Chapter 12 Part B
"I don't believe it." Amy breathed.
"I don't believe it." said Johnny, recognizing the woman in the truck bed.
"It's Amy." said Roy in confirmation.
"Wait a minute, something's wrong." said Johnny. He was out of the truck before Roy had even come to a complete stop.
"Chris, I need you to stay in the truck, son." said Roy.
"Okay dad." Chris responded. He knew that his dad asked him to stay in the car only if something bad had happened, and he knew not to disobey.
Roy parked the chevy out of the line of sight of the blue Ford. He didn't want his son to see what may be there. Hell, he didn't even know what was there.
As he neared the truck, he could see the group of rangers keeping back the curious eyes of the public.
"What in the hell happened?" asked Johnny as he jumped into the bed of the truck. His eyes instinctively looking over the boy lying on the blanket.
"Doc, Johnny and Roy just pulled up, so I have some help now. Ambulance should be here any moment." said Amy.
"10-4." Brackett's voice carried over the phone. He had finally joined the group at the bay station.
"You two are a godsent." said Amy, looking up into Johnny's face, then over to Roy. "There was a rockslide. This is Landon and his nephew Robby. They were caught in it. Johnny, if you could bandage up Landon's arm, I would greatly appreciate it. I've had my hands full with Robby. I don't know what I have left for bandages, but they'll be in the right side of the box."
Johnny moved to sit next to Landon on top of the tool box as Roy jumped into the bed, squating next to Amy.
"How bad?" Roy asked quietly so that Landon couldn't hear. However, Johnny's trained ears had picked them up as he glanced over to his two partners. Amy shook her head before responding.
"He's stable now, but it was getting pretty close. It's been almost two hours since I heard the slide. I came across these two about 45 minutes ago. Robby was unconscious, and Landon was pretty damn close to it. The contusion on his left temple has grown at least a quarter more in size. I'm assuming ICP at this point. The laceration to his scalp is only superficial. I did what I could for this arm and leg. His BP was 90/62, pulse 158 just a few minutes ago, but his BP is starting to go up since I got the IV into him. He's got to get to a hospital now." Amy said quietly, following Roy's lead.
"Is this all the supplies you've got?" asked Roy.
"Yeah. I did what I could, but I've used up pretty much everything." said Amy.
"What's ETA on rescue?" asked Roy.
"Any minute." said Amy.
"Okay. You have Rampart on the phone there?" asked Roy, looking towards the reciever sitting next to Johnny.
"Yeah, they're on stand-by. I've left the line open. The rangers are already calling in the neccessary rescue resources." said Amy.
"Rescue?" asked Roy, not knowing the entire situation.
"Yes. Roy," Amy leaned in close to him, trying her best to keep the conversation from Landon, "His whole family is up there. His parents, his sister and her husband. It looks really bad, down-right hellish, and those are just the four people we know about. I don't know how big the slide was, or if there's anybody else up there. I was on the other trail when it happened." said Amy, the look of defeat already showing on her face.
Roy was about to respond when they were met with the most wonderful sound Amy had ever heard. The sound of approaching sirens.
Everybody looked up to see not only an ambulance, but two squads, an engine and two patrol cars following behind. Amy took another set of vitals on Robby and breathed a sigh of relief. His BP was slowly coming up, and his breathing was starting to slow back down to a normal rate.
The ambulance attendents and the four paramedics rushed to the bed of the truck, where Amy proceeded to brief them all on what had happened, and the current condition of both patients. She felt a lot better as the two were loaded into the ambulance and began transport, one of the squads following behind.
"Rampart, patients are enroute to rendezvous with a chopper that will be bringing them to your location." said Amy, relief in her voice.
"Rampart copies. Good job, Amy." said Brackett.
"Thanks Doc. I'll let you know if we have any more victims." said Amy.
"10-4." said Brackett.
Amy leaned in through the back window, setting the receiver on the seat before turning back to her two partners.
"Well, that's one crisis taken care of." said Amy, her mind already racing towards the developing rescue mission.
"I know you said you carried your own gear, but I didn't realize you had this much equipment." said Johnny, helping Amy as she started to repack and clean up.
"Are you kidding? This truck was pretty much our rescue rig. You haven't even seen the other side of my box yet." Amy smiled widely.
"Well, thank god you did. That boy really needed medical attenion." said Roy.
"Speaking of boys, where's your's?" asked Amy, looking up at Roy, who was standing next to the truck.
"I had him wait in the truck." said Roy.
"Spoken like a true dad in the medical field." said Amy, remembering the times her dad had told her to wait in the car for the same reasons.
Before Roy could respond, Vince, accompanied by Ranger Dan approached the trio.
"Hey Vince. What's going on?" asked Johnny.
"Hey guys. Ranger Dan has a map here. Landon was only able to give him a general location of the slide. He said that you were up there when it happened, too." said Vince.
Both Amy and Johnny jumped out the back of the truck before Amy looked up at Dan.
"Well I was up the other trail. When I heard the slide I immediately started heading down. That's when I came across the victims. I don't know much more then what Landon told you. The only thing that stood out to me was the fact that I was the only one on my trail." said Amy.
"Why's that?" asked Vince.
"I was told that that particular trail was the most popular. I was hiking alone, so I wanted to take the most traveled trail, but there was literally nobody on it." said Amy.
"I hope that's not because they took the other trail." said Dan.
"I honestly don't know." said Amy.
"What do we have as far as rescue?" asked Johnny.
"We have the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue on their way now, as well as a Coast Guard chopper that is enroute to help with extrication, if needed." said Dan, leading the group over to the hood of Amy's truck as he laid out the map. "From what Landon told us, the slide happened in this location. Where were you when you first heard it?" asked Dan.
Amy scanned the map, following the trail she had taken until she saw the clearing she had been.
"Here. And I didn't just hear it, I felt it too. So it couldn't have been that far off." said Amy, placing her finger on the spot on the map.
"That helps alot. If you felt it, they must have been close to 3 miles up, not the original 2-2 1/2 he said." said Dan.
Amy suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder, turning to see Roy looking at her.
"I'm going to go get my son. I'll be right back." he whispered.
Amy nodded her head in understanding before turning back to the group.
"Wait a minute." said Johnny, his eyes squinting as he took a closer look at the map. "I know that area. I bet I know exactly where that slide is. There's a rock wall in that area that I've climbed before."
"There is danger up there for a slide." said Dan, matter-of-fact.
"You got that right." said Johnny.
"Is it far from the trail?" asked Amy.
"Couple hundred yards, but you can definitely see it from the trail." said Johnny.
"Help! Anybody help!"
Amy spun around to see a woman coming off the trail head, the arm of another woman slung over her shoulder, helping support her weight. Johnny immediately took off for her, Amy hot on his heels.
"What happened?" asked Johnny.
"We were climbing and we got caught in a rockslide. One of my friend's is still missing up there." said the woman, on the verge of hysteria.
"Let's get her to my truck." said Amy as she and Johnny took the woman's weight and carried her over. Dan grabbed the blanket from the truck bed and laid it out on the ground. Johnny and Amy helped the woman down onto it as Vince got on the radio, calling for another ambulance. Roy, having heard the commotion, had rushed back over.
"Roy, grab the phone reciever. Rampart is still on the line." said Amy.
"Greg, Bob, grab your gear!" Johnny called over to the two medics standing next to their squad. Amy had completely forgotten that there was another squad there. Thank god, because she was basically out of supplies.
As Johnny got on the phone to Rampart, Amy started the initial assessment of the woman. She looked about 28 years old. She was conscious, but she had a nasty looking laceration that ran from the right side of her forehead up into her mid scalp. She also had a deep laceraction to her left shoulder that ran down to her elbow, and had several small cuts, ranging in size, along both legs.
"You said you were climbing when the slide happened?" asked Johnny, waiting for Rampart to respond.
"Yes." the patient said weakly.
"What are your names?" asked Roy, joining on the driver's side of the truck.
"Susan, this is Nancy. She was above me when it happened. She must have taken most of the impact, cuz I'm just fine." said Susan, the uninjured friend.
"Are you sure you're not hurt anywhere?" asked Roy.
"I don't think so. But I don't know about Carol. I couldn't find her afterwards." said Susan.
"Johnny, pulse is 84 and strong, BP 126/94, respirations 18 and normal. Pupils are equal and reactive." Amy rattled off to Johnny, who did the same to Rampart.
"I've got an ambulance enroute. Should be here any minute. I also called for an addition ambulance for standby." said Vince as he joined them.
"Good thinking Vince, thanks." said Roy.
"No problem. Hey, you want me to do something about your boy?" asked Vince.
"Yeah. It seems I'm going to be here a while. You mind calling my wife?" asked Roy.
"Sure thing, Roy." said Vince. He didn't bother asking for the number. He knew it quite well.
"Here you go Johnny." said Bob as he and his partner reached the patient's side.
"Thanks guys." said Johnny, setting down the phone reciever.
"Johnny, we've got her if you want to take a look at the other one." said Bob, getting the line set up for Greg.
"Alright." said Johnny, motioning Amy towards the woman Roy was talking to.
"You said there's another one of you up there at the slide?" asked Ranger Dan.
The young woman looked up at him from her seated position.
"Yeah, Carol. We were rock climbing and some rocks knocked loose or something. We heard what sounded like thunder and next thing I knew, I was pulling myself and Nancy out of a slide of rocks. I looked for Carol, but I couldn't find her anywhere." said Susan, tears beginning to stream down her dirt covered face.
"It's okay, we'll find her." said Amy, kneeling down to place an arm around the woman's shoulders.
"Did you happen to see anybody else up there when the slide happened?" asked Roy.
The woman shook her head.
"Wait, there were two others."
The group turned towards the injured woman, still being attended by the medics.
"Remember Susie, the two guys we passed heading up?" she asked.
"Oh! Right!" the woman turned to Amy, "I had almost forgotten about them. There were two guys, very cute. They said they were heading up that way as well, but that was a few hours ago. I don't know if they were even still in the area when it happened."
"Ma'am, when exactly did you see them?" asked Vince.
"I'm not exactly sure..."
"Hold on," Amy stood up and quickly scanned the parking lot. She could see the two cars from this morning, but there had been a third...
"Ah! That green VW bus over there." Amy stated.
"What about it?" asked Johnny.
"It was there this morning when I black bronco there belongs to the first two victims, and I'm guessing the white two-door is yours." Amy nodded towards the woman.
"Yes, it is." said Nancy.
"I'll go see if I can get a name off the regestration then." said Vince, heading towards the vehicle.
"That's pretty good." said Roy.
"'Always be mindful of your surroundings' my dad always told me." smiled Amy.
"So the count is at least 5, possibly 7. We need to get help up there, soon." said Johnny.
"I agree, but we're waiting on Sierra and Coast Guard right now." said Ranger Dan.
"And I don't have any more supplies to take up there. I've got two sets of climbing gear," started Amy.
"I've got a set in Roy's truck too, but just a basic first-aid kit." added Johnny.
"What do you guys need?" asked a new voice. Bob had overheard the discussion and, seeing that the patient was stable, decided to weigh in on the subject.
Johnny turned towards the medic.
"Everything, just about."
"Well, take what you need of our gear, minus the bio-phone of course. Patient's stable, and the ambulance should be here at any moment. Cap is heading this way with the Engine crew anyways, so we're just going to be hanging here until more resources show up." said Bob.
"That would help. Atleast get some of us heading up there." said Roy, looking to the Ranger.
"Hey, you guys are the professionals here. If you've got the equipment to head up, go for it. Just be careful, we don't know if a second slide could get triggered." said Ranger Dan.
"Well, I'll go get changed then and repack." said Amy.
Johnny turned to her, surprise apparent on his face.
"You want to go back up?" he asked.
"Of course. Why do you ask?" asked Amy.
"You've already hiked up there once today and carried a patient back down. Just didn't think you'd have the energy for it." said Johnny.
"One thing you should know about me, Johnny-boy, is that I'm a rescue woman. I excel at backcountry rescues, and I am very good at conserving energy. I never walk away from a situation when someone needs help, no matter how bad. I'm going and that's that." said Amy, a satisfied smile on her face.
There was a slight pause as Johnny took in her words, a smile slowly forming on his own face.
"Ten minutes?" he asked.
"I'll be ready." said Amy, heading to the cab of her truck.
"You two going to be okay on your own?" asked Roy.
"I think so, just until we can get more help up there." said Johnny.
"I'll go throw the gear into the stokes then. You want the cardiogram as well?" asked Bob.
"Naw, just trauma and drug box, portable O2, and what ever you got for sheets." said Johnny.
"I have a couple guys I could send up with you. We've got a stokes at the office and some basic first aid stuff." said Ranger Dan.
"Alright, I'll take them. If we have another stokes, then we can throw the backboard stuff on it too." said Johnny.
"I'll stay here until Jo can come get Chris." Roy turned to Dan, "you got a portable radio that with reach all the way up there?"
"I do, but the channels are going to be pretty jammed with traffic here soon." said Dan.
"Does Amy have a radio in her truck?" asked Roy, turning to Johnny.
"I'll ask, not sure." said Johnny.
He turned and headed towards Amy. As he neared her, she happened to turn around, startled that there was somebody there.
"Hey, would you mind?" she asked, holding her right arm out to him. She had it wrapped with an ACE bandgae and was holding the end with her other hand.
"Sure." said Johnny, taking the clips from her. He took the moment to look for any signs of exhaustion from her, but what he saw instead shocked him.
On her right clavicle, almost dead center, was a scar. It was obvious it had been caused by a gunshot wound, and it almost looked like an exit wound.
He quickly snapped back and met Amy's eyes.
"Did you have something to say?" she asked, realizing he had walked over to her for a reason.
"Oh, uh, Roy was wondering if you had a radio in your truck." Johnny stumbled.
"Yeah I have a CB. You guys want to use it to keep in contact?" asked Amy.
"I think that's the plan. With all the personnel that's responding, the radio traffic is going to get pretty heavy. It'll be good to have us medical on a clear channel." said Johnny.
"Sounds good. Let me just throw a few more things in my pack and I'll be good to go." said Amy, grabbing her pack off her truck seat.
As he turned to leave, Johnny did a double take as he spotted the scars on the back of her arm and neck, recognizing they were entrance wound scars. The mystery about her deepened as Johnny made his way back to the group.
"Roy, she's got a CB, so we can use it to keep in touch with you and Rampart when we get up there." said Johnny as he rejoined the group.
"Good. Dan has four men getting ready to head up with you two." said Roy. He took a second look at his partner. Johnny seemed slightly shooken up about something.
"Hey, you okay?" Roy asked, keeping his voice quiet.
"Fine, fine. I better get my gear from your truck." said Johnny, heading off towards his destination.
Roy followed Johnny with his eyes before shrugging it off and getting back to the planning party.
About ten minutes later, the group of six were briefed by Ranger Dan on the possible location of the slide, and the ETA on all incoming rescue personnel. A few minutes later, the group headed out, stokes in tow, up the trail.
Amy was carrying the front of the stokes, Johnny brining up the rear, when she began to feel his eyes burning into her back. Of course she knew why; half her scars were visible. She hoped he would lose interest, but when he didn't she knew she had to say something.
"You see something interesting?" Amy said over her shoulder, slightly bitter. She did not want to deal with this now. Not today.
"Oh, n-no I-sorry." Johnny stuttered.
"Don't be sorry. You're not the first one I've caught staring." said Amy.
"What happened?" asked Johnny, immediately regretting the question.
She let out a deep sigh before responding.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked." Johnny apologized.
Amy remained silent for awhile after that. It wasn't his fault, just human nature. Everybody stared, but that wasn't what pissed her off. It was the fact that being stared at reminded her of the reason for them, how they had ended up there. It had not been chance, where the bullets had hit. It had been Glen.
As the time passed, she began to regret her decision of coming to Bailey Canyon in the first place. Today was supposed to be about Glen, and it had turned into a rescue mission. She decided she would just go buy a six pack and head to Huntington Beach later, if she made it back at a decent time that is. Until then, she would have to just push it all to the back of her mind and focus on the situation at hand.
"I'm sorry, Johnny, for being short. It' just a very touchy subject with me." Amy explained, turning to look over her shoulder at him.
"You don't owe me an explanation." shrugged Johnny.
"Yeah, I do. Something happened a year ago, today, and I'm still having trouble getting over it." said Amy.
"Hey, you know I'm here, and Roy too, if you need to talk." offered Johnny.
"I appreciate that, and I will, when I'm ready. Just don't know when that will be." said Amy, looking forward again. "But right now, I need to focus on what we're doing."
"Fair enough." said Johnny.
The rest of the hike up the mountain was filled with small chatter; sometimes between Amy and Johnny, other times with the entire crew. It wasn't until the lead man suddenly let out an explicative that the group came to see just how bad things were as they reached the scene of the slide.
"Oh my god." said Amy, her eyes taking in the scene before her.
It looked as if the entire hillside had come down. The slide was at least a 100 yards wide and another 200 yards long. It was a mix of dirt and boulders, varying in size. Amy hoped they would be able to dig out, let alone even reach, everybody.
"How in the hell are we going to find all those people?" asked Justin, one of the rangers.
"By taking it one rock at a time." said Johnny. Amy turned to him, nodding her head in agreement.
"But it's going to be near impossible." said another crew member.
"We have to try. We are their only chance at survival, and we cannot let them down." said Amy, determined.
"Alright then," spoke up Jim, the lead Ranger, "how do you want to do this?"
"Start from the top and work our way down." said Johnny.
"That's what I was thinking. We don't have any time to waste. Let's get going." said Jim.
"Lead the way." said Johnny.
The group picked up their supplies and hiked up the side of the hill, staying as close to the slide as possible, hoping to see any survivors. But when they reached the top with no such luck, their spirits began to dampen.
"Alright, here's what we're going to do. Amy, you and I will repel down the right side of the slide, and then Ryan and Paul, you two go down the left. We'll just have to work our way back and forth. Jim, you and Pat stay up top here to keep an eye on things, and lower down gear if we need it. Sound like a plan?" asked Johnny.
The group voiced their understanding and got to work setting up the rigging. Johnny pulled out his radio to call in a report.
"Johnny to Roy, can you hear me?"
"This is Roy, I hear you loud and clear, Johnny." Roy's voice crackled over the radio.
"We've made it to the top of the slide. Four of us are going to repel down and work our way acros the slide. We'll notify you if we find any survivors." said Johnny.
"10-4. I'll notify Rampart. Coast Guard ETA to your location is about 10 minutes. We have the Sierra Search and Rescue heading up as well. They left about a half hour ago." said Roy.
"Okay. Thanks Roy." said Johnny, placing the radio back on his belt.
A short time later, the four were rigged and ready to head down. Both Johnny and Amy had filled their packs with as much medical gear as they could. They didn't want to waste time having it lowered down to them later.
Johnny was the first one down, Amy following close behind. It was slow going as they navigated the rocky terrain, mindful of the loose rocks. Not long after, the Coast Guard helicopter showed up, lowering down a crew and more supplies before taking off to try and find a place to land. Pretty soon, there were a total of 8 rescuers scouring the rocks, but nobody had found anything yet. That is, until Amy found a jacket.
"Johnny! I have something over here!" she called. She had seen the dark green jacket sticking out from a mound of smaller rocks. It wasn't until she got closer that she could see an arm inside it.
"Johnny! I've got someone here!" she called out. Grabbing her flashlight, she shined it into the crevice of rock to see a person in a half seated position, eyes closed. She knew the look of death when she saw it, her hope of finding survivors dimming.
She had just been able to reach a hand far enough in to feel for a carotid when Johnny was able to land next to her, the question on his face. Amy grimly shook her head. The man was gone. Without any words between them, they marked the area with a flag as Johnny radioed to the Coast Guard on their position and notified them of their find.
They continued on with their grid, slowly working back and forth when this time, Johnny spotted something. It was bright red, and looked like a rock climbing helmet.
"Amy-?" started Johnny.
"I see it!" Amy shouted back.
"Careful. The rocks are loose over here." said Johnny as Amy made her way over to him. Because the route to the red object was narrow, Amy waited until Johnny was farther down knowing she was going to have to travel down his exact path to reach the object, and potential survivor.
Johnny had just disappeared over a rock ledge, when another scene suddenly played in front of Amy's eyes. She knew what was happening only a fraction of a second after it started.
A group of rocks, knocked loose from the above crews, cascaded down the narrow chute above them, breaking loose a small boulder that, in turn, fell right on top of Johnny, knocking him unconcsious.
Just as quickly as it came, the scene was gone, Amy's focus coming back to her. She had no time to waste.
"JOHNNY! HOLD ON!" she shouted, swinging herself over to his rope. She could already hear the loose rocks falling down towards her as she clipped onto Johnny's rope. She brought up both feet and, with all her strength, pushed off the rock face, swinging both her and Johnny back in the opposite direction just as the loose rocks tumbled past, the boulder breaking loose and falling. The dust began to settle as Amy quickly looked down to see Johnny hanging onto her rope.
"Are you okay?" she shouted down to him.
"What in the hell was that?!" he shouted up.
"That was me saving you a very large headache!" Amy yelled back.
"Well...thanks!" said Johnny.
"Anytime." smiled Amy, glad that she had been able to see and avoid the accident.
"I'm unclipping you now!" she shouted down.
Now free of the extra rope, she began her own careful decent. She hadn't even reached the bottom when Johnny called back up to her.
Thank God. There's at least one. thought Amy.
Her feet finally hit solid ground as she quickly unclipped herself from her line.
"How bad?" she asked as she neared him. He was crouched down against a massive boulder, the patient's lower body the only thing visible.
"She's unconscious, but alive. Oh."
"What is it?" asked Amy, not liking the sudden change in his tone.
"She's got her left arm pinned under this boulder." In the same instant, Johnny had the radio out, calling for help.
"Want a line started?" asked Amy, digging out supplies.
"I'll get it started. Why don't you get me a set of vitals first." said Johnny.
Amy quickly did as he asked, sounding off her findings.
"BP 100/82, pulse 84, respirations 12."
She pulled out her penlight and lifted an eyelid, flicking the light to check for a reaction. She was surprised when the patient suddenly began to regain consciousness.
"Wha-what's-ss goinon?" she asked, her speech slurred.
"Ma'am, my name is John Gage and this is my partner Amy Scheimer. We are paramedics with the LA County Fire Department. You've been in a rockslide and we're here to get you out. Try to relax." said Johnny.
"Roc-rock ss-slide? I remember a rockslide-my arm! I can't move my arm!" the patient began to panic.
"Ma'am calm down." tried Johnny.
"What's your name?" asked Amy, trying to distract the patient.
"Carol. Carol Williams, but everybody calls me Cary." her speech and mentation improving.
"Okay Cary. Do you remember what you were doing before the rockslide?" asked Amy.
"I was rockclimbing with my friends Sus-Susan! Nancy! I was with two other women! Have you seen them?" she asked, frantically trying to move.
"Cary, Cary, calm down, relax." said Amy, placing a hand on the patient's free arm. "Nancy and Susan are fine. They made it to the parking lot. They're okay." said Amy, reassuringly.
"Oh thank god!" sighed the patient, beginning to relax.
"Are you hurting anywhere?" asked Amy, keeping her talking so Johnny could concentrate on getting his IV started.
"My ears are ringing, and my chest is aching, but my left arm is the worst. At first I thought I would pass out from the pain, but now it just comes in waves." said Cary.
"Okay Cary. My partner is going to start an IV so he can give you some pain medication. But before we do, I just need to check a few things okay?" asked Amy.
"Go for it," said Cary, shifting slightly. She let out a gasp as a sharp pain shot through her chest.
"Talk to me Cary, what's hurting?" asked Amy, having caught the reaction.
"My chest. I must have bruised a rib, maybe broke." said Cary.
"Is it difficult the breath?" asked Amy.
"It kind of hurts to breath, but that's all." said Cary.
"Okay. What's the date?" asked Amy.
"Oh, June 20th." said Cary, "Atleast, that's what it was when we left. I don't know how long I've been down here."
Amy paused for a moment, almost having forgot the date herself. How she wish she could.
"Good. Yes, it's still the 20th. Where are you right now?"
"Hell." Cary said with a small laugh.
"Okay, you've got me there." smiled Amy, "but how about what state?"
"California. Bailey Canyon." Cary gave an exhausted smile.
"Alright," Amy smiled, "Everything checks out. I'm going to let Johnny get you those meds okay?"
"Thank you, and please hurry. I feel another wave of pain coming." said Cary.
Amy turned to Johnny.
"What do you need from me?" she asked.
"Here." Johnny handed her the bag of fluid, a drop set already attached. "I already got the line and 5 MS okayed from Rampart."
Amy took the bag from him and moved back, holding up her flashlight to give him more light to work.
It took him a little longer to find a vein, the patient already severely dehydrated, but he got one. The next instant, the patient began to scream as the pain from her crushed arm hit her full force.
"Cary, just breath, honey. Big, deep breaths." Amy encouraged, slowing her own breathing.
Cary met her eyes, nodding slightly as she began to match her breaths to Amy's.
"Here comes the Morphine." said Johnny as he added it to the IV line, "you should start feeling some relief pretty quick."
Cary could only nod, the pain chocking her.
It wasn't long after that she began to relax, the Morphine kicking in.
"Cary, you doing better now?" asked Johnny.
"Yes. It still hurts, but it's more bearable now."
"Good. Now let's figure out how we're going to get you out of here." said Johnny, moving over closer to Amy.
"I've been trying to figure out how to get her out of here, and I have nothing. Any suggestions?" he asked, keeping his voice low.
"Give me a sec." said Amy, moving away to get a better look at the scene. She pushed against the boulder, testing the weight, but it wouldn't budge. It wasn't looking good. After going over her limited options, she made her way back over to Johnny.
"The way I see it, she's not getting out of here with her left arm." said Amy, the thought making her feel a little sick. Last thing she wanted to do was think about amputation, but there just weren't any other options.
"I don't see any other way." said Johnny.
Both rescuer's heads snapped towards the patient, instantly moving closer to her.
"What was that, honey?" asked Amy.
"My arm. It's pretty bad, isn't it?" asked Cary, starting to sound groggy again.
"I won't lie, it ain't good. Your arm is pinned under a boulder. I don't think we're going to be able to move it." said Johnny, trying to break the news as easy as he could.
Cary was quiet for a moment, her face showing she was thinking over their words.
"Well then, I guess I'm going to need to find a new hobby." said Cary.
"What do you mean?" asked Johnny.
Cary turned her head to look at him.
"You can't rockclimb with only one arm." she said, matter of fact.
"Carol, are you asking us to amputate your arm?" asked Amy, the words leaving a bitter taste in her mouth. Although she knew full well it was Carol's only chance of survival, she still hated the idea.
"That is exactly what I'm saying. I'm not getting out of this alive unless you take my left arm, so take it." said Carol.
Johnny looked up to meet Amy's eyes.
"I'll call Rampart."
Amy gave him a knowing nod.
"Are you sure about this?" asked Amy.
"Yes." Carol's decision was made.
"Well...We are calling the hospital right now so we can get a doctor out here." said Amy, trying to fill the silence.
"Sounds good." said Carol, exhaustion evident in her voice.
Not able to think of anything else to say, Amy remained quiet until Johnny re-entered the small crevice.
"Doctor Brackett is on his way. He should be here within the hour." said Johnny.
"Doctor Brackett. Is he good?" asked Carol.
"The best." said Johnny.
"That's good then."
"While we're waiting, I'm going to have a good look over to see if you have any other injuries okay?" asked Johnny.
"That's fine." Carol's demeanor getting groggy again, "I'm getting really tired. Do you mind if I take a nap?"
"That's the morphine kicking in, but we need you to stay awake." said Johnny.
"I'll try. My eyes are getting pretty heavy." said Carol.
"I'll keep you talking. I'm really good at that." smiled Amy.
Carol looked up at her, returning the smile.
"What would you like to talk about then?" she asked.
"Whatever you want. But first, you need to tell Johnny if anything else hurts, okay?"
It was one of the longest waits Amy had ever experienced in her life. It had been nearly 50 minutes since Johnny had first radioed in to Rampart. Carol, by the miracle of God, had not broken any of her legs or her other arm. She did, however, have quite a few bruised and possibly fractured ribs on both sides, and a very tender left hip, though Johnny did not believe it was broken.
Between the two of them, Amy and Johnny had been able to keep Carol awake and talking, taking vitals every ten minutes. Although she seemed pretty stable, Carol was slowly slipping into shock and was already near the end of her second bag of fluid. There was a wave of relief as Johnny got the call on the radio that the Coast Guard helicopter carrying Brackett had arrived. It would still be another half hour before they would even begin to work on Carol, but it made Amy feel better knowing a doctor was on-scene.
"How long has it been?" asked Carol, her gaze fixed on the rock above her.
"About an hour and fifteen minutes." said Amy.
"But the helicopter with Dr Brackett already landed, so it shouldn't be much longer. How is your pain doing?" asked Johnny.
"I'm ok. Almost can't feel that arm anymore. Guess I'll have to get used to that." said Carol with a small laugh. She looked over at Amy, catching the somber look before Amy was able to change it.
"Don't look so sad. I know there isn't any other way to do this." said Carol, reaching over and giving Amy's arm a squeeze.
"I know, Cary, I know. It's just, we're rescuers. We're suppose to bring everybody back in one piece." said Amy, trying to explain her feelings to the woman she had become friends with in the last hour.
"Yeah this probably goes against everything you're trained to do, but you said it yourself. You are rescuers, and you're still doing what you're supposed to do." said Carol.
"I guess you're right." said Amy.
"HT 51 for HT 7." the radio coming to life on Johnny's belt.
"I'll direct them in Johnny. You need to switch bags anyways." said Amy, reaching out a hand.
"Alright. Here you go." Johnny handing the radio to her.
"Go for HT 51." said Amy as she ducked out of the small crevice.
"This is Dr Brackett. We've reached your first flag. Where is your location?"
"We are about 50 yards down, 20 yards to your right. You will see a small rock chute that you will need to go down. Be very careful, there are still loose rocks." said Amy.
"10-4. What is patient's current condition?"
"Patient is still alert and talking. Really wants to get out of here." said Amy.
"Understandable. Start a new bag and administer 5 MS. I have the rest of the equipment with me."
"10-4. Johnny has already started a new bag, will advise on MS." Amy ducked back into the crevice.
"They should be here in a couple more minutes. Johnny, Brackett said to administer another 5 MS." said Amy, handing the radio back to him.
"This is the last of our Morphine then." said Johnny as he began to draw it up.
"Brackett has everything else we need with him, so I wouldn't worry about it." said Amy.
"Is it going to hurt?" asked Carol.
Amy turned back to the patient and saw the sudden concern on her face.
"No Cary. Dr Brackett will make sure of it. But you'll probably be awake for most of it, so just focus on me and we'll get through it together, ok?" asked Amy.
Carol nodded her head and squeezed Amy's hand.
A few minutes later, they began hearing some rocks shifting, followed by voices from above.
"Down here!" Johnny called out as Amy poked her head out of the hole.
"Over here guys-Dad?" called Amy, having spotted the three rescuers repelling down.
"How is she?" asked Brackett as Amy helped him with his gear as he landed.
"She's getting nervous. Scared that she's going to feel it, but I told her you wouldn't let that happen." smiled Amy.
"Good. How are her vitals?"
"Just took a set. BP is 126/68, pulse 110, respirations 16. She's about as stable as your gonna get." said Amy.
"I can work with that." said Brackett.
"You going to have enough room for all of us?" asked another voice.
Amy turned to the other two men who had landed next to Brackett.
"Dad, what are you doing here?" asked Amy.
"Well, Brackett was in your grandma's room when this call came in. He asked if I wanted to tag along. What, you think I'd let you have all the fun?" asked Dale.
"We could use the extra hands. But there is going to only be enough room for two more people. Even then it's going to be tight." said Amy.
"Alright Bill, means you're the lucky winner that gets to stay out here." said Dale, turning back to the other rescuer. "Just make sure the stokes are rigged and ready to go, ok?"
"I've got no problem with that. You got it." said Bill.
"Alright, let's get this done." said Brackett.
He carefully made his way into the crevice, followed by Amy who in turn took the gear from Dale before he, too, joined them.
Amy let Johnny and Dale assist Brackett while she positioned herself next to Carol's head, blocking her view of her pinned arm. Anything to make this easier for Carol.
"Carol, my name's Dr. Brackett. I know Johnny just gave you some Morphine. Has it started working yet?" asked Brackett.
"Yeah, I can feel it." said Carol.
"Good. I'm going to give you a little more of a boost, and you may start feeling very sleepy." said Brackett, already drawing from a new vial.
Carol looked over at Amy with concern on her face.
"It's ok. I'll be right here. I've kept you talking this long." smiled Amy.
Carol look a deep breath and nodded her head. "Sorry doc, I'm just ready to get out of here."
"Only a few more minutes and you will be." said Brackett as he administered the drug through the IV.
Amy double checked to make sure the BVM was still sitting next to her, just in case. She wasn't about to lose Carol this close to rescue.
She was able to keep Carol calm and talking through the surgery. Brackett did his best at a clean cut, and about half an hour later, Carol was finally free from the boulder. Amy helped in getting Carol packaged and stable for the ride back up.
They got her out into the stokes and were about to take her up when she suddenly grabbed onto Amy's arm.
"You're coming with me, aren't you?" she asked.
"I have to stay here, Cary. There's still people missing that I have to help find. Dr. Brackett is going to be with you the whole way. I'll catch up to you at the hospital, okay?" asked Amy.
"Okay. You be careful, and I hope you find the others. Thank you." said Carol.
"Bye, Cary. I'll see you soon."
With that, Dr Brackett, Carol and Bill began their ascend back up the slide. Dale turned to the two dirt covered rescuers next to him.
"Well, I think she's going to make it." he said, a smile on his face.
"I think so, too." said Amy.
"But we still have people missing." said Dale.
"Yes. Has anybody else been found?" asked Johnny.
"Two more DOAs. Both male. One younger male was found alive, but they got him out before Brackett got here." said Dale.
Amy felt her heart sink.
"So we're still missing two females." said Johnny.
"Yeah, Robby's mom and grandma." said Amy.
Dale turned to his daughter. "Robby? Was that the young boy you treated this morning?"
"Yeah. Him and his Uncle. We have to find them. And now." said Amy.
"Then let's get to it." said Dale.
Johnny had his radio out the next moment.
"HT 51 to Command. We are resuming our search efforts on the east side of the slide."
"10-4. Be advised we are still missing two females."
"10-4." said Johnny.
They had gotten their gear repacked and were slipping onto their lines once more when Amy happened to notice that there was blood seeping into her ACE bandage.
Oh well, she thought, knew that was going to happen at some point.
They continued their zig-zag pattern, quickly covering ground with the extra person. Amy was really starting to feel the exhaustion, blood starting to trickle slowly down her arm. She could see Johnny beginning to lose energy as well. Her dad, however, being the freshest of them, was showing no signs of slowing down. What an extraordinary change of events this had been. Here she was, in the middle of California, working a rockslide rescue with her father and one of her new partners, on the one year anniversary of her accident. Who could have guessed.
They were nearing the bottom of the slide, all hope of finding the remaining two victims all but gone, when the radio on Johnny's belt came to life.
"HT 33 for HT 51. We have located the two females. Medical attention needed immediately. We are at the very bottom of the west side."
"10-4. We are on our way." said Johnny.
Amy breathed a sigh of relief as the trio quickly repelled to the bottom of the slide. At least everybody was accounted for now.
They detached themselves from their lines and quickly made their way over to the far side of the slide, were the rest of the crews had congregated. They had been able to free the older of the two females, but were still working on the other when they reached the group. Johnny joined them as Amy and Dale assisted the other crews with the older female. Again, both victims were critical, with multiple broken bones and lacerations. They assumed that the two had made it all the way to the bottom of the slide. They were able to free the last victim and both were brought up to the waiting helicopter, where a doctor and nurse Amy was not familiar with, waited. Dale jumped on with the two patients and the helicopter took off, heading for Rampart. As soon as they were out of sight, Amy sat down and leaned her back against a tree, Johnny doing to same next to her.
"I think I'm done for the day." said Amy.
Johnny looked over at her.
"You do realize we still have to get off this mountain." he said.
Amy rolled a tired eye in his direction. "Don't remind me."
"You're arm okay?" asked Johnny, having seen the blood earlier.
"Yeah. I think I just tore a stitch or two. That's all." she shrugged her shoulders, too tired to do anything else.
They sat there for about ten minutes until Jim made his way over to them.
"Hey guys, great work out there. Really helped a lot having you here. We're still going to be here a while, but you guys are free to go." said Jim.
"Thanks, Jim. I just need a few more minutes and then we'll start heading out of here." said Amy.
"Well, you want to hitch a ride back with Coast Guard? The second chopper hasn't left yet."
Amy's eyes instantly lit up.
"Absolutely." said Jim. "Let me call them on the radio and tell them you're on the way."
Amy instantly stood up and grabbed her pack, Johnny doing to same."
"Thank you so much."
"Anytime. Don't take this the hard way, but I hope I don't run into you guys again anytime soon." said Jim.
"None taken. We'll see you later, Jim." said Johnny, exhaustion evident in his voice.
There weren't many words shared between them on the short hike to the helicopter, or any on the flight to the parking lot where they were dropped off. Both were exhausted, Amy passed a point she had never been before. She almost wondered if she could even drive.
"You want me to drive your truck back?" asked Johnny as they got off the helicopter.
Amy turned and gave him an exhausted smile. "Yes, please. I just want to go home and sleep."
"Well not quite yet." said Johnny, seeing Roy walking towards them.
"What do you mean?" asked Amy.
"You need to go to Rampart and get that arm fixed first." said Johnny.
She was too tired to argue. Without another word, she reached into her pocket and pulled out her truck keys, handing them to Johnny before entering her truck and crawling inside.
"How you guys doing?" asked Roy as he reached Johnny.
"Tired. She's downright exhausted. I'm going to take her to Rampart though. She tore open a few stitches in her arm." said Johnny.
"Alright. We found everybody then?" asked Roy.
Johnny nodded his head.
"Everybody that we knew about, at least. Any word on the two Amy had this morning?"
"Both are going to be just fine." said Roy.
"That's great. I'll let Amy know. Anything on Carol?"
"Carol?" asked Roy.
"The arm amputation." said Johnny.
"Oh, no I haven't heard. How'd that go?" asked Roy.
"Brackett did his usual amazing work. Seemed like she was going to be okay when they left." said Johnny.
"That's great. Well, I'll follow you too Rampart then. Jo came and got Chris a while ago, and I'd like to check on the patients as well." said Roy.
"Alright, Pally. See you at Rampart then." Johnny smiled tiredly. He turned and opened the driver's door to the blue Ford.