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The Art of Losing (Jack) PG

Title: The Art of Losing
Summary: The first time Jack loses a patient
Rating: PG
Word count: 230
Note: For gottalovev who wanted "first times" for her day as Queen at lostsquee. Sorry you're getting Jack angst instead of Sawyer porn! I hope everyone else gave you lots of yummy first kisses!

The first time Jack loses a patient on the operating table, he spends six hours working on the man, six painstaking hours trying to repair a spine that’s nearly severed. A nurse wipes the sweat from Jack’s brow and his concentration on the small rectangle of blood and bone and nerves is so intense, after a while he doesn’t even know she is there.

But the man still dies. After Jack calls time of death, he rips off his mask and throws it to the floor. No one says anything. The euphoric rush he’s learned to count on at the end of a successful surgery doesn’t come; instead he is drained, numb.

He walks out to inform the family. He’s had to be the bearer of bad news before, but never when it was his surgery. His face says it all, he knows, before the words are even spoken.

He expects to share in their grief, sure he’ll choke up, but he makes it through the rote statement without betraying an ounce of emotion.

It’s only later on, at home, as he tries to wash away his disappointment in the hot spray of the shower that he feels the sting of tears.

The next time, there are no tears, not even those he saves to be shed later, in private. He learns to wear the numbness like another surgical mask.



( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2007 01:30 am (UTC)
I really love this! I've never been one to turn down angsty Jack, and you really hit the spot with this. The last line especially, both the way you phrased it, and the truth to it, not only with Jack, but with a lot of doctors.
Aug. 2nd, 2007 05:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm a sucker for Jack angst, myself. Very glad you liked this. :)
Aug. 2nd, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
Aw, poor Jack. We know how much he hates losing a patient!
Aug. 2nd, 2007 05:07 am (UTC)
Very true. I think he's always trying to keep his emotions in check and not always succeeding! Seems like conditions on the island just made that worse.
Aug. 2nd, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)
oh jack :( he would so build up walls to protect himself. numbness is one way to do it.

but I love angst! and i love this! thank you so much babe! ♥

Aug. 2nd, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
Aww, glad it's to your liking, my Queen! :) I figured variety is good at least! *hugs*
Aug. 2nd, 2007 02:37 am (UTC)
Oh wow. This feels so silent and so numb, which sounds weird and kinda negative, but I mean it's perfect. Kind of like we're IN Jack's head feeling that with him.

He learns to wear the numbness like another surgical mask.
Gotta be the coolest line I've read in a very long time.
Aug. 2nd, 2007 05:09 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! That's such lovely fb! Thanks for reading. :)
Aug. 2nd, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
That was so in character for Jack. Working doggedly on the surgery for hours and hours, crying out of disappointment in himself. Nice.
Aug. 2nd, 2007 05:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! Sometimes I think Jack makes a rather poor doctor, just in terms of the toll it takes on him but then he'd be a workaholic no matter what he did, wouldn't he? :)
Aug. 2nd, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, completely. Glad he's a doctor rather than a repo man. ;)
Aug. 3rd, 2007 05:45 am (UTC)
Yes, LOL! He'd be a gung-ho one, wouldn't he? Someone should fic that! :)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 3rd, 2007 05:41 am (UTC)
Aww, yes! :)
Aug. 2nd, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
Poor Jack, you know, he's got that perfectionist core to him, he does, I think that's the reason he became a neurosurgeon, all that intricate work, that work that has to be done perfectly, but still, sometimes perfection isn't enough.

He really feels for his patients, and yet, he has to wear that mask because if he didn't, he'd be lost, or worse, he'd just come undone.
Aug. 3rd, 2007 05:42 am (UTC)
He really does beat himself up over everything, doesn't he? It seems like he's always teetered between caring too much and being somewhat distant. Poor boy never seems to get it quite right but of course he always tries his hardest. Which is why we love him. ;)
Aug. 2nd, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
Perfect title for a perfect fic. It's so very Jack it's painful.
Aug. 3rd, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you, hon! It took me a litte while to think of the title, so it's nice to hear it fits! And oh, Jack! *pets him*
Aug. 2nd, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
oh, this was lovely - so true to character and insightful.

He expects to share in their grief, sure he’ll choke up, but he makes it through the rote statement without betraying an ounce of emotion.

that's our jack, isn't it? *pets him*

clever use of the prompt as well!
Aug. 3rd, 2007 05:44 am (UTC)
Thank you, hon. :) I love Dr. Jack, always trying so hard and pouring himself into the job but still so awful with his patients!
Aug. 3rd, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
Oh Jack! poor broken Jack, with no one to open up with, no one he could trust with his moments of human weakness and pain. I want to give him a hug.

Aug. 5th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
He really does seem isolated, doesn't he, poor man? And he could use a hug! Thanks for reading!
Aug. 19th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
This was such a sad, but poignant, "first time" fic. I think the title is one of my favorite parts, because accepting failure really *is* an art that doctors have to master. For someone like Jack, it'd have to be one of the toughest things ever. And maybe he never fully masters it, because even when he learns detachment, all it's replaced with is numbness. Not philosophical or psychological growth or peace with himself and the laws of the universe, but just a distancing of himself from his feelings. That's very "Jack," poor guy. I like your unique use of the prompt, and you really gave Lou a powerful offering for her Queen day.
Aug. 21st, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much, hon. :) It's hard to say where this idea came from but I'm glad it resonated with you so deeply. I always feel so bad for Jack, whose first instinct is to help but who has so much trouble really connecting with people. I always wonder what he would have done, how he would have been, if he hadn't become a doctor. Thanks for catching up with this and for the gracious fb!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )


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