It took a minute or two for Carson Beckett to recognize the feeling in the pit of his stomach as dread. What in two galaxies had he been thinking when he agreed to teach CPR and basic life support to the members of the city's primary offworld team? He'd have been better off trying to teach a Wraith to play the bagpipes! The last Carson had heard, Zelenka was taking bets on how long the class would last and who would break first.
Come to think of it, wasn't Radek due for another round of vaccinations?
Anyway, Carson figured that training Sheppard's team was a good idea... in theory. Lord knew they came back injured often enough! Somehow, though, the physician hadn't envisioned himself doing the training. But when the other medical staff politely declined, claimed other obligations, or downright refused in terror, the duty fell to the CMO. Schwartz, the bastard, had actually laughed at the suggestion that he conduct the lessons instead. (He wouldn't be laughing after he saw the new call schedule, though!)
From his seat in his office, Carson could hear the members of Sheppard's team arrive. Predictably, Rodney was whining. "Tell me again why I have to waste time on this when I could be working on something useful?"
John's voice. "Well, if you didn't get hurt all the time, maybe we wouldn't have to do this!"
"How is learning CPR going to help me if I'm the one lying dead on the ground?" Actually, Rodney did have a point.
Teyla answered before John could make things any worse. "Is it not a good idea to be prepared for anything? I will feel better knowing you can aid me if I fall." Bless her diplomatic heart!
Carson joined his reluctant students in the main area of the infirmary and motioned for them to follow him into the conference room. On a table sat test booklets, answer sheets, and pencils. "I'd like to get an idea of how much you know at the outset," he said, noticing Ronon's perplexed look and Rodney's outraged glare. Nobody moved until he raised an eyebrow at them; then they slowly slouched to seats at the table.
When Carson turned away to set up a projector, he half-expected a spitball to hit him in the back of the neck.
Ten minutes later he looked at some of the booklets. The first question read: "You come across a man floating in the water, unresponsive. After you get him onto land, what is the first thing you should do?" Ronon had written: "Shoot potential enemy to make sure he's dead," and John wrote, "Go through his wallet."
Carson groaned inwardly. It was going to be a long afternoon.
"Easy! You want to save him from choking, not knock him into the middle of next week!" Carson tried to refrain from banging his head against the nearest wall. To say things weren't going well didn't do this session justice. Ronon looked hurt at the physician's words and John, for his part, was slightly cross-eyed after the blow between his shoulder blades. Carson ignored his 2IC's snickering coming from the doorway. If Schwartz were smart he'd leave now, or Carson wouldn't be responsible for the consequences.
The Scot pasted a sarcastic grin on his face. "Maybe we should move on to the next topic now." Various degrees of relief could be seen on everyone's faces. Ronon and John joined Rodney and Teyla at the table. Ronon slouched way down in his seat, looking like a sulky teenager. He was probably upset that he couldn't hit anyone else. Or maybe he was hungry?
"First I'm going to show an instructional video on how to do CPR. Then I'll show you what it's really like." Carson sat back and watched as the first video started. But he wasn't looking at the TV screen. Instead, he was curious to see how his colleagues would react to the information being presented.
Teyla watched the screen intently, appearing to be filing the knowledge away for future reference. He could tell that John was interested too, but was pretending not to be. (Carson himself filed that one away.) Rodney was scared of CPR -- because of his own hypochondriacal tendencies or because he might one day have to use it on a friend? And Ronon -- well, who the hell knew what Ronon was thinking at any given moment?
After the video had ended, Carson gave them a brief lecture and then asked if there were any questions. Seeing that there were none, he changed the tape. "This is a medical training film. It's an actual code scene, so it'll be pretty graphic." Nobody turned green at the thought, which Carson thought was a good sign. After several minutes, though, the inevitable comments began.
"Wow, that's a lot of blood."
"Oh my God, is that what being intubated looks like? I'm going to have nightmares about it now!"
"Hush! I want to hear what the nurses are saying to each other."
"Isn't that the wrong way to do CPR, Carson? You said we're not supposed to break ribs."
Carson spoke up for the first time. "It's a well-kept secret, Rodney. Any truly effective CPR is practically guaranteed to break ribs. Otherwise you're not pumping hard enough."
A different voice: "Well, that guy is certainly pumping hard enough. It's like... snap, crackle, pop!"
"Oh, that is just GROSS!" That was followed a minute later by a loud thump, and Carson turned to see Rodney slump out of his chair. Everyone turned identical glares on John Sheppard.
"What did I say?"
Although Rodney recovered quickly from his fainting spell... otherwise known as a "syncopal episode"... Carson decided that adjourning the class for the day was the better part of valor. They reconvened the next morning to go over the operation of an automatic defibrillator, which turned out to be a small featureless box rather than the familiar bulky unit with paddles.
"It's pretty much idiot-proof," the doctor said, wincing as he realized he was tempting fate. You put the pads on someone, turn the machine on, and let it analyze. If it says, 'Push the button to shock,' do it. If no shock is indicated, the button won't even light up."
Ronon looked interested at the mention of shocking someone. Carson ignored that and began to demonstrate the device's function using a mannequin. He figured it was only a matter of time until someone made a wiseass comment, and he wasn't disappointed.
"I knew it! You really do use voodoo dolls."
"Funny, Rodney. Now, if you make any sheep jokes, I will personally make sure that you help with proctological skills assessment."
"Jeez, someone's cranky this morning," Rodney jibed. John smacked him in the back of the head. "Ow!"
Carson closed his eyes and counted to ten in both English and Gaelic. If he'd known any other languages he'd have thrown those in, too. "Gentlemen, if you would kindly shut up and pay attention, we can get this done quickly." Seeing no objection, he turned back to his presentation.
When he was finished, Teyla spoke up. "Carson?"
"Why does that machine look different than the one in the video yesterday?"
The lass was observant. "The one yesterday wasn't fully automatic..." Teyla listened patiently as Carson launched into a long explanation, and John fidgeted. He bounced up and down on his toes a few times, then wandered over to an equipment cart. It held gauze pads, those little plastic airway things they'd seen on the video, a few blood pressure cuffs, and a regular defibrillator unit.
John picked up one of the paddles and tried to imagine actually using it on someone. He'd seen that show ER a few times -- how hard could it be? He looked at the Scot, who was still talking to Teyla, and turned the machine on. He pushed one of the buttons and a red light started to blink. Nothing else happened, though, so John picked up the other paddle.
"Colonel, what are you doing?" came Carson's shout from the other side of the room.
Startled, John turned to face him. As he did so, he bumped into Rodney, who had walked over to see what was going on. The paddles touched Rodney's arm at the same moment as John's finger accidently brushed a second button...
Rodney was knocked halfway across the room by the resulting electrical discharge.
"Oh, bloody hell!" Carson snapped as he ran over and glanced at the machine. He placed his fingers on the fallen astrophysicist's neck and quickly yelled for extra assistance. The on-call physician and several nurses rushed into the room. "Rodney just received an asynchronous jolt at... 300 joules. No pulse!"
Someone yanked Rodney's shirt off and began applying monitor pads to his chest. Another person knelt down and began to place an IV in the arm that hadn't received the shock. Carson took the opportunity to turn to the rest of Sheppard's team and utter the words he'd wanted to say for the past day.
"The rest of you -- OUT!"
"Hey, watch what you're doing! That arm is sore." Carson rolled his eyes as Rodney berated the nurse unlucky enough to have the duty of dressing the electrical burn that had resulted from the misadventure. Fortunately, they'd managed to restart Rodney's heart almost immediately with the application of another burst from the defibrillator. Carson wanted to keep him overnight on a heart monitor, but planned on kicking him out as early as humanly possible the next morning. Then the physician intended to go back to his quarters and pass out.
Despite the fact that he considered Sheppard's team friends, he didn't want to see them again for a long time! Earlier in the afternoon, Carson had taken great pleasure in -- how did the Americans put it -- ripping Sheppard a new one. What the hell had the man been thinking? He was like a child when it came to trying out new gadgets.
Behind him, someone cleared her throat softly. Carson turned to find Elizabeth standing in the doorway of his office. "Good evening, love. Before you ask, he's going to be fine... right up to the minute I kill him and the rest of the team."
"Yes, John told me what happened." She smiled. "It's something you'd think would only happen on a TV show."
"True, but if anyone could figure out how to get in trouble that way, it would be the Colonel!" Carson shook his head in disgust.
"Are you going to continue with the classes?" Elizabeth asked.
"Good Lord, no!" The physician tried not to shudder. "I'll just have to think of another way to get them medical backup."
Elizabeth nodded good night and left the physician to think. Teyla had shown some promise. Maybe he could train her as a field medic. As for the rest of them, well, he'd almost rather accompany them on all of their offworld missions than continue their training.