Dip, dip BEEP

Dip, dip BEEP, dip, dip BEEP, dip, dip BEEP. As long as the monitor made those sounds, she had to be OK. Two pulse beats and then one respiration, just keep it up. As he held her Juliet's so cold hand, Andrew could not believe he was here in Bellevue's E & R again and yet here he was. His life had descended into a month of nothing less than insanity.

It was now the morning of Monday the 30th, the last day of April. They said April showers brought May flowers. Would his May prove happier or would the May flowers be for Juliet's funeral?

His neighbor on the right side of the curtain was a mother whose eighteen month old daughter was full of blood apparently from vaginal bleeding being told that they were getting a rape crisis kit for her. The mother cried that she was just a baby. The doctor said they have children younger than her raped all the time. His neighbor on the left side was a young black man who apparently was high on cocaine. He was cursing profusely and incoherently at the police who brought him in and the hand cuffs and foot shackles holding him to the bed frame as he pulled and pulled to free himself. The nurses had to strap him down to the bed.

He watched as a young man with blood streaming from his face was wheeled in by paramedics as they talked to a nurse. "He was trying to break up a fight, and his head somehow got between a baseball bat and the intended victim's head. "

A young intern came in. She didn't look much older than Juliet and spoke very quickly, as if she had only a few seconds to explain everything. "Your daughter's blood alcohol level was .45."

Andrew knew everyone always said 0.40 was the fatal level. "Is she dying?"

"Her situation is hopeful but she's not out of the woods yet."

"Why don't you pump her stomach?"

"It's too late. She'd absorbed it all by the time she got here."

"Can't you do something?"

"We are doing all we can. She's on oxygen and an IV with glucose and thiamine as well as being careful monitored."

"Please, please."

"Mr. Martin you should be very, very grateful."

"Grateful? For what?"

"Grateful that she's still alive and that your friend was there with you. If it weren't for him she'd be dead now."

"We're in free fall," said a nurse. "No exam beds or hallway space and everyone else is still trying to divert here. We got a boy with a broken elbow and I'm doing urine and SED rate blood draws in the waiting room on a girl with a possible appendicitis. We need an exam on them."

The doctor ducked out quickly. "What are the girl's symptoms?"

Dip, dip BEEP, dip, dip BEEP.

The voices around him began to blend all into one stream of chaos and suffering in Andrew's mind. "Nausea, vomiting, fever, headache … " As the nurse's voice drifted away he heard a man bellowing. "How could you let this happen to me?"

A terrified mother was his new neighbor to the right. "He has these bruises that get worse," she said with a distinctly Hispanic accent.

"Is there anyone spanking him," asked a very young sounding doctor.

"It was too late," said a man with an Indian accent. "They tried everything at the scene. We tried everything."

"No. Nothing," the woman said. "I live alone. My husband is stationed in Afghanistan."

"I'm going to order a blood test." Andrew could hear the curtains fling open. Nurse, give me a CBC on this child, stat."

As the man and the Indian doctor argued, a nurse and a doctor sounded like they too were going to get into an argument. "Um, doctor? This patient you admitted with COPD exacerbation sounds really tight...but you didn't order any breathing treatments."

"Yes I did," said the doctor. "Did you look at the orders?"

"No, but the respiratory team told me."

"I wouldn't have admitted someone with COPD exacerbation without ordering breathing treatments. I swear I ordered them for this patient. Do you have the chart?"


"Can you turn to the orders, please?"

"Yes. Oh, here it is. Yes you did order it. Sorry."

It was truly confidence inspiring.

Dip, dip BEEP, dip, dip BEEP.

As the shouting man grew louder, a big security guard bellowed "Sir, I am going to escort you outside of patient care to the quiet room. They will help you there."

He could hear the woman next to him praying in Spanish. He wasn't really a believer, he thought. Maybe a little bit, from his mother. He had always ridiculed foxhole prayers. But he understood them tonight.

"What help can you give me now?"

"We have a social worker and a chaplain. Please go with the guard to the quiet room area."

"Take your hands off of me. Do you know who I am?"

"No," rumbled the guard, "and I don't care."

Dip, dip BEEP, dip, dip BEEP.

"Dear God," Andrew said quietly. "Please. Please let her live. Please tell me what to do. I'll do anything. Just let her live and don't let her become her mother."

"I'm leaving" wheezed a young man who walked by his still open curtain. "I can't stay. I got to keep moving."

"You can't go," said a nurse. "With all the aspirin you took, your kidneys are shutting down and your electrolytes are way off. Also, you have pneumonia."

"Got to keep moving," he said with a loud cough.

Dip, dip BEEP, dip, dip BEEP.

"Please. I'll do anything. Just tell me what." Andrew prayed and prayed. It felt like it was for hours but he had no idea how long it was. As he prayed he heard the diagnoses of the patients around them. He heard them pump a bottle of pills from the stomach of a girl Juliet's age. He heard the mother next to him leave crying when the doctor told her that the bruises were from leukemia. He didn't know how long he had been praying when a nurse and two orderlies walked in. "An ICU room is now open. We're transferring her now."

"Thank you." Andrew was quite sure what it meant when an ICU bed suddenly became available at this hour but he didn't care if it meant there was for Juliet now.

Oddly, he suddenly felt an odd feeling, as if a little voice inside his head said that his prayer had been granted. It was a tiny thing, something he might just have imagined. Yet it was there and he clung to it as surely as he clung to Juliet's hand. Perhaps the Angel of Death really had passed them over.

He went out to the waiting room to hit the bathroom before going up to the ICU. Jeff and Greer were there, along with London. London was wailing. Greer had her arm around London, as if trying to console her. Jeff was staring at the both of them sternly as if to keep them riveted in position. He caught Jeff's gaze and waved him over.

"I want to thank you for saving Juliet's life."

"'Through the gates of hell for a wounded Marine.' It really was nothing." He looked away sadly, watching London. "I should have been there sooner."

"Thank you again. I will be forever grateful." He looked at London, puzzled. "Why is she crying now? She wasn't crying over Juliet when I left."

"She's crying about the boy."


"He died."

Andrew's eyes grew wide, remembering the doctor who told him that he should be grateful and the suddenly open ICU room.

"I am her father," Jeff said. "Not all of life's lessons are pleasant. This is one of them she will never forget. Your actions have lasting consequences, like it or not."

Andrew nodded, understanding all too well. "What about the firm? What will they say when you're not there tomorrow?"

"Fuck it. When it's all over, it won't matter how high I rose as a partner in the firm. All I have is my wife and my child."

Andrew pretended to understand and agree, but as he walked to the elevator to go to the ICU he felt as weak and lacking as when he saw Jeff kick down the door. He had never put Juliet before his career. Would he now repeat the same mistakes all over again? He did not know, but tonight he would not. He pulled out his phone and left a message for Claudine that he would not be in tomorrow due to a family emergency and to cancel all meetings with his apologies.