The Face In The Mirror by Patti Keiper ( Anotherjaneway )
The sawing resumed, and showering orange |
sparks began to fall from above them
that lit up the
Roy was in his own private world. His mind
was racing with priorities and he was
his own fatigue. Wisps of oxygen from
the girls' masks would give him seconds of
but they didn't last. ::Why didn't
I sleep a little longer last night. One more
hour would've done
it.. Now.. Concentrate.
You aren't going to be able to contact
Rampart until you're out of this
space...::he told himself. ::Focus..
Maintain Cassie's positive pressure ventilations
for a minute longer. Then get that circulation
back into Robin's fractured leg.::
gave Cassie a few more assisted forced air
shots then left the demand valve on passive, so
it fed a healthy stream of oxygen to her
when she breathed in, automatically.
He turned to
Cap and together they drew
Robin's hideously broken leg out from under her
face and down her body
as easily as they could.
Robin screamed at one point and passed out.
Her EKG sank into shocky
sinus rhythm. A minute
later, the task was done. The metal shard
in Robin's leg under the Cap's
began to pulsate with each heartbeat
on Robin's monitor.
Roy smiled, "Ok, that's
it. We did it, I think."
Cap checked his end of the splint,
fastening off the tension straps
holding Robin's leg straight. "We did. Foot's
DeSoto's smile faded, "Where's
break at in that leg." he asked Cap.
Hank cut away the girl's pink slacks
straps. "Looks like
there's an exit wound in the middle
upper thigh. Femur.. and...another one
lower down by her ankle. There's a
deformity there, still."
Roy nodded, head back in Cassie's
as he resumed her forced O2, "So far so
good. That sounds like it was an open
which we reduced. That ankle
I'm not so much worried about. Is her thigh
any bigger than the other
"That's good. At least she's not bleeding
out inside that leg. Last thing
we need is
an arterial bleed. We can't exactly get
a pair of mast trousers in here, now can
Cap caught the note of exasperation in |
his paramedic, "Easy Roy. We've done
what we can here.
Now Kelly and the whole
gang should get us out inside five minutes. "
He eyed the rain of sparks
and their location.
"He's 3/4's the way around making us that door
Outside Chet was sweating with effort behind
his face plate. Marco was anchoring his
while he cut into the Winnebago's
But then the rasping buzz of the K-12
with a sound of something
very much like static...
Marco smelled ozone..
a live power line nearby!"
Chet turned but didn't stop cutting.
"One more second and I'll be
A hanging wire from a broken, leaning telephone pole
that no one
could see in the fog, swayed
in the rising wind of coming daylight.
A thick cable sparkled
with blue fire, ionizing the air
before connecting with the wall of the Winnebago..
passed through Chet's sweaty gloves like
water and into Marco.
Both men were thrown backwards by the shock and fell|
onto the road.
From where he was, Johnny
Gage heard a crackling and
looked up, horrified, as a massive blue arch illuminated
forms of Lopez and Kelly.
He ran as close as he dared to where he thought
they went down. He couldn't see them through the fog.
And he didn't dare move any closer. Ozone
nearly choked him.
He thumbed his talkie, "LA, this is Squad 51. Cut all
power to the Southbound
Highway system, now!!"
In the RV, the sound of sawing stopped.
Cap looked up
at the cutting outline and saw the job wasn't yet
complete. It had gone quiet out
Roy met his puzzled gaze. "Must've hit a beam or something."
He was about to ask what
was happening on the talkie
when the EKG on both girls soured suddenly in a downward
"What th--?" It almost looked like resolving defib on
the monitor. His bare hand brushed the metal
It tingled and he suddenly felt short of breath. He
jerked his hand away with an effort
of will. "Cap!
The RV's being electrocuted! Get on your shoes' soles"
A sickening wash of ozone
flooded the tight space Cap
Roy and the girls were in. They could now hear
the crackling power
striking the RV. They could
see lightning blue through the cracks of the sawed
gasped, "What about the girls?"
Roy began grabbing the strewn dresser clothing
"Stuff insulation under them! If
we get a direct hit from that wire. It'll kill them.
this wall directly.."
He frantically put on his gloves again, avoiding the
twisted metal around
him and shoved sweaters,
pj's and towels under his patient. Cap did the
same for Robin. But before
they could finish, a bright
flare of fire buzzed and the bucking powerline
wire wedged in the
crack the K-12 had made
at the top of the wall.
The girls caught the whole backwash of
for a brief second before they
were insulated from the floor by Cap
The EKG rhythms
plunged again, more deeply,
but they didn't flatline.
Roy ducked involuntarily and so did Cap
at the angry energy snapping so near their
heads. It was a near thing.
Then under DeSoto's
hands, Cassie's chest
failed to rise. "Cap! Check Robin.
Her sister's just arrested."
redoubled his ventilation efforts
again, using the demand valve on Cassie, watching
her EKG monitor
intently. But there were
no further downward spikes at all.
Their desperate mats of laundry
Captain Stanley caught something of Roy's sudden
urgency over the hideous noise
from the powerline.
He reassessed Robin, and she too, was apneic.
"Roy, she's going down. No
DeSoto handed Cap another pediatric oral airway and
told him how to insert
it. But there was a problem.
Only one demand valve was available.
Hank improvised, starting
to breathe for her, wearing
the cannula in his own nose, using his own lungpower
and the flow
of O2 through him to keep oxygen in her
But there was a blessing even in the fetid
The two EKG's on the defib monitors still
sounded off, like music to his ears.
Roy didn't admit it, but part of the tingle he got
touching the metal floor underneath him had
him physically. His eyes blurred as he
worked over Cassie. ::Shake it off. Shake it off.
He knew the girls needed IV meds. And they needed them
got on his walkie talkie, crouched around Robin's head.
In between delivering breaths to Robin,
he spoke, shouting.
##LA, this is Engine 51. Emergency!##
"Go ahead 51."
down surrounded by
live power lines. Cut power to the area immediately.
"The power company has been notified. Two minutes to
shut down." dispatch replied.
Cap gave Robin another breath and looked up.
"How are we going to get med authorization?
got your hands full with that demand valve!"
Roy backed out of Cassie's niche.
get Gage in here!"
But before he could get back on his handytalkie he heard
a frantic Gage
contact him. ##I heard ya on the horn!
Hang tight. Chet and Marco are down! **a large
of power** Dammit!! I still can't get
to you or them! You're going to have to make
There was thudding sound as John threw away the talkie
in another attempt to circle
around to get to his
Roy heard only static follow on his radio.
and Roy were left alone, underseiged by the powerline in the camper, but they kept working to maintain
Outside, Gage spotted another EMS crew appearing from the fog |
a few yards from the camper. He made
sure he was heard and
seen by picking up and throwing one of the road flares in their direction.
He pointed at the camper when the men turned to face him.
"Get my partner! He's in there! Live power
Then he jumped the guard rail, moving up onto
a hilly bank just visible to him in the
mist. It was on a level
with the top of the rolled Winnebago.
John leaped on top of it,
mindful of his fog damped shoes,
quickly dancing until he got his overcoat under his feet
him from the deadly electricity surging under him.
Stoker, who had come running at Cap's frantic
handed him a shepard's crook. "Use it on them! Not the
cable! Or the polymer will
melt on you!"
Gage nodded, leaning on his stomach, over the edge of the camper's
roof. Mike tossed him a rope which he looped around the
end of the crook. He extended the pole,
and snagged Chet's hand,
the only thing sticking in the air against a piece of debris.
jerked the line, tightening the noose and flung the line
back at Mike on the ground. Station eight's
Chet out of the hose watered danger zone to safety.
Gage glanced over only long
enough to see them roll
him over onto his back before catching a new rope
from Vince. His toss
at Marco's foot, missed. His next
toss caught him across the face, awakening him
with its rough
"Marco, Listen to me! Grab the rope!"
Marco contorted with each shock
from the wire but he still
had wits enough to hook an elbow around Gage's looped line.
leaped back onto the grassy rise and hauled Lopez
towards him away from the watery pavement.
got Marco to his feet and they got out of there.
"I got ya. I got ya.."
Lopez locked into an
involuntary spasm just as Gage and others
got him back over the guard rail. He dropped in their arms
and was quickly lowered to the ground and held carefully
so his head didn't abrade on the concrete
while he shook.
"Ah.. it hurts so bad!" His breath was squeezed out of his
body by a great steel
band of his own muscles. *choke*......
The world retreated for long seconds before the convulsion
him as quickly as it came. His vision came back. Marco
saw a ring of faces over his. And
one he recognized.
"..ugh.. Johnny.?..*gasp* H-How's Chet.?"
John looked over across the road
from where he was crouched over
Marco. He could vaguely make out the outline of a Pasadena FD
bobbing up and down. "They're working on him."
"uh no...." Lopez said, slinging an arm over his
"They got to him fast enough now just worry about yourself
for once, all right?" John
said sharply. " Mike.. Get the stokes!"
Gage shouted. "I want him near me and the gear boxes!"
John tried some levity as he undid Marco's overcoat and cut
through his shirt with clothes shears
from his hip holster
when he saw that its buttons had fused together.
"If your breakfast wasn't
hot enough this morning. It sure is now..
Your hair's curlier than Kelly's."
Lopez groaned. Gage wasn't all sure that it was laughter.|
He kept a hand on Marco's chest. "Can you
That was some jolt you took there."
"*cough* y- yeah.."
Marco tried to straighten
out his body. But then an even stronger
muscle spasm curled him up into an agonizing ball.. "Ahhhh!!
Gage..Make it stop!!... It's killing me..." he sobbed.
"Easy, Marco.. There's meds I can give
ya to do just that
But you're going to have to wait..You've been one upped by Chet
he shouted to a Pasadena man he recognized,
"Get him on some O2 will ya..?"
He said, pointing
at Marco. "Put him on fifteen liters, non
rebreather. Bring a bite stick. His convulsions won't resolve."
Johnny turned Marco onto his side before the next spasm
could make him ill. "The O2 will deal with
some of your nausea
Marco lost focus and stopped writhing as the spasm
him like a dog with a rag. He drifted.
John looked down at Lopez's pale face. He was
now half out, but still
moving air. "See you in a few minutes." He lingered only
long enough to
see the new EMS team insert a bitestick and
start up his order of O2. "Marco. Hang tough. I'll be
Johnny shouted as he stood up.
Gage took off at a run to get to Kelly's side.
Stoker, Vince, Station Eight's chief and Vince's partner,
Garner got Marco into the stokes
and brought him
across the road to where Chet lay on the ground. Station
eight's men were performing
CPR on Kelly and using their
own resuscitator to give ventilations.
John thunked down onto
his knees and checked out Chet's
pupils with his penlight around the demand valve mask without
in that fireman's way. "They're reactive."
He knew things weren't going to be easy. Roy had
squad's defibrillator. "Damn..if only we had another
defib box." he mumbled.
Then Vince spoke
up. "There's one in the lifeguard tower
station on the beach.." Vince peered about. "We're at mile
marker two, aren't we?"
The Chief nodded. "Where exactly is that station?"
hard. "It's about twenty five meters off
the park entrance at the south end. It's a base station.
There should be guards there now."
"Well what are you waiting for?!" Gage said, listening
how the oxygen from the positive pressure mask was
perfusing in Kelly's lungs with his stethoscope
The Chief ordered, "Get a move on....!" he pointed to two men.
sir..!" Two firemen ran towards the direction of the
ocean's waves. They disappeared into the fog.
Gage shouted suddenly, "Hold it.. hold it..!" gesturing to the ventilator.
too much. I'm not getting any good
volume in his lungs at all now. On the count of three, we'll roll
At the end of a set of chest compressions, Kelly was turned on his side,|
with his head tilted back.
John pressed Chet's hugely air swollen
stomach carefully, and the lung constricting air expelled
of his mouth. When he finished, John swept inside Chet's mouth
with a finger. It came
"All right.. back over. Back over.. He didn't get sick."
CPR continued. Gage nodded
at the return of vents inside Kelly's chest.
He pulled off his stethoscope, and sighed.
saw the powerline still arching in the Winnebago wall.
He saw Truck 127's crew circling it, still
Roy and Cap. They were stymied.
"Damn it. I wonder why the power company's taking
He saw one of Eight's men plunk the squad's biphone right
in front of him and another
unit's drug, trauma and IV boxes.
"Where did you get that?! " he said incredulously happy.
of the men answered. "Station Eight's. But they've gone
with the defib, They had a touchy OB in labor
to the hospital.
Stone said you might be needing this."
up the receiver and hailed Rampart.
"Rampart this is squad 51. How do you read?"
on cue, the power was cut to the writhing wire
above them and its burning end went black. It settled
to the ground.
A new saw advanced on the camper immediately.
John nodded with satisfaction,
thumbing his walkie talkie.
"Roy, they're coming in!!"
base station next to the front desk was empty,
until the red light began to flash.
looked up from her slate at the sound
of the incoming transmission's double buzz. She flagged
Joe Early coming out of treatment three.
"Joe.." and she pointed with her pen.
Dr. Early went
into the glass enclosed room and
toggled the switch on the radio after starting
machine. "Unit calling in, please repeat."
"Rampart this is Squad 51."
"Go ahead 51."
"Rampart, we have six victims at a multiple MVA.
Two Code I. Two are still inaccessible. Two superficial.
Victim one and two are victims of electrical shock.
Victim one. Negative vital signs. We're administering
CPR. His arrest
was witnessed. Victim two is semiconscious and suffering from
severe muscular convulsions
with moderate respiratory distress.
He is stable. Victims three and four are children, trapped inside
Roy is with them now with a hand held radio, linked to you via
dispatch. Victims five
and six have minor cuts and abrasions."
Joe early read the notes he took down.
"Go ahead with victim one."
Gage looked over to the men working on Chet.
"10-4,Rampart, " Johnny
swiped sweat off of his lip as he talked,
"Chet's CPR has been ongoing for four minutes. We've had
with distension, request permission to insert an esophageal airway."
"Go ahead 51.
Then defibrillate at 400 watt seconds."
John lip's set into a frustrated line, "Negative on the
Rampart. We don't have one. A lifeguard station is nearby. We're
waiting for beach
lifeguards to respond with their equipment."
Joe saw Kel walking by and motioned for him to come
into the room
curtly then added, "10-4, 51. Start an IV D5W, TKO. Continue CPR.
amp Sodium Bicarb. Then 5 cc's 1/10,000 mg
epinephrine IV Push. "
"10-4. IV D5W TKO, one amp
Bicarb, 5cc epinephrine IV. Inserting
an esophageal airway.." Gage repeated to his attending doctor.
"Standing by." Dr. Early replied. He nodded to Dr. Brackett and
handed him his notes and a transcript
of the first minute
of 51's call. Kel continued reading intently.
Joe said, "There's no defibrillator
there. 51's working on it. They
said they'll have one soon."
Brackett said, "Six victims? Must
be a bad one."
Joe grunted and waited for his paramedic to come back online.
phone receiver and cord over his shoulder,
Johnny grabbed a laryngoscope and an EOA. He
lip as he threaded it into Chet's throat, down
the scope's guide groove and into his stomach. He was
almost afraid that there'd be swelling from his evac earlier
but there wasn't any at all.
tube settled to its end mark, effortlessly.
"Ok." He said to the man with the respirator. The
was reconnected to the airway tube a second later.
John listened to Chet's ribcage.
give him a shot."
Kelly's chest rose. Gage heard good breath sounds on the left side.
his stethoscope over to the other side.
"Again." he nodded.
He heard pure air sounds there too
and no gastric bubbling.
The tube was in place properly, he inflated the airway's gastric
"We got it. Continue the CPR."
He got an IV line in on sheer blind luck into Chet's inner arm
at the crook of the elbow. He ran the D5W, and then squirted air
out of the epinephrine needle
before injecting it into the IV's
rubber port. "Anything?" John asked when he was through.
fireman at Chet's head checked for a carotid. He shook his
Gage cursed with more than
a little frustration,
"You're making it hard for us... Chet, I was only kidding about
moon thing." he said, setting the IV bag under Chet's
John then got out the Bicarb ampoule and prepared and injected|
that blood neutralizer into the IV line.
"He'll need a truckload. He's
been down forever." he mumbled. "Where are those lifeguards..?"
On cue, two people, a man and a woman in red shorts and jackets
ran up to them being led by the chief's
men. They had a white box
with them. They crouched by Gage and the crew. The youngish
man spoke, "I'm Lt. Craig Pomeroy. This is Jill Riley, senior
lifeguard. Heard you needed this."
John smiled and grabbed it. "You're beautiful!" He flipped open
the lid with a flourish and his face
fell. "What th-?"
He got out the phone in the same motion.
"We have a defibrillator, Rampart.
But it's a type I've never seen
"What model is it?" Joe asked, puzzled.
couldn't tell you, doc..." Gage said quite honestly.
He heard Kelly Brackett emit an oath in the background.
Dr. Early went on, "Any chance of finding another Defibrillator?"
Craig spoke up to the fireman/paramedic.
"I'm authorized to use
this pack, sir. It's an automatic unit. It'll assess whether or not
receptive to countershocking."
John shouted eagerly, "Hold on, Rampart!" He set the phone down
setting fingers on the woman lifeguards' arm. "Wait a sec. You said
it determines heart recapture
They both nodded.
"Rampart, ah,.. The Lifeguard lieutenant here says he's fully
trained on it. And that it has conversion analysis.
What should I do?" Gage asked, breathless.
Brackett slammed the button down, "Do whatever it takes, 51. He's
running out of time!" he growled.
Johnny nodded. "10-4." Then he looked to the Baywatch lifeguards.
"You heard the man. Do it."
Quickly, Jill and Craig threaded two huge padds that were attached
to the strange looking monitor.
There was no EKG screen to speak of,
Gage thought. Until he saw a digital one pop on a screen the
second the leads
hit skin. Then they touched a green switch on the side of the device.
synth voice spoke,
---Stand Clear. Stand clear-- analyzing patient.. --
Johnny took the lifeguard's
cues, motioning, and all the firemen lifted
their hands from Chet.
--No signal. Continue
The team resumed their resuscitation.
"What's that mean? Why didn't it fire?" Johnny
Jill reset the device.. " It means your bicarb hasn't had a chance to
man's acidosis. When did you give it to him?"
"Three and a half minutes ago."
won't be long until the pack determines viability and defibrillates.
It won't shock a heart in the
wrong chemistry. Saves damage to the
patient. Back off everyone." Craig ordered.
crew stood off.
---Stand Clear. Stand clear-- analyzing patient--|
Everyone held their breaths.
Chet Kelly's torso lifted only slightly, almost gently
under the box's new
kind of direct delivery system.
---No Pulse. Continue CPR.--
Johnny's patience hit a breaking
point. "Damn it!" Gage sharply
motioned for the CPR team to begin working again.
"The bicarb is working. Soon, his blood will be prepped enough
for the pack to deliver
another shock. It'll be another ten seconds."
Gage grabbed her arms, "Wait a minute. Are you saying
right now, Chet's system is still too acid for that thing to work?
Craig put his
hands on his knees, "Yes."
Gage smiled, "Hang on.... Rampart, There's still no conversion
one countershock. We're showing deep flatline on the pack."
::Come on, docs, guess what I'm guessing..::
"Hmm,..Sounds like his blood is still too acid. Give another amp
Sodium Bicarb." Joe said finally.
::Yes!:: Gage thought happily. But then Brackett came on.
"Gage, we'll need to bump him
up into coarse V-Fib again.
I am personally authorizing you to give 2 cc epinephrine
Johnny's face fell and he gaped, slowly, "Hold on. Rampart, IC?
I've never done one in the field."
"I have full confidence in you, Johnny. You've seen me do it enough
times." Brackett said.
Gage licked suddenly dry lips. "Uh,..10-4, one amp Sodium Bicarb,
then 2cc Epinephrine IC. Stand
The bicarb load was in and empty when John got over
being stunned about what he was being
asked to do.
Johnny drew open the paper off the premixed syringe. He
motioned with his head
to the firemen around him. "All right.
Stop the ventilations." He fingered the proper position into
cartilage between the third and fourth ribs and cleared the six
inch needle of any air.
Jill Riley looked away as the long needle plunged down.
Gage advanced the cath until he felt one
pop, then two.
"All right, I'm through the chest wall, nnghh.. and
the pericardial sac.." then
he felt a tenuous
third resistance in the needle, ventricle tissue! "There.!"
He pushed the
plunger until all of the amber fluid in
the chamber was gone. He held his breath and withdrew
needle back the way it came and looked at the tip
of it. It was all there. Nothing had broken off.
He sighed, passing off the spent syringe to the needle
bin in the Drug box. Then nodded for CPR
John sat back onto his butt, rubbing his mouth in relief.
"I did it. I actually did
The lifeguards continued where he left off.
The green button was pressed again.
clear. Stand clear--analyzing patient--
More than one man crossed their fingers.
----Pulse detected. Pulse detected... Detach unit's power source.--
The last line of the computer's voice was drowned out by
cheers from all the rescuers over Kelly
as his chest began
to rise and fall.
Johnny snatched the phone to his mouth.
have a Ventricular rate of about 30."
It was Brackett's turn to sigh and tremble a tad. "Good
Johnny. You saved both my professional reputation, and
yours. Think we should add that little
trick to the
Gage just grunted in the negative.."Hell no. My nerves are
But he could almost hear Brackett grinning through the biphone line.
added, "51, start an IV of an Isoproteranol Drip, and the rest of
the bicarb. Continue O2 and monitoring.
Transport as soon as possible.
Send us a strip lead two."
Jill turned a toggle on the pack
for Gage and a few other
dials he didn't understand and said, "This will be lead two."
Brackett and Early grinned at the unfamiliar voice but|
bent over the paper roll feeding out of their
relay monitor. "Looking good, ...maam. " Kel joked.
"Johnny, Increase the drip until his rate's around
seventy, will you?
We'll wait on his vitals until you've treated victim two."
Rampart." He finished his med order on Kelly and
then turned his attention to Marco behind him.
Lopez still had good color and was moving slightly.
Gage looked to the Pasadena
man who was carefully watching
Marco's breaths steaming under the mask.
"Is he still having
spasms?" Johnny wanted to know.
On cue, Lopez twisted up, in one arm and leg on
same side. "Tonic convulsions now?" Gage wondered.
John shouted, "Marco! Can you hear me?"
His coworker's face didn't change.
Johnny got closer to his ear. "Marco!" But Lopez
react. Johnny checked out his pupils. Then on
a thought, rubbed a knuckle into his sternum.
twitched and fingers moved slightly on
the relaxed hand. But that was all.
Johnny relayed what
he had found, "Rampart Victim
Two's Marco Lopez. He's semi conscious and
are labored at...." he paused
to check. Then Gage was surprised to see the two
a different patch from the auto
defib unit of theirs to Lopez's bare shoulder.
"Your doctor is going to
want to see how he's doing..too."
Johnny smiled, "Fair enough." he
said, muffling the
phone mouth piece. Then he finished his report,
"Respirations are 26 and irregular.
frequent seizures in his lower body and extremities.
The spasms started all over
him when we first got him
free but now seem to be confined to the left side
of his body. He's
on fifteen liters of O2. Additional
vitals to follow.."
Early wanted to know. "51, Sounds
like the electricity
travelled down his central nervous system from the
contact point and has disrupted
activity on that side. I want a BP from
that arm. What's his heartrate?"
is...120 and irregular,
BP is....*sigh* .. Stand by for the BP."
Gage got a reading quickly
by stepping his foot
on the twitching hand on Marco's left side while Jill
and Craig helped hold
the arm still for him, restraining
it at shoulder and wrist.
"....BP is......Hold him,... 92 over
50." He reported,
pinning the phone to his ear between his shoulder and face.
Marco began to
gag slightly in his stupor. But there was
nothing left in his stomach to lose. He only had weakened
dry heaves as he lay on his side, gasping tightly around
John slid his free hand to Marco's
neck, pulling his larynx
up a bit in his thumb and fingers to see if his breathing
Johnny added. "Rampart, Marco's getting stridorous.
I think the petite mals are having
an impact. And he's
really nauseated and he's getting a bit cyanotic."
"Try an esophageal
airway, 51.." Joe ordered.
"Negative, Rampart. He has a gag reflex." Gage said.
his response to pain stimuli?" Dr. Early asked.
"Somewhat to pain, nothing to verbal cues. And
showing no signs of voluntary movement on his
then asked, "51, is he still vomiting at all?"
"Negative.. his stomach appears to be empty."
Dr. Brackett laid down the plan. "Hmm. Johnny, sounds like he'll
tolerate a naso pharyngeal airway.
Go ahead and intubate
him. It should help his air intake and keep him from
aspirating any bodily
Gage nodded as the lifeguard Craig anticipated his need
and handed him
one already out of its wrap. He nodded
thanks, while he listened to the rest of Kel's instructions.
"....Send us a strip. I want to see what's happening
to his cardiac functioning."
took off Marco's O2 mask and held it near but out
of Johnny's way.
Johnny gel-ed the nasal
airway and guided it through
one of Lopez's nostrils and down, until it was in place
checked its positioning in the back of his throat
with a penlight, peering into Marco's mouth.
he replaced the bite stick in between his involuntarily
"All right. Get that O2
back on him."...
He listened for a moment, molding the mask carefully
Marco's nose and mouth and the seizure stick,
then smiled as his labored gasps eased off and began
"Ok.. he's set. It's working."
He picked up the phone, "Doc, his breathing's levelling
off. Respirations are 14 and deep." he nodded with satisfaction.
"He's in better color too."
Gage pointed to Jill, and
she sent Marco's telemetry to the hospital as she had done
Brackett eyed Lopez's strip as the audio feed danced
in its soft wavering pitch,
filling the base station's tiny room.
Dix held her breath, and so did Joe.
Kel finished reading
the strip, and one
of his eyes twitched as he toggled the sending talk button.
"51, I'm getting
only minor ventricular irregularities. Your fireman's
one lucky man. Looks like the jolt he took was
of moderate intensity. His nausea's not cardiac related. It's most likely
due to pyschogenic
shock. Give .5 mg Atropine , IV, 51.
And start an IV of D5W, TKO to get him out of it."
replied, grateful at the news, "10-4, doc, .5 Atropine
in a D5W IV to keep open." He tore a bag
out of its paper and
strung a line in after nabbing a vein.
He splinted the tubing and the catheter
in Marco's arm
with an IV board, so it wouldn't be torn free in his seizuring.
Then he added the
Lopez began to shiver differently
and the convulsions on his left began to spread
to his other side.
Jill cushioned his head in her hands but other firemen replaced her
manual restraint with two sand bags that worked even better.
Gage got on the phone quickly, "Rampart.
Atropine is in,
but ah,.. his convulsions seem to be getting worse.
And more frequent."
Brackett, "It's a tough tradeoff, 51. Atropine for
that good air exchange. But increased tremors."
He mumbled off phone to Joe. "Damned if
you do, damned if you don't.." He got back on the line.
right Johnny.. We're going to find middle ground.
Draw up 25 milligrams Diazepam..for an IM only."
Gage frowned, rocking back on his heels, grumbling
at his only viable option. He knew what the
were asking him to risk. ::Great.. first Kelly's IC, now
Kel went on, "Watch him closely. The Diazepam's going to|
depress his breathing every step of the way.
You're going to inject five cc's at a time until he's just at
the point where the tremors cease. Got
that? Five cc's
for every fifty pounds body weight. You lose lung draw
and we're in trouble."
"10-4. Diazepam IM. Five cc's per fifty. Stand by."
Johnny wasn't happy.
He knew the risks of losing
Marco's respiratory ability were high due to
his shock; let alone
those incurred from his having
a downer drug used on him.
Coma couldn't be far away if Gage
He closed his eyes, holding the needle and shot of
up between his chilled hands
as he tried to recall what he had heard Lopez joke
about his weight
a week ago while he was standing on
the station's scale. "Now what did you say Lopez..?
pounds?" He couldn't clearly remember.
"Damn.." he cursed, grabbing up his talkie. "Squad 51
Engine 51. Come in."
Captain Stanley answered, "Gage? Is that you?
Hurry up.. We've got
arrested girls in here."
"Hold on, Cap. I'll be right there. But Marco needs
treatment right now more than they do. You've got
the kids maintaining just fine from the sound of
Johnny said. He could hear Roy's positive pressure vents
and Cap's mouth given breaths plainly.
"Right now I
need to know Lopez's exact body mass.."
Cap grabbed up the radio closer to his
free ear, "What did you just ask?
The saw's too loud in here!"
"Roy .. Cap!.. how much does
Lopez weigh? How heavy is he?
Brackett's got me anesthetizing Marco to control
petite mals. Now...How
many pounds do
you remembering seeing in his file from last week,
Cap? I can't do this at all
unless I am absolutely
right on or he'll get real sour on us real fast."
Cap said, "I don't
honestly know, Gage.... Roy?"
DeSoto wiped sweat from his eyes. His head
was pounding from
the remnants of the electrical surge
he took through his fingers on the floor.
His mind raced,
then he snatched the radio away from
Cap and hollered, "Chief, get one
of your men in here right
now to take over for me.
My partner needs me out there ASAP.. Johnny I'll
be right there..!."
A minute later, Stone wormed his way to Roy's side
and took over Cassie's resuscitation effort.
Roy put a hand on Cap's shoulder as he worked
over Robin. "I'll be right back. Call me if either
their EKGs so much as twitch.."
He left his radio on Robin's stomach, within
Cap's easy reach.
Hank nodded as he placed
another seal over the child's lips and blew her
another careful breath.
Roy made sure Cap had enough oxygen
flowing through the cannula on his face
to go through
him and then to the child.
"Got to remember your trick for the books."
simple statement made Hank
relax a whole nine yards.
Roy felt comfortable then with leaving
four of them in the camper.
DeSoto stumbled out into the fog. He
Gage and Kelly and the Pasadena group by following
the flares glowing on the road.
arrived too fast and banged into Gage.
He lost his balance.. squatting down
near him over Marco's
Gage looked at him "Hey, easy! I almost stuck you..." He
said, whipping the
needle away from Roy.
"S-Sorry.." Roy coughed, rubbing his eyes to clear them.
a little more closely at
Roy, "You ok? I know you're better than me at this,
but if you're too
"I- I'm fine.. Give it here."
Gage studied Roy's sweaty face for a moment,
a stench coming from him. Burned flesh.. "Hey.." he took
up Roy's arm, "Where did you
get that burn..?"
"It's nothing.. I... touched some hot metal when I got
too near the K-12.."
he lied. Marco needed him to act.
"You sure you're all right?" Gage said, still hanging
"Yeah.. I'm fine.." DeSoto said.
Something about his conviction fooled
studied Roy's face a moment longer,
then slowly handed DeSoto the syringe. "ok.." he
Johnny picked up the phone. "Rampart, Roy's going
to do it. He's got a better idea of
how much Lopez
"Get on it, 51. Every minute with those convulsions is
too many." Brackett said.
Roy's brain fuzzed as he swabbed down the fleshy part
flank. "He said... he weighed.. 81 kilos..
in the gym.. Joked about how it was the same weight
our punching bag..." he whispered to himself.
"Shhhhh" Roy said, wiping moisture from his |
upper lip. "He said.. 81 kilos... I'm certain of
that's why he looked so funny working out with
it. It kept knocking him around..
.. Yeah.. I remember
laughing at him trying to
keep on his feet.."
Gage nodded, smiling slightly."He's not much
of a Mohammed
Ali, I take it, eh? Only 81 kilos? " then he clammed up.
Johnny occupied himself
with taking another BP
on Marco's still arm, mentally kicking himself for
distracting Roy. He
began pumping up the BP cuff.
Even that small snicking valve sound
intruded badly upon Roy's
He took a deep breath trying to ignore it.
::..now, how many pounds is 81 kilos..?::
He did a mental calculation and then said out loud
to Johnny with a short nod of his head.
.. Inj uh,..25 cc's...Diazepam..IM."
And he stuck the needle into muscle, pushing
to drain to the zero remaining line.
Gage looked up, ripping his stethoscope out
of his ears..
"Roy?! Did you just say 25..?"
He whipped up Roy's hand off the syringe
still impaled in Marco's
He jerked out the needle and flung it away
quickly, but it was too late..."Roy..
81 kilos is only 178.5 lbs! The dose should have
The absolute horror that
rose in Roy's face
transferred to his own.
Roy began to tremble, but automatically,
Lopez's chest for air movement.
Marco breathed still, but shallowly.
He got out his penlight and
looked very quickly
at Lopez's eyes. The pupils were fixed and dilated.
He pointed to them, his
face a tortured mask,
dropping his shining pen light. The bulb
shattered on the pavement.
Gage knocked Roy's hands
away fiercely using his own light to see
and saw the undeniable sign there
Johnny was stunned, but brought the phone
numbly to his mouth, "Rampart..
a problem.. I think..we made a...a ..mistake.."
Brackett looked up sharply from his
"What do you mean, Johnny? Talk to me.."
Simultaneously, Roy reacted.
"Oh my god..
Johnny, what have I done..?"
The moment proved too much. DeSoto's
head fuzz reared up as he tried
a futile denial.
Then his brain refused to function any longer.
Roy slumped to the ground, letting
black from his near jolt of electricity claim him.
"Roy?!" John shouted. He
flung out a hand.
But Jill and Craig were faster. They caught
the fair haired paramedic
before his head hit
Craig told him. "He's fine. He's fine. I got him."|
he said after a check of his carotid. "He's just
out cold. I don't see anything more than that.."
Brackett's demanding voice shouted at their
"51! What's going on over there! This man's
EKG has just hyperbolically levelled. He's overdosed.
He's down too deep."
Gage picked up the receiver. "Doc.. Roy ...
injected 25 cc's. Way too
Joe didn't hesitate, "2.5 cc Narcan..Push it."
"Doing it.." Gage got the universal
antidote from the box and used it. "Come on,
Marco.. Snap out of it.. Nap time's over.."
He watched a fireman increase an ambu bag's
delivery of controlled 100% O2 to Marco
a few more
notches. The Pasadena man
had begun using one when he had first heard
the word "overdosed."
But the EKG remained at its suppressed
eerily slow, uniform sinus rhythm, the earmark
of the coma
Brackett announced over the landline, "No conversion.
Keep hyperventilating him, Johnny.
And put DeSoto
on the line, I want to talk to him."
"I can't doc,.. He's out cold. He may be
from his trying to get to the other victims.
He's got a burn I didn't check out very well."
He groaned in anger as he saw other marks of charring
soot on his skin that Craig had uncovered as
he opened Roy's
shirt to monitor him.
"I think he might have tangled with the
that took out Chet and Marco."
Joe toggled the speaker when Kel didn't
respond to Gage right
51. Monitor DeSoto and treat for shock.
Listen to me. I want you to stay focused.
We'll work out all of this later.
Give me another set of vitals on Marco
and get him set to transport.
I want to know about victims 3 through 6 in
Johnny said mechanically. "Cap's with
victims 3 and 4 now, I've just learned,
they're two girls
in respiratory arrest."
"Give me a man with them who can get
me their vitals.." Early said.
"Stand by.." Gage once more got on his radio.
The rest of the rescue was a blur to Johnny.|
The tremendous load on Johnny
as senior assessor
was soon halved shortly after
Gage remembered the side of the Winnebago
finish cut and pulled free and then a new station's
paramedics rushing in to relieve Stone and Cap's
ventilations of the two girls. With a firm tie to
Rampart, the injured children's conditions were
stabilized rapidly, and Cassie and Robin, with their
parents, were transported out by Mayfair
ten minutes later.
Johnny could focus on the full implications
events with Marco, Roy and Kelly.
In a second red lighted speeding rig,
awoke enough to spit out his
airway en route. Johnny leaned over
him just in time to hear him complain
his head aching and about his chest that somebody
had used both as a trampoline and as a
for the preverbial sword..
Gage winced, rubbing his own chest, imagining
what it must
be like for Chet, having a fresh
six inch needle puncture wound down heart deep.
"You have no
idea the trouble we had
to go through to save your butt, Chet. Just be grateful
you're still breathing.."
he grinned lopsidedly.
Then Chet asked about Marco as his memory
"How's Lopez? My god, I swear I could hear
his mustache sizzling just before I blacked
laughed a short laugh before the
painful reminders of his rescue, shut him up.
He turned his
head, seeing his familiar
coworker firefighter lying next to him on
deflected masterfully, with his smile
locked in cement with all the skill of the
"Worry about yourself and that halo you
narrowly avoided, Chester B." Gage said,
planting the O2 mask back over
Chet's face. "That's your first concern."
Kelly blinked, twice,
shoving his O2 mask onto his
forehead, thinking.. "Ok, Lopez is entitled to a little
But what's HIS story?" the curly haired
fireman said, pointing to a third stokes Johnny
his rear on in the crowded ambulance. That
one held Roy's dusty, limp form. Kelly saw that
too, was on precautionary O2, but no IV hung over
Naturally, Chet assumed the lightest
outcome to that scenario.
"Don't tell me the sandman caught up with DeSoto
rescue?" Chet laughed weakly. "Now
that would be REALLY embarrassing..Glad I
wasn't awake for
that little blunder.." he chuckled.
Kelly actually saw Johnny suddenly wince at his words
The haunted look in Johnny's eyes sobered
Chet more than the water did from the
revenging can sprung a year ago.
A sick feeling gripped Chet that had nothing to do
with his near brush with death. "Gage. What is it that
you aren't telling me?"
Click Ambulance to Go To Page Three