If anyone asked John would not own up to the fact that detective inspector Lestrade did have to practically carry him to the police car. By the time he managed it into the passenger seat he was shaking.
"Jesus mate. Are you sure you didn't ingest any of the stuff Sherlock did?"
John gulped back the rising vomit in his throat, the look of absolute terror behind his best friend's eyes etched into his vision was making him more than nauseated, a cold ice was gripping his chest with panic. Despite having taken Sherlock's breathing for him there was still every chance he could deteriorate, why hadn't he gone in the ambulance, why couldn't his legs just do as they were told for once and carry him.
The doctor snapped out of his racing mind and glanced up to a very worried looking Lestrade.
"You alright? Do I need to get you checked over too?"
"Please Greg, just drive." John gritted his teeth to save his voice from wobbling anymore. "I need to be with him." He pulled the belstaff into his shoulders, appreciating its embrace and warmth.
Greg slammed his own door shut and swore lightly under his breath before pressing forwards and towards Barts.
The car ride was silent, save the sound of the police siren that the inspector had chosen to use. Not standard protocol for transporting civilians to the hospital but this wasn't exactly a standard scenario. The whirring noise of the car only served to heighten John's frayed and wretched nerves and by the time they pulled into the entrance bay by Barts he was shaking so violently that Greg himself wondered if the poor man really had been poisoned too after all.
The inspector offered a hand but John either didn't see it or ignored it and he staggered to his feet. Clearly determined to do this on his own volition he was already half way to the entrance before Greg could secure the car.
John wasn't sure what he was expecting to see when he entered the emergency room, his legs were shaking so much he was barely able to stand straight. What came to his vision though would likely haunt him for a long time to come.
The gurney containing his best friend's form was surrounded by a hype of activity, many of the medical team were trying to gently restrain his friend but struggling. From where he was situated John could see most of Sherlock's lithe form, stretched out on the bed and for half a second he was lost in the thought of how tall the detective actually was, his now bare feet over the end of the trolley. This thought through, was quickly replaced with the movement that was gripping his best friend's figure.
The seizures and convulsions were most definitely not under control. The first dose of lorazepam John had given on scene had clearly began wearing off.
"Why hasn't anyone given him more benzodiazepines?!" John spoke up. His voice must have carried quite some authority as almost all staff members looked up from their positions. The place seemed to silence save the movement of his friend's convulsing body on the trolley and his gurgled awful sounds from within his throat, a sure sign of some aspiration.
John bit his lip in both worry and some embarrassment, he knew the team knew what they were doing.
"His line is out doctor." One of the nurses pointed to the remains of John's handwork, now a bloodied bruised mess from where the cannula must have torn out.
What the hell had happened since Sherlock's departure in the ambulance?
John cursed inwardly. He should have ridden in the back with his friend so he could have kept an eye on things.
"Then give him some intramuscular or rectally for fuck sake." This time his voice did carry nothing but Captain Watson, there was no arguing with this tone.
The room seemed to kick back into life then and John pushed his way gently into the hype of activity. He was neither challenged or asked to leave and the medical team seemed to work around him as if he were invisible. His attention was now drawn to nothing but his friend's face.
Sherlock had been gently rolled onto his side, in a bid to keep his airway clear from any saliva which seemed to be flooding his mouth, a symptom of tetrodotoxin he remembered. But John cringed inwardly, as with each mechanical breath forced into his friend's lungs an echo of a deep seated crackle from his friend's airways sounded. This was a bit not good, but not something they could deal with right now.
Right now they needed to control the muscular spasms.
A suction tip was slipped between the detectives lips to remove more liquid. The terrible slurping and whirring made John's ears hurt, God knows how much he grated in Sherlock's own head.
This wasn't what upset the doctor the most though.
What was worse was the haunting terrified look in the detective's eyes. Although near fully paralysed, save the uncontrollable seizing the detectives eyes attempted to follow John as he finally came to stand beside the bed. His blue grey Iris's were swallowed up by dark dilated pupils, reddened sclera and deep creases around his lids, conveying nothing but misery.
John's brows knitted together in both pain and sorrow. His best friend was stripped partly of his clothes and at the total mercy of the medical professionals working on him. Sherlock Holmes was a proud man so what made this worse was he seemed to remain completely aware of what was going on around him. Conscious to the very real possibility that the toxin running through his veins may well just kill him. His dignity was all but stripped bare. His body betraying him at every chance, numb yet every muscle convulsing with relentless force. He was trapped, betrayed by his own transport as he would say.
But that was the murderers point wasn't it, to keep the man alive and aware of his existence right until his final breath.
"That bastard!" He grasped the bed rails so tight that not just his knuckles turned white but his entire hands.
"Sorry." He looked down to see Sherlock's gaze locked onto his and he almost felt his heart tear in two. "Jesus mate, I'm so sorry." He softened.
A single tear escaped the corner of the doctors eye without warning but he brushed it quickly aside.
This was not happening.
Somehow a small stall had appeared next to him and the doctor sat down, coming down to a better level with his friend.
"It's going to be okay." He said. Though he wasn't sure if he was trying to convince himself or Sherlock. Placing a soft hand onto the detectives cheek in an unusual show of affection he inhaled deeply, swallowing past the lump suddenly in his throat.
John berated himself for promises but he didn't care.
"Might need a bit of time with this but..." he pointed to the endotracheal tube poking out of his friend's mouth, still secured in place.
This was the one most important piece of kit keeping his friend alive, keeping his lungs filled with oxygen and therefore that genius brain too.
"Breathings boring eh?" He attempted to joke but found it fell flat as soon as it left his lips.
Though happy he was alive, John wasn't actually sure that allowing his friend to remain conscious right now was the best idea. Sherlock's predicament was absolutely terrifying to say the least and the detective was mentally one of the strongest people John had ever known. But this was a whole level of psychological suffering, this was locked in syndrome with the added benefit of near death experience just as the icing on the cake. No one, not even the Great Sherlock Holmes would be able to come out of this without some form of mental scarring.
Sherlock's eyes seemed more distant now, a look that John knew well as a typical retreating gaze of entering his mind palace.
"Listen ok." He said finally, gently rubbing a thumb over his friend's prominent cheek bone. "I know you're doing your best to retreat out of here right now, you're lucky you've got a mind palace to do that. Just...."
He paused, carefully constructing his words.
"Just don't get lost in there okay?" He frowned, hoping he was being over cautious.
John had seen it though, war had hardened him to the possibility of issues arising from this sort of situation. He had seen strong, confident full grown young men in war, losing limbs or seeing friends slaughtered before them then going home an empty shell. Their minds riddled with amnesia and dissociative disorders and PTSD. If Sherlock made it out of this one in one piece physically. There was every chance he wouldn't make it out in one piece mentally.
It was several long slow minutes later that finally the drugs injected into the detectives muscle began to work. John watched with both anguish and worry as his friend's body finally began to relax again, his twitching slowed though didn't completely dissipate. The odd tremor ran through his hands and legs and his eyes dropped to slits.
John tore his face from his friend's and looked up.
A senior, greying haired man stood before him. Lead consultant, many years experience, the pinched look in his brow though told him that he was concerned, John didn't need the detectives deductive skills to see that. But a concerned doctor was not what one wanted to see.
"Yes?" John finally answered.
"We're securing Mr Holmes a ICU bed right now, one has just become available last minute."
John dropped his head, this only meant that the previous occupant of the bed had likely died. ICU patients rarely made a miraculous surprise recovery and intensive care beds were few and far between. The seriousness of the situation was beginning to sink and it was making John nauseous and dizzy with panic.
"We're also in contact with the toxicology specialists at Guys and St Thomas's. One of the team should be over very soon. Mr Holmes seems to have caused quite a stir with them, clearly they don't encounter tetrodotoxin all that often."
"Fine." John swallowed back and tried to be the doctor, to be impartial and professional but his voice gave the emotion away. "What's the plan."
"The team are just going to place a central line into the subclavian vein, by then ICU space should be freed up and toxo should be here, we'll keep up with the lorazepam as needed if he starts to seize again but I'm hoping we have it under control more now."
"Are you not giving any other sedation?" John looked back to his best friend. He could see that beneath heavy lids Sherlock was still tracking them sluggishly. He may have been partly sedated but the detective was still well aware of his terrifying predicament, his attempts are retreating to his mind palace not so successful it seemed.
"He's sedated enough. Until we have the rest of the specialists opinions I don't want to overload him with drugs, his blood pressure is already dangerously lower than I would like to see it."
"You do know he's well aware of everything going on."
"If you say so Doctor Watson, but like I said, I can't give him anything else."
John ground his teeth together but held back his anger. No one ever quite grasped the concept of exactly how extraordinary Sherlock Holmes truly was. Unfortunately in situations like this without John or even Mycroft's input it often worked to his disadvantage.
The blogger didn't know why he didn't push the doctors further, in hindsight he wished he did, but for now he set his mission at pacifying his best friend whilst the doctors began to prepare him for a catheter placement into his shoulder. John did the only thing he knew that would keep him calm and grounded in this terrible scenario. He gave him data.
Ever step of the way John began to repeat to himself the procedure for placing the long stay catheter into Sherlock's vein.
"They're just going to place a long stay cannula into your subclavian vein, just under your collar bone, you need it because you're probably going to need fluids and blood products let alone the antibiotics your going to need for your lungs. You probably know all this anyway, but I'm going to talk you through it anyway."
John wondered if giving too much data was such a good idea, but he knew Sherlock's ways, and knew too well that even if he withheld information the detective would know it soon enough.
"They're just ultrasounding the area now to check the placement of the needle and then numbing it, though right now I'm not exactly sure what you can feel."
John watched the doctors with a keen medical eye, remembering the first time he had placed one of these lines many many years ago as a junior doctor, in this very same hospital and department. It was like déjà vu, yet here he was watching another doctor place it instead, judging each and every step.
"They're swabbing the area with disinfectant first and then they'll place a sterile drape, it might cover your head a bit, but I'm right here alright."
Thankfully Sherlock's tube meant that the blue drape did no rest on his face entirely. John knew too well how his friend would be feeling under the claustrophobic material and he gently used one hand to keep it held up a little more. With a second hand he placed his fingers on his friend's radial pulse in both comfort and with doctorly concern.
"At a 45 degree angle a needle is advanced under the skin directing towards the clavicle, once blood is seen in the hub then advancement is stopped."
John could see the doctors eying him with annoyance but he didn't care. He hoped this was at least helping his friend even just a little. It was worth upsetting the medical team to keep his friend calm.
"A guide wire is placed down the needle and into your cranial vena cava. We need to watch your pulse and ECG to make sure it's not entering your heart, believe it or to you do have one of those." The doctor half smiled, concentrating on Sherlock's pulse under his fingers and glancing at the screen above.
"Once in the right place the needle is removed and a small incision is made in the skin before a dilator is introduced into the vein."
Sherlock's eyes widened ever so slightly and he looked to his friend trustingly.
"Alright?" John frowned, "nearly done ok, I don't know what an earth you can feel of any of this but I imagine you can feel some of it."
The detective only blinked slowly in return, his eyes returning to their drug addled heavy lidded state.
"Once the dilator is out the main cannula is placed in and wire removed and flushed."
Sherlock's eyes slide closed.
"Sherlock?" John's heart jumped in alarm. "Sherlock?"
The blogger looked up at the monitors.
"His blood pressure is dropping, get fluids into the line, I need vasopressin and digoxin please." The lead consultant began to bark orders to the staff.
Before the new intravenous line had even been stitched into place a nurse quickly connected a line of fluids, running it directly into Sherlock's body.
"Don't be a cock now. Do you hear me!" John continued to speak to his friend, even though it was clear the detective had lost consciousness now.
The alarms on the monitors began to wail, flashing angrily as the numbers began to drop dangerously low.
"Quickly please." The lead doctor hurried his team. "I want those drugs in now please."
John bit his lip, hard. Watching the numbers on the screen as they dipped. There was no wonder the detective had lost consciousness, pressures this low were dangerous.
"Jesus Sherlock. Come on mate." He grasped his friend's wrist again, gripping tightly and feeling the now weak pulse there.
Realising the detective was literally running the line between life and full out cardiovascular failure the senior consultant turned his attention to John.
"Doctor Watson, you might want to step out..."
"I'm not leaving." John growled in a low and dangerous voice, his hand gripping tighter. "Not a chance. I know what's happening, and I know what could happen but I'm not leaving his side."
Only a nod answered him and the team continued to work, alarms sending John's nerves to shreds. He buried his face into the bedside and prayed. He was no religious man, but he still did, praying to a higher being that this was not happening, that the drugs would work. That Sherlock would live.
"Please God Sherlock, don't do this..."