Standard disclaimers apply. I don't own anything, except Jamie and Lucas Larson and the plotline, some of which is based on a true story from five years ago. Although I wish I owned Peter and Dylan... if I did... XD
Anyway, hi all. OK, so it's been forever since I last wrote a "Strong Medicine" story. Seriously, like six years. Albeit, my old stories were not that good, I'm not fond of them and I've taken them down, because they were written when I was in high school (I'm four months away from graduating college now), so they won't be re-posted.
Since it's been so long between this story and my last story and my last viewing of the show (February 5, 2006... an unforgettable day!), not everything may be accurate, but please be constructive in your criticism and please don't be too hard on me. My writing style has changed a lot since last time, so I think this time around will be better. I miss the show dearly, but if I have any mess-ups in the story (and feel free to correct me nicely, if needed), that's my excuse.
This story is not finished, but I've been trying to finish it since I started it. I have an ending in mind, but I'm extremely stuck in the middle. If any of you wouldn't mind being my beta, in order to help me finish the story, that would be GREATLY appreciated. I NEED one! Let me know in a review and we'll get in touch, OK? Thanks. :)
All right, so on with the story. It's set in season 3, because I wanted Andy to be Lu's main partner, instead of Dylan, as the two women had better chemistry. Plus, I've missed Andy too much not to include her in the story. Other normal show characters that will appear are Lu, Lana, Peter, Kayla, and maybe a tiny bit of Robert. OK, I guess that's all for now. Enjoy the story. :)
Everything's Not Lost
December 16, 2003 seemed like it was going to be a typical day for Doctor Lu Delgado and the rest of the Rittenhouse team. It was a typical winter day and flu season was on. She had delivered three babies, seen countless grandmothers with colds and the flu who claimed they were dying, dealt with several kids who had come in with various cuts, scrapes, and bruises, and treated a little girl who had fallen playing outside on an ice patch and hit her head on the ice, causing a mild, no-loss-of-consciousness concussion.
The mothers and babies were in their private rooms with their fathers, having had no complications during labor and delivery. She'd written out several prescriptions for chicken soup, cold medicine, and bed rest for the grandmothers. Only one of the cuts and scrapes needed stitches, the rest easily treatable with antiseptic ointments and Band-Aids. And Rosie was being kept overnight for observation, but since she was just enduring a headache and was talking and felt overall well, Lu felt confident she would be cleared to be discharged and go home tomorrow.
It was five p.m. and Lu was just about ready to leave and go home to Jonas and Marc.
But Lu quickly discovered she was not going home anytime soon today.
Her pager went off and she turned it off. Trauma was paging her.
Lu pulled on a fresh pair of latex gloves and ran down to the emergency room. She was soon joined by Doctor Andy Campbell.
"So much for getting out easy today, huh?" she asked.
Lu made a disapproving noise. She and Andy met the paramedics at the emergency entrance, as a trauma patient came rolling in on a gurney.
"What happened?" she asked one of them.
"Single roll-over, hit black ice at seventy-five miles per hour, lost control and skidded into the ditch, rolled three times, both air bags blew," the paramedic said, as he and another male paramedic wheeled the gurney over to a bay. "Caucasian female, 28, alert and responsive, seven months pregnant, was belted in, lacerations on both forearms, laceration to the chin, bruises in abdomen and left shoulder areas, and closed fractured right tibia, needs to be reduced." The paramedic looked over at Lu. "Her husband's worse, he's coming in behind us."
"I'll handle him, you stay with her," Andy said to Lu. Andy hurried away to attend to the woman's husband, who was being brought in via a second ambulance.
Lu, meanwhile, turned her attention back to the woman, who was obviously alert and conscious, because she was crying. Lu spoke calmly to her.
"My name is Doctor Delgado, but you can call me Lu, OK?" she said. "Do you know what happened?" The woman, who still was crying too hard to speak, nodded. "Your car went off the road into the ditch and you and your husband have been injured, but we're gonna take care of you, OK?" The woman nodded again and Lu looked up at the paramedics. "On my count, one, two, and—"
They transferred the woman to a bay, as her husband was wheeled past them, not stopping at a bay. Lu overheard one of the paramedics briefing Andy, while a second paramedic breathed for the husband with a bag.
"Caucasian male, unconscious and unresponsive, no pulse and BP zero at the scene; was not belted in, thrown through the front windshield, driver's side, even with the air bag, and bounced on the pavement for 150 feet; fractured pelvis, fractured right humerus, punctured lung, possible other internal injuries. We need to get a chest tube in him now. Get him into x-ray and get an MRI. Prep an O.R., STAT."
Lu closed her eyes for the briefest moment and sighed. The husband was in really bad shape; the woman, on the other hand, once her fracture was reduced, would have it x-rayed, set, and x-rayed again afterward, to make sure the break had been set properly and could begin healing in a cast for several weeks.
More so than the broken leg, however, Lu was concerned about the baby, that the baby could go into distress from the crash, or the mother could even possibly go into pre-term labor. She was several weeks away from full-term, risking the baby's health from prematurity.
"I want a fetal monitor over here, STAT!" Lu ordered. One was quickly brought over and placed around the mother's belly. "What's your name?" Lu asked the mother.
"Jamie," she replied, looking around. "Jamie Larson. Where is my husband? Is he OK?'
"Jamie. Jamie, listen to me," Lu said. "Jamie." Jamie looked up at her, terrified. "You and your husband have been involved in a severe car accident. You are lucky and only have a broken leg. I need to reduce the fracture. It's going to hurt for a few seconds, but then it will be over and we can get you up to x-ray it and cast it, if the x-rays show you don't need surgery, OK?"
Jamie nodded tearfully and whimpered. Lu placed her hands on Jamie's leg, felt for the fracture and quickly determined how she was going to set the bone. She made her decision, then thrust down, hard and fast, on Jamie's leg. She heard a loud snapping noise. Jamie yelled in pain, but Lu knew she had been successful, because there was no longer a pronounced bump, although Jamie's leg remained very swollen and bruised.
"What about my baby, Lu?" Jamie asked, after she had recovered from the pain of Lu setting her leg, as a nurse placed a fetal monitor around her belly. "Is my baby gonna be OK?"
"Her heart rate is accelerated from the shock, Jamie, but you being belted in probably saved her life and yours," Lu said. "We're going to take you up to x-ray now and make sure the fracture doesn't need surgery to be repaired, OK? Then they'll cast it and put you in a private room at least overnight, for observation. We'll monitor your baby closely, too, Jamie. It'll be OK."
"OK," Jamie said, "but what about Lucas?"
"I don't know anything about him right now, honey, but I will find out and get back to you, OK?" Lu said to her. "You're going to be fine, though, that's what matters right now."
Jamie nodded, then was wheeled away to x-ray. Lu immediately asked a nurse where Andy was.
"She's in surgery," she said. "O.R. three."
"Thank you," Lu said. She walked over to O.R. three and into the observation room. She didn't have much time to spend there; she knew the x-ray technician would perform the x-ray in the best possible way, so as not to cause harm to Jamie's baby. Then Lu would go down to x-ray and meet with the radiologist to determine whether Jamie needed surgery or not. If she did, Lu wanted to scrub in and perform the surgery herself. She wanted Jamie, and especially her husband, to be in the best of hands.
Lu listened to the surgeons talking through the surgery, and heard all the damage the husband had endured, was enduring still. Then her pager went off and she turned it off. It was a message from the x-ray technician, requesting she come down to x-ray. Lu knew Jamie's husband was in good hands with Andy, so she went down to x-ray and met with Jamie and the technician.
"Her leg is set fine, so we should cast it," said the technician.
"OK, thank you," Lu said. She looked down at Jamie. "See? Everything is gonna be fine."
"Where were you, Lu?" Jamie asked worriedly.
"I was actually looking in on your husband's surgery," Lu replied, as she wheeled Jamie to a private room.
"Oh, my God, how is he? I haven't even seen him," Jamie said, beginning to panic.
"Jamie, calm down," Lu said. "I know this is hard for you, but you've got to relax. You're going to make your blood pressure worse. Your husband is in good hands with my colleague, Andy. He's got a long road ahead of him, but they were able to bring him back, so he's in surgery now."
"'Bring him back?' What do you mean, 'bring him back?'" Jamie asked her, confused.
"At one point, at the scene, he had no pulse and his blood pressure was zero," Lu explained, remembering what the paramedic had said upon arrival. "They were able to revive him, luckily, and stabilize him enough to get him into surgery. I don't know the extent of his injuries, though, I'm sorry. But I can tell you, he is in the best of hands with Andy."
"OK, Lu. Thank you. I don't know what I would do without him," Jamie said, tears spilling down her cheeks.
"Jamie, don't think about that, OK? Your husband has a long recovery ahead of him, but he's gonna make it. You have to believe that," Lu said firmly.
"I'm trying, Lu," Jamie said, wiping her eyes, "really."
"Good," Lu said. "Let's get you settled, shall we? I'm at least keeping you overnight for observation."
"OK," Jamie said. Lu helped her climb clumsily from the wheelchair to the hospital bed. "Thank you, Lu."
"No problem," Lu said. "I'm happy to help, or I wouldn't be in this field. Here's a remote for the TV and a call button, if you need anything."
"Are you going home?" Jamie asked her.
"Probably pretty late tonight," Lu said, sitting down on the edge of Jamie's bed. "What's your husband's name? I might have missed it with everything that happened."
"Lucas," Jamie replied. "He's 29. We got married four years ago."
Lu nodded. "Just wondering. I'll have Andy come by and let you know how his surgery went, and how he's doing, OK? But I'm pretty sure he's going to be in ICU for quite a while. You can see him for brief periods every day, though."
"OK," Jamie said. "Thank you, Lu."
Lu patted Jamie's hand briefly before leaving the room.
Andy came to Lu's office, later that night.
"Lucas is stable. We should give Jamie the news," said Andy.
"Together," said Lu.
Andy nodded, then the two women went to Jamie's room.
Jamie's eyes were closed when they arrived, but she opened them and looked at Lu and Andy when they knocked and walked into the room.
"Hey," she said sleepily. "You're still here?"
"Yeah," Lu said, "how are you feeling?"
"Tired. None of your nurses will leave me alone long enough to let me actually sleep. If you'd let a patient sleep, they'd get better faster," Jamie pointed out.
Lu smiled. Jamie had a valid point.
Jamie looked at Andy. "You're my husband's doctor, aren't you?"
"Yes," Andy said. "I'm Doctor Andy Campbell."
"Is Lucas OK?" Jamie asked. She used her remote to adjust her bed height higher.
"Mrs. Larson, I—" Andy began, but Jamie cut her off.
"Please, it's Jamie."
"All right, Jamie, I'm not going to lie," Andy said, "your husband's condition is currently critical. He's lucky he survived tonight. His chances will improve if he survives these next 24 hours. We will be monitoring him very closely."
With every sentence, Jamie's tears increased. "How badly is he hurt?" she asked.
"His pelvis was shattered into four pieces, from when he bounced on the pavement, but they were broken cleanly enough that they set naturally well and can heal without surgery," Andy said. "His fractured arm did require surgery and he now has a rod and two pins and four screws placed in it to hold it together. The pins and screws will come out in several weeks, the rod won't. It will become part of the bone and he has a scar that he will carry the rest of his life. His bladder burst upon impact, but was repaired."
Andy paused for a moment and glanced at Lu, then turned her attention back to Jamie.
"But he is also in a non-medically-induced coma and is on a ventilator to help him breathe."
"How do you know he's in the coma? What does that mean, for him?" Jamie asked.
"We know because he is not responding to pain or light stimuli, and is not having sleep-wake cycles. The longer he is in the coma, the less his chances of survival. And he's currently unable to breathe on his own, which may mean possible brain damage," Andy said.
Jamie put her face in her hands in despair.
"We won't know this until he comes out of the coma. But I have seen worse cases, even non-car accidents, recover fully."
"That helps," Jamie said.
Andy nodded. She understood her situation. Doctors sometimes said they felt confident in a patient surviving, only to lose them later. It was in the nature of medicine that you are going to make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes cost lives. That's what malpractice insurance was for. If you couldn't take that, you needed to find a different profession.
"We've done all we can for now, so until your husband wakes up, all we can do is monitor him closely and make sure nothing worse happens," Andy said.
"You mean, make sure he doesn't die," Jamie said.
Andy nodded. "You can visit him for brief periods every day, but while he's still in the ICU, it will only be about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how he is doing. For now, though, it's just a waiting game."
Jamie nodded. "Thank you, Doctor Campbell," she said.
Then, having nothing more to say to her, Andy glanced at Lu again, then left the room.
Lu put a consoling hand over Jamie's. "It'll be OK," she said.
Jamie nodded, then closed her eyes and did not open them again. Lu took this to be a sign saying she wanted to be alone. Lu got up from the bed, walked out of the room, and left Jamie to her thoughts.
Just in case any of you are wondering, the car crash is based on the true story of a classmate of mine who was ejected at 80+ miles an hour in early November, 2005. She was a sophomore in high school and to this day, I still remember what it was like, wondering if she would live or die in the hospital or be paralyzed or not or what. Long story short, despite multiple critical complications, she lived, recovered fully, and five years later, is married and has an adorable baby boy who is now 14 months old. It's a happily-ever-after story for sure.
Please review! And definitely let me know if any of you are interested in beta-reading for me, mostly to bounce ideas around. Thanks. I'll post chapter 2 up as soon as possible.