The hero of my novella for the Bluestocking Belles’ next collection is a physician who has struggled to return to normal after the horrors of Waterloo. They had no word for PTSD then, but that is what plagues him.
Adam kept to a rigid schedule seeing patients every day and seeking oblivion evenings for the two weeks after Jack half dragged him from the Fife and Fiddle and dumped him unceremoniously in his bedroom with a sharp complaint. If he didn’t leave the house, he managed to avoid the Fife and Fiddle. He also avoided any risk of seeing Meg Barlow in the town.
Most days, his patient load stretched into afternoon, and Martin Pownall kept his cellar stocked with wine and the occasional case of rum. Mrs. Miller and Jack kept their expressions of displeasure to silent ones. They had no right to decide how he medicated his pain. Neither did Meg Barlow, not that she approached him. Her face haunting his days was enough. He had his life under control and how he managed it was no one’s concern but his own.
One Tuesday an emergency took him out to the fields. An accident with a sickle sliced a man’s arm off at the elbow. The damned fools wasted time sending for him instead of packing the man to his surgery as anyone with common sense would have done, and the victim bled to death. Faced with death and powerless to help or even ease the man’s passing, his visions rose to choke him. The cries of the dying and the smell of death in the overwhelmed clinic in Brussel momentarily overcame reality, and he gagged.
Moments later the fog cleared. He turned to the wide eyes and frightened faces of farm workers staring at him and unleashed a rage driven lecture on safety and emergency.
“No more death! I can’t heal death!” He peering from face to fearful face. The tirade had fallen on deaf ears. Worse, he’d behaved like a lunatic. He turned his back on the dead man and those hovering around him and stalked away.
Note: excerpts from works in progress may have not yet been edited, will likely undergo change, and may not even make it into the final work!