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FIC: The Price of Love 9/?

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    For disclaimers, etc., see part one. ***** I d set Logan s monitors to beep my pager if there was any change in his condition. I had hoped that the poison s
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2001
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      For disclaimers, etc., see part one.

      *****

      I'd set Logan's monitors to beep my pager if there was any change in
      his condition. I had hoped that the poison's affects would be similar
      to strychnine, wherein the real danger to the patient comes from
      asphyxia. With the tracheotomy, I thought Logan would stabilize.
      Unfortunately, the poison he'd been exposed to was more complex than
      it would initially appear. I wasn't out of his room ten minutes
      before my pager started vibrating.

      As soon as I entered the room, I could see the problem displayed on
      his heart monitor. He was throwing a run of PVCs. In a healthy
      person, an occasional Premature Ventricular Contraction is nothing to
      worry about. However, with a patient as sick as Logan, running
      several PVCs in a row is dangerous. It could push him into an
      unstable heart rhythm.

      I administered lidocaine, IV push, and thankfully, his heart returned
      to a more regular rhythm. However, since I had no idea what had
      caused the symptom in the first place, it could happen again. I
      needed to research the poison and see if I could figure out how to
      treat him.

      I returned to the main lab, passing Charles on the way but not
      sparing a moment to speak to him. He seemed to be more occupied by
      his conversation with the woman who'd caused this situation anyway.

      As I walked down the hall, I could hear Scott trying to convince
      Rogue to get into bed. In spite of her weakened condition, she was
      almost spitting in anger.

      "Take me back to Logan! Now, dammit!"

      "No," Scott firmly answered.

      "Rogue, he's stabilized," I said as I entered the room.

      "Jean," Rogue said, turning to me. "I gotta be with him. Please."

      I really didn't have time for this, but she was so upset, and she was
      still my patient. I would just have to make time. "He's still
      critical. He can't have any visitors.

      "I could just hold his hand and talk to him," she reasoned. "It
      might help if he knows someone's there."

      "The poison's made him extremely sensitive to external stimulation,
      Rogue. Do you remember how painful light and noise were to you?"

      Rogue looked down and then gave a small nod.

      "Right now, the best thing you can do for him is to let him rest and
      to get some rest yourself."

      Rogue calmed down, considering my suggestion. Finally, she
      said, "Ok, but only if you wake me up if something happens."

      "Agreed."

      I turned to Scott and he nodded, helping Rogue into bed so I could
      take the discarded blood samples I'd collected from both Logan and
      Rogue to the back lab for analysis.

      I was only minutes into my work when Charles knocked on the door.

      "Jean, I just remembered. Our previous physician did some research
      into finding a cure for Venom's blood. The notes should still be on
      file."

      "Dr. MacTaggert? I could just call her..."

      "No," he interrupted, "the doctor before her. His name was Dr. Henry
      McCoy."

      "Oh," I said, then added, "I don't believe I'm familiar with him. Do
      you have his phone number so I could..."

      "He died," Charles said, and I could see the pain that the statement
      brought him. "An accident with Venom."

      I expected him to elaborate, but he just sat back in his chair again
      with a weary sigh. He had such a forlorn expression on his face, and
      I could tell this Henry must have been very important to him, but to
      Logan, time was of the essence.

      "Do you know how far he got in his research? Are there any of her
      blood samples still frozen?"

      "Venom never let us sample her blood. She was too afraid of
      accidents. Henry was working from the hospital records and tissue
      samples of the victims we could identify. He had some theories, but
      in the first practical opportunity to test them, he was the patient.
      His files should still be located on the mainframe."

      "I'll take a look. Thanks, Charles."

      -----

      Speaking of Venom, I really should check on her condition before I
      took off all of my biohazard gear. She'd been injured enough to
      cause some sort of blood loss, and she might need treatment. I
      pulled back on the face shield I'd discarded in my work and walked
      back towards the quarantine rooms.

      "Venom, I'm Dr. Jean Grey."

      She looked up at me and from her black eyes and the dried blood on
      her clothes, I could guess that her nose had been broken. She was
      also protectively clutching her right hand in her left and I
      suspected an additional injury there. She didn't say anything,
      though.

      "I'd like to treat your injuries if..."

      "No!" she answered quickly.

      "You're hurt. If I could just examine..."

      "Stay away."

      She was jumpy and nervous and I'd already seen with Logan and Rogue
      just how well she could defend herself. I still had no idea why she
      had attacked them or how she had gotten into the mansion. If I
      pressed her, Logan might end up without a doctor.

      "Ok. I'll stay away for now, but that looks like it hurts. Could I
      at least get you some Ibuprofen?" It should help with the pain and
      reduce any swelling she was experiencing.

      She nodded and added, "But stay away."

      I got her one dose and some water in a plastic cup and opened the
      door to her room. If it was possible, she seemed to push back even
      further into the corner. I set down the medicine just inside the
      door and left, returning to the lab to see if I could find this Dr.
      McCoy's research.

      -----

      There were actually hundreds of pages of raw data both on the
      computer and in the filing cabinets I hadn't cleared out on my
      arrival, including a partial DNA breakout of the poison. This Henry
      guy obviously had not counted on anyone needing his notes but him.
      They had random comments and half-sentences scrawled all over the
      pages in the hurried, chicken-scratch writing that doctors are so
      famous for. Scott accuses me of the same horrid penmanship, but at
      least I can read it.

      It was taking me hours to go through it all, and most of it was
      undecipherable without a point of reference, but a few scribbles
      caught my attention. On a photocopy of Steven Ramirez's medical
      chart, Henry had circled, "multiple organ failure." Then he'd
      written out to the side, "lungs, kidneys, liver, heart... Cause?
      Would dialysis help? Drugs to flush poison?"

      Good questions, Henry. I wish you had the answers.

      It would take weeks to extract the poison's DNA from the blood
      samples and code it completely. Logan didn't have that long, so I
      chose to rely on Henry's partial mapping and hope for the best.

      I started running computer models projecting from the DNA which drugs
      might counteract the poison. While the computer was compiling the
      data, I ran scans of both Logan's and Rogue's blood samples. The
      results were confusing and unreliable. It would seem that Logan's
      transference of his powers to Rogue meant that both samples were
      already abnormal. It was difficult to determine which abnormalities
      were the result of Logan's natural healing abilities and which were
      the result of those abilities reacting to the poison.

      Even as I tried to concentrate and formulate solutions, my research
      kept being interrupted since I had to keep checking on Logan's
      condition. Why can't this school have lab technicians, nurses, and a
      team of doctors? Even with my telekinesis, I am only one person and
      can only do a few things at a time. I've asked Charles for
      additional staff on more than one occasion, but he just puts me off,
      saying physicians who can be trusted with all our secrets are hard to
      come by.

      Logan's condition continued to deteriorate, and I wasn't finding
      answers quickly enough to stop it. After the first hour, Logan's
      foley output had decreased dramatically. His kidneys were shutting
      down. The liver and kidneys are the means by which the human body
      clears out toxins. If they aren't functioning, toxins build up in
      the body and kill the patient.

      A little past two in the morning, I left my analysis to take yet
      another blood sample from Logan. His blood workup was constantly
      changing as a result of his most recent touching of Rogue. I had
      hoped that at least some of his healing abilities would kick in, but
      they appeared to either be dormant or permanently lost to Rogue's
      absorption.

      Each time I walk into the quiet, dimly lit room, I am struck by the
      incongruous image of Logan, who had always been so full of life and
      energy, relying on machines for all his life functions. I try to be
      quiet while I take the samples so as not to harm him further. That
      is, if he's still conscious of the outside world. He'd fallen into a
      deep coma shortly after I'd transferred him to this room and besides
      a minor twitching in his left hand, he was completely unresponsive.

      Even though I didn't dare use my voice, I still tried to contact him
      telepathically.

      ~Logan, can you hear me?~

      No response.

      ~Logan, if you can hear me, give me a sign. Open your eyes, move
      your mouth, send me an emotion.~

      Nothing. It was so frustrating. I wanted some sort of sign.

      ~Logan, if you can hear me, lay completely still except twitch your
      hand.~

      *I don't think that counts,* a deep, familiar voice broadcast to my
      mind.

      ~Charles.~ I turned around and saw the professor sitting in the
      doorway.

      *How is Logan? Have you made any progress?*

      ~He's worse, no progress, and, frankly, it's pissing me off.
      Charles, do you remember when I told you that I love medical
      mysteries?~

      *Yes.*

      ~Well screw that. I want to know exactly how to treat this right
      now. I'll enjoy my mysteries later when someone's life isn't on the
      line.~

      *I understand.~ He paused for a moment and then sent, ~I saw in the
      main room that you'd finally convinced Rogue to sleep. How is she
      doing?*

      ~Fine. Last I checked, she's recovering completely. Logan's healing
      ability must have counteracted the poi...~

      Oh hell. I'd been going about this all wrong! My thoughts raced
      faster than I could hold onto them. I'd been focusing on developing
      an antitoxin from scratch when I had the perfect, proven serum just
      waiting for me out in the main lab. Rogue's blood. Logan's healing
      factor had to have cleared the poison out of her system. There
      should still be some traces of the cure in her system. That is, if I
      hadn't waited too long.

      *****

      TBC.
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