The strapping flame haired boy protested. |
"Gee. What a grouch. You sound like my ex-step
"Jeremy Conners..!" Stoker admonished recognizing
the voice that he had overheard.
Coach. Bad habit."
Gage put on a grin he didn't feel.
"I promise we'll be a lot less grumpy
we make sure Susan's not in any kind of medical
trouble. So lead the way and we'll be nice
through it all."
"She's under that gum tree. She crawled over there a
ago. But she's probably faking it again.
Like last time."
DeSoto did a double take at that
news. Then he
remembered how tall kids tales could really get
and dismissed the remark as exaggerated.
Roy and John ran over to the tree with their equipment
to the small blond headed tom boy appearing
face down in the shade.
They left Stoker and his young fans behind.
grabbed for the fourth grade girl's brachial pulse.
"She's viable. Around 100." Then he bent down
check the quality of her respirations. "Hey, Susan,
can you hear me?" Johnny listened to the
her chest without moving her. "She's breathing, but I'm
hearing substantial wheezing."
"Could be asthma since her upper airway's clear." Gage
lifted his head and shook
her shoulder. "Susan ! Hey!
We're with the L.A. County Fire Department and
we're here to help
you out. Now, come on and
open your eyes."
She didn't respond.
Gage pinched the loose
skin on the child's arm to further
fine tune test her awareness. Susan only groaned and
try to pull away from the pain or attempt to
open her eyes. "She's groggy. About a six on the
Roy." and he bent to check her eyes
with a penlight. "She's definitely not faking anything
Slight dialation on both pupils, and she's
getting more dyspneic by the moment."
Roy was losing his medical history source.
Jeremy Conners was edging away from the scene.
wait ..wait, where are you going? I need
to talk to you.." DeSoto said to him.
going on.. I gotta get back.." the street wise
Jeremy said. He started to turn away but Roy grabbed
his uniform sleeve as he prepared an oxygen mask for
Johnny to give to the downed girl. "Hang on.
a minute more all right? Tell me about that last time
this happened to her. Can you do that?"
The red headed boy seemed unnaturally nervous |
around the paramedics, and he squirmed in Roy's
"I don't remember. It was earlier this spring.
I.. Uh... She forgot to bring her...onhal.. unhal.."
"Yeah, that's it. Now let me go.." The boy said,
yanking his arm away and
he danced out of range
nimbly. He made tracks back to the grandstand
across the parking lot and
nearly crashed into one
of its posts when he made sure Roy and John
weren't following him.
Johnny Gage had finished his assessment of the girl.
"Not a mark on her." Only then did he sit her
against the tree to help ease her increasingly labored
breathing. He took the mask from Roy
and set the 02's
delivery on light before setting it firmly over Susan's
nose and mouth. He then
began to search her pockets
for forms of ID and for the missing inhaler.
"We gotta move fast
or she'll quit breathing on us."
Roy's face frowned as he took a BP. "70 systolic.
I'm getting on the phone early. A doc can order
epinephrine at least."
"Here, guys." a voice
said and an inhaler plunked
down onto the grass between two tree roots at Roy's
and Roy looked up from Susan.
Mike Stoker was being led over to them by
two of the street
gang players from his baseball team.
"I made the kids check the outfield for anything
to her thinking things she had in her
pockets could have fallen out during a rough play.
say her name's on it." he informed his
Gage snatched up the tiny inhaler and read
"Albuterol. MDI dosage .15 ml per inhalation." He sniffed
its mouthpiece. "Looks like
she didn't use this today at all,
"Got it.." and Roy connected a link on the phone
"Thanks Mike, but I don't know if having this will do
any good. We don't have a positive
ID on her yet.
She's carrying no identification cards. No med bracelet.
No nothing! I wish to G*d
that you had your eyesight
back right about now so we know for sure that it's her."
He started loosening and
freeing the girl's clothes from around her waist, chest
and neck. He
began setting up an EKG.
"What's she wearing?"
Johnny muttered. "What? Stoker, we
have time for this.."
"Humor me, Gage. I don't need to see to
positively identify her. And
I'm the only one
who can. Most of these kids only know
each other by their made up street names."
"Well.." Johnny exclaimed in exasperation.
He held up the jersey top he had removed from
girl. "It's uh, sort of like a gray and blue baseball
uniform. But she's wearing no cap."
number's on the front?"
"It's her. Guaranteed. These kids are very territorial
letting others wear their team jerseys. Doesn't happen.
Susan's got short whitish, blond
hair and a star shaped
birthmark on her left cheek bone." Mike said.
Johnny checked the girl
for such a mark. It was
there. "Well, I'll be.." he smiled. "Stoker you just
earned yourself a
day off from dinner detail the
instant your butt's back on duty."
"I'll take it.... Anything
else I can do?" Mike said.
Gage watched Roy give his medical report to
the hospital and said.
"Yeah, kneel down next
to me right where you are and help me keep tabs
on her resp rate. We may
have to switch over to
the resuscitator. Here, the apparatus is at your
two o'clock. Think you
can be a head vent?"
"I can do it blind."
"I know you can.." Johnny said seriously.
right back. I'm going for the defibrillator.."
and he rose and ran to the squad full tilt.
Pulse's 140 and rising.."
DeSoto was completing his initial report.|
"...Vitals signs are showing acute distress.
and bounding. Respirations 26 and
shallow. Marked wheezing even in semi Fowler's
position. BP is
70 systolic. I can send you a
strip on lead two."
Dr. Brackett replied and Roy could hear his
"10-4, Rampart. Transmitting, lead two.." Roy said.
##51, what's her
consciousness level? I'd
feel better if we had a controlled airway on her.
I'm reading a V-tach
of 140 with precursor
PVCs. Does she have a gag reflex?##
Mike lifted up the child's 02 mask
slid a finger into her open mouth and down
Susan's tongue, briefly touching the back of it.
The little girl's stomach heaved in immediate reflex
and he quickly stopped his move so she wouldn't
complete the attempt to vomit.
"That's affirmative, Rampart." Roy sighed.
##Ok, we'll tackle this head on, without one.
Prepare to administer one dose of the patient's
Rig a nebulizer of a second dose to
a humidified ambu on standby with 2 ml's
saline. Keep monitoring
all vital signs closely. 51, is a defibrillator nearby?
shock sometimes brings
about acute cardiac dysrhythmias.##
Roy saw Johnny hoofing it back
with the unit
across the parking lot. He had also grabbed
a long wooden stretcher board for CPR
and transport ease. "10- 4, Rampart. We
have it in hand."
##Start an IV first, 51. We'll
want an open line
if she crashes. Make it of normal saline, a 500 ml
bag. And keep it open only.
Give me another
set of vitals after her initial medication is in. And
keep the EKG strip to base
"10- 4, ah,..Administer one dose inhaler post IV
normal saline, 500, to keep open.
second dose with 2 cc's respiratory saline in an
ambu bag. Preparing for possible
Vitals to follow post med. Continuing the EKG send.
10-4." DeSoto said. He lowered
the phone. "How's
she doing Mike?" Roy asked in worry.
"Still attempting inhalations. But her rate's up to|
barreling out a bit."
"Johnny, let's move. She can't wait."
Roy said, taping off the IV. "She's
Gage scrambled to Susan's head, dropping
the defibrillator paddles
he had laid out and
he shifted the girl from the tree to Mike's
shoulder so she sat against him
head tipped well back.
Together, Roy and Johnny fitted and triggered
into her mouth so the medicine
entered deeply into her lungs. Gage immediately
listened to her
chest with a stethoscope,
holding his breath, while Roy and Mike held
her still. Roy replaced the
mask back over
her face as she began to cough harder and
Stoker whispered into
her ear, stroking
her hair to comfort her. "It's ok, Susan,
tastes bad but it'll work good. Give
it a second
or two to absorb, hon... just wait, then it won't
be so hard to breathe. It's all
Coach's right here."
Susan jerked with an involuntary cry,
and her gasping stopped.
The EKG fluctuated and the two paramedic
firemen froze, their eyes
glued to the heart
monitor, and Mike, as he listened, as it
danced irregularly for one second.
Gage reached for the ambu bag.
But then, Susan sighed quite normally, and
of her respiratory distress ended.
Her breathing deepened and eased and
soon, the rapid heartbeat
on the monitor
smoothed out into calmer rhythm.
A minute later Susan's eyes cracked open,
swollen and red, as she came to fully.
Johnny sighed likewise in relief at the positive
of her now open lungs. "That's my girl.
Hi there. It's ok.." he said softly as she began
"The worst is over.. It's ok..
Mike, you can lay her back down again.
Mike, you can let go of her.
She's fine now."
Susan's fright grew as she became more
aware of being lowered to the ground
the fact that strange firemen were now hovering
over her instead of her playmates. She immediately
screwed her eyes shut again. The heart monitor
blipped out a faster rate.
Gage took her IV free hand into his own.|
"Susan, Susan. Now listen to me."
Johnny soothed as his
partner and Stoker
wrapped her in a warm blanket. "I know
you're scared, and I know that medicine's
probably making you sleepy. But you're gonna be
all right now. So go ahead and take a nap. I
you'll wake up in a nice big, comfortable
bed later tonight in a place a whole lot better
this nasty old root knotted lawn here in
the ball park, ok?"
The siren of the approaching
grew louder, startling his young friend,
so Mike added. "A hospital doctor's gonna look
at you next, just so we know you're better
"Coach?" She sobbed. "I- is that you?"
said, peering up in confusion at Mike's
"Yeah, you're not dreaming."
"Shh, rest. Don't talk. My answer is,
Yeah, I'll watch your mitt for you. Got
right here." and he held it up.
"Ok, and watch
my jersey, too. *Yawn*"
Susan's cheek snuggled up against Stoker's hand
where he held her face
around the 02 mask
and fell asleep instantly.
Roy called Rampart, smiling from ear
with a glowing vitals set for Kel
##I saw the improvement. Glad the one
protocol did the trick. Now get her in here
ASAP.## he grumbled happily.
Roy replied, waving
a "Come on!" to the attendants hustling it
across the parking lot.
arrived and positioned the gurney
near the sleeping child. Roy set the
empty long board first
onto the cot and
Gage said, "Ok, let's load and go."
he told them. "No need to semi-elevate her.
She's a very stable asthmatic recoveree.
The board's only an arrest precaution."
moving the EKG, portable 02, drug box,
and the defibrillator to the foot of the cot.
" Roy said loudly for Stoker's benefit.
"This one's special."
"Right.." One of the two burly
gently gathered Susan up into his arms without
waking her, blankets and all.
he going in too?" the second attendant asked,
gesturing at Mike with his bandaged wrapped
Stoker was leaning against the tree, reining
in his reactions about the nearly soured rescue
the little girl.
"Him? No, no no. He's a fireman on medical leave.
He's with us. Go ahead.
My partner's riding in
with you." Roy answered.
"Ok, Joe.. Whatever you say.." he shrugged
in a New York accent.
DeSoto watched the man leave after the
girl laden gurney and Gage.
Then Roy walked the few yards back to the tree
where Mike rested his head.
"You coming with, Stoker?"
Trembling, Mike lifted his head to face DeSoto.
"Oh uhhhh.. " he said thinking hard. "No."
Stoker said, still cradling Susan's jersey top and
baseball mitt. "I'll take a cab back to the
station in a while. I want to hang around to
if I can locate Jeremy and his friends or
even Old Ben's daughter. I want to bend their
bit about what they've been up to lately
since I've been gone."
"Suit yourself. If you're
not back by dark, we'll
send out a search party.." DeSoto quipped.
Stoker waved a get outta
here gesture at
the departing footsteps he heard. "Thanks
Roy, for not letting her die." He called
DeSoto. "I don't know what I could've done
if she.." and his voice cracked.
just relax. She didn't die. Johnny and I make
it a point to never lose any kids on any of our
as that would be a gross violation
according to BOTH our personal rule books."
the same, Roy."
Roy stopped and turned back.
"No, thank YOU. Your remote consent
power-of-attorney, over Susan made
all the difference in the world today. I'm just
glad you decided
to ride along with us
on your sudden instinct like that."
"Yeah.." Stoker said. "So am I."
"See ya, later, Mike. I'll keep you posted." Roy
and squad left the ball park and
their sirens faded into the distance, leaving
Mike alone in the
parking lot surrounded by
wind and seabird calls.
Then Mike turned his face into the sun and
felt his way back to the grandstand where he
sat on the hot planking, pretending to be
in the ongoing game he couldn't see,
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