Sunday serialisation – Knight & Deigh, 15.2

Knight & Deigh started life as a retelling of The Orphans, from the point of view of the second lead character, Hannice Knight. It begins in Tanzania as I remember it from the early 1980s, but some of the technologies used are much more recent. To that extent, it is anachronistic. Don’t forget, though; it is fictional, made up, lies. All of it.

Hannice Knight had run the African operation of his father’s global business for many years, when a freak accident at home left him unable to walk. Together with physiotherapist Sophie Deigh, he tries to bring into his life the excitement and adventure he missed in his formative years, due to the need to be tied to the business.

A number of adventures and activities follow including scuba-diving, sky-diving, power-boating and camping, and a half-brother he never knew about; but even these can’t lift Hannice’s spirits.

What, or who can? Will the developing closeness between Hannice and Sophie come to anything, and what of the rumoured advances in medical technology?

Beginning on 12 February 2017, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one scene each Sunday.

The full list of scenes so far published is here

Knight & Deigh. Chapter fifteen, scene two: In we go.

The day of the operation, a pair of nurses came into my room and gave me a full blanket-bath. They then shaved my back and fed me what I could only describe as happy pills. By the time they wheeled me into the operating theatre, I neither knew nor cared who or where I was, or what was about to happen to me.

I reached the operating theatre stretched out on my stomach on the bed, with the back of my hospital gown wide open. For some reason, I didn’t find it in any way abnormal to expose my bum to total strangers. I remembered seeing one of the nurses use a syringe to put something into the drip line; she smiled at me as she did so, and I thought she was about to say something.

Immediately afterwards, I tried to move my hands but found them secured to the bed. I guessed my feet were, too, although I had no way of knowing for sure. I smiled, and tried to say, “Oh look, I’m tied down like a prisoner”, but as far as I could tell, that wasn’t what came out. I didn’t know what had come out of my mouth, but I was sure it wasn’t what I had meant it to be.

Whatever it was, it must have amused me, because I started laughing; real serious, maniacal laughter. Then I heard, very far in the distance, Dr Harry; or someone who sounded like a distant, echoing version of him; say, “Calm down, Hannice; it’s all over, all over, all over” and so on, fading into the distance. I faded with it.

I awoke in my room, still on my stomach. Dr Harry was seated beside me.

“Don’t try to move just yet, Hannice,” he said, “I want us to give the area as much time to settle as we can.”

“What if I need to pee?” I asked.

“You won’t. I fitted a catheter whilst you were under. We’ll leave it in until we’re happy for you to move about again.”

“And when is that likely to be?” I needed to know.

“Later today or tomorrow morning,” he said. “Then we’ll keep you under close observation for four weeks or so, as I told you before, to find out whether the operation has had the desired result. If it looks as though it has, I expect to be increasing your activity by the end of week one, and if it goes really well, we may be able to allow you home for Christmas. How are you feeling now?”

“Still a bit woozy, but basically okay. I’m feeling some tenderness in my lower back, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.”

“That’s the site of the operation,” he said, “and I would be surprised if you didn’t feel, at the very least, some discomfort there. For my part, I am looking forward to hearing you tell me you are feeling discomfort lower down your back. When you tell me that, I shall know for sure that it is beginning to work.”

“You are looking forward to it?” I asked, “How do you think I will feel about that?”

“Quite. I’ll pop in later this afternoon. Meanwhile, try to keep still. Sleep. It will do you good.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” I said, and bid him a good night.

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