“Shit, her temperature’s up again!”

“It’s almost time for the next dose…”

“Give it now, we have some leeway in the dosage times… doctor has plus/minus 15 minutes here.”

Jessie stirred impatiently, tossing from side to side. One forearm slammed against the metal guard on the side of the bed.

“God, she’s going to have some impressive bruising if that carries on.”

“Jessie, darling, you’re in the hospital… my name’s Susan, I’m a nurse who’s looking after you. It’s OK, you’re a little bit sick, but we’re taking care of you.”

Jessie opened her eyes and blinked.

“Turn the lights down, the other guy’s photophobic.” Susan whispered to her workmate.

The lights dimmed.

Jessie groaned.

“Crikey, I feel like I got hit by a truck,” she said.

“Uh huh, I’m not surprised – you’ve been running a fever for a couple of days, it’s been all we can do to keep it down!” Susan said.


“Now – we just need to adjust your cannula, it’s gone wonky because you were tossing and turning before…”

Susan reached for Jessie’s hand, and wiggled the IV needle to re-align it with the vein.

“ARGH! That hurts, you stupid bitch!” Jessie yelled, and slapped with her other hand, “Get the fuck away from me!”

Susan retreated, wide-eyed. She’d handled violent patients before, but they usually showed some warning of turning nasty.

Two security guards rushed in, summoned by the other nurse.

“God, I’m sorry,” Jessie said, crying, “I didn’t – I don’t normally go off like that, I know you couldn’t help it…”

Susan took a deep breath.

“It’s OK,” she said a little shakily, “It happens when we’re sick. Do you mind Karl holding you while I try again? It’ll help me feel better about approaching you.”

Jessie shook her head.

“I wouldn’t hurt you – I don’t think. But yeah, I understand, restrain me.”

Karl placed a firm hand on each of Jessie’s wrists, and Susan fixed the needle. She sighed as she straightened up, and promised herself a stiff drink after work.

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