The med lab doors whooshed open and Jean looked up from Rogue's medical readings to see Scott standing at the entrance.
"Hey, honey. Lunch time," he said with a cheering smile.
After the first day of basically living in the med lab, Scott had decided to bring home down to her instead of forcing her to leave. He'd set up two cots in her office and brought all their meals down here. He knew how she'd worry if she couldn't be close to her patients, so he didn't even attempt to come between her and them.
"What's on the menu?" Jean asked summoning a table from the med lab wall and pushing up two chairs.
"Deli sandwiches," Scott replied, "with the chef's compliments."
"Who's the chef today?" Jean asked casually as she settled into her chair.
"Remy, but don't worry. I watched him closely and there are no Cajun spices in that sandwich."
"What would I do without you?" Jean asked with a little smile.
Jean nodded in agreement. "Probably."
"So," Scott began, "anything interesting happen this morning?"
"Rogue woke up."
"You're kidding!" Scott said, his excitement shining through. "Is she ok?"
Jean shook her head sadly. "She doesn't remember us, Scott. She can't remember anything... Well, except Logan's name. That's a good sign, but other than that. Nothing."
"What about... physically?" Scott asked, hesitantly.
"She's weak. She got upset after she found out how much she couldn't remember, but no matter how much she tried, she couldn't even sit up. It'll take some therapy before we know how well she'll recover."
Scott nodded thoughtfully, and after a few minutes, Jean added, "Logan's dying."
Scott let out a long sigh. "Jean, I know that as a patient of yours, you're worried about him, but he's the cause of everything that's happened."
"That's not true, Scott. He was being controlled. The professor said so himself."
"He let himself be captured. If he hadn't left here in the first place, none of this would've happened."
"You don't know that," Jean countered, then allowing her defensive anger slip away, she said, "I've tried everything, and he's still going to die. I've felt so helpless. Of course, now that Hank... Oh, hey, Charles finally found another doctor for the school!"
"Now that is good news. Maybe you'll be able to leave the med lab again."
"Maybe. He's about my age, but he's got more credentials than a business card can hold. I've read some of his articles in JAMA and they're genius. He's looking at Logan's chart in my office right now, and I think he just might be able to save him. In fact, with him as a doctor here, we probably don't need me anymore."
"Hey now," Scott protested, reaching over to cup her cheek, "you're a damn fine doctor. You said yourself that with all these inexperienced, powerful teenagers and a team of vigilante mutants, there's enough work to keep five doctors busy."
"Jean?" a deep voice called from behind them.
"Hank," Jean said, standing up and waving a hand towards Scott. "This is my husband, Scott Summers. Scott, this is Dr. Henry McCoy."
Hank reached out a hand and shook Scott's vigorously. "Hank, please."
"What have you found?" Jean asked eagerly.
"You are correct. It is a very difficult case. I believe, though, that we have no other option but surgical debridement."
"But that will cause damage to the otherwise healthy tissue we'd have to cut through to get to the dead cells."
"The wounds are too large and numerous for his healing factor to cleanse. The patient is already afflicted with necrosis and infection. I suggest that we remove the festering tissue and infuse his system with epinephrine, serotonin, and other natural stimulants to help his healing factor during the surgery."
"It might help, but he could die on the table."
"Without surgery, he will surely succumb to his wounds."
Scott interrupted, "What are you two talking about?"
Jean explained. "We're going to operate on Logan, Scott. The muscle, tendons, and vessels closest to his metal skeleton were burned during the electrocution. We need to remove the dead tissue so that his body can heal. Right now, poisons are filling his system and starting to kill healthy cells."
"I propose we begin immediately."
"Yes, uh..." Jean looked around the med lab. "Scott, could you watch Rogue? Both of us are needed in this. I know you have class, but..."
"Of course," Scott answered. "I'll cancel the classes."
Jean smiled gratefully and gave him a peck on the cheek. "Thanks, honey. If she has any problems, you page me on the intercom, ok?"
Scott nodded and watched silently as Jean and Hank moved Logan into the operating room. Once they were gone, he settled back down to finish his lunch, watching Rogue's monitors carefully for any changes.
Jean looked at the ravaged body before them and asked the obvious question. "Where do we begin?"
"According to the MRIs, the most severe damage is to the hands and feet, most likely because of the small bone to tissue ratio in those areas, but I propose we focus first on the torso, neck, and head. If necessary, we can amputate the extremities, but the survival of the patient depends on our success in the main trunk of the body."
Jean nodded in agreement. She hoped it wouldn't come to amputation, but Logan's hands and feet were starting to blacken, and she was worried they might not be salvageable. He was such a vital man. How would he handle losing one or all of his limbs?
She shook her head, forcing that train of thought out so she could focus on the task at hand. This morning, she was sure Logan didn't have a chance for survival. Now, there was hope. She would focus all her attention on saving his life, and worry about any possible aftermath later.
Deciding to begin with the chest area, they positioned Logan on his back and prepared the surgical field, draping blue sheets over his body and sterilizing the incision point. Then, they started the drug treatment they hoped would aid his healing factor flowing through his central line. Finally, they scrubbed up and Hank picked up a scalpel to make the first incision.
Jean waited breathless as he positioned the blade over Logan's vulnerable, bruised skin. She was surprised when he pulled back and turned the blade, offering her the handle.
"I'm sorry, Jean. This is, of course, your medical facility. You should lead the operation."
Jean held up her hands in protest. "Hey, I only work here. You're the expert, remember? Don't worry about ego, Hank. Let's just save Logan, ok?"
Hank's eyes smiled at her and he turned back to the patient, drawing a steady, deep Y-incision across Logan's chest and belly. It reminded Jean of the Y-incision used in autopsies to give access to all the internal organs. Hank asked for retractors, and as soon as the skin was parted, Jean's nose was assaulted by the fetid stench of rotting flesh. The black ooze of days old blood and yellowish puss flooded the incision.
"Suction." Hank ordered, and Jean drew the hose along the length of the surgical area, sucking up the foul smelling substance. Hank retracted the incision to give him access to as much of the dead tissue as possible. There was no way to crack Logan's chest, given the adamantium coating his ribs, so Hank cut holes into the chest cavity through the ribs instead, asking Jean to suction out the loose debris.
"Jean, my hands are too small. Can yours fit?" Hank asked, indicating the tiny space between ribs.
Jean could get her fingers in, but not her whole hand. In any case, she couldn't see what she was doing with her hand blocking the hole. They decided instead to use the endoscopy equipment and a laser scalpel to debride the necrotic muscle, trying to keep Logan's heart and lungs relatively intact.
After several hours, they were finally able to move on to the skull and face, which took about the same amount of time to clean as the chest, shoulders, and neck combined. Even before they were done, they realized they didn't have a sufficient blood supply.
Logan's hair had begun falling out two days ago and now there were only a few patches here and there on his head. The main arteries and veins that fed the blood hungry skull cap and face had been badly damaged.
Jean suggested they leave the clean wounds opened while they started on Logan's legs, hoping they would find a vein or artery that was still viable for a graft. It was his only chance for survival now.
Jean was busy suctioning the larger pockets of diseased muscle when Hank found a possible graft. He pulled back the sterile towel covering Logan's open head incision to check the necessary length of the graft again, when he exclaimed, "Oh my stars and garters!"