It took another 2 hours until Lestrade was brought out of the operation theatre and 2 hours later he was transferred from recovery into the ICU. His status was listed as critical. His ex wife and his sons had been informed by the Yard but weren't due to arrive in the next couple of days as they were on holiday somewhere in South East Asia. Because of that and the fact that the doctors weren't even sure if Lestrade would survive the night John had been able to get visiting rights for him and Molly. He had a quick phone call with Lestrade's ex wife explaining the situation and she agreed that it would be best if Lestrade was with people he cared for.
Not long after John had settled himself back in the waiting area, a doctor emerged from the ICU. “Mr. Watson?” he asked.
John stood up and held out a hand “ Yes, hi.”
The doctor shook his hand “Hello, my name is Doctor Milne. I will be Mr. Lestrade's Doctor during his stay in the Intensive Care Unit. Seeing that you are his next of kin at the moment I'll fill you in on his condition.” Milne said, sitting down while gesturing John to do the same.
“The bullets broke 5 ribs on the right site of his chest and 3 on his left site causing a pneumothorax as well as a flail chest on his right site. Both of his lungs had been severely injured but we were able to repair the damage. As for the injuries caused by the bullet to the abdomen, the bullet lodged itself in the L3 vertebrae just in the middle of the lower back. Luckily the bullet had already slowed down significantly and there seems to be no serious damage to the spinal cord. That means there is a chance that Mr. Lestrade might be able to walk again. But we have to wait and see. During surgery damage control was performed to his injuries to the liver and his intestines and we will operate further as soon as his condition allows us to. Do you have any questions at the moment, Mr. Watson?”
John didn't so the doctor showed him to Lestrade's bed. The visiting time had already ended but regarding Lestrade's critical status and John being a doctor he was allowed a brief visit. The bed was on the opposite site of the ward between to windows and 2 chairs were standing beside it.
John looked at the man lying in the bed in front of him. Lestrade's normally nicely tanned skin had now nearly the same colour as the bed sheet. John had never seen Lestrade that white before. He sat down and took Lestrade's lifeless hand.
“Come on Greg, you've gotta pull through. We need you. I need you. You can't leave me alone with Sherlock. You know how annoying he will become when he loses his best man at Scotland Yard? I don't wanna deal with that” John smirked. He knew Lestrade was heavily sedated and was most likely not able to hear him but it helped John dealing with the situation. “You know, I've just talked to Molly. Bloody bastard for not telling me that she is the woman you were talking about. When you are awake both of you have some serious explaining to do. She is really worried about you. She's coming to see you tomorrow during the official visiting times. So don't you dare to miss that date as well. The Yard had you ex wife informed. She'll bring your sons in a couple of days. Apparently they are on holiday at the moment." He paused for a moment, the silence only interrupted by the noises of the machines attached to Lestrade. "I've got to leave now but I'll be back tomorrow. Maybe Sherlock will come along too, though he's working on your case at the moment. Dropped everything to find out what Greydon's involvement in that case was and why he tried to kill you. What we know so far is that he didn't murder the victim. I'll keep you up to date.” John said while standing up.
John took one last look on Lestrade's chart before he left the ward. His stats had slightly improved and John had hopes that Lestrade will actually make it through the night.
Greg had made it through the night. And Molly's heart had raced when she finally got the call that she could come over to see him. When she arrived at the Intensive Care Unit she saw John sitting outside the patient area, clutching a cup of coffee. Her heart sank. “What happened?”
John looked utterly tired. “He crashed. They are working on him at the moment. We can see him as soon as he's stable again.”
20 minutes later the doctor emerged. “We've got him stabilised again,” he said to John. “If you want you can go back to him.”
John nodded and got up, throwing the cup into the trash can. He looked over to Molly. “You ready to see him?”
Even though Molly said she wasn't really sure about it. Her legs felt like rubber. She had a medical degree so she knew what to expect but it was completely different when a person you know was involved. She gave her name to the nurse on duty and then followed John towards Greg's bed at the end of the ward. As soon as she saw him tears began to fall down her face.
“Please don't leave us Greg. Be strong. You can survive this, I know it.” She took his lifeless hand in hers and rubbed it gently. He looked so small with all the machines surrounding him. A thin hospital blanked was pulled up to his waist. Numerous tubes and IVs pumped stuff in and out of his body. Molly knew what they were all there for but didn't want to think about it. Bandages and dressings were covering nearly his complete torso. The small patches of skin that weren't bandaged were occupied by several pads, monitoring Greg's vital signs. They had put a plastic brace on his back to help stabilising his spine until they could operate on it. A cuff around his upper arm measured his blood pressure. Additionally to the IV line in his left hand a central line had been placed in his neck so that they were able to administer medications and other things needed as fast as possible. Her eyes wandered up to his face, nearly half of it was obscured by the tape holding the intubation tube inside his mouth which was connected to a ventilator, in place. She noticed stitches over his left eyebrow, the area swollen. Molly wondered if Greg had hit his head falling down or if his attacker had punched him. She put her head on his hand and stared to sob. John had told her about Greg's injuries. They were horrific and when John had told her that the doctors still weren't sure if Greg would survive this it felt like the ground had been pulled from under her feet. “Please don't die.” Her whole body shook. She felt John rubbing her back. “He'll pull through. He's strong.”
She looked up, eyes all red. “He is,” she smiled.
Molly stayed throughout the whole visiting hours promising Greg to be back the next day.
When Molly came back the next morning she registered herself at the nurse station and went over to Greg's bed. A nurse had just finished checking on him. “How's he doing?” Molly asked as the nurse who was about to leave.
The nurse turned around. “Morning, his stats have improved slightly. So the Doctors decided that they most likely operate on his abdominal injuries tomorrow.”
“He's still not stable enough?”
The nurse shook her head. “No, they fear that another surgery right now would put to much strain on his body. But he's doing good.“ The nurse smiled encouragingly.
Molly nodded slowly. “Thanks,” she smiled back and sat down on one of the chairs next to Greg's bed. She took Greg's hand between hers. “Heard you are doing better. That's great news, isn't it?” She looked up when an alarm suddenly went off 3 beds away and watched the nurses and doctors rush to the patient. Looking back to Greg she said. “They told me that they are going to operate on you tomorrow. Try your best to be as fit as possible by then so that we don't have to worry too much about you.“ Tears were again forming in her eyes and she forced herself to smile.
It was the second day after Greg's surgery. The doctors had reduced the sedatives the day before and were waiting for him to wake up.
Straight after Work Molly had went to the hospital.
She gently stroke Greg's arm. “It's a beautiful day outside. You should wake up and see for yourself.” She smiled through the tears that were running down her face. “Everybody is missing you. Even Sherlock. He asks me nearly every day on how you are doing.”
Suddenly an alarm went off on one of the monitors next to Greg's bed. A doctor and 2 nurses rushed towards him. Molly stepped back and watched them work. Greg's vital signs were dropping and they frantically tried to stabilize their patient. “His blood pressure keeps dropping.” One of the nurse said. More alarms sounded off on different monitors. “Multiple organ failure.”
“He's bleeding internally. Get him ready for blood transfusion and call the surgery ward. He needs emergency surgery,” the doctor ordered.
One of the nurses went off and returned shortly with a blood bag which she hung on one of the IV stands on Greg's bed. The other nurse unhooked him from the ventilator, now manually ventilating Greg until they had connected him to the movable equipment. The doctor undid the breaks and together they moved the bed towards the elevator. Molly put her hands over her mouth and slit down the wall she was leaning on. She now was sobbing uncontrollably. She didn't noticed the views from the other visitors or the nurse who walked towards her until she felt her hand on her shoulder.
“Mrs. Hooper? Please get up. I'll let you to an area where you can wait.”
Molly took her hand and let herself been pulled up. The nurse laid an arm around her and walked with her to the waiting area. “Do you want anything to drink?”
Molly shook her head.
The Nurse smiled at her encouragingly. “I'm sure he'll be fine. He already showed that he's a fighter.”
After the nurse had left Molly calmed down a bit. She took her mobile and called John informing him that Greg had crashed again and had been brought to emergency surgery for suspected internal bleeding. She promised John to call him as soon as there were news on Greg's status.
One and a half hour later the nurse returned and informed her that the surgery was successful and Greg was stabilised again and would soon return to the ward. Molly let out a sigh of relieve.
“It'll most likely be another hour until you can see him again, so why don't you grab something to eat?” The nurse suggested.
“Yeah, that's probably a good idea.” She got up and phoned John to tell him that the surgery went well and Greg was fine.
Molly came back after lunch and found Greg back in his spot. “Don't you ever do that again, you hear me? You have us all worried sick.” She watched the rhythmical rise and fall of his chest. “Your parents had been here yesterday. They'll be back later. Don't scare them like you scared me this morning.”
The day before, when Molly had arrived in the ICU unit she had been asked by a nurse if she could wait because there already were two visitors at Greg's bedside. She had settled herself in the waiting room and had looked through the window towards Greg's bed. An elderly couple had been standing beside it. The woman crying heavily. The man, who looked a lot like Greg, had his arm on her back, rubbing it gently. Molly had watched the woman talk to Greg, gently stroking her hand through his hair. With the other one she had been holding Greg's hand. Molly had watched how the man bend over and whispered something in her ear but the woman shook her head. The man had looked up to her apologetic but Molly had indicated him that they should take as much time as they needed and then had gone for a walk.
Greg's father watched his wife talking to their son. He thought that it was time to leave. They were already here for 4 hours and he saw, that the young women, who had been at Greg's bedside when they had first arrived, had returned and was now in the waiting room. But his wife wanted to stay. She said that it'll help Greg, knowing that they are here. He wasn't quite sure if Greg knew that they were there and if he could hear them but at least it was comforting his wife. He looked at all the machines attached to his son. “It's amazing what the medicine is capable of these days, isn't it?” He said, more to himself than to anyone particular.
His wife looked up to him. “Yes. He'll be fine, won't he?”
“Of course. He's strong.”
“He'll wake up soon....” the last words were lost in sobs.
“He will.” Greg's father said.
"But what if he won't be able walk again. Greg has always been so active. What if he can't work for the Yard anymore." Greg's mother said, stroking her son over the face.
"We don't know that yet. We have to wait until he wakes up and maybe everything will be fine. Who knows." Greg's father said.
"Sorry. Yes, you're right." Greg's mother bend down over her son and gave him a kiss on his forehead. "We've got to leave soon. Be strong, honey."
3 days later Molly was sitting at Greg’s bedside watching his chest rise and fall every time air was pushed into it. His condition had been updated from critical to serious but stable and they were still waiting for him to wake up.
“Please wake up” Molly begged while gently stroking Greg's hand. She leaned forward and kissed his forehead. “You know, I really really do like you. I was so happy when you asked me out on a date and I …” Suddenly Molly felt a movement under her hand. “Greg?" Molly called out “Can you hear me Greg? If so please squeeze my hand!” The slight squeeze made her heart jump.
From one of the attached monitors a alarm sound could be heard. A nurse came, pushed a few buttons and the noise stopped. Molly stepped back to let her work. The nurse carried out a couple of tests, talking through the whole procedure. Upon finishing she touched Lestrade on his shoulder “Greg, try to open your eyes, can you do that?”
Greg could hear a voice in the distance. It sounded suspiciously like Molly. Why was she asking him to wake up? She sounded so worried. He was confused, something wasn't right. Where was he? Something was in his throat, it felt uncomfortable. He slightly moved his arm, prompting the Molly like voice to ask him to squeeze her hand. He did as he was told, noticing that he had no strength at all. Suddenly the Molly voice was replaced by a different one. He felt that the person to that voice kept touching him. Doing stuff. Asking him to open his eyes. Lestrade began to panic. What was happening. He was tired and just wanted to sleep.
The nurse had to ask a couple of times but after a few minutes Greg finally opened his eyes, unfocused. Confusion and panic evident. His hands moved up to the breathing tube but were gently stopped by the nurse.
“Greg, I need you to calm down. My name is Sarah and I'm a nurse at the Royal London Hospital. You were injured. You are currently in the Intensive Care Unit and the thing in your throat is a tube that helps you to breath,” the nurse explained. The anxiety rose, tears were forming in Greg's eyes.
“Everything is going to be fine Greg, I need you to do a couple of things for me ok?”
“Can you look at me?” The nurse asked. It took him great effort but after a while he was able to focus on the person standing next to him. It was a 30ish old woman. Behind her was another person, Molly, Greg recognized. He didn't know why but he suddenly felt calmer.
“Are you in any pain at the moment?”
Greg slowly shook his head. He felt weird, no pain but more like he was in a really strange dream.
“Good”, the nurse stated. “One last thing and then I promise I let you sleep again,” she said cheerfully. “You sustained an injury to your spine therefore I need to check the feeling in your legs. Please nod when you feel something and shake your head when you don't.” She produced a pinprick stimulator and removed the blanket partially from Greg's legs. Greg could feel the panic rise when the nursed asked if he could feel anything. Nothing, he could feel nothing. He shook his head. The nurse now moved to his left leg. And again he didn't feel anything. He shook his head again, tears now streaming down his face.
"Why couldn't he feel nothing?" Greg thought. What had happened?
“There is nothing to worry about, Greg, “ the nurse said reassuringly. “ You know, with that type of injury it is not uncommon that the feeling returns.”
Greg didn't care. What if he would never be able to walk again? He felt his hand being picked up again and a small and soft hand wiped away his tears.
Molly's heart broke when she saw Greg reacting to the sensation test. She couldn't bare watching this normally so strong man cry. So to comfort him she took his hand and with her other hand she wiped away the tears that were falling from eyes that became unfocused again. "Shhh, it's ok. You're going to be fine," Molly whispered.
The nurse rearranged the blanket and sent an smile to Molly. “Keep talking to him that will calm him down.“ And so Molly did, until Greg fell asleep again.