Back in the alley, Woods called into dispatch, then was directed to Tac 2. Mac came on the radio and asked, "What's the status on Pete?"
Jerry hesitated to speak, "He isn't good, Mac. He wasn't breathing."
"I found him lying unconscious in an apartment backyard. He was missing his gun, and the only thing the paramedics found were needle marks on his arm."
There was a long pause as the Sergeant digested the comments from Woods. "Any signs of a boy or a dog?"
"Not so far, but we will keep asking around the neighborhood."
"Ok Jerry, I'll send out some detectives to the scene. I'm heading to the hospital to check on Pete's condition. Hopefully, he can tell me if we're dealing with a kidnapping."
Johnny climbed into the squad to follow the ambulance in to the hospital. After the ambulance doors closed, Roy noticed Pete starting to breathe on his own. They were shallow breaths, so Roy continued to aid him with the Ambu bag. If they guessed right about the overdose, Pete would be coming to quickly and other symptoms could soon follow. With one hand he juggled the bio-phone to give Rampart an update on Malloy's condition.
Over the next five minutes Pete's respiration rate quickened but he also began to sweat profusely. His head rolled from side to side and out came a low moan as consciousness began to return. With a hand on the officer's shoulder Roy asked, "Pete, can you hear me?"
His eyes were still pinched shut, but he managed to say a ragged, "Yes." Roy settled an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose with his breathing much improved and the blue tinge gone from his lips. .
"Pete, it's me, Roy DeSoto. You're in an ambulance in route to Rampart Hospital. Just try to take some deep breaths."
The driver of the ambulance shouted over his shoulder, "We're two minutes out."
Roy was getting a new set of vitals when Pete started to cramp up and tried to roll to his side. Roy loosened the gurney straps and helped position Pete on his side in case he needed to vomit.
Muscle spasms were wreaking havoc on his body, with one intense stomach cramp causing him to throw up. Fortunately, Roy pulled aside the O2 mask in time so the contents went into a basin.
"Hang in there, Pete. We're at the hospital."
The ambulance backed into the emergency bay and the attendants off loaded Pete with Roy walking right beside the gurney. Wheeling through the hospital hallway, Dixie, the head nurse, directed Roy and the attendants to Treatment Room Two. The men moved Malloy from the gurney to the treatment table and swiftly exited the room. Dr. Brackett arrived and asked Roy for a rundown on his patient while he started to look over Pete himself. Roy recited his last set of improved vitals then shared, "He's now conscious and experiencing generalized muscle cramping and severe nausea with one bout of vomiting."
"Ok, thanks Roy." Brackett called out some orders to Dixie and another nurse in the room with the main request being to draw a TOX screen, blood gases, and a full profile.
Roy offered, "Do you need anything else from me, Doc?"
"No, we're good."
Roy looked down at Malloy, "You're in good hands, Pete."
Kel leaned down closer to his patient and started asking some questions. With a hand resting on Malloy's arm he asked, "Pete, it's Doctor Brackett, can you tell me what happened?"
"I walked ... into a drug ... deal." Pete paused and twitched with a restlessness he couldn't control. He struggled to concentrate and speak coherently. "I couldn't ... stop them ... they ... injected me." He grimaced as another wave of muscle spasms hit.
"Alright, Pete. Do you know what drug they gave you?"
"I think ... it was ... heroin."
"Ok, Pete. I think you're going be fine, but we are going to set you up in ICU for monitoring. The problem with a drug overdose is the reversal agent will wear off and the heroine effects can return until it's completely out of your system. If all goes well, you will be out of here tomorrow."
Pete nodded his acknowledgement, but said nothing as he clinched his teeth hoping to keep the vomit at bay.
Seeing the distressed look on Pete's face, Doctor Brackett said, "Pete, there can be some undesirable side effects from these drugs, so we'll do our best to ease your discomfort."
"Thanks" was all Pete could get out before his stomach cramped up and he couldn't stop the retching. Brackett helped the officer lean over and safely vomit into a small pail.
"Dixie get me 12.5 mg of Anzemet." Brackett eased Pete back down on the table. As he gave the drug into his IV line he said, "This should help with the nausea."
Nurse Carol delivered in the tox results and the other blood tests Brackett ordered.
After seeing the levels of heroin in Malloy's screen, Kel pulled Dixie aside to go over some orders for him. "Let's get him settled into ICU ASAP. I want vitals every fifteen minutes because I need to know how quickly the Naloxone is going to wear off."
Pete started to feel some relief when Kel came over once more. "Pete, I'll check on you in ICU in about thirty minutes." Brackett left the treatment room as Dixie came alongside the table.
"Carol, can you call an orderly? We may need some help getting him undressed and up to ICU."
"OK, Nurse McCall."
Dix looked down into the officer's eyes. "How are you, Pete?"
With a small smirk, "Better, ... I think."
Dix gave a little wink to Pete as she spoke, "Well, we need to get this uniform off of you, then we'll get you in our hospital dress code and up to ICU." She started scissoring off the rest of his shirt then moved down to his belt. "I'll get your badge and gear to your superior."
The word "superior" sparked a memory in Pete. "Tommy?"
Out in the waiting room, Kel saw Sergeant McDonald pacing the floor. Brackett, with his hands in his long white coat pockets and wearing a pale yellow button-down shirt and striped tie, approached the officer.
"Yes." He held out his hand to shake and introduce himself, "I'm Bill MacDonald, but everyone calls me Mac."
"Ok Mac, have a seat." The two men sat down facing each other. "I think Officer Malloy will be alright. He received an extremely high dose of injectable heroin, but fortunately he has responded well to the reversing agent. He is going into ICU for the next few hours for close monitoring, but I'm pretty confident that if all goes well he can be released tomorrow."
Mac let out a big sigh. "That's great news."
Brackett paused for a second then said, "One thing. I would prefer Pete not stay alone the first twenty-four hours after his release. Can you arrange something?"
"Of course. His partner is out of town, but I think I can convince him to stay at my place for just one night."
"Good deal. Now, Mac, I'll get you a list of possible side effects resulting from an overdose, but be aware sudden changes in mood can be common. I'll also have an appointment scheduled for him with a therapist before his release. He really should talk with someone about the ordeal to help him handle all the consequences."
"Thanks, Doc. Can I speak with him now? We may have a missing child involved with Pete's assault."
"Sure, I'll have Dixie take you up to see him. He should be settled in the ICU momentarily."
A few minutes later, Nurse McCall walked up to Mac in the waiting room. "Are you ready to see Officer Malloy?"
"Call me Dixie." She could see the worry all over Mac's face. "He's doing much better."
He nodded and let out the breath he was holding.
"Have you worked together long?"
As they rode the elevator up he glanced over at her and said, "We have worked together and been friends for over twelve years."
"You two must be close."
"You could say that. To be honest, I'm not looking forward to calling his partner with this news."
"If they're partners, why doesn't he already know?"
"His partner, Jim Reed, is on vacation. Pete was riding solo today."
The two walked up to the entrance into the ICU and stopped just outside of Pete's room. Dixie could see the anxiety in Mac as he first laid eyes on his officer and his friend, and she placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Take all the time you need. There's a chair beside the bed you can use if you want to stay. Oh, and Mac, I have a bag with what's left of his uniform and gear on the chair, if you want to take it."
"Thank you, Dixie." He approached his bed cautiously as he took in the equipment surrounding him. Pete was hooked up to a heart monitor, fluids, and a nasal cannula delivering oxygen.
Another nurse scurried out of the room as Mac placed a hand on Pete's arm. "Pete, how are you doing?"
His eyes fluttered open, "Mac! ... I've been better." He paused, then Pete asked, "Is Tommy still ok?"
"Is Tommy, the boy who lost the dog?"
"Yes. I found ... his dog, Buster ... in the apartment."
"Can you tell me what happened?"
Pete felt like he was still in a fog. He closed his eyes trying to remember what happened clearly enough to explain to Mac the needed details. "I was looking for the lost Beagle and found him in a vacant apartment." Pete rubbed over his forehead as the scene of the men crashing out of the rooms played out in his mind again. "But the apartment wasn't really empty." He paused, "Three men appeared with one holding out a gun. I didn't know what I stumbled upon until it was too late."
Mac tried to help Pete get through the story with a little encouragement. "So, what happened next?"
"One of the men kicked Buster across the room then the dog ran out of the building. I think he found Tommy outside, and they went home."
"Pete, are you telling me that Tommy never went inside the apartment?"
"Yeah, he was in the alley calling the dog."
"Are you sure, Pete? Or do I need to be looking for this boy?"
Pete pinched his eyes shut again and rubbed across his mouth with his fist. "He was outside. I think he was fine."
"OK, Pete. What happened next?"
"Then, things got worse. I had walked in on a drug dealer house, and they didn't want any witnesses, especially a cop. One man held me ... while another pulled out some drugs, ... Mac." Pete shook his head in disbelief. "I couldn't stop them." Pete got choked up with emotion.
"You ok, Pete?"
"Pete, it's not your fault. No one could have stopped that." He paused for a minute. "I'm so sorry you went through this."
"Mac, I hate to say it, but it scared the hell out of me at so many levels."
"Pete, Dr. Brackett wants you to meet with a therapist here at the hospital before you get released. I think it's a really good idea."
He shook his head with self-doubt, "I don't know Mac, if I can do it."
"You can, Pete, and you will." He tried to redirect him back to the incident so he could document it in a report. "Can you remember any more details, Pete?"
"I think I can give you a decent description of the men. I never heard their full names, but one went by Bert, another was Derrick, and the third was called Jay. I can't remember much after the injection though."
He realized Pete was sounding very tired. "I'll get a sketch artist in here tomorrow. I should let you get some sleep."
Pete just nodded his head and closed his eyes as if someone just flipped a switch, and he was out.
Mac plopped down in the chair beside the bed. He jotted down some notes from what Pete shared and tucked the pad into his chest pocket. As he sat there he noticed the heart monitor beeps were slowing significantly when he heard an alarm sound. It startled him and he sat upright in the chair glancing around for what the problem was, and if anyone was noticing.
A nurse came in and quickly accessed the readings and went out to call the doctor. Less than one minute later, Dr. Brackett hurried into the room. He listened to his heart with his stethoscope then lifted his eyelids to check his pupil response with his penlight. "Nurse, Get me 2 mg of Naloxone stat!"
Hating to interrupt, but he needed to know, "Is he OK, Doc?" Mac asked trying not to sound panicked.
Brackett received the syringe and pushed the dose into Pete's IV himself. "He should be just fine. I was just waiting to see how long the reversal was going to last. With such a high heroin level initially his symptoms were bound to return. For the next few hours he'll just have to get the reversing agent hourly until the heroine is clear."
Kel watched as the heart rate picked up nicely within seconds of the injection. He looked over his chart to see the vitals recently taken before leaning over him again to check his pupils. "Much better." Kel noticed the paleness to Mac's face. "He's going to be OK. Try not to worry, Sergeant."
"It's just ... his condition changed so fast." Mac stuttered.
"That just shows how powerful some drugs can be."
Mac reluctantly stood. "I need to call in to the station, but I'll be back to stay with him, if that's OK."
"Go ahead. I'll stay with him until you're back." Dr. Brackett wanted to give some reassurance to Pete's superior.
Mac called the station and got an update from the men on the scene. After knocking on many doors, Woods and Brinkman had found the home of the boy who had lost his dog. Tommy and Buster were both safe and sound. His parents would stop at the station later with Tommy to give a complete report. They had success finding Malloy's weapon too. It had been dumped in a garbage can in the alley. Mac guessed the suspects didn't want to be caught with a police issued gun.
Several hours later, Pete was feeling ninety percent better. A sketch artist had come and worked with Malloy on the faces of the three men in his assault. Pete was now learning from Dr. Brackett that after his visit with the therapist, he could be released as long as he wasn't alone for the next twenty-four hours. Pete started to argue with Kel that he was a grown man and didn't need a babysitter.
Mac was back at the hospital after a couple hours of sleep, a shower, and putting on some fresh street clothes. He brought along a duffle bag with Pete's clothes from his work locker. As he stepped into Pete's room the disagreement continued. Kel repeated, "If you want to leave the hospital, these are my conditions. You may experience some minor side effects and being alone just isn't a smart idea."
With his head bowed and under his breath, he spoke, "OK Doc."
Kel, with both hands stuffed in his coat pockets, glanced over to Mac. "He's all yours in another hour." Kel looked back at Pete, "I'll call the nurse in and get your IV pulled, and then you can get dressed. The nurse can show you to Dr. Chaplin's office for your session. I'll see you after your meeting to sign your release papers and review a prescription you might need."
Mac looked at Dr. Brackett with great appreciation. He knew Pete needed his strong presence to accept the next steps in his recovery. Mac also knew that Jim was the only person Pete might accept help from. After Brackett left the room, Mac asked, "Did you want me to call Reed?"
"God, No! I don't need anyone else hovering over me like I'm an invalid."
"You know he would want to be called."
Pete stopped for a second, rubbing his face. His frustration was seeping over, and he knew his self-control was tittering on the edge. "I'm sorry, Mac. It's not that I don't want to be appreciative of your help and all. Can we please wait on that call?"
Mac felt sorry for his friend. He could see the inward battle over the unexpected emotions he was facing. "It's OK, Pete. Let's just take this one step at a time. I'll leave your things here." He sat the duffle on the chair beside the bed. "I'll go grab a paper and wait for you in the lobby unless you need something else."
A nurse came into the room prepared to remove Pete's IV catheter. Pete nodded to Mac. "Sounds good. Thanks, Mac."
Four days later, Pete was back at the Central Division Police Station. He came in early to get dressed while it was still quiet. He paused for a moment when he buttoned the cuffs of his long-sleeved uniform shirt feeling a bit self-conscious of the needle marks still present. When ready, he went to Mac's office to turn in the doctor's papers stating that he was cleared for duty.
The Sergeant sat at his desk getting organized for roll call when Malloy stepped through his office door. "How are you feeling, Pete?"
"Pretty good," he nodded with confidence.
"It looks like we have a line on one of the suspects in your assault case. His name is Derrick Sloan, and he has two prior narcotic felonies in Malibu."
"That is good news." Pete handed over a document to his superior. "Here"
As Mac looked over the return to duty form he asked, "Are you sure you're up for this already?"
"I'll be fine, Mac." He paused before he said, "Remember, I have my partner back."
Mac placed the form into a tray on his desk then asked, "Have you talked with Reed yet?"
"No, I didn't want to affect his anniversary celebration with Jean."
MacDonald rubbed his chin and shared, "I don't think he'll be very happy with us for not contacting him."
"Trust me, I know, but he'll get over it." Pete started to head out the door then suddenly stopped. Malloy turned back to face Mac then stepped closer. He stuck out his hand to shake, "Thanks again for being there for me." MacDonald not only grabbed his hand to shake it, but pulled him in for a hug with his other arm.
He whispered into his ear, "That's what friends are for."