|Jo was up early on Monday morning. She had her Sanatorium appointment and wasn’t looking forward to it after her conversation with Jack. She had managed to slip out of bed and dress without disturbing her husband and was now trying to regain her breath in the lounge. The fire was low in the hearth, so she went over to it, intending to throw on another log. Just as she bent and picked one up, the door opened to admit Jack in his dressing gown. He had woken to find the bedroom empty and had come in search of her. He crossed the room and took the log from her, throwing it onto the fire. |
“You shouldn’t be lifting things, Jo. Come and sit down.” He drew her across to the sofa and sat her down in the corner, before seating himself so he could see her face. “Why are you up so early? I didn’t think you were being picked up until nine?”
“I’m not. I couldn’t sleep any longer and I didn’t want to disturb your sleep with my tossing and turning.” Her eyes were troubled and Jack could see that she was nervous. She was unable to keep her hands still. He covered them with his own.
“Jo, you know I don’t care if you disturb my sleep. This is about more than just waking me, isn’t it?” Jo just nodded, tears springing to her eyes. “Would you like me to come with you this morning?”
“It’s not going to change Jem’s mind.”
“No, but I can be there for support if you like. I’ll stay with you before and make sure I’m waiting when you come out.”
“You aren’t really well enough to spend a whole morning sitting around there just for me, Jack. You’ll have a headache again well before we come back home.”
“I’m sure I’ll manage. I mean it, Jo, if you want me to come with you, I will. We can use my office while you wait. It won’t be noisy in there.” Jo nodded, relieved that she wouldn’t have to be alone. “Wait here while I go and get dressed and then we’ll have a bite to eat. What are the girls doing today?”
“They said they were going to get Flora and Fiona’s trunks packed. What’s going to happen to Robin and Daisy when…” Jo couldn’t finish her question.
“They’ll carry on living here. Jem told me I can’t go back to work until Easter at the earliest, so they won’t be alone.”
“That’s good. I’d hate to think that they’d get sent back to the Round House again.”
“No. They’ll be busy sorting me out instead.” This brought a glimmer of a smile to Jo’s face and he stood back up. “I won’t be long.” He disappeared off to dress and returned ten minutes later to find that Jo had dozed off on the sofa. Covering her with a blanket, he left her to slumber on. He knew she hadn’t slept well, having been woken a number of times during the night as she tried to find a more comfortable position. He managed to catch the others as they came downstairs and warn them to be quiet, shooing them into the kitchen to make breakfast.
Jack went to wake Jo at half past eight. He made her eat some toast and drink a cup of tea, before helping her upstairs so she could tidy herself. Just as they reached the top of the stairs, a knock came on the door and Robin let Jem in. Jack told to Jo to be as quick as she could and went down to greet him. They disappeared into the study for a few moments, where Jack quickly explained the situation to him. Jem agreed that Jo could probably do with some moral support, and heartily approved that Jack should come along. Thus, when Jo came slowly back downstairs, the two of them were patiently waiting for her.
The journey there was quiet. Jo was beginning to feel nervous again and the baby was doing what felt like somersaults, which was making her uncomfortable. Jack put his arm around her and drew her into him. She leaned her head on his shoulder and wished it was all over.
Eventually, Jem pulled up outside the Sanatorium. He climbed out and, once Jo and Jack were both ready, he left them alone. Jack offered his arm to Jo and she took it as they set off towards the entrance together. Once inside, Jack suggested Jo should sit in a wheelchair to recover her breath whilst he pushed her down to the X-ray department.
Once Jo’s X-rays had been taken, they went to the canteen get a drink each and took them to Jack’s office where it was much quieter. Jack’s headache was already returning and he was relieved to sit down on the sofa in there with Jo leaning on him. They drew comfort from each other and they both dozed off in the quiet room.
Jack woke with a start an hour later. He glanced at his watch and saw that Jo’s appointment was in fifteen minutes. He shook her gently.
“Jo? Wake up, darling.” She shuffled against him and he shook her again, speaking louder this time. “Jo!”
“There’s just over ten minutes until your appointment.”
“Oh. I ought to go and wait out in reception, then.”
“You can’t go looking like that. Have you got a brush in your bag?” Jo nodded. “Give it here and I’ll brush your hair. It’s a complete mess at the minute.” Once he’d done, he gave her a kiss and held her close for a moment. “I’ll be waiting for you when you come out, Jo.” He watched her walk slowly into the reception area before closing the door. His head was still aching and the noise outside his office was too much for him. Sitting back down, he closed his eyes once more to try and ward off the migraine he had a feeling was beginning.
Jo dropped into a seat not far from Jem’s office and pulled her book out from her bag. It didn’t hold her attention and she soon put it back. As she stared into space, her name was called and she had to collect her scattered thoughts and go into Jem’s office. Once inside, Jem sat her down on the comfortable chairs in one corner of the room. He could see she was struggling for breath.
“How are you feeling, Jo?”
“Are you managing to sleep at night?”
“Not really. I keep waking to try and find a more comfortable position and don’t find one.”
“That’s common at this stage of pregnancy. How are you managing with walking about?”
“It’s getting harder to catch my breath.”
“Are you struggling just crossing the room?”
“Hmm. I thought as much. I don’t think I can leave you at home any longer.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m afraid it means that you’re going to have to be admitted.”
“You aren’t able to cope with the baby pushing up into your chest. You should be having pneumothorax today, but I daren’t risk it. I’ve tried to keep you at home as long as I possibly could but, I think you’ll be better off here on bedrest until after the baby is born.”
“Can’t I do that at home?”
“No, Jo. You need to be here where the nurses can look after you. It’ll be complete bedrest, I’m afraid. No sitting up except for meals and no reading or writing, either.”
“Jo, I know you don’t want to, but it’s necessary if you’re to be able to have this baby and survive the birth. You aren’t strong enough to make it through without. You’ve had a very traumatic few months. Even reducing you back down to eight hours’ time up hasn’t improved your X-rays. I can’t risk you staying at home any longer, even though Jack is back. He needs to be able to rest as well so his injury can heal properly. He can’t do that if he has to care for you and it’s not fair to ask Robin and Daisy since they’ll be busy with school.”
Jo was silent as she digested the news. Although she had expected it, it was still a shock and Jem watched her anxiously. From the very brief conversation he’d had with Jack that morning, he had expected her to argue more, but he was worried about her quietness. This wasn’t the Jo he knew. He noticed the silent tears sliding down her cheeks.
“Jo? What’s wrong? Tell me what’s bothering you. You’ve been on complete bedrest before, so you know you can do it.”
“I’m scared, Jem.” Jo’s voice was barely a whisper. “I’m scared I’m not going to survive any of it.”
“Of course you will, Jo. I’m not going to allow you to give up without a fight. I love you just as much as Madge and Dick and all the rest of the family do, not to mention Jack. I wouldn’t ask it of you if I didn’t think it was necessary. I’m not going to admit you until after the girls have started back at school on Thursday, so you won’t have to worry about them.”
“Are you sure I’ll be all right?”
“As sure as I can be, Jo. It’s just a precaution, that’s all. I’ll pick you up on Friday morning, so you’ll need to make sure you’ve packed everything you need, ready. Go and find Jack and I’ll be as quick as I can. I have another appointment first, and then I’ll take you home.” He helped her to her feet and escorted her to the door, where he gave her a brief hug before letting her out. She walked a few paces, then stopped and looked around. Jack wasn't waiting as he’d promised. Jem saw her hesitate and came to see what was wrong.
“Jack promised he’d be waiting for me and he’s not here.”
“Sit down, Jo. I’ll go and see if he’s in his office.”
“We waited in there earlier.”
“Then I’m sure he’s just been distracted. I’ll send him out in a minute, since he shouldn’t be doing any work.” He walked over to Jack’s office and, after a cursory knock, entered to find Jack, not at his desk as he expected, but prone on the sofa. He crossed the room softly and crouched at the side of the younger man.
“Jack?” Jem spoke softly, but saw Jack wince at the sound. “Migraine?”
“Okay. Stay there for now. I’ve just finished with Jo, so I’ll send her to sit with you, along with some painkillers.”
“Thanks.” Jack never moved and his eyes remained firmly closed. Jem stood up and pulled the blinds down to darken the room, before going back to his office to retrieve the painkillers and handing them to Jo in the reception area.
“Give these to Jack, Jo.”
“Is he all right?” Jo couldn’t keep the panic out of her voice.
“He’s started with a migraine and won’t be moving any time soon. Go and sit with him for now and I’ll come as soon as I’ve finished with my next patient.” He watched her walk slowly towards Jack’s office and returned to his own to prepare for his next appointment.
Jo slipped into Jack’s office and crossed to where he lay. He had his arm over his eyes to block out the light and was rigidly still.
“Jack? Jem’s given me some painkillers for you.”
“Thanks, Jo.” He held out his hand and Jo dropped them into it. He swallowed them without water and lay still again. Jo managed to move a chair closer to him and dropped into it, breathing heavily. She took his hand and just held it, squeezing to show she understood he was in pain. She had never seen him look so ill before and was anxious. They stayed in the same position until Jem returned half an hour later.
Jo looked up in relief and he motioned to her to move out of the way. She retreated to the chair by the desk and Jem took her place.
“Jack? Any better?”
“I can’t give you anything more, I’m afraid.”
“Do you think you can move?”
“In that case, I’ll take Jo and give her some lunch.”
“Okay.” Jem stood up and escorted Jo out into reception. Once there, he insisted that she sit in a wheelchair and he wheeled her along to the canteen for something to eat. Jo would have refused to leave her husband, but she knew her brother-in-law well enough to know that he wasn’t taking no for an answer. Jem watched her as she picked at the meal in front of her. Realising she wasn’t going to eat any more, he moved the plate away.
“Jack will be all right, Jo. He had a bad head wound and unfortunately, migraines are one of the side effects he’s suffering from at the moment. They’ll lessen in time and he’ll be back to normal again.”
“I’ve never seen him look so ill, Jem.”
“I know. Hopefully, he’ll be feeling more like himself again in a couple of hours and we can go home. He can’t move until the pain lessens.”
“Why did it happen here?”
“I’m guessing it’s the brightness of the lights and the noise which have triggered it.”
“I did tell him he’d end up with a headache, but he insisted on coming.”
“He came to support you, Jo. He knows it’s not been easy for you to keep coming here alone and he wanted to be able to help you.”
“I know, and I’m grateful he did, though I didn’t think he’d end up being ill.”
“Nor did I but, it’s happened, so we just have to wait for it to subside before we can go home.”
“How’s he going to visit me in here if he gets one each time he comes?”
“He’ll find a way around it, I’m sure. In a way, today has been a good thing, as he’ll know what triggered it and can work out how to prevent them. He never had them before he was injured, so he has to learn how to control them and prevent them happening. You being here will help him to come up with a solution for that before he comes back to work.”
“Yes. Now, it’s time you had a rest, since we won’t be going home for a while, yet. You can come and lie down on the sofa in my office. I have a few things I need to attend to, so I may as well do them while I’m here.” Jem stood up and pushed Jo back to his office where he made her lie on the sofa and covered her with a blanket.
“Get some sleep if you can, Jo. Jack will be fine, and I don’t want you worrying instead of resting. I’m sure once you’ve rested for a couple hours, he’ll be feeling a bit better and you can see him again. I’ll be back later.” He exited the room, turning the light off on his way.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Many thanks for the lovely comments. It's so nice to know that so many of you are glad to see this back and want to know more about Jo in this universe.