A little excitement finally reached the little hospital where
Marie was still stationed. For almost a month they had had nothing
but minor patients heading in and out of the place. Now, they were
informed that in a matter of moments, truckloads of men coming from
an earlier attack would arrive. The surge that followed the news was
excitement, anxiousness, and apprehension all at once.Marie promised
herself she wouldn't get more involved than she needed to. Say a
word, smile a little, and move on. No names, no questions, no nothing.
The promise was broken sooner than she'd expected. After
finally settled everyone into suitable beds, she began to make her
rounds. A young man, no more than nineteen was alone, head tossing
and turning, just coming back from unconsiousness. She took up a
basin of water and a cloth and sat beside the bed. After a short
scan, she realized it was his leg that was injured, and quickly set
to cutting his pant leg to look at it.
It was a mess. Blood covered it in a thick layer of red that made
Marie turn away momentarily. The sight was all too familiar to her,
and despite the fact that her career involved seeing such things, it
made her stomach turn. Upon turning back, she found that there were
other problems besides the initial bullet wound she had discovered.
The most distinct problem was the smell...a putrid, almost gaseous
smell that did nothing to ease the already growing discomfort in her
After cleaning the blood from his leg she began to check for other
symptoms. An idea formed in the back of her mind, but it was one she
did not wish to pay attention to. Not at the present time anyway.
Peeling off a glove, she closed her eyes to get her mind in order
enough to concentrate on what she was doing. After she was
comfortable, she touched his bare leg, and was startled by the cold
she felt in it. A sharp gasp from her patient made her remove her
hand and look up. Forcing a fake smile, she moved forward in her
chair to look at him. "Hey there. Welcome back."
"How you feelin'?"
"Hot..." It was not the answer she wanted to hear, but
she expected it. All other signs pointed to her worst fears.
"Ah reckon you would be. Ah'm gonna put this cloth on your
forehead...it'll help with tha fever." After doing so, she
comforted him as best she could, promising to return as soon as she
could. Convinced he would be all right for the moment, she went to
seek out a doctor.
"Dr.McCoy, may Ah speak with you a moment?"
"Of course." She knew he saw the startled, unhappy look on
features, because his lips quickly turned into a frown and his
eyebrows curved downward. "What's the matter?"
"There's a young man, just come in from tha last attack.
"Just below the knee. Yes, I saw him earlier. What of him?"
"There's a pungent smell accompanying the wound...his leg
cold...and he's suffering from a high fever." Marie watched
frown grew deeper and his eyes squinted some in frustration.
"What else could it be?" It was distressing to her. She
even know the boy, and already her heart went out to him. He was too
young to have to handle something like this. She tried to remember
the promise she made to herself as she lead the doctor back to him.
She stood by his side, trying to talk to him, comfort him, and most
of all block him from seeing the worry spreading over the
"What is it?"
"Nothin' kid...you just rest."
"Shhh..." Since he couldn't see the doctor,
Marie's best guess was
that she wasn't hiding her emotions as well as she thought
been. What could she do? Tell him? Certainly not. Not right away,
anyway. After hearing the doctor clear his throat, she turned from
the boy and followed him out of sight.
"What can we do about it?"
"There's only one thing to do about it. Though I hate the
of it...we'll have to amputate. There's no other way. If we
and attempt a different cure, it will only develop into a worse case
and cause more trouble. If we act now, however, he'll be able to
more of the leg."
"But doctor...he's so young..."
"There's no other way."
"Yes sir." With that, she left, slipping into her room, to
Logan a response. She needed someone to talk to, and since it
couldn't be in person, a letter would have to do.
We had a large transfer of patients today. With them came a young
man...no more than nineteen. I reminded myself, after you left, that
I couldn't get involved in any more lives. I couldn't care. I
wouldn't care. Is that terrible of me? To disregard them as men,
to think of them as no more than cases? The man over in bed three
with the eye problem...or the boy over in bed seven with the flu...It
seems so wrong to me. How do you help someone if you aren't
to care in the process? But how do you care without ending up hurt?
Is there some kind of in between?
He had a bullet wound, just below the knee. Bad. I knew from the
minute I stripped away the pantleg and smelled it. The cold and the
fever only confirmed it. Gangrene. And there's nothing any of us
do here. There have been techniques put into practice to try and help
it...but none seem to work. The only sure fire cure is amputation. I
know it's the only way, Logan, but I hate it all the same.
young to have to live with only one leg! He has barely begun to live
as it is...
It's just not fair. I know what you're thinking. "Marie,
fair." All I want to know is...why not?
Keep writing Logan, it's all I've got left.
TBC...(sniff. I'm so mean...)