactly help."
"Yes, but it is necessary. Do you remember our conversation last night clearly?"
"Yes, mostly, um, are you sure about what you said?"
Well that was a bit vague, "Yes, but if you specify any particular concerns perhaps I could be clearer and alleviate your fears."
"About it not affecting my ability to have children?"
"I intend to refer you to a gynaecologist but I don't believe it will affect your ability to conceive, though I would advise against attempting to conceive for at least six months. Any pregnancy should be monitored carefully as there are a few rare complications that could occur." Camille looked relieved, turned her smile on Richard who returned it somewhat more shyly. He noticed that his cousin had also taken her hand at some point.
"In the future, Detective Sergeant, I strongly advise when symptomatic you consult a doctor. Though I am also confident your colleagues will be keeping a careful eye on you from now on. Bed rest for at least two weeks, with only the lightest of exercise, and then you can began to build up again to your normal routine. I am sure the doctors here will be able to advise you. Have a good day."
He turned to leave but stopped when Camille called out, "Martin, uh, Dr Ellingham?"
"Yes," he replied, and then walked out the door. Halfway down the corridor though, he decided that given the way they had been looking at each other as he left, there was something else he really better make clear.
When he marched back into the room Richard was unnecessarily brushing hair off Camille's face. They both looked at him in surprise as he announced, "I wanted to make it clear that sexual intercourse and recent uterine surgery do not mix, and should be included in the list of physical activities you avoid for at least two weeks."
Richard instantly stepped away from Camille looking a little horrified, but Martin just assumed that meant the message had hit home. For some reason though Camille was glaring at him.
Martin decided to leave quickly, and get on with the rest of his honeymoon.
A/N: My favourite line from Doc Martin is "Osteoporosis and sex on dining room tables don't mix!" so I simply had to find a way to "remix" and include it here.