Living Death

Living Death by Graham Masterton Read Free Book Online

Book: Living Death by Graham Masterton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Graham Masterton
either your ulnar nerve or your peroneal nerve was struck very hard, causing you to faint.’
    ‘I don’t – What does that mean?’ said Siobhán. ‘I mean, what? Is that serious, like?’
    ‘It’s not at all unusual,’ said the doctor. ‘It’s sometimes called a vasodepressor response, but it’s a physical reaction that not too many people are aware of.’
    Siobhán wished that he would lower his mask, because it muffled his voice and apart from that she couldn’t clearly follow what he was trying to tell her, and it would have helped if she could have seen the expression on his face. Although he was standing so close to her, he wasn’t looking at her directly. His eyes kept darting from side to side as if he were simply reciting this explanation and wasn’t particularly interested in her reaction to it.
    ‘Your ulnar nerve is what we commonly call your funny bone, in your elbow. Your peroneal nerve is in your knee. If either of these nerves are struck very hard, it triggers an immediate response. Your body immediately sends a large amount of blood flooding into your legs. This pulls blood away from your major organs like your brain and your heart, and so you lose consciousness.
    ‘That’s not too serious if you’re sitting down, of course, because all you’ll do is slowly slump over. If you’re standing up, however, you’ll fall over flat, without making any attempt at all to protect yourself, and you can do yourself some serious injury. In your case it appears that one car struck you in the knee, which caused you to faint and fall into the path of another car, which ran over your legs. At the same time, you suffered a very nasty crack on the head, probably from hitting the kerb.
    ‘I’ve given you morphine to suppress the pain, but I urgently have to check your brain to make sure that you have no internal bleeding. If there is, it could be very debilitating, or even fatal. I also need to look at your legs in case there’s still some subcutaneous bleeding there, and to remove any bone fragments, if any. You don’t want any impairment of your mental faculties, do you? And you want to be able to walk again, I’d say. You don’t want to be some helpless vegetable for the rest of your life.’
    ‘Can I ring my mother, though? I have to ring my mother.’
    ‘You can’t do it from this room, I’m afraid, because it’s shielded for X-rays and there’s no reception. You’re not in any condition to be moved yet, either. Quite apart from that, I need to get started on your brain scan as soon as I can.’
    Siobhán’s mouth turned down and tears slid from both of her eyes. The doctor laid his hand on her shoulder and said, ‘There, now, don’t be getting yourself all upset. If you give Grainne here your mother’s name and number, she’ll call her for you and tell her what’s happened to you and where you are, and how soon she can come and visit you. How about that?’
    Siobhán was still feeling too weak and confused to argue. ‘All right, then,’ she said. ‘But you won’t go frightening her, will you? Her name’s Mrs Patricia Kilmore, and it’s four-three-nine eighty-four eighty-five.’
    ‘And your name is?’
    ‘Siobhán. Siobhán O’Donohue.’ She paused to lick her lips, because her mouth was so dry. ‘That’s on account of my father died and my mother got married again but he went off and left her. Michael Kilmore, I mean.’
    ‘Thanks a million, Siobhán,’ said the doctor. ‘Grainne, will you go and do that right away?’
    ‘Of course,’ said Grainne. ‘I won’t be long. And I won’t alarm her, don’t worry.’
    As soon as she had left the room, the doctor turned back to Siobhán. ‘Now then, I’m going to give you another little injection to put you out for a while. You’d find it unbearable otherwise, the pain. I need to investigate what damage has been done to your legs, to see what I can do to set you right, and unfortunately that means I’ll have to do a

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