A comfortable silence took precedence, giving me an opportunity to recheck the injury site.
The bleeding had slowed enough to allow me to briefly removed the bandage for a more in-depth assessment. Gently parting the hair, I found a long laceration to the side of Adrians head.
The wound did not appear deep enough to reveal the skull and Adrian was not showing any red flags for a severe head injury. He was fortunate, the bullet seemed to have only grazed his head.
Satisfied, I reapplied the bandage.
His eyes became stormy, droplets collecting at the corners. The adrenaline must be ebbing away.
Adrian forced his trembling arms against the bed. Fists clamped around the sheet as his muscles strained.
Shifting, I lightly placed my hand on his tense shoulder and whisper ”Its okay to cry. ”. I feel him heave and give way under my small fingers.
The sky opened.
Adrian smothered the rain clouds with his forearm. ”Sorry, Im so sorry ” he choked through gritted teeth.
My eyebrows pulled downwards to each other. ”What for? ” I retorted.
”For crying, ” Adrians voice was heavy as he continued, ”I know I shouldn , Im sorry. ”
The slow, shuddering breath that followed struck each vertebrae in turn as it jolted down my spine.
Casting my gaze to the door, I wondered how someone could believe so deeply that crying was wrong that theyd apologise for doing so after being shot.
I have seen an infinite catalog of reactions to grief, illness and tragedy during my career. Each one unique to the individual, and every response was perfectly valid. But Ill be damned if I let this man persecute his own emotions.
”Don you dare apologise to anyone for being human! ” I stated firmly.
He uncovered his eyes.
”But…It shows vulnerability. ” He whispered, ”That gives them a weak point to attack. ”
”No. ” Was all I could manage to push through the fire raging in my throat.
How would you know if something meant anything to you if it didn evoke any emotion?
”The potential negative implications from suppressing your emotions, those could weaken you. Living your life without a full spectrum of emotions isn seeing the world completely in colour.
” I pressed onwards
”You were shot! You
e allowed to cry! ”
With his mouth slightly agape, Adrians breathing started to even out. A downpour slowing to a drizzle.
I watch the rhythmic chest rises, letting them ground me and steady my pounding heart. I hadn noticed the palpitations appearance.
A searing heat catapulted my attention to my right hand. Adrian squeezed it carefully, as if mine would be crushed by the size difference.
”Thank you. ” His smile could captivate an arena. I felt myself smiling back caught in a trance.
No, nope! I moved my hand back to his head and studied the bandage. Come on Evelyn, professional boundaries.
”We um, we should be arriving soon. ” I shuttered trying to refocus the conversation, ”When we arrive, well go straight into a room full of people and explain to them what has happened. ”
I divulge the handover procedure in resus. That there would be a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and potentially others, all from different specialties. I emphasised it can seem chaotic and overwhelming, especially when the doctors command the room and gather all relevant details from us. But that it has to be like that in order to exercise a high level of efficiency in a time critical circumstance.
Unlike most patients, Adrian enquired about the hierarchy and what each speciality would do. Meeting most answers with a further question.
Seeming momentarily appeased, he thanked me for the information before starting a new line of enquiry. ”How long have you been training for? ”
”Two and a half years. ” I automatically answered the common question, responding with one of equal regularity, ”Are you fairly local to the area? ”
His strong jaw worked briefly before replying ”Not quite, I live in Knightsbridge. ”
Not quite! Knightsbridge is in North London, sitting neatly between Kensington and Buckingham Palace. My basic one bedroom flat would be worth over a million there!
”So, to what do we owe this pleasure? ” I smirked with a cheeky wink.
”I got on a couple tubes and got off here. ” Adrian seemed to disappear into a cloud of thought.
Leaving him to his daydream, I recognised the hint of hospital buildings creeping through the slim oval windows.
Expertly manoeuvred into an ambulance bay, we stop.
Rob is first to pull open the rear door. Greeting us, he makes quick work of unhooking Adrian from the monitor as Sharon positions the tail lift.
We guide the bed off the truck and through the double doors, where the awaiting nurse confirmed which patient we had and presented us with a cubicle.
Our audience watched as we lined up the trolley bed and assisted Adrian to shuffle onto the hospital bed.
A nurse approached me. I carefully show him the wound with a brief explanation. He takes the bandage from me and I step to the side.
Adrian looks back at me, studying my new position. He looks as if hes about to speak when his face contorts slightly.
”What are you doing? ” He yells at the nurse whos trying to place a cannula in his left arm. She doesn flinch.
He yanks his arm to his chest, glaring at the nurse.
I lightly squeeze his shoulder bringing his attention back to me. ”Shes trying to take blood for testing. ” I explain ”Theyll probably leave the cannula in place, in case you need any medication. ”
His eyes soften.
Adrian gradually lowers his arm back down. ”You could at the very least tell me that before jabbing me. ”
The consultant demands quiet and takes a handover from Sharon.
With all of our information passed on, Rob pushes the trolley bed out with Sharon in toe. They throw their well wishes over their shoulder.
Turning to Adrian, I wish him the best and tell him to be good for the nurses.
e leaving? ” He half-shouts, genuine shock across his face.
e in good hands now. ” I retract my hand and make my way out. I turn back at the door ”It was nice to meet you, get well soon. ”
”Thank you… ” he trailed off into a whisper.
I smiled through my facemask and headed back to the truck.
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