Six year old Molly Yablonski sighed and curled up in the backseat of her Father's car. Her Dad had gone into the restaurant with the flashing lights two hours ago, telling the girl he would be back in a few minutes. As Molly slipped into a light sleep, she wished she was home.
An hour later Logan Yablonski slid behind the wheel of his car. Ten minutes later, the car collided with another car. Ambulance lights lit up the night.
Dr. Andy Yablonski looked up in surprise as his wife Rena walked rapidly towards him. He was surprised to see her at 11:00pm. "Rena, what is it?" he asked worriedly.
"Andy, Logan and Molly have been in a car accident. They are at Pittsburgh General. They couldn't tell me their condition on the phone." Rena said gently to her husband.
Andy nodded and began to move towards his office, grabbing his jacket and keys. "Okay, lets go."
Rena grabbed his hand and hurried to keep up with her husband's longer strides.
The drive over to Pitt General was tense with worry about what they would find when they arrived.
After parking the car Andy and Rena entered the ER, after identifying themselves and checking in with the staff . They were directed back to the treatment area. In the hallway they were met by Andy's longtime colleague Dr. Stevens the Emergency Room Pediatrician on duty. "James, my niece and brother were brought in by ambulance. They have been in a car accident."
Dr. Stevens nodded. "Molly was brought in with a concussion. She was intubated in the field to protect her airway. She is now conscious but is understandably very frightened. She has some bruising on her rib cage. We are trying to keep her calm enough to extubate, but she is fighting us. I think she will be calmer if you are with her."
Andy nodded "Do you know about my brother?"
Dr. Stevens sighed "I know he is stable, but thats all."
As they entered the pediatric treatment room Andy could hear the muffled crying of the little girl in the hospital bed. The two nurses were holding her hands in an attempt to keep her calm and her hands away from the tube in her throat.
Andy and Rena moved quickly to either side of the bed. Andy quickly sat on the edge of the bed taking the girl's hands from the nurses. "Hey Molly... Molly, sweetie you have to calm down." Andy said soothingly as he gently restrained her hands.
Molly turned to look at her Uncle. "Aunt Rena and I are here. You are going to be okay."
"Hi sweetheart. " Rena said as she brushed the girl's hair away from her eyes.
Molly looked from one adult to another with tears streaming down her face.
Dr. Stevens stepped forward "Molly, we are going to take that tube out of your throat. It is really important that you hold still."
As the Doctor moved towards the girl, panic set in and she tried to evade the mans hands.
"Molly you have to stay still." Andy said gently as he moved to stop the child's panicked movement.
Seeing he had her attention, he continued "Molly, Dr. Stevens is going to remove that tube. I will tell you exactly what is going to happen. But you need to hold still." Seeing the girl begin to calm down, Andy nodded to the pediatrician.
" You are going to feel some air pushing into your lungs. It will feel like you have taken a really deep breath." Andy said as the nurse pushed the hyperventilation button on the machine. Molly squirmed at the feeling and Andy kept a firm hold on the girl.
"There is a balloon around the tube. Dr. Stevens is going to let the air out of it and then the tube is going to feel loose. Then he will slide it out of your throat. You are going to cough when he does that, but it will only last a minute." Andy said calmly
Molly held still until she saw the Doctor approach with a syringe which set off more whimpering and struggling.
"Molly, there is no needle in that. Its just used to take the air out of the balloon." Andy said as he pinned the girls arms gently to her side.
Sensing the girl was losing her battle with panic, Dr, Stevens moved quickly to deflate the cuff and remove the tube. As soon as the tube slid clear of the girls throat she coughed long and hard. Andy gently sat the girl up and rubbed her back reassuringly. The nurse handed Rena a cup of water with a straw.
"Here you go sweetie, drink slowly" Rena said as she held the cup for the girl.
Molly leaned against her Uncle as she sipped the water.
Dr. Stevens smiled as he approached the girl "I just need to look at your throat Molly."
"No!" The little girl wailed as she climbed into her Uncle's arms burying her face in his chest.
The pediatrician gave his fellow physician an amused look. "Molly, how about we let your Uncle look at your throat."
Molly shook her head no keeping her face turned away from all the adults.
Andy gently rubbed the frightened child's back. "Molly we need to make sure that your throat will not be too sore."
After a moment Molly slowly nodded "o..okay" she hiccuped tearfully and looked up at her Uncle.
The nurse handed Andy a tongue depressor and a flashlight.
"Open your mouth Molly." Andy said as he gently looked at her throat.
"She has normal irritation associated with a vent tube" Andy reported wrapping his arm around the child in a gentle hug.
Rena smiled at the girl "You will be able to have popsicles when we get home."
Molly looked at her Aunt "Green popsicles?" she asked softly.
"Any color you want sweetie." Rena said smoothing her hand over the girl's hair.
"Andy, if you will come with me I will see about getting Molly released to you." Dr. Stevens said quietly. Sensing the pediatrician had more to tell him Andy nodded.
Rena held her arms out for Molly who willingly went to her Aunt.
Once they were out in the hall, Dr. Stevens motioned his friend into the lounge firmly shutting the door.
"Andy, I am releasing Molly to you and Rena, she has bruising and a slight concussion. You know the drill on caring for a child with those injuries. I will also write some pain relief scrips for you."
Andy nodded and waited.
"Do you have a lawyer?" the older Doctor asked gently
Andy nodded in response, "Yes, why?"
"The accident was caused by your brother. He was DWI and the other driver is seriously injured. I overheard the state trooper say that he will be charged with DWI, reckless endangerment, and endangering a minor child. Molly was apparently left in the car while your brother was in a bar with friends.."
Pausing to let Andy take the information in he continued, "Her Mother is not around?" Andy shook his head sadly "No, she is not in the picture."
James Stevens looked at his friend compassionately ""You need to get custody of Molly."
Andy sighed running his hand through his hair. "I will. Rena and I will do that first thing in the morning."
"I am so sorry, Andy. I will find out who is treating your brother and what his status is." James continued
Andy nodded tiredly "Thanks, I appreciate that."
After finding out his brother had minor injuries and had been moved to the prison ward Andy walked back to the pediatric treatment room and found Rena holding an increasingly sleepy Molly in her lap.
Molly looked anxiously at her Uncle as he came back in the room "Where is my Dad?"
Andy took a deep breath before replying "Molly, your Dad is okay, but he has to stay here tonight. You are going to come home with us."
Molly nodded and leaned tiredly against her Aunt.
Rena looked at Andy "Molly's clothes were cut off. She will have to wear the hospital gown home. We have a blanket in the car we can wrap her in."
Andy smiled at the news. "I will go warm up the car and grab the blanket. We will need to stop at the pharmacy on the way home."
After getting the girl's release orders and leaving his contact information with the nurse in charge of the prison ward he returned to find Molly and Rena ready to go.
Andy carried the girl to the car and carefully buckled her in, not liking that he didn't have a booster seat with them. Rena drove while Andy sat in the back of the car with Molly. When Rena pulled into the 24 hour pharmacy he handed her the prescriptions.
Twenty minutes later Rena returned with the medicine, a package of girl's underwear and a large box of popsicles. Pulling into the driveway of their home, several minutes later. Rena realized it was 3:30 AM .
As they entered the house Rena held out her arms for Molly "I will get Molly cleaned up and ready for bed. I have underwear for her and we will borrow one of your soft t-shirts. We can get her clothes from her house tomorrow."
Andy nodded appreciating his wife's practicality.
15 minutes later Rena carried Molly back into the kitchen cleaned up and ready for bed. Rena sat with her at the kitchen table while Andy carefully measured out the children's tylenol.
Andy moved to sit next to the girl "Molly, this will make everything hurt less."
Molly obediently took the offered medicine.
"And this will make your throat feel better." Andy said giving her a green popsicle.
Molly smiled as she began to eat the frozen pop.
When she finished her popsicle, Molly looked at her Aunt "Can I watch the goodnight show?"
Rena nodded "You can watch it for a little bit upstairs."
Andy looked puzzled "The Goodnight Show?"
Rena laughed at her husband "Yes, its on all night on Sprout. We will show you." she said smiling at Molly.
Ten minutes later Molly was tucked into the guest bedroom sleepily watching 'Kipper'
Andy sat next to her and when the show was over, he asked her a few questions.
"Okay Molly, lets just check to make sure you know where everything is. Where is the bathroom?"
Molly pointed to the door that led to the bathroom. "Good! Now, do you remember where Aunt Rena and I are?"
Molly nodded sleepily
"Okay, if you need us just call. We will hear you." Andy said tucking the blankets around the girl.
Andy waited patiently until the girl relaxed into sleep before heading to his own room for some much needed sleep.