Summary: Jennifer Keller contemplates her latest patient -- for the McSheplet's Challenge: We're Not Dead!
Dr. Jennifer Keller didn't stifle the yawn that seemed to come from her toes. It had been a long day, a longer night and she was about ready to fall asleep standing up. One last check to do before she went off to nap on the cot in her office.
It was quiet all around her and she kept her footsteps light to not wake any of the sleeping patients. She checked quickly but carefully on the three Marines in the infirmary.... all were doing well and most would be back in their rooms in a day or two. They had been caught in a firefight on P3V-471, another potential trade partner lost to the paranoia of Pegasus. Only three were injured and four more were alive due to luck -- and the bravery of their commanding officer.
She crept back to the intensive care section. While she could have read the instruments from her laptop, there was something real, something personal that she felt when she gathered the readings herself. The Ancient equipment only could do so much for them and she wanted to do her best.
Pausing in the door, she stopped to watch. Colonel Sheppard lay hidden amongst a bank of machines -- one to help him breathe, another to monitor his heart and brain functions, another to pump myriad medications into him. She watched the man in the bed and the one sleeping in the chair next to it.
Coming into the waiting room, Keller took the cap off her head and scrubbed at her hair. She knew it make her look like a total wreck but she needed to get some air at her scalp and dry some of the accumulated sweat. She looked into the sea of expectant eyes that waited for her.
"Too early to be positive but it looks like Colonel Sheppard will make it," she announced softly. There was a general sigh of relief from those waiting but still-worried blue eyes caught hers. "I got the bullets out, one had nicked an artery and the other lodged in his left lung. The loss of blood was the worst part and he's stable but sleeping. I've put him on a respirator to help him breathe and so the lungs don't have to work so hard." She didn't tell them his heart had stopped twice while they were operating. No sense in scaring those worried eyes more than she had to.
"Get some rest, we'll be keeping a close eye on him tonight and we'll know more in another 24 hours," she told them. Well, Atlantis had a 27.35 hour day, but 24 was what she was used to and they all knew what she meant.
Most nodded and started to drift off. As she was about to go back into the infirmary, a hand on her arm stopped her.
"Can.... can I sit with him?" Please.
"He won't know you're there," she replied, automatically.
"Doesn't matter," the worried blue eyes told her.
"For a while, then you have to get some sleep," she relented. It was also easier than trying to keep him out.
Jennifer Keller watched them together -- the night nurses had told her about the two long ago. When one was here, they both were here. One watching, waiting. Talking when possible, sitting silently when not. Always quiet but never willing to leave.
She shook the sleeping man lightly. He woke with a start. "Rodney," she said softly. "You're not doing your back any favors sleeping like that, you know. You need to lie down."
"Not leaving," he replied sleepily -- stubbornly.
She sighed. "No, you don't have to," she agreed. "Just over there," she pointed to a bed on the far side of the room. "You'll hear if anything changes and I'll wake you before the morning shift comes in."
He held Colonel Sheppard's free hand lightly between both of his own. Only here, when life hung in the balance, did Rodney's hands still. Only here were they eloquent in their silence.
She looked up at the machinery around them. "His heartrate has settled down, his breathing looks easier," she read from the indicators. "Good signs."
Blue eyes shone bright for a moment.