Author: Anotherjaneway PM
Roy DeSoto faces a life changing event during a rescue. Johnny becomes infatuated with an impossibility.Rated: Fiction K - English - Drama/Adventure - R. DeSoto & J. Gage - Words: 26,905 - Favs: 1 - Published: 11-22-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5527317
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Emergency Theater Live, Episode Thirty Seven
37. Primary Complaint Season Five - Episode 37 Short summary-
Roy DeSoto faces a life changing event during a rescue.
Johnny becomes infatuated with an impossibility.
****WARNING**** The long summary to come is very story spoiling and will take away plot surprises if you read it now before reading the longer story below it.
Decide now if you want to read this episode's detailed summary before doing so.
Gage and Dwyer discuss the bet they have with Roy about Brackett's new love interest. Kelly pegs Gage accurately for having a crush on her, too. The gang discusses mixed reactions about the new 911 system. Roy and Johnny talk about good and bad luck on their way to a call in a nursing home. They treat a rapidly onsetting aortic aneurysm. On the way out, Cap runs into an old firefighter friend and shares good memories with him. The next morning, high spirits incites some impromptu singing by a rainy garage bay door. Squad 51 responds to a man trapped at sea. During the rescue, premature reef building explosives go off, injuring Roy. Gage frets until divers find DeSoto. Roy is found to be deafened during evaluation. Later, Brackett's doctor girlfriend examines Roy with an ENT specialist and Dr. Morton,
and decide that Roy's eventual surgical recovery will be good. Johnny almost gives away the feelings he has for Kel's steady before he hastily retreats from the room. Gage returns to the station to share what he knows about Roy when Chet's ribbing about his forbidden woman crush irks him into walking away.
Paramedic Gil Dwyer pursues him, learning more. Cap asks Gage up front about whether or not he's going to leave Brackett's close date alone.
Gage asks if he's trusted to be honorable and in answer, the gang feeds him to help him get his mind off of her. Station 51 responds to a multiple tanker accident involving a front end loader fallen off a viaduct. A trucker is freed while a poisonous gas cloud threatens nearby neighborhoods. Chet and others work to free a woman from a sports car jammed underneath one of the tankers. Officer Vince tries to get the second uninjured trucker to admit what his cargo is but no one learns it before an explosion occurs involving nitric acid. Station 51 rapidly flees the scene with their victims on the engine's hosebed. Battalion soon orders Station 51 to evacuate a school under the path of the acid cloud's threat but they arrived too late to save a small girl.
The remaining students and teachers are bustled into a protected gymnasium. There, Dwyer and Gage treat two burned children with help from Brackett and his girlfriend while Cap, Stoker and Marco carry out hose washing decontamination procedures. Afterwards, Roy and Johnny frankly discuss with Dixie, how she feels about Kel seeing another woman and both are surprised by the answer when a bet made between McCall and DeSoto reveals another secret Johnny Gage is hiding in his heart.
.The Story Unfolds...
Season Five, Episode Thirty Seven.
Primary Complaint Debut Launch: September 1st, 2006.
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. **Location to the Complete Current Story
From: Date: Mon, 04 Sep 2006 10:56:25 Subject: A Beautiful Day
It was 7:00am in the morning when Captain Stanley and his crew reported in for another forty eight hour tour of duty at Station 51. C-Shift was just getting off duty.
Paramedic Dwyer approached Roy and said. "Well, good luck! We had another wild one here. Thirteen calls. Would you believe that?"
"I'd believe anything." Roy said. "When the weather's warm and it's a full moon, things are bound to happen. See you soon."
"See ya next time, Roy, and tell Johnny over there not to worry about the fifty cents he owes me from the bet he wagered with me on Brackett." grinned Gil.
"Oh, really?" Johnny exclaimed, making a face of dismay.
"Brackett? What about Brackett?" Roy inquired at them both.
Dwyer began giggling without warning.
"Th-That he and Dr. Carrie Cederstrom would not last a month!"
Johnny said with a snicker. "I bet Dwyer here that they'll be at each other's wits end before you know it!" Johnny told him. Then he frowned at Gil. "You mean they aren't?" he fretted.
"Well, I'm sorry to say this. But, I think they're made for each other, pal. They are both stubborn, arrogant, demanding..."
"Oh, I get it. In other words, they're just perfect for each other." Roy said as he tapped his partner on the shoulder to show him the fifty cents he was paying Dwyer on his behalf. "Here you go, Gil. I'm afraid he's strapped until lunch.." DeSoto said, pointing at Johnny. "He actually paid me all he had for a couple of shoelaces I gave him yesterday after he broke his own trying to tie them too fast."
"Thanks for the pay up. Yeah, those two are just like Archie and Edith on TV." Dwyer said . "But they honestly love each other. Hmm, I'm outta here. Take it easy!" waved Dwyer as he walked away to change into his street clothes.
"See ya." Johnny and Roy said to their colleague.
Roy spoke again to Johnny and said. "Well, we'd better get dressed before the captain starts to think that we don't want to work today."
"I'd rather be on a boat just sailing by Catalina Island all by myself to get in some peace and utter quiet. What a beautiful day today!" replied Johnny.
Later, after Johnny and Roy dressed in uniform and went to meet the rest of the crew, they discovered Henry already sound asleep in doggy dreamland on the couch. Chet Kelly was having a candid discussion with Mike Stoker and Marco Lopez about the new 911 emergency number that was to take effect countywide within the next few months.
"This new number is going to get help to people quicker than the system that we have now. They'll have only one number to remember instead of three or four different ones for calling the cops, fire,
or an ambulance in an emergency whenever something happens." Chet said to Mike. "I think it's a wonderful idea."
"But the main problem is this... The system that needs to be in place's gotta be one in which the caller's location and phone number is automatically sent to the dispatcher, so whoever dispatches out a reply response, they'll have a permanent record of it." Mike said. "That could be years yet down the line, Chet."
"That leaves just a training issue." Captain Stanley said. "A guy trained to handle just fire calls at L.A. won't have the know how to handle police or ambulance calls. So what do you do then?"
Gage was well versed on the topic already and he jumped right in as he and Roy entered the kitchen.
"W-well, train all the dispatchers to handle all calls from a single answering point. Put six people on a shift. Two cops, two fire guys, and two paramedics. Three people to take over and prioritize the calls, and then have the second trio dispatch them into the proper channels. EMS, Fire and Police. That might make it more efficient." Gage said.
"It sure would." replied Roy.
"But how are WE all going to get used to it ?" Marco wondered.
"Don't you worry about that. We will. We always do whenever there's a policy change." Johnny told him.
"I think it's a great idea with this,..uh, 911 number. But is it gonna cut down on false alarms? Is it gonna give people a sense of security they really need in a crisis? Or are some people gonna abuse the system?" Roy wondered.
The rest of the gang shook their heads a few seconds later, not believing Roy's negative angle for even an instant.
"It is possible." Roy insisted.
"That very issue has faced opposition by some people close to the department already. " Hank Stanley said to all of them.
"Who?" inquired Johnny.
"Chief McConnikee and Dr. Kel Brackett."
"Brackett ?! I figured he would and probably that new doctor friend of his in Intensive Care, that Dr. Cederstrom, would, too." Johnny said with a sarcastic smile on his face. "I wonder what their beef about it is?"
"Johnny, are you in love again?" Chet asked him when Johnny suddenly rubbed his nose in a telltale fidget.
"No, not with her. She's in love with Dr. Brackett and they may be just like each other, but I still think that they aren't going to last long."
The whole crew erupted in hearty laughter that woke up even the sleeping dog.
Mike Stoker was about to make a crude couple comment when the station's SCUs went off and Sam Lanier's voice rang over the loud speaker.
##Station 51. Possible heart attack. 6042 Emerson Blvd. Room 120. 6042 Emerson Blvd. Room 120. Cross Street Hazelton. Meet the nurse at the nurse's station. Time out : 0718.##
"L.A. Station 51, KMG 365." replied Captain Stanley from the bay alcove.
Both units took off with lights flashing and sirens blaring towards the address which they knew was a nursing home.
From: Mark Panitz and the Voyagerliveaction Staff Writers
Date: Mon Jul 3, 2006 12:07 am Subject: Reminiscing
"Yeah, today feels like the toss of the dice on luck today and no doubt we'll be seeing that more clearly once more calls roll in." said Gage as they sped ahead of the engine on their way.
"Luck, huh? I remember a day like today. It was about this same time last year..." Roy said. "Remember that one, where the child got his head stuck inside a chair?" he prompted his partner with a head bob as he changed lanes.
"Yes, wasn t that the day where the tenant didn t have a smoke detector and we noticed it?" Johnny thought back, gesturing pointedly while he helped Roy watch the road all around them.
"Yep. And soon, it happened that month too, that the county was GIVING away smoke detectors. How ironic is that?" Roy chuckled, turning up the dash radio when a cancel came out for a fire station. "Not for our station."
Johnny blinked but didn't seem to have paid Roy's remark any attention. "Huh, That was fire prevention week as I recall." Gage said, glancing down at his address sheet. "Turn a left here."
DeSoto cranked on the steering wheel without even being aware that he had been directed to do so. He was still very lost in thought. "That s right. That s when I got the odd feeling we'd better put one up for them."
"You did?" Johnny asked. "I don't remember that."
"I do. And later that day, we returned to her apartment and helped that mother put up our last smoke detector."
Gage picked up the memory. "Oh, now I recall it. Didn't we do that just in the nick of time, too?"
"Huh?" Roy blinked.
Johnny elaborated. "That same evening, they had an unexpected house fire afterwards.."
"Oh, yeah.. That smoke detector ended up saving their lives, so we didn't have to, that's right. Boy was that a miracle it all happened that way." DeSoto sighed in amazed reflection. "What good luck..."
"Luck went bad that day, too." Johnny said, beginning to squirm.
Roy nodded in agreement. "I remember. It was when that work crew was supposed to be flushing the water line, but fuel got into the pipeworks instead. Was that it?"
"Yes. How could I forget? That s when I tried to put out the fire with the garden hose and I got a little crisped here on my arm."
DeSoto was liking the turn of conversation. It kept him from thinking about the way traffic was slowing them down due to an early rush hour. "Or about that other bad timing,.." Roy stuttered. "W-what about that time that day when you wrote the chief about auto drivers refusing to pull over for the squad." he said, throwing a hand at a truck in front of them who wasn't yielding to their flashing reds and sirens as he gritted his teeth in barely veiled irritation.
Gage's voice grew in anger, too, when he noticed the problem just ahead of them. He poured all of his energy into a glare in the hope that the driver would catch his fury in the rear view mirror. But Johnny's voice, all the time, remained in civil conversation as he concentrated on keeping them on the shortest possible route to their current cardiac call. "The chief had the sheriff department assign Vince to follow the squad..." he replied. "And on one run when I wanted to help out a little while off duty, I got a ticket for it!" replied John.
"You get all the luck.." Roy replied cheekily.
"Very funny. Why don't you just hush up now? We're almost there." grumbled Gage.
"It takes two to have a conversation.." Roy prodded defensively.
Johnny just glared right back at Roy, returning his affront without speaking.
Finally, Gage's volcano ran over. He stuck his head out the passenger window and he hollered at the oblivious truck driver."Hey! You! Yeah, you! What part of these big, red, flashing emergency lights don't you understand, buddy boy! Move it out of the way!"
Startled into motion, the truck veered suddenly to the shoulder, nearly clipping Roy's front bumper. DeSoto neatly dodged the driver. "Thanks. That worked.
I knew the horn wouldn't've."
"No problem.." Johnny snapped, sinking back into his seat.
From: Date: Mon, 04 Sep 2006 10:56:25 Subject: A Beautiful Day
It took them four minutes to get to the scene. Soon, the residents in their walkers, canes, and wheelchairs were looking on in curiosity as the firefighters began hauling the squad's gear in.
An elderly lady sitting on a porch chair replied. "Lord, have mercy!" as the men made their way to the nurse's station.
Johnny and Roy and the engine crew were met by a CNA named Kathy who told them the situation quickly. "Mr. Osterloh has had a heart attack. He started feeling short of breath ten minutes ago. Then about ...oh, a couple of minutes later, he said that his chest was hurting. We've put him on oxygen." she said.
************************************************** From: "Derrick" Date: Mon Sep 4, 2006 6:07 pm Subject: Primary Complaint
"Is that his primary complaint?" Roy inquired.
The CNA Kathy replied as they were escorted down the hallway to Mr. Osterloh's room. "Yes. He does have a history of hypertension and he's had several strokes. He takes Aldomet, Quinapril, Plavix, and Potassium. He is awake, but at times is unresponsive."
Two LPNs and an RN were attending to him, keeping him on oxygen and monitoring his vital signs. "How's he doing?" Johnny asked the RN name tagged Glenda standing at his head.
"He's on 8 litres of O2." she answered, looking up. "Vitals are now 180/150, he's got a pulse of 120, and his respirations are now down from 28. They're at 20. His O2 sats have increased from 86 to 90 %."
Johnny and Roy came in closer visual contact with the pale, gaunt elderly man. Johnny spoke to him. "Mr. Osterloh. My name is Johnny and this is my partner Roy. We're paramedics from the fire department. We are here to help you. How are you feeling?"
Mr . Osterloh's eyes and head rolled back and forth as he took in breaths of oxygen from the mask and he said. "Help me. I feel terrible."
"Do you know what's bothering you today?" Roy asked, to get the story straight from their patient.
"It's my chest. I can't breathe. I think I'm having a heart attack!"
"Okay Mr. Osterloh? Can you tell me where it hurts right now? How bad is the pain?" Johnny shouted while he drew out his stethoscope to use from the I.V. box.
Mr. Osterloh's head went from side to side again as he kept taking in deep breaths of oxygen without speaking.
Nurse Glenda replied after a decent interval. "He said that it started about twelve minutes ago and that the pain began in the center of his chest and radiated into the middle of his back. He rated his pain a ten out of ten when we first got in here."
From: Patti or Jeff or Cassidy Date: Wed Sep 6, 2006 2:20 pm Subject: Blow Out..
"What was he doing when all this started?" asked DeSoto to Glenda, the home's head registered nurse.
"He was resting after taking his morning shower.
He bathes from a chair with an orderly helping him."
Roy nodded. "Are there other new status changes that you've noticed on him, such as any new confusion, lethargy, agitation, slumping, flaccid limbs, or drooling?"
"No, he's still at the baseline of what's normal for him."
replied Nurse Glenda.
Johnny got her attention after looking at the man's eyes for a pupillary response with his penlight. "Is he on Coumadin? Or Aspirin?" he asked. "Roy,
he's PEARL, both sides."
"No. And before you ask it of us, this resident does not have a DNR order. So please, treat him as you will. He has no family left to speak for him." replied the RN Glenda, softly.
Gage nodded as he bent over their patient again.
Photos: None. *
From: "Derrick" Date: Tue Sep 5, 2006 9:10 pm Subject: Treatment "Roy, I got decreased lung sounds with rales and stridor on the left side." Johnny paused as he listened carefully to the right side of Mr. Osterloh's chest and said. "Decreased and clear on the right." As Marco assisted Roy, Johnny once again asked Mr. Osterloh a question. "Mr. Osterloh, when did you have your last stroke?"
Mr. Osterloh turned his head in the direction of Johnny and said. "It was, I think back in .... in ..... February? March?
I don't remember anymore."
"Mike is contacting Rampart now on the biophone." Marco said. "Or... do you want to do it?" Lopez wondered.
"That's ok, let him do it." Johnny replied as he began a probing hands-on search for problems by palpating the sick man's gaunt abdomen. "I'll take over for him in a second.
I gotta do a quadrants' check here."
Nearby, Mike Stoker spoke into the handset.
"Rampart Base, County 51. How do you read?"
Photos: None. *
From: Patti or Jeff or Cassidy Date: Wed Sep 6, 2006 2:20 pm Subject: Blow Out..
Dr. Kel Brackett picked up the line. ##51, I read you loud and clear. Go ahead.##
Johnny then took over the biocom from Stoker after they had established the opening channel. "Rampart, we've a male who's a partial invalid in the state home. Aged,..uh.."
"Seventy two.." said the CNA Kathy helpfully.
Johnny smiled at her. "...aged seventy two who's complaining of a severe sub-xiphoid pressure radiating into his back, accompanied by some dyspnea. He's on medication for hypertension with Aldomet, and an ACE inhibiter Quinapril. Also, he's on Plavix.." added Johnny as he confirmed the third medication by eyeing up the pink,
round biconvex, debossed, film coated tablets in the last bottle another nurse was showing him for their dosage information. "His skin's warm, flushed. Vitals signs at 0722 hours were : BP 180/150, pulse 120, with respirations at 20. His O2 sats are 90 % on six liters of unhumidified O2. He has a long history of multiple cerebrovascular accidents with some resulting mental and physical detriment.
There is partial paralysis on the right side of his body." ##Are there abnormal lung sounds?##
Gage gathered those signs quickly. "Rampart, no bruits heard higher up, but lung sounds are diminished with rales and stridor on the left side, and clear but decreased on the right. Negative for hyperpercussion. Also, note that he already has an IV, Rampart, a saline locked intravenous access point mid radial...dated today." Gage said, picking up Osterloh's arm as he peered at the saline lock's transparent tape ink marks. "The nurses here say he's on potassium therapy. Uh,...currently, this chest pain's sitting around a ten out of ten, by his reckoning. We believe him. He's getting slightly agitated and very restless."
##What else have you found?##
Roy took over the phone. "Doc, the abdomen is non-tender on palpation with no pulsatile masses. Bowel sounds are normal. On his neurological status :
He is physical effort intolerant and somewhat stuperous at irregular intervals. We suspect he is suffering from long term severe, uncontrolled hypertension on top of his new problem today." Roy added.
All the nurses in Mr. Osterloh's room winced with guilt at that.
Glenda, the home RN spoke up. "I'm sorry he hasn't been managed better. We've all been horribly overloaded with residents this week. We've been trying for three days to get more nurses in from the temp agency, but no one wants to come here. Not even the student nurses. I guess it's because of the stigma we have of being a nursing home for the homeless."
Roy nodded, inclining his head politely as he handed the phone receiver back over to Johnny so he could prepare what he knew Brackett would order for medications.
Johnny took Roy's current notes from him deftly, and the phone, while DeSoto moved onto other care duties. "Rampart, County 51. We have current vitals of BP 170/120, Pulse is now 124, respirations 20 with O2 sats, still at 90 %. We can send you a strip in a minute, Rampart, at your discretion."
##Is there any increase in edema in either his periorbital, upper, or lower extremities', regions?## Kel asked.
"Negative at this time, Rampart." Gage replied.
Nearby, Nurse Glenda tapped Kathy the CNA on the arm.
"Kathy, bump up his oxygen to fifteen liters on a non-rebreather. The light Venturi's not doing the job well enough. Do you see the blue forming around his ears and throat area?"
"But he hates the smaller mask, ma'am. He put up a fight something awful yesterday.." Kathy whispered to her trainer, trying not to be overheard by the paramedics.
"Would you please make the change? These nice young paramedics'
primary goal is to reduce Mr. Osterloh's oxygen needs as soon as possible. Don't fret about Teddy. He's uncomfortable to the point now where he won't complain much, no matter what we do for him, Kathy. I promise you that he won't be fighting anyone today. He hasn't any energy left for it."
Kathy complied and soon, Osterloh's respiratory rate eased even more to almost a near normal level.
Johnny frowned when his fingers brushed over the sick man's hot, sweaty skin. "What's this stickiness on his chest? Is it afterbath lotion?"
"No, sir." Kathy blurted out. "It's NTG ointment, he has an order for it PRN on his daily chart."
"When did this stuff go on?" Gage asked, being neutral.
"Just as soon as we realized that Mr. Osterloh was in trouble.
About ten minutes ago." replied Kathy's preceptor, Nurse Glenda.
"Ok, wipe it off." Johnny told her without looking up again.
"But, he needs it. He's in a lot of pain.." Kathy insisted.
Roy lifted his head from the drug box he was rifling through. "Kathy, nitro in topical form takes up to an hour to work. And where this's been applied is going to be in the way of our electrocardiogram lead placement. Don't worry. He'll get his nitro. We'll be giving it I.V. in a minute or two. The delivery route's far faster that way." he said with a smile, trying to counter the gruff order Johnny uttered. He knew his partner only got short with relatives and witnesses on a scene when he was worried. Tactlessness wasn't Johnny's intention at all, so Roy felt he always had to explain that to others.
Dr. Brackett's first diagnosis boomed out and made the others hasten to listen to his words. ##Squad 51, I concur with your finding of suspected heart ischemia along with hypertension. Go ahead and administer Nitroglycerin IV 5 mcg/min, with a bolus into that saline lock. Make sure that's patent first before any injections to avoid the chance of causing chemical necrosis in his arm. Increase the NTG dose by 5 mcg/min every five minutes to the desired effect up to three times total if he's still uncomfortable. Go ahead and establish a Y-site, too, for other medications, at the lock. I'll be ordering them just as soon as I know more. Give him aspirin,.. 162mg chewable tablets by mouth if he's able. Also, draw up an injection of Lidocaine 1mg/kg and have it standing by for a slow IVP in the event you note signs of ventricular ectopy or a new run of multifocal PVCs. Especially if there's increasing ectopy."
"Isn't that dangerous for him to take ASA on top of his Plavix?" asked the nervous, near tearful nursing assistant Kathy.
Roy smiled. "Aspirin should be administered, regardless of whether the patient is taking anticoagulants. We don't want him developing a pulmonary embolus. We want to mimimize his ischemia immediately if this is truly an early heart attack. Having blood a little thinner's ok here and it's all for his greater good. Sort of like not being afraid of giving a little more sugar to a stricken diabetic on the off chance that their problem's hypoglycemia. A little more will never hurt him."
Kathy nodded, wide-eyed with concentration. This was the first time she had ever seen paramedics at work in her entire life.
Brackett returned over the speaker system on the biphone.
##Have one of the home's nurses draw laboratory specimens. Tell her to draw a variety of tubes that will allow our lab to perform hematology, chemistry, and coagulation studies.
##Begin your MONA protocol. Use the nitroglycerin first and then add morphine to help relieve that chest pain as needed. Use two to four milligrams MS IV only when and if the nitro doesn't appear to be working for you anymore. Get another set of vital signs, including a pulse oximetry. Attach your heart monitor and get me a detailed, one minute duration, twelve lead electrocardiogram..## said Kel.
##Have one of the nurses on site prepare him for some continuous respiratory monitoring. We'll be needing a close watch over him after we give out his cardiac narcotics. If there's no resolvement of pain after your third dose of NTG, raise him up to a semi fowler's position to aid his difficulty breathing...## Brackett told his paramedic crew. ##Support him on ambu if he's fatiguing.##
Kel turned his head and nodded for Nurse McCall to take extensive notes. "Dix, when he gets here, I'll want a hemogram, electrolytes, a blood sugar, BUN, creatinine, a full coagulation study with cardiac markers, an eg, a myoglobin, and a screen for troponin. Also tell them to get these: An LDH, LDH isoenzymes, CPK, CPK isoenzymes, a CBC, and blood differential. And for Hematology, obtain renal function studies on the blood 51 will be bringing in. Order a room for an emergency cardiac catheterization, stat. Also, line him up for chest X-rays: a PA, lateral, an antero.. the works. I want to rule out all possible parenchymal involvement complications."
"Right away, Kel." said Dixie. And then she got on the white phone.
Back at the home, Mr Osterloh began moaning. "I can't.. chew these... I- I'll choke.." he gagged on the baby aspirin.
"Just relax, sir. Put them under your tongue. They'll dissolve there in a couple of seconds, ok? You don't have to swallow them if you don't want to." said Johnny near his ear.
Then he turned his attention to the EKG monitor that Mike Stoker,
Chet and the others had set up. He turned on the unit, studied it for a couple of seconds, then he picked up the phone, trying not to frown in dismay.
"Doc, we're transmitting now. I'm reading just initial T-wave inversions,
without significant ST segment elevation..." Gage reported. "Tachyarrythmias are evident but there's no signs of Wenckebach's or Mobitz II complexes."
The EKG strip came through on the base station's monitor and Dr .
Brackett meticulously examined it. He then said to Johnny.
##51, how much does the patient weigh?##
"Approximately 165 pounds or 75 kilograms, doc." Johnny said as the siren from the Mayfair ambulance stopped in the distance.
The RN beckoned Kathy to her side, handing her a kleenix. "Do you understand what that paramedic's saying about Ted's EKG?"
Kathy shook her head, no.
"Ok, let me explain a little bit about cardiac strips for you. A T-wave inversion usually signifies an area of ischemic heart muscle from decreased blood supply. The cells are not yet actively dying. Secondly, an ST segment elevation of more than two mm in an affected area signifies an area of the heart muscle that is infarcting. The cells are actively in the process of dying..." said the Glenda.
Kathy actively sucked in her breath.
The RN reassured her. "Now he hasn't found anything truly dire yet.
Mr. Osterloh's ST waves are still normal or very near so or he would have mentioned something about them, ok?"
Kathy sighed quietly and studied her shoes. "This is hard, ma'am."
"I know. Mr. Osterloh's your first crisis call on a resident. You did fine.
The help he needed so badly's here now and they're doing everything that's physically possible in order to save him. You've been a large part of of that good care. Be proud of what you've done. It's all any of us can do when we work for a state run home. Now listen to this last part on an EKG's tracing. A Q-wave formation signifies an area of cellular death, an earmark of a very old or extensive MI. He's clear of Q's, Kathy. That's a very good sign."
Dr. Brackett was issuing the last of his preliminary guidelines.
##Monitor for arrhythmias, signs of pulmonary edema, and cardiogenic shock, 51. Let me know the NTG dosings' outcome as soon as you find out.## Kathy remembered some of her schooling and she began muttering under her breath.. "Twelve leads. Ok,.. Leads V1, V2, V3 shows anterior damage. Leads II, III, AVF shows inferior damage. And last of all, Leads I, V4, V5, V6 shows up any lateral heart damage. Got it.." she told herself.
Then Kathy tried to make herself smile when the frightened Mr. Osterloh looked straight at her own terrified, staring eyes. --------------------------------------------------------------
"Ok, Glenda is it?" Roy smiled quickly as he angled his head around to look at the tan haired RN.
"Glenda, that's right."
"Could you and Kathy here help me sit him up a little higher in bed? Doctor's orders."
"Sure.." said the two nurses on the home's staff.
The three of them no sooner had the man's head propped against the headboard on ample pillows when Mr. Osterloh's chin suddenly slumped down onto his chest.
"Whoa...." DeSoto muttered, quickly sliding down the bed to pull his patient flat once more so he could regain an open airway.
Gage startled, too. "Rampart, our victim's just gone unconscious following a positional change. Stand by. Roy?"
"He's ok.. He's ok. Uh,... A short period of asystole, now bradycardic."
Roy said, gripping the old man's carotid pulse. "Palpable."
Both medics eyeballed the EKG monitor as Osterloh's respirations went from deep and fast ones to weak and slow ones and then into a pause of nonbreathing for a long moment. Then Osterloh gasped through his faint, which started the cycle all over again.
Gage looked up. "Chet, get on his head. Make sure he keeps color."
"I got him." said Kelly.
Roy looked at Cap. "Fire up the defib, Cap. We might be needing it."
Hank bent over the bed to turn on the Datascope's power button. "Want it charged?"
"Not yet. Save it." DeSoto grunted as he studied the old man's pupils.
"They're fixed Johnny. And he's flushing again.." he said, pointing to Osterloh's flaccid face.
"Incontinent." said Gage, looking down. Then he reached for a nearby wrist. "Got a pulse down to here."
Stripping off their patient's slippers, Gage pulled out his clothes shears from his hip holster and ran their snubbed ends up the bottoms of both of Osterloh's feet firmly, one at a time. The toes curled downwards at the tickling. "Bilateral Babinski's sign with a resumption of effective heartbeats." reported Johnny to Roy.
"Stokes-Adam's attack?" DeSoto asked him.
"That'd be my guess.." answered Gage.
Johnny got on the phone again. "Rampart, our victim's just suffered what seems to have been syncope triggered by a heart arrythmia."
##I saw that small change, 51. Make sure he's perfusing and breathing adequately. Has he regained consciousness yet?##
Roy looked back up at Chet, who nodded as the old man began to stir in his hands. "That's affirmative, Johnny." Kelly announced, making sure the oxygen mask stayed firmly over the man's nose and mouth.
"That's odd." said Johnny out loud.
It was overheard by Glenda. "What's odd? That? That was just one of his usual spells whenever he gets stressed out. They never amount to much."
"Ma'am, I beg to differ, but Stokes-Adams is a serious symptom." said DeSoto sharply. He immediately checked himself and got to work on getting another blood pressure reading.
Johnny tried to ignore the tension that was growing in the room. "Rampart, our patient's showing extreme diaphoresis now and he's beginning to moan incoherently."
"It's up again.." said Roy, reading the air dial on the blood pressure cuff.
"He's proving positive for labile hypertension, doc. Dyspnea's growing more pronounced despite an effectively returning consciousness level." said Gage quickly when Ted began to utter some words in anger.
"Dix, sounds like his sinus node and the AV node are degenerating."
"And no one noticed that over there?!" Dixie asked, getting mad. "Just what kind of nurses are they hiring at the state level?"
Gage confirmed Kel Brackett's new fear. "New degeneration is progressing through the whole conduction system, doc, advancing from the SA node downwards towards the ventricle. I'm seeing ST elevation in the inferior leads II, III and aVF. Also he's got some diffuse ST elevation with reciprocal ST depression in the anterior leads, especially in the right V leads."
##51, sounds like he's getting a right ventricle infarction. Let me see a new strip a.s.a.p. Also, carefully re-auscultate the chest and inspect again for peripheral edema as an indicator of right ventricular failure. There may be other acute changes going on that we're not yet aware of. Be thorough, guys.
This is important.##
Roy bent over Mr. Osterloh with a stethoscope and motioned the nurses and newly arrived ambulance attendants into silence. He listened a few seconds in every field on the sick man's chest. "Johnny, he's got a transient abnormal point of maximal impulse. It's laterally displaced to the anterior axillary line, over the fifth intercostal space. And it's enlarged. I'm also hearing an S4. It's manifesting as a short, soft basal diastolic murmur. Is he in pulsus alternans?"
"Yes. It's prominent most at the radials to carotids." said Johnny, checking the man's heartbeat equality at his wrists, foot tops and neck.
The nursing assistant Kathy watched on with growing puzzlement and stress. ::Oh, what now?:: she thought with great worry.
Gage snatched the biophone receiver from his shoulder. "Rampart, new findings past that new acute inferior MI. We've got a pulse deficit and a growing atrial gallop."
Brackett looked up at Dixie with a sharp frown. "Severe regurgitation?" he thumbed the talk button. "51, is your patient exhibiting a widening pulse pressure?"
Roy check the man's BP again. This time, with a stethoscope, anticipating trouble.
Gage leaned over to see what Roy had written down.
##10-4, Rampart. He's 152 over 80 on the left.##
Dixie's eyes widened. "An aortic insufficiency murmur? I wonder how long he's had that going on?" she hissed with growing fury.
Brackett grinned. "Easy, hon. That nursing staff's not to blame. A possible aortic aneurysm looks just like a heart attack in a lot of cases and sometimes, they even form without any symptoms whatsoever." he said. "They were good enough to see the new MI as soon as it was happening. And that, very possibly, is going to save his life today. If he hadn't of had one, most likely,
that aneurysm would've killed him by nightfall before anyone realized that something was even slightly wrong."
Roy held onto Mr. Osteroh's arms to keep him flat when he began to speak as he reawakened. His voice was now raspy and weakened. "What's going.. uh, I can't.. seem to.." he broke off, struggling to breathe. "Somebody.. help me." he croaked. "..please. I still can't ...swallow the medication.. in my mouth.."
DeSoto gestured at Johnny, drawing out a suction wand as he swept a couple of fingers across his own throat in significant meaning. He began to use it to clear out Osterloh's airway. The sputum he got out was red tinged. Osterloh started to cough and couldn't stop as Roy aided him. DeSoto spoke quietly, trying to calm the tired old man. "I got this. Just relax. Let me do all the work. Just try to keep breathin' calm and slow. Keep this oxygen on now, ok? Don't try to fight it here." he said, pulling Osterloh's hand away when the man tried to pull off his mask. "All this spasming'll go away just as soon as I'm done. There.. I'm through. That wasn't so bad after all, now was it?"
Mr. Osterloh sighed, trying to suppress all of his misery and painful hacking.
Gage nodded, adding that coughing clue to his notes. Then he picked up the phone again, but before he could speak, Kel beat him to it.
##51, is the patient exhibiting hemoptysis with all of that coughing#
Kel asked, cocking his head at the noise he was hearing over the frequency.
"That's affirmative, Rampart." Johnny replied.
##Place two large bore intravenous lines in around the saline lock and begin Nitroprusside, 0.5-3 mcg/kg/min IV. Use in conjunction with Esmolol to counteract the physiologic response of reflex tachycardia that might occur if the nitroprusside's used too early. I want to drop all of that blood pressure flowing against his weakened aortic wall now.## Kel told Gage.
Across the room, the home's nurses didn't hear the second diagnosis.
Glenda leaned over and whispered into Kathy's listening ear. "Nitroprusside causes peripheral vasodilation by direct action on venous and arteriolar smooth muscle, reducing artery peripheral resistance. This is commonly used IV because of its rapid onset and short duration of action. It's the most easily titratable to reach the desired effect we need right now. Mr. Osterloh's pressure's unstable now."
"Is he going to be ok, ma'am?" trembled Kathy.
"He's got a good chance if the surgeons react quickly. Now more about Nitroprusside.. It's light sensitive. Both the I.V. bag and the tubing should be wrapped in aluminum foil. Ah,...see? That paramedic remembered. He's given one of his firefighter friends that chore to do."
Kathy nodded, handing Marco a roll of soft tape from the blood drawing tray that had been near the bed out of his reach.
Glenda smiled. "Now about Esmolol... It's an ultra short-acting beta 1 blocker that's particularly useful in patients with labile arterial pressure because it can be abruptly discontinued if necessary. Especially for patients with his kind of hypertension history who's at uncertain risk of bronchospasm from beta blockade. Now that drug's elimination half-life is nine minutes. You'll soon see the paramedics trying to bring his pulse down to a target heart rate of 55-65 bpm."
Dr. Brackett's voice continued issuing critical orders. ##51, for the beta blocker.. This is your loading dose infusion rate: Use 250-500 mcg/kg IV over 1 min, followed by a 4-min maintenance infusion of 50 mcg/kg/min. If his heart rate's not down yet after a minute, your repeat loading doses will be as follows:
Cycle 1: Load 250-500 mcg/kg IV over 1 min, 50 mcg/kg/min IV over 4 min Cycle 2: Load 250-500 mcg/kg IV over 1 min, 100 mcg/kg/min IV over 4 min Cycle 3: Load 250-500 mcg/kg IV over 1 min, 150 mcg/kg/min IV over 4 min Cycle 4: Load 250-500 mcg/kg IV over 1 min, 200 mcg/kg/min IV over 4 min...
When he drops to 100 systolic on his BP, increase the interval between your titration steps from five to ten minutes to maintain him above shock levels.##
Kathy almost whispered to Roy. "What's happening, sir?"
"He's getting into new respiratory distress. All that wheezing, dyspnea, and that new cough suggests that he's getting a bit of fresh blood into his lung tissues."
"He's been injured?" asked Kathy. "How? We've hardly moved him.."
Glenda, still standing near Kathy, gently took her by the shoulders as she stood behind the shorter woman. "Kathy, Ted may have an aneurysmal complication newly developing."
"His aorta?" the girl gasped.
Roy nodded. "Most likely, it's a TAA in his ascending arch. Did you notice how hoarse his voice sounded when he said he couldn't swallow the aspirin very well? Bulges in the aorta at that point can causes pressure on the vagus and peripheral nerves controlling his larynx, causing sudden onset vocal raspiness."
A reply back from Brackett nearly made her jump in her skin.
##Assess pain intensity, location, and duration once again, 51.
Give me any new symptoms a.s.a.p..##
"Why did he order that?" asked the CNA of her teaching RN.
The older RN nodded her head gently. "The most consistently occurring features of any possible thoracic aortic dissection relates closely to the quality of the pain. The pain from a TAD is clearly distinct from the type of pain associated with an AMI. A careful history focused on the quality of a patient's pain is the most useful tactic for distinguishing an aneurysm from a heart attack. It's critical that the right priority problem be found as soon as possible. For Mr. Osterloh, that means open chest surgery immediately while he gets treated for that inferior infarct. For time lost is heart muscle lost on one, and a definite life threatening delay on the other."
"This is a dissection then?"
"Yes, for if Ted's aorta had ruptured medially anywhere instead of just leaking out in between arterial layers like it seems to be doing,
he would've long since been dead."
Johnny looked up after speaking with his patient. He lifted up the phone receiver. "Rampart, he's got a new hoarseness in his voice,
difficulty swallowing, wheezing in all fields, swelling in his neck and arms and positive Horner's syndrome.."
The RN beckoned Kathy forward. "Go ahead and take a look at what he found on those signs. I'll watch you."
Kathy soon located the noisy, wet sounds in Mr. Osterloh's chest under her stethoscope and the constricted pupil, drooping eyelid and dry skin on one side of his flushed face. ::So that's Horner's.:: she realized.
::I've only read about that definite sign of a TAA.::
She stepped back after making sure she wasn't stepping on any tubes or wires behind her.
Brackett's voice acknowledged Johnny's focused reassessment.
##51, D5W is contraindicated now as it'll increase vasoconstriction, and double the heart's afterload. Keep using intravenous normal saline. That solution will increase the heart's volume and stretch the right ventricle and decrease his damaged aorta's load. Disregard the MS orders and discontinue the NTG. Use 80 mg's I.V. Demerol instead, one time, for that right ventricle pain. The last thing I want to do is pool blood to the right side of his heart as his pressure falls.##
##As soon as you get that done, I want a new strip. Then you know the drill, 51. Give me a vitals set every five minutes and transport as soon as possible. Be sure to inform me of any further negative changes.##
Photos: None. *
From: "Derrick" Date: Tue Sep 5, 2006 9:10 pm Subject: A Short Reunion
"Our ambulance has arrived, Rampart. Our ETA is about seven minutes." Johnny promised.
##See you soon, fellas.##
"County 51, out." Gage said, as he ended the call.
Harold and Malcolm pulled up the gurney soon after Roy had administered the blood pressure medication and started the drip.
Meanwhile, the rest of the nurses, exept for Glenda, the charge nurse,
went back into their normal routine of taking care of the residents. Marco, Chet , and Mike, helped place Mr. Osterloh gently onto the gurney as EMTs Harold and Malcolm made him comfortable and put a blanket on him. Then the boys made their way down the narrow hallway, into the spacious lobby, and out to the ambulance. There they decided that it was Roy's turn to ride with the patient into Rampart.
As Mr. Osterloh was being loaded in, an old man in a wheelchair came beside Captain Stanley.
"Poor Ted. He's never been the same since his wife, daughter and beautiful grandaughter all passed away in that terrible fire up in 'Frisco. Part of him went when they did you know."
A chill of memory swept down Hank's spine.
"Sir, are you telling me about the Latham's Department Store fire a couple of years ago?"
"Yes, captain. My son worked it along with dozens of other firemen that day. Three of his buddies died there besides my own boy, Ted's family, and four other civilians."
"Well, I'm sorry to hear that." Hank said.
"If you see Ted again, you tell him that Sweet Louie hopes he gets better, you hear?" said the wrinkled man.
::Sweet Louie? I've heard that name before, hmmm..:: thought Captain Stanley. Then he remembered, with a physical start of shock.
"Ah, sir...uh,.." said Captain Stanley. "Are you "Sweet Louie" Jessups, who used to work with my dad at old Station 17 a few years ago?"
"I'm too old for that kind of work anymore, Hank. Tell me, was your dad still ornery as hell right to the bitter end?" laughed the old man as the rest of the Engine 51 crew gathered around. There was nothing but affection in his voice and it softened the harsh sounding remark.
Stanley flushed at that proper peg of his dead father's personality. "Then it IS you?! How are you, Louie, you old devil?" he grinned shakily.
"So you remember me, Hank Stanley. How nice it is too see you again. You were just a little boy when I first met you. You used to go see your pappy all the time at work when you were.. still just a tiny little thing. So, now you've..... finally got your own station." Louie said with a bit of sadness. "You're dad would've been very proud of you to see that..." he whispered fondly. "And your own good men, eh?"
"Yes. This is my engineer Mike Stoker, and my hosemen Marco Lopez and Chet Kelly." The firemen extended their hands to the retired and crippled department colleague with a show of appreciation and respect. "My paramedics are Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage. They are on the way into Rampart Emergency with Ted right now. Don't worry. He's in very good hands."
"I'm not worried. I see a lot of these new fangled paramedics around these parts nowadays. For obvious reasons.." he chuckled.
The gang laughed along with him.
"Do you fellas know that ol' Ted Osterloh was a tillerman and hoseman up in 'Frisco for a whole crop of years?" he told them. "He worked the earthquake there in '57, the hotel fire back in '63 and he was on firewatch for many days back in '68 when they tried to burn the city down after Dr. King was killed. He just retired in '72. It's a shame today had to happen like the way it did for him."
Unexpectedly, Cap felt overwhelmed at seeing a figment from his happier childhood days sitting so wasted and time diminished in front of him. He fought down a choke of emotions. "Well Louie, it was nice seeing you again but ..we've.. got to get back to the station. We still have a lot of work to do." Hank said. "So far, it's been a real busy day."
"You boys be careful and don't let it bite ya in the butt."
Louie said as Hank and the guys left his wheelchair's side, sitting on the lawn.
What he meant needed no translation.
"We won't." Chet replied as they all waved goodbye.
As they walked back to the Ward engine, tears were welling up in Captain Stanley's eyes.
He and the rest of the crew got in, one by one. Hank nearly slammed his door shut forcifully before he stopped himself. Disturbed, Hank rested his head in his hands with his elbows perched on the dashboard and stayed uncharacteristically quiet as he took his helmet off to rub his eyes dry.
"What's wrong, Cap?" Stoker inquired. "Are you ok?" he asked.
"I'm fine, Mike." Hank sighed. "I just wished Dad could have been here to see how Jessups remembered their old firefighting days. You know it's my fault that I don't remember dad as well as Louie does. I should've spent more time with him. Jessup warned me about the way these d*mn*d cigarettes mess with your memory and all." Hank said as he tossed a full pack of them out the window.
Realizing that nothing needed to be said, Stoker remained quiet as he fired up the Ward's ignition.
Hank picked up the radio and said. "L.A . Engine 51."
##L.A., we're 10-8 and returning to quarters.##
##Engine 51. 10-4." replied Sam the dispatcher.
Instead of pulling into the street after the transmission,
Stoker just idled there, thinking. Then he spoke.
"No, captain, it's not all your fault. I know for a fact that your dad tried to give you the best life that he could. I know.. that he wanted you to love the life you live and live the life you love being a part of the fire department...just like he did. He had to make a sacrifice every day to live that kind of life and we have to make one too, just slightly different. That includes spending time with our families now... For every moment that we spend with them, means that we cherish those family members we used to have, still.
You should cherish everything your dad was, Cap. Nobody had to make up his mind for him to smoke two packs a day. He chose to do it and yeah, he thought that nothing was going to happen to him until he got emphysema and finally learned that it was slowly killing him. You're still young, Cap. Your kids don't have to see you go the way he did. It's still your choice."
Hank turned to Mike and said in sarcasm. "Hey, do you know, for once, that you're right?" Hank agreed, letting his eyes glisten in remembered grief. And relief.
Stoker nodded. He looked out the driver's window at the old man named Louie Jessups who was slowly making his way back up the ramp for the nursing home's graceful entrance. ::Peace on you, Louie. From all of us still in the business.::
Photos: None. *
From: Patti or Jeff or Cassidy Date: Wed Sep 6, 2006 2:20 pm Subject: Blow Out It was later that day and four runs later.
"So what did he have, doc?" Roy asked, leaning in over the nurse's counter in the ER at the hospital.
Kel looked up from the mug he was pouring coffee into from the glass pot by the base station. "Huh? Oh, you must mean that state home invalid you brought in this morning." he guessed.
"That's the one." Johnny agreed.
"He's alive and currently undergoing a hypothermic, circulatory arrest, open-anastomosis." Kel smiled as he rattled off the procedure's official name.
"Excuse me, .." coughed Johnny, on a donut. " *Sputter* A what?"
Roy elaborated. "A cold patient bypass operation.."
"Yeah, I got that part. I got that part. Geesh. What I meant was,
Kel angled another eyebrow at Gage. "Mr. Osterloh had an acute fusiform thoracic aortic arch aneurysm dissection in progress. We're successfully repairing it." he grinned.
"Wow, is he a lucky guy." said Johnny.
"He sure is." said Dixie McCall from where she relaxed on a metal stool in front of a small stack of charts. "He only had a false passage for blood opening up between the layers of his aorta. Something called a fistula began leaking into his lungs through the pulmonary vein's overstressed capillaries during the fifteen minutes you had him."
Kel demurred. "And that inferior MI was his only, easily resolvable, resultant complication."
Gage whistled low in his throat. "So when did his aorta begin to tear?"
"Probably at the moment you two noticed his onset of Stokes-Adams."
"Doubly lucky!" Gage exclaimed, spraying out pastry crumbs all over the desk. "I've heard a TAA dissection usually begins with a tear in the intima, the vessel's innermost lining." he contributed. "And kills people slowly in their sleep."
"It can and does." Kel laughed in amusement.
With feigned disgust, Dixie brushed away the donut pieces raining down on her paperwork. "All true.." she agreed. "Doctor? What exactly are the stats on that?" she teased sarcastically, getting into the conversation.
Kel, obliviously in his element, took her quite literally. "Stanford class A TADs will give ST segment elevations suggesting AMI in up to 8% of cases.
Some ST segment changes (elevation, depression, or nonspecific) are seen in up to 42% cases of class A-TAD. One of his chest x-rays showed characteristic cardiac enlargement with a dilated calcified aorta."
Right then the phone rang, and Dixie picked it up. "Rampart Emergency. This is Nurse Dixie McCall..." She fell into listening. "Joe, thanks for the news.
Would you page Dr. Cederstrom and tell her about him, too? She was worried about Mr. Osterloh."
Brackett eyed Gage happily. "Wanna see it?"
"What?" said Johnny, still trying to figure out what Dixie was talking about on the phone with Dr. Early.
"His chest x-ray... I'm rather proud of it." Brackett said conspiratorially.
"Sure.." said Johnny eagerly, breaking out of his reverie.
Kel showed him the telltale film.
"Wow. And he's gonna make a full recovery?! I mean, for sure?"
"No doubt." said Dixie. "From both the aneurysm and his heart attack."
McCall said, hanging up the phone. "That was Dr. Early calling from Cardiology.
Joe said Mr. Osterloh's catheterization contrasts are coming back with a zero percent thrombolytic occlusion rating in his right coronary artery, post surgical. And the Dacon graft sewn in place of his removed aorta's not leaking out even one tiny bit into his drains."
"That lucky b*st*rd!" Dr. Brackett shouted.
Gage sniggered, mumbling. "You took the words right outta my mouth, doc."
Kel went on, still excited. "Do you know how hard it is to avoid Prinzmetal's unstable angina after that kind of heart attack and TAA dissection?"
"No.." said all three of them.
"Oh.... Well.... Never mind. I guess you'd have to be a doctor in order to appreciate that one." said Brackett as he set down his empty coffee cup and walked away.
"I guess so..." chuckled Roy softly, watching him leave. "See you later, Dix.
Johnny and I'd better be getting back to the station. It's almost dinner time."
"See ya, fellas. Have fun on your next rescue call."
Gage lifted his HT. "Squad 51 to L.A. We're available. Returning to quarters."
##Squad 51....*Spap.* #
Photo: A thoracic aortic aneurysm twelve lead ekg.
Photo: Roy listening to someone using a stethoscope.
Photo: Atrial fib, TAA tracing.
Photo: An anterior film of an aortic aneurysm.
Photo: A contrast study of a large TAA dissection.
Photo: Roy, Johnny, Dixie, and Brackett, talking in a room.
Photo: Roy and Johnny pulling away from Rampart in the squad.
From: E!lf Date: Thu Sep 7, 2006 9:52 am Subject: It Never Rains
The sun was rising over Carson, California, as station 51's A-shift reported for their next tour. At least it was probably rising, though today that was more a matter of blind faith than anything else. Heavy black clouds curtained the sky, prolonging the night. Lightning flashed and thunder rolled.
John Gage stood in the open bay door, inches from the downpour, and warbled off-key. "..They say it never rains in southern California. Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before . . . ."
"Jeez! Is someone strangling a hyena out here?" Chet Kelly said as he wandered out into the bay. "Oh, Gage is singing. I should have guessed. Hey, DeSoto! Make him stop singing before you have to treat us all for ruptured ear drums."
Roy, carrying a cup of coffee, strolled over to stand next to his partner, and gazed out at the rain. He pursed his lips in a tiny smile and joined in the song.
"..It never rains in California. But girl, don't they warn ya? It pours. Man it pours!.."
Kelly made a face of long suffering. "Great. Just what the world does NOT need. Singing paramedics." At that moment the tones sounded. Chet cast his eyes heavenwards. "Thank you! Saved by the bell!"
##Squad 51. Man trapped at sea. Meet fireboat 110 at the dock. Time out 08:17#
Chet acknowledged the call while Roy and Johnny jumped into the squad. He handed the call slip in the window. Roy glanced at it, passed it off to his partner, and took off through the driving rain.
Date: Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:33 am Subject: Lost In A Fog
When they drew up to the dock, 110's captain was waiting for them.
Johnny and Roy pulled everything they were apt to need and he was grateful when the captain helped them gather it up and carry it down to the fireboat.
"Cap," Roy acknowledged him. "You got any idea what we're looking at here?"
"An old passenger steamer," he told them. "An environmental group down the coast was trying to sink it, to form the basis for an artificial reef."
"Today?" Johnny interrupted incredulously. "In this?"
The captain shrugged. "I guess today's when they had their licenses and permits for it."
"So what happened?" Roy persisted as the boat got underway.
"They got caught in a storm surge. We don't have all the details, but apparently one of the old funnels collapsed and caught one of the guys underneath. They said he's out cold and they can't get the funnel off him. Anyway, we'll know the whole story in a few more minutes."
Rain churned the sea surface into a foamy froth and raised a light mist that thickened into patchy fog as they left the coast behind. Passing through stretches of limited visibility, they were forced to slow down. The fireboat's foghorn sounded at regular intervals, flat and forlorn, and now and again it was answered by distant horns or by the far off clanging of the bells from channel markers.
Johnny leaned over close to Roy. "Don't stand too near the side," he cautioned.
"Yeah," Roy agreed, regarding his partner solemnly through the double curtain of rain dripping off both their helmets. "I wouldn't want to get wet."
The pilot slowed the boat as a larger shape loomed suddenly in front of them. They passed by the bow, where the name "Irene Elizabeth" was briefly visible before being hidden by the mists, and pulled up under the steamer's boarding ladder. The two boats faced in opposite directions, their starboard sides together.
Crewmen on the fireboat tossed bumpers over the side and made the boat fast.
To their port side a Coast Guard cutter emerged from the fog and came up next to them. A young officer climbed nimbly from the cutter to the fireboat.
"Chief Petty Officer Adams. Glad to see you guys! We've been waiting. We can help you get the funnel off him, but we don't have a doctor aboard so we figured we'd better wait until you arrived before we did anything."
"You did right," Johnny reassured him. "Can you show us where he is?"
"Yeah, but there's something you need to know first. There are explosives aboard that vessel."
"Explosives?" the captain demanded. "What kind? How many? Where are they and how and when are they supposed to be detonated?"
"I don't know," Adams told him reluctantly.
"Well, who does then?"
"The guy who's pinned under that funnel up there. He's the demolition expert. He was setting the charges when the storm surge hit. It's anyone's guess how many he had set by then, or where. No one else seems to know anything about it."
For several seconds the small group of men stood in the rain, regarding each other in dismay. Then Roy and Johnny turned simultaneously for the boarding ladder.
"Sooner started, sooner done." Roy said laconically as he followed his partner up to the deck of the doomed steamer.
Adams joined them aboard the Irene Elizabeth and led the way aft to where a tall, broad funnel lay tilted at an awkward angle. As they approached they saw, first, a pair of legs sticking out from under the funnel's edge.
The three men circled the funnel and Roy and Johnny were relieved to see that a capstan had caught the edge of the funnel and was keeping its full weight off of the man who was trapped.
"This doesn't look too bad." Roy said. "That leg's gonna be broken and I'd say he hit his head on the way down." He knelt by the victim's head and used his penlight to check the man's eyes. "Pupils are equal and reactive. No blood or spinal fluid in his nose or ears." He used a C-collar to immobilize the victim's head and neck.
Johnny was examining the funnel as two more crewmen joined them carrying a stokes. "Roy? I think we can just lift this off him and pull him out. You reckon it's safe to grab him and go? I don't know about you, but I'll feel better once we're well away from this rat trap."
"I know what you mean. I think that'll be fine. We can treat him en route."
"Okay then, get set. We'll lift, you pull. On the count of three."
Johnny crouched beside the funnel with Adams on one side of him and the two-fireboat crewmen on the other. They counted three and lifted together.
The funnel rose and Roy pulled the victim clear.
It was the work of but a few seconds to get him into the stokes, covered with a yellow blanket and strapped down. The two crewmen picked up the stokes and the group of men made haste for the boarding ladder and the safety of the fireboat.
Johnny scrambled down the ladder first, turning to steady the stokes as it was lowered over the side. The captain came to help him and they settled it onto the deck of the fireboat as Adams and the two crewmen followed.
Roy handed down the trauma kit and the drug box and was just reaching for the ladder when the first three explosions hit in rapid succession and the Irene Elizabeth heeled over sharply onto her port side.
Only the captain's quick action in cutting the tethering line kept the fireboat from being capsized as well. The Irene Elizabeth tipped nearly enough to show them her keel and for a minute it looked as though she might turn turtle.
Then two more explosions went off, one fore of the fireboat and one aft. The direct force of the blasts missed them, but the percussion created waves that drove them towards the doomed ship. The pilot gunned the engine and they streaked out from beneath the steamer just before she crashed back to an even keel. When she leveled out her deck was awash and she sank from sight in less than a minute.
A circle of ripples spread out from where the steamship had sank, rocking the fireboat and the cutter, standing ready at a short distance. As quickly as it had begun, it was over and the only thing that marked the ship's passing was that now the rescuers had gained a man . . . and lost a man.
"Roy!" Johnny called, his voice echoing weirdly in the drifting fog. "Roy, where are you? Are you out there? Can you hear me? Roy?"
Only the boom of distant thunder and the sound of rain on the sea broke the silence that answered him.
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 07:49:53 -0700 (PDT) From: "Roxy Dee" Subject: The Silence~~
110's captain sprung into immediate action. He got on his plastic wrapped hand held. "Boat 110 to Coast Guard Seven. We've a man overboard! Our location! We need an emergency sweep right now."
##10-4, Boat 110.## replied the petty officer's superior over the frequency. ##We're heading for your port side. Calling in a secondary air support chopper from her current monitoring position.##
It took everything Gage had to let the others start looking for Roy while he completed securing the injured man's stokes to the fire boat's deck hooks. ::Why didn't I back us out when we still had the chance?!:: Johnny agonized. ::The scene wasn't safe. Not by a mile.::
Moments after he even thought up his self-chastisement, Gage could almost hear Captain Stanley's unspoken instant refutement in his head.
'Since when is a scene EVER safe for ANY firefighter?' Hank's inaudible advice sang out over the din of the storm. 'If we sat around waiting for our butts to be covered first, a sh*tl*ad of folks would die waiting for us to rescue THEM. Now tell me, is too high a level of caution a true definition of a first responder? Our job in hindsight after the fact, can be one h*ll of a bear in the guilty-what-if department, but I refuse to believe that anyone here at the station won't rise up to the challenge of facing a little extra danger when it's all for a greater good.' said the voice of conscience.
Gage sighed in unrelieved stress. He still found that he couldn't tear his eyes from the water while he worked on the wounded seaman.::Oh, Roy. What kind of challenge is it when it's twenty tons of exploding ship against just one guy?:: came the thought, unbidden. A sharp hand movement from an airborne frogman, who had been scoping the sea intently just seconds before, caught Gage's eye. "Cap! They've found him!" he shouted, pointing to the chopper diver as he made his leap from the helicopter.
110's captain glassed the area with his incident binoculars. "DeSoto's conscious. His head's bobbing. He must've let the sinking ship pull him down out of danger to avoid the brunt of the explosions."
Johnny agreed. "He's a Vet. That's what he did. He would know what to do."
Gage said happily. "Let's get over there now, Cap. That diver's gonna need help in all this heavy surf."
The coast guard diver surfaced after a monster wave and he grabbed Roy from behind, where he floundered in the water weakily, as if he was extremely dizzy. Johnny could see a multitude of small cuts and pock marked burns dotting Roy's face and scalp where molten metal had melted skin and hair.
The boat got near and Johnny eagerly reached out with both arms. "Is he talking? Any broken long bones in his arms or legs?"
The diver spat out his regulator, shouting over the roar of the hovering chopper.
"No, I checked. There's nothing obvious cropping up except the fact that he's breathing fast from some kind of pain; not like he nearly drowned at all."
said the rescueman.
Gage was beside himself. "All right. Are you absolutely positive? Neck and back ok?" Johnny asked, triple checking things before he tried to move Roy an inch out of the ocean. He started to reassure himself of Roy's stable condition after getting a grip on his carotid from where he leaned over the waves from the boat's dropped rear launching platform.
"Yes, sir. Not a single scorch on him anywhere past this head singe-ing."
But Johnny was no longer listening. Gage was worried. Roy's eyes were cracked and seeing, but he seemed distant and staring around all the blood.
DeSoto moaned. Once. "Ohhh.." he grunted. Then his eyes opened wide in surprise and he didn't try to speak again.
"Roy.. Where are you hurting?!" Gage asked as he gripped Roy's face where it stuck out of the water in between the diver's arms. He shouted the question again as he and the other firefighters with him fought to keep the diver and DeSoto in contact with the boat as the storm's wild waves rose and fell. "Come on, try and look at me if you can."
Despite some light guidance, Roy didn't react any differently. That's when Johnny noticed the bright streams of reddish gore running from both DeSoto's ears. "Cap. He's got concussive injuries. Get the O2 out on the double."
Seconds after DeSoto was pulled out of the water and hauled carefully into the boat with his belly down, he began vomiting violently around their feet. It was a mixture of frothy seawater and regurgitated bile.
Roy, uncomfortable beyond tolerance and a bit confused, began struggling to right himself desperately, shortly afterwards.
Gage snapped out an order. "Sit him up!" he said when he noticed that Roy's eyes were spinning and shifting in their orbits rapidly. "It's vertigo causing this. When it stops, start him on high flow O2 that's been heated. He's gonna get even shockier on us real soon."
"I'll get a relay set up with Rampart through your HT." said 110's captain.
Gage nodded. "I'll be ready for them in two minutes."
Roy started muttering as he slowly became more aware of his surroundings.
"Get out! Gotta get out. Fire in the hole! Get down!" he coughed. Gasping, he tried to get as small as he could around his knees and in doing so, he knocked off his oxygen mask unthinkingly.
Johnny took him by the sides of the face and gently turned his head up.
"Roy? Hey.. Listen to me. Or at least, watch my face. You gotta keep still on your butt just like we've placed you...."
DeSoto seemed to understand and he stopped writhing. "I.. can't.....hear anything."
DeSoto choked out with a bit of panic in a salt abraded voice. He closed his eyes tightly as his dizziness finally started receding.
Gage held him by the shoulders. "I know. I know. Easy. You've got some barotrauma and you're gonna have to hold your head still and elevated to keep ahead of all your nausea. It's positional vertigo, ok?" Gage beamed hugely as well, false as it was, to carry his words in other ways so he could communicate with his seriously stunned partner.
Roy lifted swelling eyes but still, he couldn't focus them."I can't..*cough* I can't tell up from down, Johnny..." he rasped tiredly.
Gage looked up from where he was taking a blood pressure. "Moore. Steady him against your chest. And the rest of you guys, handle him as hypothermic, because that's what he's gonna be in very short order. Cover him up with everything you've got.
Roy, can you hear me at all?" he asked again, waving fingers in front of Roy's nose to get his attention.
"Everything's totally...q-quiet, *UghhH* Roy grunted, fighting gut heaves.
"But I...don't ...think I'm hurt much past that. H-head's clear now. Chest is---"
"Hey..You let me be the judge of your current condition." Gage hissed, delivering a small finger tap to Roy's cheek to get him to focus more on him again. Relief started soaring even as Johnny gave into the shakes of reaction, ones he did not want Roy to mirror. He placed a firm hand over Roy's oxygen mask pointedly as he used his other one to grip the top of DeSoto's head in a light admonishing squeeze."Just shut up and relax a little. Let me do all the worrying about everything."
Roy finally got the gist of what Johnny meant through his roaring deafness and he closed his eyes at last. Sighing, he covered both of them with the flat of his palms in an effort to quell his violently roiling stomach with a little applied pressure.
"..Compazine...*cough*...Diazepam..?" he whispered to no one in particular, seeking no reply.
But his comment had been overheard.
Gage reassured him of coming relief meds with a brisk flourishing tie-off of a latex constricting band around Roy's upper arm. "Right after an I.V. start and a neuro check to rule out any head injuries.." he promised with a grin that was only just beginning to return to his lips. ::80 over 40. I can live with that number, any day.:: he thought gratefully.
110 leaned over. "How is he?"
"He's gonna live, Cap. Most definitely. But I still think we should fly him out.
He was awfully close to those explosions."
"Gotcha." and the grizzled man began communications to set up for a basket drop over the boat.
Photo: A tail view of a coast guard helicopter hovering.
Photo: Gage, soaking wet, using an HT.
Photo: A frogman rescuer holding out a hand to a victim in the sea.
Photo: Roy hurt and down with Johnny leaning over him.
Photo: Johnny treating a head cut on Roy at a scene.
Photo: A rescue diver giving a thumbs up in heavy surf.
Photo: A coast guard chopper doing a victim pickup.
From : Cassidy Meyers Sent : Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:16 PM Subject : That Female Fever...
Gage snatched up the re-established phone when 110 gestured that it was ready. "Rampart, how do you read?"
##This is Dr. Cederstrom, go ahead, 51.## came the return reply.
Johnny pursed his lips in surprise at the new voice, but then realized that any possible concussive trauma would warrant the attention of an intensive care specialist over a general ER doc with regards to priority care. ::Brackett's girlfriend? Hope she's as good as Dwyer says. Roy deserves the best.:: he reasoned. Then he put all non-business thoughts aside and began his report. "Rampart, victim number one has been airlifted into the chopper and is stable. The I.V. on victim number two has been established and is running wide open per orders. Negative on head injury signs despite the bleeding from both ears. His vertigo appears to be subsiding but the nausea is not. There appears to be no further evidence of internal injuries. There's only superficial cuts and burns about the face and scalp. Uhhh, ...request permission for some sedation to elicit physical calming and an anti-emetic?"
##10-4, 51. Administer 2 mgs, Diazepam I.V. and 5 mgs Compazine I.M.
Re-evaluate victim two's neuro status every five minutes while transporting and do not restrict the drainage running out of the ears.
51, is there any possibility that what you're seeing contains cerebral spinal fluid as an exudate?##
Gage took a corner of a gauze four by four and soaked the edge of it into the light blood flow coming from both of Roy's ears. He held it up into the daylight, judging its color. "Negative, Rampart, there's no amber ring spreading out from either blood stain on sampling."
##That's a good sign, 51. Give me new vitals sets on both victims as soon as you get into the air. What's your distance out?##
Johnny rubbed his damp forehead, shaking his head to rid his hair of rain so it wouldn't interfere with his vision. "Our ETA's eleven minutes best guess, Rampart."
##10-4, I've an ENT standing by. Dr. Morton will monitor your channel in transit. Confer to him, any adverse changes on either victim. I'll see you and your second victim in a few minutes along with Dr. Morton.## said Carrie.
"We're on our way, Rampart!" shouted Johnny over the frequency as the coast guard helicopter waiting for them on hover churned into a higher rotor mode. Gage leaned into Roy and briefly gripped his shoulder to get him to open his eyes. "Meds are in, Roy. You're all set."
Roy tried to smile from under all of his blankets, but he couldn't, so he let himself slip into sleep as the Valium took effect.
Dr. Cederstrom met Roy's cot as it came through the Emergency doors. Dr. Brackett immediately took the bed of the unconscious seaman, "Carrie.
I've got him. I'll keep you posted."
"Ok, Kel." answered Carrie. "I'm bringing this fireman directly up to my diagnostic ward, I've all the ears, nose and throat equipment already laid out."
"All right. I'll check up with you in a few minutes.." said Brackett.
Dr. Carrie Cederstrom leaned over the gurney and checked Roy's consciousness level with a gentle touch to the side of his face. "I'm Dr. Cederstrom, from ICU."
she introduced herself when he opened his eyes. "We'll get you a notepad once we get upstairs so you can communicate with us a little better, ok?" she told him.
DeSoto lifted a water wrinkled hand and gripped hers in understanding as he let the orderlies fuss with his warmed oxygen supply and as they got him into drier blankets once they had lifted him out of the stokes to a fresh bed with a sheets lift.
Gage was a constant presence at Roy's head, and he was only about a foot away from Carrie's elbow. "He slept a little on the way in trying to fight giving into the sedative, but he's been able to get rid of everything he's been throwing up without help."
"All right. How's the vertigo?" Dr. Cederstrom asked.
"Gone. His eyes stopped gyrating five minutes ago." Johnny said quickly.
"Ok,.. looks like the diazepam dosage's sitting just perfectly. It'll take a bit longer for the Compazine to kick in since he hasn't been moving around much yet."
Johnny immediately fixed that. "Roy, shift this arm around. The one opposite the I.V." he shouted. To carry the hint, he picked up his partner's arm and started rubbing it around the injection site. Roy dutifully began flexing his fingers and twisting his wrist around. The trick seemed to work, for once they were all piled into the patient elevator, Roy emitted a sigh under his oxygen mask as his stomach heaves abruptly ceased.
Carrie turned to a nurse who had followed them inside. "I want a full blood workup.
You know my standard. Tell the lab to specifically concentrate on potassium levels."
Gage looked at Carrie. "Are you still thinking about muscle damage?"
"It's a possibility. I won't rule anything out past the lack of head trauma yet.
It's still too soon yet. I'll know more in a few minutes once Dr. Morton and I get together to compare our notes on him, Mr. Gage." she grinned.
Johnny finally started to relax as he accepted a spare blanket from one of the orderlies so he could start to dry himself off. "Wow, I feel small." he said, trying to hide his shivering so Carrie wouldn't see it and order him away to a post rescue examination. "You know my name already and we've never ever been formally introduced."
Dr. Cederstrom dropped her head in undisguised mirth. "Sorry. Kel always talks about his favorite paramedic team. You and Mr. DeSoto here mean an awful lot to him."
"You mean professionally.." Johnny gathered.
"That and I also mean personally, Johnny. He sometimes wishes that he could spend more time as friends with you and your partner, but work always seems to get in the way whenever he starts to plan a get together or something. Dixie tries to help him organize his time a little better, but things never seem to work out well enough."
Gage grinned. "Yeah, well. Being head of the Emergency Department's a heavy responsibility. One that I wouldn't want. Oh, ..Uh, no offense, heh." he corrected self consciously.
"None taken. I wouldn't want Kel's position either. That's why I took on Intensive Care.
There's fewer patients." she said. Then she looked up as the elevator stopped on her floor's suite. "Ah, here we are. Minor surgery's all set up. The ENT's waiting for us just inside."
Johnny sneezed, turning his head away from Roy's bed, where he lay sleeping.
"Ow,...oh, I hate water rescues. Gonna get a cold for sure. Can I break off for a few minutes to give the guys a call? Cap's gonna wanna know that our station needs a replacement to fill in for--"
"Of, course. Use the phone by the nurse's station in the center of the room. Pam'll open a line for you." Dr. Cederstrom gestured, pointing, to orient Gage to the unfamiliar ICU ward.
"Thanks, Dr. Cederstrom."
"Please, call me Carrie. I'm not as formal as Kel is." she smiled.
"Ok.. Uh, I'll ..I'll.. be right back.." Gage grinned uncomfortably. He frowned at himself as soon as his back was turned to the lady doctor because he was beginning to feel an unexpected reaction to Carrie that was totally off base. ::Whoa, Johnny.
Get a hold of yourself. She may be drop dead gorgeous, but she's already definitely spoken for here. She's with your boss..:: he mentally chided.
Johnny moved to the desk and gratefully accepted a metal stool one of the nurses kicked over to him so he could sit comfortably in spite of being soaking wet like he was. Then he reached for the phone. "Hello, is this the hospital operator? Yeah, this is Fireman John Gage. Could you connect me up with the fire department dispatcher in a relay to Station 51 in Carson? Yeah. I need to get in touch with my captain on official business that's not needed via HT, a.s.a.p.... Thank you, ma'am." ::Then after this. I'm calling Joanne DeSoto to let her know about Roy getting hurt.:: he considered, planning ahead.
Gage rubbed his face wearily as every bump and bruise he had taken on the helicopter flight in began to show itself, but oddly, part of him deep inside still felt pleasantly warm whenever he caught a glimpse of Carrie moving around Roy's exam cubicle in spite of the tight hold he thought he was holding on his emotions. ::Oh, no. Now what am I gonna do? It's still happening. Chet was right,
I AM still in love..:: he said, as he avoided looking at her to quell another dumbstruck grin. ::Am I gonna run into her every trip into the hospital whenever we come in with an emergency patient?:: he quailed. :: I sure hope to h*ll I don't.:: he worried, trying to rub away the fierce flush just beginning to reddened his cheeks.
He completed his call and learned that Dwyer would be the one to be recalled from off duty to take Roy's spot on the squad crew for the rest of the night.
::Geez, is her hair really five shades of blonde? Wow. I really like that:: he thought. Then he caught himself again sharply and clenched a fist to still his impulsiveness.
Dr. Morton's entrance into the suite finally gave Johnny Gage something else to think about. Hurriedly, he abandoned his wool blanket and followed the young African American resident doctor into Roy's room.
Photo: Johnny on a biophone, tight.
Photo: Coast guard helicopter being loaded.
Photo: A smiling young woman doctor.
Photo: Johnny Gage soaking wet, sulking.
From : patti keiper Sent : Wednesday, September 20, 2006 10:23 AM Subject : Gelling Moments..
It was ten minutes later, and Dr. Morton was just finishing up his detailed cranial nerve evaluation on Roy. Mike looked up from the otoscope he was using to look at DeSoto's ear canals. "Just one more thing, Roy. I'm going to test some sound waves out on you." he said, striking a tuning fork on the edge of the gurney's railing that was near Roy's sitting knees.
Next to him, Carrie began scribbling another note for Roy. 'Tell Dr. Morton which sound is louder, through the air or the one in contact with you.' Dr. Cederstrom held up the pad so Roy could read it and know what to expect.
Dr. Morton first held the vibrating two pronged fork next to Roy's left ear for a few seconds. Then he set the end of the grip against DeSoto's head so the sound began to reverberate through the bones of his skull.
Roy got excited through his obvious worry, "I hear that! The second way, doc!" he grinned nervously.
"Is it the same over here?" Morton asked, striking the pitch again and repeating the test.
Carrie wrote down another question and held it up. 'How about the right side?'
"It's doing the same thing, doc. Uh, doctors..." Roy corrected. Nervously, Roy shoved aside the emesis basin he no longer needed. "What,..what does all of this mean? Am I going to stay deaf like this?"
Johnny, standing close and just as intent, muttered. "That's exactly what I wanna know, too." he snorted, eagerly handing Morton the ear instruments he needed whenever he reached for something.
The ENT standing near Morton and Dr. Cederstrom, looked up from the head films they had gotten on Roy as a precaution. "Things are looking better and better at this point. The fact that Roy hears the tuning fork at all means that he didn't suffer any nerve damage. Just some kind of conductive loss. It could be anything from some seawater trapped in his inner ears to what I'm seriously suspecting as just a couple of bilaterally perforated eardrums."
Carrie started smiling as she translated that particular diagnosis for Roy with her pen.
Morton grunted as he swung a viewing magnifier in front of Roy's face. "Let me take this off of you." he said, taking the oxygen mask away and handing it to a nurse. "You don't need it any more. Your pressure's back to normal. Now,
I want to check out your retinas for petechiae. Petechial damage there might mean some concussion-like symptoms later. Do you have any sensitivity to light?"
he asked Roy.
Carrie held up the notepad, 'Photosensitivity?' she showed Roy.
Roy shook his head, and winced at the motion, while he waited for Dr. Morton to get through looking at his eyes through the dinner plate sized viewing glass.
"That still hurts a bit, doesn't it?" the ENT asked DeSoto, as he touched the backs of DeSoto's ears with both hands as he palpated the area gently over both ear canals where his neck joined the bottoms of his ears.
"Well, I'm feeling more and more confident about your injury, Mr. DeSoto." said the ear doc. "Your vertigo was due to getting cold water against your exposed cochlea ossicles through the new tears in your eardrums. Did you see how fast it went away once you warmed up a little?"
Carrie translated for Roy once again.
Roy blinked and coughed, holding his head against the jolt of pain which bit through his head from both ears. "Yeah. But where is this nausea coming from? I'm sure I'd still be puking if the compazine wasn't working so well."
"That is what we're going to check out next." said Carrie. "We have to rule out any possible organ damage from the explosions' blunt force effects. Lie back onto the bed. We have it propped up for you." she said, beginning to run through a series of in-depth neurological tests on his limbs with her reflex hammer while Morton looked for abdominal tenderness or other sore spots.
Mike looked up as he worked. "Any joint pain might mean a trip to a decompression chamber to prevent possible embolus formation." he told Johnny.
Gage gaped. "You mean he might have the bends on top of everything else?"
"If he was pulled down deep enough and held there for a while, yes, it's possible."
Dr. Cederstrom told him. "Certain environmental conditions can bring that on suddenly in some cases of rapid submersion. We have no way of knowing whether or not Mr. DeSoto's perforated eardrums are the result of being too close to the explosion's noise or from being pulled underwater too far, too rapidly."
"Never thought of it that way." said Gage, studying Roy's groggy face thoughtfully.
"So what happens next?"
The ENT smiled. "If his blood work comes back negative for hyperkalemia and decompression sickness tissue byproducts, we can schedule an immediate surgical ward in there to begin repairs on Roy's eardrums. If we can't salvage what's left, we can perform tympanoplasties on them using small pieces of his scalp tissue as emergency grafts to replace them. Also, if we find there's internal aural ossicle fractures under the microscope, we can raid the cadaver bank for new bones. Most likely, if any ear bones shattered at all, it would involve the maleus and the incus only and those are easily graftable. The only telling factor in the end to worry about will be about how much scar tissue Roy's body forms after his surgery. That will directly determine the degree of hearing loss that might remain as a result of all the direct activity that we'll be performing to try and fix things. If we do nothing at all, Roy, you'll stay deaf at the current level you're experiencing and possibly run the risk of meningitis developing through your exposed mastoid bone tissues."
Roy finished reading the notepad that Carrie had written down in medical short hand.
"Just how much loss of hearing are we talking about here?"
The ENT frowned. "I've seen cases where people lose only ten percent of everything and other cases where significant loss occurs despite heroic efforts to repair all the damage." the doctor shrugged. "But, even if moderate loss results, hearing aids can easily make up the difference."
"No it can't." muttered Johnny under his breath. "Not in our case." he sighed.
The ear doctor lifted his eyebrows. "Oh? Why not?"
"We're both firefighters, doc. I can't believe that there's any hearing aid out there that's built strong enough to survive the intense heat of a house fire. They're all made of plastic nowadays, aren't they?" Johnny asked even as he wrote down his comment for Roy to read.
All three doctors nodded reluctantly. And the entire room fell silent in worried thought.
Until Roy started chattering. "Well, I'm not going to worry about what might happen.
Not until all my cards are finally in and counted." he said firmly, grinning as brightly as he could.
Carrie smiled at him. "That's the spirit, Roy. It's always good to have a positive attitude."
Then she looked up at Dr. Morton. "So, do you agree with my assessment, Mike?"
"You mean about his having no signs of internal trauma and shock? Yes, I do." he replied, stepping back from his hands on examination of Roy. "How are his lungs doing?" he said, lifting his stethoscope's drum in a flick where it sat around his neck so Roy would get the question being asked.
"They're clear.." said Roy, Johnny and Carrie at the same time.
"I never started drowning, doc. I'm too good a swimmer for that." DeSoto said, adding more.
"Oh, that's right. Didn't you used to be a Navy Seal?" Morton asked him.
"He went through the training." Johnny shared with him, when Roy was distracted by another lab technician coming in to check his I.V.'s flow rate. "But ended up with the Army when the conflict accelerated on us." he said of the Viet Nam war.
"Tell him later that that's what probably saved his life, Johnny." said Morton, pulling up the bed rail on his side to hold Roy in safely. "Need me for anything else, Carrie?" he asked Dr. Cederstrom.
"Thanks, Mike. A second opinion's all I needed." she said, picking up Roy's chart to start adding orders for an anesthesiologist to report in to oversee Roy's soon-in-coming repair procedure.
"Ok, I'll order up some Demerol for him as a pre-op shot to handle some of that pain he's feeling right now." he said writing in Roy's chart over Carrie's shoulder.
Carrie nodded in appreciation and watched as the young doctor left the room.
Roy looked up from his bruised hands. "So I'm not hurt that badly for sure now."
he grinned, some of the first signs of his usual good nature surfacing at last. "Just what I figured. I was telling that to Johnny the whole trip in here, Dr. Cederstrom." he complained.
"So?" Gage gaped. "Can you blame me for worrying a little? Geez. You know how much it sucks being a paramedic suddenly having to take care of your own paramedic partner. I had to make sure you weren't dying or anything."
Johnny wrote down on the pad. Then he tossed it with some force onto Roy's bare stomach in mock affront.
Chuckling, Roy picked up his notes and read them. "Really?.. huh..."
"You knew I wasn't the moment you took my first pressure." DeSoto teased. "So you're not going to be fooling anybody when you say you didn't overreact a little when you tell the guys about me later on at the station."
"Did I over react, Dr. Cederstrom? Tell me quite frankly. Did I overreact to you about him in any way? I'd like to settle this thing once and for all." he said in partially real mock anger.
Carrie gaped for a few seconds. Then she said. "Well...Ten vital sign sets reports in ten minutes were ....just a tad bit excessive in my book. " she shrugged gently.
Gage threw up his hands and walked away in mock exasperation to get a rise out of Roy. He returned to the bed, grinning a whole lot more when he saw the corners of Roy's mouth curling up.
Carrie and the ENT shared with DeSoto what to expect after his ears were repaired. "Your ears will be filled with biogel that will be holding your new grafts and bones in place. It'll be important for you to not sneeze, suck on a straw or cough with your mouth closed or you'll damage everything we've fixed up. We'll help you keep your mouth open while you're waking up from the general anesthestic. And your head will feel about ten pounds heavier, and full, due to the packing gel."
"How long will the procedure take?" DeSoto asked.
The ENT wrote. 'Oh, anywhere from two to four hours. It's delicate work.
If the new eardrums are placed too far forward or back inside the ear canals,
the new drums might bow and re-tear again during the healing process. We don't want that to happen. For each time repairs are made to fix tympanoplasty failures, more scar tissue is formed, resulting in more potential permanent hearing loss.'
"Just.. uh, just how much will I lose this time, doctor?" Roy asked.
"We don't know. It all depends on what we find for damage once we go into those areas." admitted the ENT on paper.
"I see.." whispered Roy, lowering his eyes.
Johnny's face fell out of his encouraging grin at the news. "Roy, do you want me to call Joanne now or later? I mean, it might calm her down better if.. if she had more to go on about all this."
"Tell her later. My wife's least favorite words, she tells me, that she ever hears from doctors are, 'I don't know.' I think we'd better make sure my facts are known before we tell her anything." DeSoto decided.
"Ok.. I'll hold off until you hit the recovery room. Joanne's not expecting you home tonight since it's just the beginning of your 48 hours on so she won't suspect anything from not hearing from you.."
Johnny said as he wrote down his sentences. He winced at his own unthinking words. "Sorry.. I didn't mean that to sound like it did."
Roy grinned at the chagrin on Johnny's face. "That's ok." he said once he read the part of the sentence Johnny had tried to scratch out. "I'm gonna need a lot of joking to get by this one so you'd better get yourself and the other guys started on that." he winked.
Carrie touched Roy on the shoulder. "Dr. Morton's ordered for you some Demerol for pain. Can you have that?" she asked, showing him the written order on his chart.
Roy read it and nodded. "That'll be ok. I don't have an allergy to that.
I- I'm really ready for some more sleep. It's been a long day." he said bravely. "Can't say my luck's been running too.. good ......here."
he mumbled, beginning to snore. Fatigue finally carried him into sleep and his breathing quieted.
"It's been running better than you know." Johnny said, under his breath.
"You could've died out there today...." he said, feeling Roy's wrist for the reassuring soft beat there.
"But he didn't.." said Carrie, overhearing Johnny.
Startled, Gage looked up at Cederstrom with surprise and felt heartened by the encouragement she had him given off the record. "Thanks.."
he smiled, finally relaxing. "So,.. how much sick leave is he going to need to get his ears better?"
"Oh, it'll take about four weeks tops. It'll take time for his body to absorb the gel we'll be putting in and about a week's more time for the swelling to go down to the point where we'll learn where his hearing's going to be sitting at post operative." Dr. Cederstrom told him.
"As for the rest of his observation, he can go home in the morning once he's fully over the effects of his anesthesia."
"Okay.. okay. I'll be sure to tell him that,.. Uh, and I'll tell Joanne everything I just heard, too. Afterwards."
"I'd appreciate that. Thanks, Johnny." Cederstrom smiled.
"Would you care to grab a cup of coffee with me? It'll be a few minutes before Roy's ENT is ready for me to assist him in the other room."
Gage's heart took a leap.
"Oh, Uh, Coffee?! W-with you?! Well, uh,.. actually. Heh. I think I'd better be getting into a new uniform. I'm beginning to itch from all the salt drying on my skin, Dr. Cederstrom." he snapped his fingers."Sorry,..uh.. C-Carrie."
"That's all right. I'll take a rain check for another time perhaps.." said Carrie, winking slowly at him. Then she moved back to the bed to hook Roy up to an EKG in preparation for his surgery.
Gage barely made his exit from the room before giving himself a stunned thought. ::Did Dr. Cederstrom just take a pass at me?!:: he fretted. ::I wonder how Dr. Brackett would feel about that if he ever found out:
Johnny quailed. ::Whatever the case, he's not going to find out about what just happened a moment ago from me.::
Photo: Morton tending a wounded, smiling Roy.
Photo: Close up of Morton in deep thought.
Photo: An injection entering an I.V. port.
Photo: A woman giving a challenging gaze.
Photo: Roy's eyes getting scoped in a magnifier.
Photo: Johnny smiling at the hospital around a towel.
From : Champagne Scott Sent : Thursday, September 21, 2006 1:06 PM Subject : Man Trap..
Johnny Gage picked up his soggy uniform from the floor of the squad after he pulled up into the vehicle bay. He had made due in his T-shirt and night pants to tie him over until he could grab a hot shower and some new clothes from his locker.
Dwyer was already there, checking the engine's resuscitator apparatus after changing out an oxygen cylinder. He offered a friendly wave to Gage as the tired paramedic dragged himself out of the truck and onto his feet.
Chet Kelly was with Gil, too, and instantly, he gave word out loud of Johnny's arrival back to the station. The rest of the gang eagerly abandoned dinner preparations to rush out and get the latest news.
Gil beat them all to it. "How's Roy doing, Johnny? I heard something about his undergoing surgery from Dixie a couple of hours ago."
"He's ok, guys. Relax. They're just making a few repairs on his ear drums, that's all. He's negative for internal trauma,.. brain, pulmonary or abdominal." Gage smiled wearily.
Captain Stanley was the last to join them all because he had snatched the coffee pot from the stove to take with him. Cap poured out a mug and offered it up to Johnny. He placed them both on the squad's hood and shoved them over with a few fingers. "Drink up. You must be starving. Supper's almost ready. A-are you sure that Roy's doing ok? Sudden deafness is nothing to shake a stick at if it means there's a chance that it might cost a guy his livelihood sometime down the road." Hank fretted.
Johnny gratefully warmed his chilled hands around the steaming mug.
"That's not gonna happen, Cap. I made sure I got Roy's results and the best possible outcome from his doctor just before I left the hospital."
"Oh? Who's got his chart this time?" Hank asked.
"What? Uh,. w-who's got it? Well, uh.." Gage stuttered, uncomfortably. Unconsciously, his fingers began to fidget on the rescue truck's hood.
"Uh, oh..." Chet trickled. "She does. Doesn't she?" Kelly grinned like a cat. "Man, does Dr. Cederstrom even know she's got the key to your heart, Gagey boy?"
Gage shot him a dirty look.
Chet was merciless. "Well, you know what they always say about the grass being greener.."
Johnny slammed his empty mug on the hood with an angry smack and he promptly made tracks for the kitchen, abandoning all of them. He made straight for Henry, looking to use his big bulk as both an emotional pacifer and a convenient hot water bottle.
Sighing, Gil laid a hand on Chet's shoulder.
"Kelly, I think we'd better back off on trying to throw a complication into the Rampart/Love Boat bet for tonight. Let's just give him some peace, huh?
We won't find out any more news about Roy if you irritate Johnny too much about what's an obviously new sore subject." Dwyer said. "I didn't know that he'd feel hopelessly attracted to another man's girl. And I'm sure that Johnny didn't either."
Kelly finally stopped his predatory grin, cold. "I know I didn't expect anything like that. I'm totally shocked, man. At full charge." he said, gesturing between himself and the blonde haired paramedic. "But, uh..what do you think happened between those two earlier that's making Johnny so jumpy?" he asked slyly.
Gil licked his lips in deep thought. "Who knows. It's always dangerous messing with your boss's girlfriend. I don't think I wanna find out, Chet. Do you?" Dwyer asked. Gil walked away to pick up where he left off on his cooking duties.
"Yes, I do. " Kelly whispered, when Roy's substitute was out of earshot. "Might be kinda fun finding out a few of the grittier facts first. Yep. I think I smell another prime betting pool opportunity in the works concerning our resident Romeo and his forbidden love interest. A guy's got the right to make his rent payment whenever he can, doesn't he?"
Putting his hands in his pockets, Chet wandered back into the kitchen.
Conversation was already getting paramedic technical as Gil mulled over Roy's prognosis from the details he was gleaning off of Johnny. Dwyer also wanted to get one or two bowls of steaming chili into Johnny to stop his shivering before they got their next rescue call, for Gil knew that he'd be really miserable going back out into the rain without being fully dried out.
Even Henry was trying to lick away Johnny's goose pimples.
"So, the vertigo's back?" Dwyer asked.
"Yeah, and Roy's hating every moment of it. He's getting dizzy just breathing." said Johnny, hugging Henry while he petted the huge dog where he was sitting sprawled out in his lap. "The ENT surgeon said that there's a slight chance that some labrinthine damage in the form of swelling may have occurred post surgical. He's being evaluated right now to rule out a possible perilymph leak as the cause of his new vertiginous symptoms. So far, Joanne's the only one doing the happy dance. They can't knock him out to spare him any misery because he's still got too much of the general anesthetic left in his system bogging down his BP."
"That sucks." muttered Stoker, placing a bowl of romaine salad on the table.
"No, it spins." Johnny grinned. "Round and round. Clockwise in his case." he chuckled.
"Well, how do you explain yours, Johnny?" Captain Stanley asked. "Are you gonna do the honorable thing and lay off Brackett's lady in spite of how you feel about her?"
Gage's mouth flopped clean open. Hearing a comment like that coming from Cap was totally unexpected. The idea of Hank getting in on the usual dating shop talk was almost too much to wrap his mind around. "Cap, I'm surprised at you."
Johnny blurted out. "Don't you trust me?"
"With my life? Sure. But when it comes to some pretty little thing walking down the street who's got someone else's ring on..." he shrugged his shoulders meaningfully.
Johnny immediately became even more crestfallen. "I suppose you're right.
Sometimes I wanna score so bad, I don't think about any possible negative consequences before I go leaping. But you've got to believe me when I tell you that I didn't start things with her today. She did. I was just minding my own business when she came up to me and--" Gage immediately bit his lip in horror and he glanced up to where Chet was setting out the chili pot onto pot holders. Luckily, Kelly hadn't heard one syllable of that hot little confession.
Hank smiled and finally stood up from the crouch he had taken in front of Johnny. "Well, I think I'm beginning to understand things a little bit better now. Thanks for levelling with me about Dr. Cederstrom. But I had to pry, Johnny. As a friend,
not as your captain. Getting Brackett on a bad side would be pure h*ll for all the rest of us."
"Boy do I know that.." Johnny moaned miserably. "He'd go to the chiefs and cry departmental character foul so fast that--"
"Here. Eat." said Marco, passing off a heaping bowl of hot food to Johnny where he still slouched on the couch, draped in dog. "My mama always says if your heart's aching over somebody you can't have, fill your stomach to the eyeballs. That way, you'll get so sleepy that you can't even think about 'em."
"Sounds like a plan..." Johnny said, picking up his spoon half-heartedly.
"I don't think I'll need much to do that. But...just....save out a couple of gallons of that for me, Marco, would ya? I think I'm gonna need it." he sighed sadly.
Marco patted him on the arm in sympathy. "Just say no to her." he said, rising to rejoin the gang at the table. "That's easy enough to do."
"Maybe for you.." Johnny muttered. "Your heart's not the one involved here..."
he said when Marco had finished wandering away. "Mine is."
The gang was comfortably somnolent in chairs around the rec room when the tones went off an hour later. Long ones.
::An all station's call?:: Hank thought. ::I wonder what's up this time?:: Cap thought as he roused the rest of the guys into a faster get-on-the-ball vehicle break out pace.
Photo: Dwyer and Chet in the vehicle bay with a resuscitator stand.
Photo: A loafing Henry, sprawled out on the couch.
Photo: Stoker, spooning in chili, quickly.
Photo: Cap, analytically eyeballing someone.
Photo: Gage, grumpy, by a rainy window.
Photo: The squad, with its lights on, in the garage.
Photo: Station 51, rolling along a street at night, code 3.
*************************************************** From: Sam Iam Date: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:02 pm Subject: The Seige..
##Battalion One,Truck 127, Stations 39, 36, 8, 2, 20 and 51. Tanker accident with an unknown number of injuries, involving chemicals. Highway 101 northbound at the Santa Monica Freeway viaduct. Highway 101 northbound at the Santa Monica Freeway viaduct. Hazmat has been notified for a full response. Time out : 17:56.##
Cap shot out of his chair with alacrity along with the rest of the gang.
"Mike, the wind direction right now in that canyon's still matching what we have here in Carson. I just saw it on a weather broadcast."
"I saw that, too. It's from the southwest at 12 to 18. Got it." said Stoker as he jogged by Gil and Marco, who were checking the wall map for the fastest way to the scene while they searched for a large open spot that was going to remain safely in an upwind.
Lopez spoke up. "Cap, there's an empty car dealership immediately to the south of that location with six hydrants at that intersection surrounding the freeway. I know that because I shop at a supermarket there and notice them all the time."
Hank paused with one leg inside the Ward's cab, leaning on the roof.
"Dwyer, Stoker, go to that lot first. And Chet, tell the chief where it's at while we're still on the way. He's gonna wanna know a good set up location from which to stage all phases of Hazmat's and our rescue operations." Then Cap pulled on his jacket from the seat of the side front passenger cab. "Did L.A. say that things're involving an overpass, Stoker?" he asked as he slipped it on and strapped his helmet onto his head.
"Yeah. I think Santa Monica's a new one that opened up this spring." Mike replied, starting the ignition.
Hank snatched up the loudspeaker as the garage door rolled open and yelled out an order. ##Grab two extra scba bottles each from the holding locker before you belt in. Gage, Dwyer..that goes for you, too. My guess is that we're gonna make every pound per square inch of breathing air count in the worst possible way.##
"O.k, Cap." they all said, hurrying a little faster.
Johnny, thinking ahead, grabbed on board a couple of three liter saline irrigation bags from the wall closet and laid them on the floor of the squad by his feet where he wouldn't step on them. At a surprised noise, he looked up to see Gil in the process of raising his eyebrows. Johnny mumbled. "Well,..a lot of burns are gonna happen, right? Especially if this turns out to be a mass casualty incident." he explained with a shrug.
Dwyer nodded grimly in agreement. "Hope you're wrong. Hope we all are, on worrying about this one." he said softly, gripping the driver's steering wheel in antsy palms.
The extra minute it took to gather the supplemental gear felt like an excruciatingly long time to everyone, including Henry, who started barking from where he stood uncharacteristically in the kitchen doorway as if to tell them to hurry it up a whole bunch.
The firemen needed no encouragement from him at all.
They were gone...
Gil and Stoker made up for the slower start time by washing the road stretching ahead of them, with their trucks' airhorns more frequently than they usually did, to clear the way until it was free of traffic before their lights even began stabbing through all the lamped intersections.
New tones sounded over the air waves, ones not heard very often that signified an emergency update from L.A. headquarters. ##L.A. to all units, please hold silence for priority 10-90 traffic. All stations responding to the truck incident on Highway 101: Citizens' report a gas cloud of unknown type has been liberated from the scene and is drifting east north east over a residential neighborhood. Rampart General and Mercy Hospitals have been notified of an official MCI declaration as ordered by Battalion One. Helicopter Nine is en route with two doctors who're reporting to your scene for triage management. Battalion Fourteen, do you copy?##
##Battalion Fourteen, L.A. I copy. Battalions 9 and 12, roll out and report to the main incident on Highway 101 and Santa Monica Freeway. Approach from the south. Start delegating assignments as our stations report in. L.A. respond a third alarm assignment to that endangered neighborhood to effect immediate evacuations. At no time will you call L.A.P.D. to assist.## said the divisional chief.
::No kidding.:: grunted Hank as he impatiently drummed his gloves on the dash as Stoker stepped up their pace to the accident site. ::They don't have air bottles like we do. Let's just hope people have their TV sets on and heed the warning to stay inside buildings until help arrives to break them out safely.::
The requested page for additional fire responses went out, involving L.A. City Fire and the nearby Escondido pumper stations.
Hank paid no more attention to the main channel, instead perking his ears for orders from his Battalion Chief, One, as he called for his station crew specifically via HT. "Stoker, that's for us, hand me the dash mic. Engine 51 to Battalion One, go ahead." swallowed Cap, controlling the tension in his voice.
Battalion One replied with defining authority over their private band and crew specific HTs. ##Engine 51 and Squad 51, survey the original accident scene from a safe distance. If there's no gas danger to the south, go in upwind and get out all the casualties you can in strict triage order. I've cleared that auto lot for a site of operations. That's where I'm located and where our medical air support will be landing. Do not risk your men, even in full scba, should wind directions shift towards you. Pull 'em out a.s.a.p. Hazmat will be ready to enter then if you're forced to abandon and they'll eventually be taking over for you. They're ordered to decontaminate victims and deliver them to you and Station 36 as they're freed for all necessary treatment at Triage after that personnel switch-off is 127 and Stations 2 and 20 will be maintaining water spray curtains and applying alcohol resistant foam to protect all of your extrication efforts until we determine the exact nature of that spreading gas cloud. Report all DOT MSDS details you discover. Is that clear, Station 51?##
Hank got a double horn tap from Squad 51. "Station 51, Battalion One, that's affirmative. We're arriving now and we're positioning ourselves on the overpass for a good vantage point. Stand by for more information."
##Standing by.## answered gravel voiced Battalion One.
Stanley got out of the truck and met his men, who left both vehicles running and aimed at a clear escape route off the viaduct's other end. He saw that Gil and Johnny had already taken a peek off the other side of the concrete railing.
"Whatcha got?!" he yelled at them when he could see nothing on his side.
Gage shifted the air bottle on his back and began playing with the straps on his mask that he was carrying at the ready in his hands. "There's a front-end loader on the freeway. Looks like it tipped and fell from up here off somebody's passing trailer when a turn was taken too fast. That guy's gotta be long gone. There's two trucks down there. Neither one with significant damage. One is clearly labelled hydrochloric acid and that's the source of the leak. Not very big of a puddle's on the ground yet, maybe...six feet by twelve feet from a bent valve underneath the main barrel of the 's a driver trapped in the leaking truck. He's conscious. Towards the back of Truck One, there's an off-red car T-boned collided underneath his payload's tank.
Can't see if there's anyone inside of it or not."
"We'll check that out first." Hank promised. "What about the second truck?"
Gil cleared his throat in frustration. "The cab's empty. The driver's standing on the embankment rubbing his face, probably walking wounded. There are no markings on his truck at all except for a DOT placard. It says, 'Corrosive. Class 8.'"
"Oh, wonderful.." Hank sighed. "It'd better not be an oxidizer. Ok, get down there and see what you can do, gang. Put your masks on at the slightest sign of trouble. I'll watch everyone's back as a safety. I'll only step in when I'm needed. Chet, Marco go help them handle those drivers and check out the car. Stoker, go in with a reel line, just on a light spray, from Engine 20. And for Pete's sake everybody,
be careful down there."
"We will.." Kelly waved encouragingly.
Hank jogged down the grassy embankment close behind them, taking two of the plastic stokes from Squad 51's rear store compartment with him. ::Won't be able to use metal ones. They'll just melt in all this acid.:: he decided. He could see Johnny climbing the sideways cab of the HCL acid truck with Marco and he whistled loudly. They looked up. Cap gestured, indicating where he left the pair of stokes on the hill. Then he reported to Battalion what he had found.
##Only the HCL's leaking, Hank?## asked the chief.
"So far, yeah. From a bent valve still partially sealed. The other driver's milling about with a bunch of papers in his hand. They might be the bill of lading." he said into his handy talkie.
##Get him out of there and get him up to me. How many victims do you have?##
"Three. A male in the first truck, a female in the car, and then our walking truck driver. I'll read what he's got and evacuate my men out once the last victim's free."
##Make it fast, Hank. You know how volatile an acid spill gets in breezy conditions.##
"Don't worry, chief. We won't be the ones frying, sir, just the trucks when they go.
I'll be watching things better than just closely."
##So will I. Notify all the supporting engine crews via HT on everything you learn about the second truck the instant you discover it. Then tell me. Their safety's first.##
"Aye, chief. Gimme one minute!" Captain Stanley said. Then he turned to his four working to free the two accident victims. "Gage, Gil.. I'm talking to this guy.
I'll be right back!" he said. "Meyers, cover me with problem spotting for them." he ordered a lieutenant off Engine 2.
"Yes, sir.." said the younger man, taking a nearby place on high ground to watch 51's crew's rapid extrication work.
Nearby, Marco and Johnny had pried the first truck's door open where the intact cab lay on its side. Johnny began shouting. "Hey! You've got to get out of there now! It's not safe. Grab my hand. You're not hurt much at all." he shouted down at the conscious driver cowering inside the window cracked,
white painted truck cab.
"There's acid all over out there..." said the man fearfully, breathing hard.
"I know that. But it's not here yet. Gimme your hand at we'll haul you up outta there." said Johnny.
"I don't wanna go. I.. It's not safe!"
"Don't be stupid! What about the fumes getting in? Didn't you think about that?
They're gonna get you for sure if you don't get out now. I don't know about you but I don't wanna die today. Come on, mister, reach for me!" Johnny ordered, keeping an eye on Kelly and Gil crouched by someone alive in the crushed dark red car. A woman's arm flopped out of the open door when they pulled it away from her and he was glad to see it moving some fingers.
The terrified trucker grunted and finally grabbed hold of Gage's glove. Johnny lifted and got the man hefted up part way. Then Marco hauled on the dazed man's pants belt to finish the job.
"Ok... anything broken in your legs? Can you walk?" Gage asked the man as Lopez jumped down to intercept a pass-off from Johnny to get the man off the truck.
"No,..uh, yeah.. My foot. The left one. I can't feel it.." stammered the driver.
"Ok, Marco, help him down. Support his left side. It'll take no weight."
Gage told Lopez.
The fireman nodded, then he coughed quickly before he could say anything. He whipped his flowing air mask up fast in order to take a breath from it. "Gage, wind's shifting!" he yelled from under its protective glass.
Johnny nodded, pulling some air off his own faceplate. Then he offered it to the coughing driver as the two firemen arm support walked him over to a newly geared up Meyers and the waiting orange stokes.
"Gil, get the woman out now!" Gage shouted to his new partner. "The wind's changing!"
Chet's head looked up in momentary terror and Johnny saw it disappear behind scba gear after a short shout. "We're almost through, Johnny!" Kelly promised.
Crouching low, Gil spoke to the woman. "Ma'am. Can you hear me? This is going to hurt alot. But we're in danger. We all have to leave now. Including you." he told the face bloodied girl.
"Ok..ok..*choke*.. I..." she gagged. "Fumes!" she coughed. "Can't..br--"
Dwyer gave her his mask. "Take your breaths from this. Easy hon.
No, you keep it. We'll share our air as we go!" he said, indicating himself and Kelly. Holding his breath after speaking, he took Chet's mask when it was instantly handed to him and used it aggressively to clear his head.
Seconds later, Chet and Gil dragged the girl out of the car as carefully as they could. Then they started running with her in a two man arm carry.
Other firemen met them, including Cap, who shoved the trucking papers back at the driver without reading them. The others holding the water curtain shifted one side of its arch until it rained liberally over 51's planned escape route.
Hank started yelling. "Get those water cannons to unmanned settings right now. Then pull yourselves back! Everybody hear me? Everyone get back now!" he told them.
The acid fumes fighting firemen in the hot zone got out in seconds.
Panting, but safely on the far side of the bridge, Vince took custody of the uninjured driver. "What's your cargo?..Come on and tell me. Those men are risking their lives down there and I'm sure you don't wanna get anyone killed by whatever it is you're carrying."
"Uh,, I don't know, mister. I was just filling in for the r-regular guy." said the balding man with a fake smile and stutter.
"That's a hefty fine. I hope your memory starts improving real fast.."
said Howard, visually making sure the rescue teams were retreating on the heels of Hank's abandon everything command.
"I'm tryin' to remember.. I'm tryin' real hard. But I must in be shock or something. Yeah, that's it.." he lied, taking a seat on the concrete guard railing near the sidewalk.
Vince scowled. Severely. He could see that the truck driver didn't have a single solitary scratch on him. "I'm giving you one more chance to get honest with me. What's your cargo?"
Cap was leaning over, his own mask tightly over his face after he had made sure the last of his team was up the embankment. "How bad and what kind of an exposure did our victims get?" he asked Gage while all of them rested.
"Just some HCL vapors on two of them. No direct contact." panted Johnny, sucking hard off the air supply flowing into his scba mask. He glanced at his hands for signs of burns after pulling off and abandoning his gloves.
"The rest of us .....seem to be fine." he gasped tiredly, pulling a new pair of work gloves out of his jacket's pocket.
"All right. Load her into another flotation stokes and then we'll carry her ov-
Wait a minute.." Hank said frowning, looking over the edge of the bridge's cement railing. "There's a new puddle forming under the second truck."
he told them. "Whatever it is, it's a clear liquid." Frowning, he pulled a penny out of his pocket and gave it a hefty toss down to the accident site. It bounced a couple of times before landing neatly into the new pool of slowly spreading, non-fogging, chemical.
A ring of turquoise immediate formed around it and bubbles of brown rose into the air as the coin boiled and began dissolving. Hank's eyes widened and he lifted the walkie talkie, getting it to his mouth as fast as possible. "Engine 51 to Battalion One. There's aqua fortis in truck two. I repeat. Fuming nitric!"
##I read you, Engine 51. Get everybody clear immediately...##
Hank began running. "Go.. go!.. Guys, get the vehicles off the bridge now! Dwyer, Chet ! Put her on top of the engine. The second truck's gonna blow up bigger than we thought in a minute or less!"
Gil, Johnny, Vince and the others scattered like chickens, picking either Squad 51 or the Ward engine in which to make their escape.
Down below, the hose support crews were already gone, having left behind the automatic water cannons.
Stoker was waiting for a fist's thump on top of the engine cab that would tell him the girl was loaded safely on the engine's hose bed when he saw it. "Cap... the second tanker's changing color. The top valve just blew open. See it?" he pointed quietly, hair trigger tense.
"Yes, I do, Mike. Cr*p..Looks like it's gonna be sooner rather than--" he ansed. He got on his HT. "Gil...tell me you guys are almost ready up there. I'm giving you five seconds tops and no more!"
##Now, Cap, now! She's set! We're set. Go, Stoker!## said Dwyer as he and Marco crouched over the woman's stokes in their masks to make sure the stretcher didn't shift as the Ward lurched into motion. Sirens screaming, Engine 51 and Squad 51 took their hastily crammed in passengers rapidly off and headed away from the overpass.
The engine's rear bumper was just clear of the gap looking down over the truck accident site when a colossal explosion ripped the air, sending an acrid white, brown and yellow cloud of ejected nitric acid, nitrogen dioxide and hydrogen gas mushrooming into the air. It immediately coursed east along the wind's new directional path and away from where fire companies were evacuating the first previously-thought-to-be jeopardized neighborhood.
Captain Stanley radioed out the frightening new development.
"Engine 51 to Battalion One. Explosive decomposition! New cloud's drifting directly east. All initial rescue crews are clear of the hot zone. I repeat all crews are safe, present and accounted for and off the immediate scene." Hank reported. "My station's got three conscious victims inside of and on our vehicles. Our ETA to Triage is in less than two."
##Hazmat's standing by for them, Hank. As soon as your station's showered clean and declared available once more, get your men into the new neighborhood in full scba and start your warnings. Evacuate all potential life threatened populations out of the area. That includes all homes and businesses. Choppers are beginning the new announcements now from the air. Get everybody clear at least a mile and a half upwind. First priority, there's a school on Maxwell Ave. They're in session. Use your authority to use their buses and drivers as evacuation vehicles. It'll be faster than waiting for custody and transportation vans from the P.D.##
"10-4, Battalion. Get my personnel and my trucks decontaminated, and then get involved in a response to evacuate Maxwell Elementary." Stanley repeated. "Copy that."
##Good luck, Hank. Be careful.##
"We will, chief. Engine 51 out."
Station 51 had just pulled up on Maxwell Avenue with both of their sets of sirens wailing when a panic began full blown on the school's playground. Young children began screaming in pain and running for the school's open doors.
Just as suddenly, the brownish acid cloud lifted and spun away.
Seconds later, one little girl fell where she was and didn't move.
"Vapors, Cap!" Gage yelled into his radio.
##Get out there!## reacted Stanley, in high fear for those kids.
Frantic, Gage and Dwyer shot out of the parked squad and they ran fast, motioning for the rest of the children escaping the drifting acid cloud to keep going. "Close the doors completely shut after yourselves!" Johnny warned, shouting loudly through his air mask so that he was heard.
Stoker, Kelly, Marco and Cap split up into pairs to begin closing every open window and door they could find to slow the fumes' penetration into the brick building.
Gil and Johnny ran to the little girl's side and rolled her over, pulling the poncho that had covered her face up when she fell, away from her head.
He gasped suddenly, looking away.... "She's...."
Gil confirmed the finding. "...dead. I know." he said, checking for the pulse that he knew was going to be absent from her neck. "Looks like acid burns caught her in the face."
"And most likely in her lungs, too. Leave her. Let's go help save the others.." said Johnny grimly. He rose after covering the tiny body up in the poncho. He left a reflective fatality marker on top of her for recovery crews to find later.
Dwyer and Gage ran for the school's back side, seeking a way in. They found one and hurried inside."Cap.." he reported in on the radio."One Code F in the yard. Are you guys in here yet?"
##Yes, we are. Help us get them all into the gymnasium. It's away from the vents connecting the rest of the school with the indoor swimming pool.##
Gage quailed. ::Oh, sh*t, that's right. Nitric fumes'll make cyanide gas in contact with any form of pool chemicals.:: he thought desperately. "We're on our way. We'll sweep the library for stragglers."
##Yes. Do that. The air's ok in here.## reported Cap.
Over the frequency, Johnny could hear sounds of crying, panicking children and adults in the background where they hurried across the floor of the gym, echoing in confusion behind Cap's voice. ##I've notified the chief of our predicament. Whatever you do, save what's left of your air while you two find a way to get to us safely. Avoid any open windows.
The cloud's sunk back down around the school again#
From: Cassidy Meyers Date: Sat Sep 30, 2006 1:31 am Subject: Lock In...
Cap whirled when Gage and Gil burst through a side gym door and slammed it shut behind them. It startled many frightened children sitting on the gym floor until a couple of teachers calmed them down.
Gil shouted. "Cap, nobody's left out there. Library's deserted."
"Good." Hank started forward. "I moved everybody to the center of the gymnasium. Marco, string up a line from that emergency fire hose in the wall and charge it. Some of these playground kids are probably acid burned and don't even know it yet."
Gage gaped in surprise. "Cap, you guys brought in all our gear.."
"We sure as h*ll did. Brought in the engine's resuscitator, too.
And your irrigation bags from the squad. Get to work. We're gonna have to dike up all the run-off when we start washing down the worst exposed kids. Use those sandbags over there that I see under the bleachers. We'll spray all the stuff right into that janitor's closet. There's a large drain in there.
Stoker, look for any hazards outside the gym that might react to the fumes that are gonna get into the hallways. Especially check out the chemistry lab. Last thing we want is a fire spontaneously erupting on top of the rest of all this mess. Then get back in here and help Gil and Johnny with any medical care." he said, sweeping his gloved hand in a gesture over the crowded gym of sniffling, scared kids and quietly whispering adults.
Stanley got on his radio. "Engine 51 to Battalion One. Here's our update. The gym is secure from outside air and we're safe for the moment. But we'll need an immediate Hazmat reconnaissance to neutralize any unseen chemical threats surrounding us. A couple of the teachers say there's a chemistry lab nearby full of Class One reactants that the students were working with today."
##I copy that, 51. Let me know the number of injuries and the total head count of minors and adults who are with you when you can. I've two doctors from Rampart suiting up and they'll be joining you soon to help with your situation 're Doctors Brackett and Cederstrom from Rampart Hospital.##
"10-4. Have a Hazmat pair bring them through the gym's south fire door. That stairwell's not yet flooded with fumes."
##I'll tell them, Hank.## said the chief. ##Give us five minutes minimum to get them in there to you.##
Hank pushed down his HT antennae with a harried frown. He looked up when Gage began to speak to the gym at large as he and Dwyer stripped out of their air bottles and turnouts to look less threatening.
"Listen up kids.. We're just firemen from the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Let me fill you in on what's happening outside. Now I'm going to be completely honest with you. There's a pair of chemical trucks burning on the freeway upwind and that's what's made us lock all of you inside the gym here right now. We needed to get away from some bad smoke. But we're nice and safe and air tight so don't worry. Stay calm. Now next question is for anyone who was just playing at recess when you saw our firetrucks pull up to the school. Is there anyone who feels like they're getting sunburned right now?" he asked the cluster of frightened children seated on the floor in front of him.
"Teachers, if you think you have any kids who do, raise your hands and we'll check them out immediately. That vapor can be dangerous even though they're out of it. Kids, don't panic. The worst we'll do to ya is get you wet, by giving you a free bath by fire hose. Won't hurt a bit,
I promise. Although ...we may get ya a little cold and make your teeth start chattering." he grinned.
A bubbling murmur of faint giggles rose from the various groups of gathered students until a single teacher's hand lifted urgently.
"My kids were outside. Please, I have a few not acting normally."
"Which ones?" Gage asked, crouching near the windbreaker jacketed teacher. "Here, gimme your outer coat, ma'am. It's probably been contaminated by the fumes." he said, reaching out for it. "Check yourself over real good for skin problems. Let me know if you find any redness, itching, or swelling. If you do, let me or my partner know right away and we'll start washing you down to stop the exposure."
Taking the coat from the woman with his jacket halligan used as a stick,
he tossed it into the closet where the water drain was located.
Gil and Gage began examining the knot of children who had been outside. They began stripping them down to their regular clothes,
removing shoes and anything else that was clearly an outer layer. Marco washed these away from the paramedics with the charged hose and he pushed them into the closet space vigorously.
Some of the children nearby laughed in spite of their fear at the sight of seeing the shiny polished wooden floor getting soaked in such a strange way. He took advantage of that. "Say, who'd like to help my fire captain here build a sand castle of sand bags? We need a fort around that closet door to hold all the water and all the things I'm pushing into it. Who wants to help him?" he asked.
A lot of the older kids volunteered by raising their hands. "Ok, great. Listen to your gym coaches first. I've already told them how to build what we need. Go on, it's ok, go ahead. This fort's gonna help the others who are getting set to take their water baths." Lopez explained.
Gil quickly identified two children in the playground bunch who were just starting to wheeze. "Johnny, this little boy in light blue's first. Can you get him on some O2?"
"Yeah. I've got a little girl in green doing the same thing. Chet, can you get her started on the engine's tank? Be sure to raise her head up."
"Ok, Johnny." Kelly said, easing the child's upper body into his lap. "Hi there, little lady. My name's Chet. My legs are gonna be your pillow for a while, is that ok? Don't worry. Your teacher's gonna stay right here holding your hand while I put this oxygen mask on your face so you can breathe in and out a little better.
Guess you earned yourself one of the first hose showers, didn't you?"
The gasping girl nodded sleepily, tears leaking from her acid reddened eyes. "Uh, huh..."
"I'll get you dried off real fast so you don't get too cold. I promise."
he said to her. "I got a blanket with your name on it waiting right here next to us, ok? It's real warm. And look,..it's got teddy bears on it." he said, holding it up.
The little girl laughed, but then she coughed liquidly. Chet glanced over to where the first little boy was getting scoured under the hose spray. "Johnny.. she sounds wet."
"All right. We'll have Brackett on the line in a minute. Help her on her inspirations if she needs it. This boy's got our hands full. He's going out on us." Gage told him quickly.
Soon the male child was stretched out onto the floor again amid the squad's opened medical gear. Gil put one of the teachers to work irrigating the boy's acid burns with a running I.V. line from one of the saline bags. "Don't touch the water that touches him. Let Marco here wash it away for you." Dwyer instructed.
"Ok.. uh,.. I understand." said the worried coach.
Gage and Gil fell deep into their assessments of the two critical, fumes exposed children once the little girl had her rapid decontamination completed.
Photo: A fire hose fanned coil folded on wall hooks.
Photo: Teachers and kids walking by a fire engine in a hurry.
Photo: Close up of gym listening kids.
Photo: Gage near a distressed boy.
Photo: Chet caring for a downed girl child with oxygen.
Photo: Cap looking on, worried, in close up.
From: 'patti keiper'
Date: September 30, 2006. 16:39:07 CST.
"Johnny?! Gil?!" came a loud, very welcome voice. It was Dr. Brackett, peeling out of a Hazmat suit at the entrance to the school gymnasium.
Dr. Carrie Cederstrom followed him in with a very laden trauma and surgical pack as she peeled it out of its protective covering.
"Over here! These two first!" yelled Dwyer from the circle of firemen leaning over the hose water soaked pair of children.
Kel Brackett saw that Hank Stanley had joined Kelly in keeping the little girl ventilating well.
"What do you have?" Kel snapped out quickly, kneeling in between both kids.
"Nitric acid byproducts exposure, gaseous form. Both were in breathing contact with a concentrated cloud for a minute or so." replied Captain Stanley, thinking hard as he remembered the first moments that he had witnessed storming onto the playground scene. "The fumes were bad enough to kill people, doc."
"Even glancingly, less than a minute's long enough to cause some real problems." said Cederstrom. "How about any of the rest of these children?" Carrie asked, glancing around at the teachers and elementary school students watching them quietly from the other side of the gym.
"They're fine so far." Gage answered, looking up from the stethoscope that he had placed over the little boy's ribcage. "Doc, the girl's in a lot of pain.
The boy's got acute signs of PE and wheezing developing that's equally distinct on both sides. She has some, too, but it's to a lesser degree."
"Hers isn't audible in the lower fields."
Kel ran over his fast triaging list. "Ok, how about these burns?"
"We're seeing regions of eschar, on their faces, heads and hands in areas that were air exposed and out of their clothing." Gil answered.
"Tissue dessication already?" Carrie sighed sadly. "All right. We'll get these two airway secured first. Then, captain, please continue their decontamination washing." she told Hank. "As for the rest of you.." she addressed the others of Station 51. "Be vigilant for signs of laryngeal edema developing on anyone else here. If you find someone who can't or is having trouble talking, bring them to us immediately. They'll need inhalant counteractives."
Brackett nodded at Carrie in agreement, drawing out a pediatric endotrachael tube and laryngoscope from his jump bag, sized for the little boy. "Johnny, Gil.. treat their acid burns as thermal burns. Use non-adherent gauze and wrapping to cover them up after you finish scrubbing off all the chemicals. Then give me some vital sig---"
"Doc,.. she's obstructing on me.." said Chet Kelly, glancing up quickly from where he was lightly demand valve triggering breaths into the little girl.
"Carrie..Get over there..." Brackett ordered bruskly."If you can't get a tube down.."
"I know." Cederstrom said urgently. "I've got a cricothyroidotomy kit already laid out." she told him. "Fireman, try repositioning her head." Carrie instructed when the child began to struggle in a panic.
Chet retilted carefully, trying to ignore her weakily flailing arms and legs. He tried actively to force oxygen into her lungs with a new technique, using a rapidly placed ambu, with Cap helping him, but.."It's not working, doc. Not at all." said Kelly as the little girl finally passed out from anoxia. The child's features started turning dusky as all of her breathing attempts ceased. "She swelling up too much. Now, I've got no chest rise whatsoever."
"No chance endotracheally now. All right. I'm going in for that cric." Cederstrom informed them. "Prep her neck, Mr. Dwyer." Carrie said, glancing at Gil's name tag.
Gil flew, reaching for the surgical bag the doctors had brought with them.
Just a betadine splash later, the scalpel and trailing narrow needle guide gripped deftly in Carrie's gloved hands, sliced down...
Outside in the hallway, the roving Hazmat crew startled. They found a fifty gallon metallic barrel full of turpentine that had been in the process of being delivered by a UPS man for the art department.
Working swiftly, the team took great care in removing the container from the school.
They set it out into the open where they used water spray and fog to keep it cooled made sure they didn't get any water inside the drum where the nitric acid fumes that were still drifting through the neighborhood would be able to exothermically react to it. The potential for a large explosion, was averted.
But the swimming pool store room wasn't so fortunate. It ignited spontaneously when acid gas found a roll of aluminum foil and the new fire, spreading quickly to the roof through the ventilations shafts, created another problem for the fully suited up Haz mat crews to handle when they shifted gears to aggressively protect all the people still trapped inside the school's gym.
Hank and the other firefighters looked up at the sound of a muffled explosion breaking out from somewhere inside the school.
Kids began to quietly panic and mill about numbly at the noise.
Captain Stanley immediately soothed them. "It's all right, kids. It's all right! That isn't anywhere near us!" Then he got on his HT with the Hazmat crews and Battalion and got a full report from the source itself.
Gil and Johnny had finished stringing up I.V. lines over the two stabilized children now lying in plastic stokes under burn sheets that were covering them to keep them warm and out of uncompensated shock.
Both were breathing and being closely monitored by new attending firefighters while everyone waited for the all clear signal from Hazmat that things were safe enough outside to begin their evacuation of the school.
Carrie was cleaning up in a bowl of antiseptic.
"That was fine work, Doctor Cederstrom.." Kel complimented her.
"I should say the same thing to you, Doctor Brackett.." she teased.
Then she cast a worried eye on her young patient. "Did I ever tell you how much I hate chemical induced injuries?"
"You have. Frequently." Kel said, giving her a squeezing hug in congratulation.
"Hmm..That's so nice." she crooned, pulling away affectionately. "Wow," she said, stepping back. "Blue becomes you." she goggled as she admired the color of the triage jumpsuit Kel was wearing. "I like the way it brings out the color of your eyes."
"Do I have to become a surgeon then, to keep on wearing it so I won't lose you?" he teased.
"Fat chance of that happening." She didn't elaborate on which aspect of the question she was commenting on. "Speaking of which, shouldn't Roy DeSoto be fully awake now following his ear surgery? It's been six hours since." Carrie wondered.
Kel looked at his watch as he put away the biophone that he had used to order tests through Dixie that he wanted for the kids that Carrie and he had airway saved for when they finally flew into Rampart. "He is. Dixie said so. His bilateral tympanoplasties finally decided to quiet down without a hitch. That odd, new vertigo of his has gone away. Tell everybody with Station 51 that Roy's completely comfortable now and that he's been absolutely guaranteed by his ENT to make a normal, and very fast recovery."
"I'll go tell them now. They need a stress reliever. And so do I." she smirked.
McCall met the two doctors' chopper when it finally arrived at the hospital along with their two tiny patients. "Kel, Radiology's ready to get those chest and upright abdominal films as soon as you're inside. And yes,
I've ordered the labs to get their complete blood counts; EKG; electrolytes; glucose; liver and renal functions; and type and cross-matches for whole fresh plasma right when you four wheel them into Treatment Two.." she said.
"You're a miracle worker.." Kel smiled, affectionately grasping McCall's elbow as the nurse hurried back out of the rotor wash zone along with everyone else.
"Careful, Kel. I may start believing that."
"Too late. You're pretty full of yourself already." Cederstrom chuckled.
"It serves its purpose." McCall shrugged. "Long hours with short pay... That's a pretty tough thing to survive with around here. Who knows? Maybe being inwardly and outwardly conceited keeps me cool." she laughed, winking at Carrie with amusement.
"I'll vouch for that." Kel said. "Crustiness has always served me well."
Dixie just rolled her eyes as she brushed the hair away that was getting sharply helicopter blown into her face. "Ughhh..Doctors..." she chided in mock sarcasm. Then she gestured to the orderlies that she could see coming from the hospital to get them to step things up a little.
Gil and Gage quickly helped the hospital men steer their patients' stretchers into Emergency as fast as they could go.
It was several weeks later.
A fully healed Roy, Gage, and Dixie were relaxing in the nurse's lounge over hard won cups of coffee during a break in yet another hectic day of rescues.
Dixie blew air over her mug to cool it. "So,.. how do you really feel about Carrie Cederstrom..." she baited.
Johnny practically spat out a mouthful of coffee in shock and surprise.
Roy deftly handed his partner a napkin from the dispenser so he could clean up his face.
Gage sputtered in surprise. "Shouldn't I be asking you the same thing?"
he challenged McCall.
"Well, I don't see why not. Turnabout's fair play." she admitted.
Then she thought over things carefully. "She's good for Kel. And what's good for Kel, is good for me. I had my shot at him... and... if it means I have to bow out gracefully, then so be it. They both deserve to be happy."
"Well are YOU?" Johnny asked, boldly.
Roy nudged Johnny in the ribs for his insensitive jab.
"Yes, and no. I'd be inhuman if I said I never wondered about what could have been between him and I if things ever got different."
"I guess.." Gage said, uncertain.
"So how about you?" Dixie fired right back.
"How about me what?" Johnny looked at McCall in confusion.
"Are YOU happy about how you're handling how you feel about Carrie Cederstrom?"
"Well, I uh.. Should I even be concerned about that? I mean-" Johnny shrugged nervously, rubbing his face in self consciousness.
"Yes." said both Roy and Dixie at the same time in exactly the same tone of voice. Nurse and paramedic looked at each other and chuckled in companionable irony.
Then Dixie added more. "You did give her a ride home to Kel's the other night after taking her out for coffee."
"You did what?!" DeSoto's mouth flopped completely open. "Johnny, that's hedging the bet a whole lot, you know that? Do you really wanna win one over Gil that badly that you're resorting to subterfuge?"
"I never.. I didn't.... I...wasn't ...t- taking Carrie out on a date. I was.
thanking her for saving your hearing, pal." he finished lamely. "Dr. Brackett said that he trusts me absolutely with his chick. Heh." he sighed, leaning back into his chair. He immediately sat back forward again, getting mad. "Is this the thanks I get for showing your new trauma doctor a little bit in the appreciation department?"
"Hey, what about me? Who do you think was holding the puke basin under your partner's chin when he was still upchucking his guts out after his anesthetic?"
Johnny immediately began to look uncomfortable, as if he were about to become sick himself.
"Were you there at all, Johnny?" Roy wanted to know.
"Well, I uh.. No.. I.. I.. I was working." Gage said defensively. Somehow, he didn't see the smirk of anticipated set up beginning to spread over Roy's face where DeSoto sprawled next to him on the couch.
"So was I." Dixie glared right back through tight lips. "So when's my date of appreciation for a night on the town with you gonna be, huh? Don't you find me attractive?"
Gage went completely speechless at that one and he blushed five shades of red that was clearly visible even through Johnny's natural skin tones. Roy didn't miss the telltale fidget of his fingers on the table top and neither did Dixie.
Johnny shot up out of his chair swiftly and he began backing away to the door."Uh,.. excuse me, both, would ya? I think I.. drank a little too much coffee..Nature's calling." And he bolted from the lounge like a jack rabbit out of a smoked out hole.
DeSoto blinked matter of factly and took in another sip of his coffee. "Boy do I know that one to be true.." he mumbled.
Dixie smacked her hand on the table in front of him derisively to get his attention."A bet's a bet. You owe me five bucks, Roy. It sure looks like he does." she said with an amused chuckle and a very significant emphasis.
Roy took a deep breath, lowering his eyes, thinking, the smile still on his face. "You know, Dix.. I'm not so sure I just saw what you think you've just seen."
McCall leaned in on Roy, real close. "Come on, quit kidding. I'm a very mature woman. You can't fool me with any such line. Chet Kelly told me all about what to look for on him." She tweeked DeSoto on the nose with a long fingernail. "Do you know what Chet told me that gave him away?"
"No.. what?" Roy said meeting her eyes with trepidation.
"He told me,..'The hands never lie.' So pay up if you know what's good for you, Roy. Or I may get ugly." Dixie promised.
"Not in a million years." he said, not meaning the money at all.
Slowly then, with good natured resignation, Roy reached for his wallet.
Season Five Episode Thirty Seven Primary Complaint
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