Trapper stirred uneasily in his sleep, half on the threshold of waking, enough there to be troubled by waking concerns. And the pain in his belly.
It had been there now for over two weeks, long enough for alarm bells to start ringing in his head. As a doctor he knew that whatever the cause of his discomfort was, there wasn't going to be a quick fix for it. Still more alarming for him was that it was even beginning to invade his sleep, previously a refuge. This morning, he decided, it was definitely worse. He lay, by now fully awake, running things over in his mind and having just reached the conclusion that he should tell his best friend and Bunkie what was going on with him, Radar's voice erupted over the camp loudspeaker: "ATTENTION ALL PERSONNEL…INCOMING CASUALTIES…CHOPPERS ON BOTH PADS…AMBULANCES IN THE COMPOUND. ALL SHIFTS TO THE OR ON THE DOUBLE."
Trapper heard Hawkeye groan and out of the corner of his eye he saw Hawkeye already halfway to the door and then the double take when he realised that Trapper was still in bed. Troubled by the look his friend gave him and well aware of his unusually pale complexion, Trapper pulled himself into a sitting position then forced himself to stand trying to ignore the shooting pains from the ache that was beginning to localise itself on his right hand side. He grinned at Hawkeye and offered his arm to his friend as he drawled in his fake southern accent, "May I offer to escort you to the OR Miss Hawkeye?"
Had the casualties not been so heavy it is likely that someone would have picked up on Trapper's pale visage, the extra sweat indicating a raised temperature and the look in his chocolaty brown eyes that betrayed his extreme discomfort. He was, despite this, still his technically brilliant self but if anyone had been watching closely they would have noticed he was getting through his cases slower than he usually did. Today however everyone was far to busy to pick up on these things, something Trapper inwardly thanked heaven for.
As the wounded slowed to a trickle Trapper took his break and went outside. Where he threw up and, as if to complete the set, the world around him began to spin, then fade to black as he collapsed in the mud outside post op.
When his world became clear again, Trapper realised that he was in far less pain that he had hitherto and he shot upwards to try and get into a sitting position. Two things happened when he tried to do this. Firstly the pain returned with a vengeance and secondly the person standing next to him put their arm on his shoulder to prevent him from sitting up fully. He turned his head. The figure next to him was Hawk.
"How long has this been going on?" He demanded, "Don't even think about telling me that it's nothing! You've been under the weather for days, you're far too pale, you seem to have like your breakfast so much that you wanted to see it again and we found you collapsed outside post op. And now I find both your white count and temp are raised." He scanned his friend with worried eyes. Feeling guilty for worrying his friend so much, Trapper spoke.
"It's this pain in my belly. It's been getting worse over the past few days and this morning it began to localise."
"Lower right side of my abdomen."
Before Trapper could stop him he was probing his abdomen with his hands. Trapper cried out in pain and Hawkeye looked up. "You know what it is you got there? It's a class 1, Grade A ready to burst appendix. And we're going to have to take it out." Trapper groaned softly at the thought. He didn't want surgery and especially not here! There wasn't a lot he could do to resist it. He knew Hawkeye was right. Trapper had had a feeling it was appendicitis and besides, Margaret was there now getting him prepped. He noticed how efficient she was and marveled that she did actually possess a bedside manner…she wasn't just a cold army major. She started him on an IV and gave him a shot of something. As the pain dulled he realised it must have been morphine and as it worked he lost all sense of time. He was quite surprised when Klinger and another corpsman came and took him into the OR. It looked weird he thought, from this prospective, he definitely preferred the other one. He saw Hawk standing over him and gave him a weak grin. "Don't worry Trap, I won't let ferret face near you while you're under!" and then he gave a nod and a mask was dropped over his mouth and nose and as he took deep breaths of the sickly sweet gas the world faded away.
He woke up a few hours later feeling like he had been hit with a sledgehammer and, remembering what had happened realised exactly why it was he preferred being the doctor to being the patient. He felt someone touch his wrist. It was Hawkeye taking his pulse. "Hey! How are you doing?" In response Trapper groaned. "OK, we'll get you some more morphine" Hawkeye said as he signaled to the nurse on duty. "You may not believe this at this precise moment," said Hawkeye, "But you came through it really quite well. We got to your appendix just in time. Really it's quite a good thing you passed out or might never have realised. Henry's thinking of ordering you to reread all the stuff in the medical textbooks on Appendicitis. You call yourself a doctor and with every symptom listed you fail to diagnose yourself?" Hawkeye grinned and chucked a bit. "Seriously though, I'm glad to see you back in the land of the living".
"Oddly enough," Trapper replied, "I'm glad to be back!"
After two weeks he had recovered sufficiently to go on some R&R "in the care of his personal physician" meaning Hawkeye and he could go rock Tokyo to its foundations. The bed rest had been tedious but if he could have R&R like that every time he was ill he'd have appendicitis every month! After a week of living it up trapper said "Don't suppose you could come down with it next could you? I want another week like that one!"
He still hated being in Korea and away from his family but he decided that if he had to be in Southeast Asia, the 4077th with Hawkeye wasn't a bad compromise.
Just want to thank my proof reader Jaybee. Take a bow please! :)
OH - and I don't own the Characters or M*A*S*H. I just play with them once in a while. Please don't hurt me!