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Within Sight
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        Page  Six

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.

"S-Sorry, Coach. Bad habit."

Gage put on a grin he didn't feel.
"I promise we'll be a lot less grumpy after
we make sure Susan's not in any kind of medical
trouble. So lead the way and we'll be nice as pie
through it all."

"She's under that gum tree. She crawled over there a
few minutes 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 girl lying
face down in the shade.

They left Stoker and his young fans behind.

Gage grabbed for the fourth grade girl's brachial pulse.
"She's viable. Around 100." Then he bent down to
check the quality of her respirations. "Hey, Susan,
can you hear me?" Johnny listened to the back of
her chest without moving her. "She's breathing, but I'm
hearing substantial wheezing." he reported.
"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
didn't try to pull away from the pain or attempt to
open her eyes. "She's groggy. About a six on the
Glasgow, Roy." and he bent to check her eyes
with a penlight. "She's definitely not faking anything
here. Slight dialation on both pupils, and she's
getting more dyspneic by the moment."

Meanwhile, Roy was losing his medical history source.
Jeremy Conners was edging away from the scene.
"Wait... wait ..wait, where are you going? I need
to talk to you.." DeSoto said to him.

"The game's 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. Just
a minute more all right? Tell me about that last time
this happened to her. Can you do that?"

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The red headed boy seemed unnaturally nervous
around the paramedics, and he squirmed in Roy's
grip. "I don't remember. It was earlier this spring.
I.. Uh... She forgot to bring her...onhal.. unhal.."

"Her inhaler?"

"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 up
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."
Gage said.

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

Johnny 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
belonging to her thinking things she had in her
pockets could have fallen out during a rough play.
They say her name's on it." he informed his

Gage snatched up the tiny inhaler and read its details.
"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
with Rampart.

"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."
Gage complained. 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
don't 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
the girl. "It's uh, sort of like a gray and blue baseball
uniform. But she's wearing no cap."

"What number's on the front?"


"It's her. Guaranteed. These kids are very territorial about
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.
"Be right back. I'm going for the defibrillator.."
and he rose and ran to the squad full tilt.
"Roy!  Pulse's 140 and rising.."

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DeSoto was completing his initial report.
"...Vitals signs are showing acute distress.
Pulse 140 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 alarm.
##Do it.##

"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 and
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
inhaler. Rig a nebulizer of a second dose to
a humidified ambu on standby with 2 ml's
diluted respiratory saline. Keep monitoring
all vital signs closely. 51, is a defibrillator nearby?
Albuterol with 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 running.##

"10- 4, ah,..Administer one dose inhaler post IV
normal saline, 500, to keep open. Standby nebulizer
second dose with 2 cc's respiratory saline in an
ambu bag. Preparing for possible counter shock.
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.

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"Still attempting inhalations. But her rate's up to

"Tidal air?"

"Building. She's barreling out a bit."

"Johnny, let's move. She can't wait."
Roy said, taping off the IV. "She's trapping
air already."

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 with her
head tipped well back.
Together, Roy and Johnny fitted and triggered
the inhaler 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 right.
Coach's right here."

Susan jerked with an involuntary cry,
suddenly stiffening, 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. For two.

Gage reached for the ambu bag.

But then, Susan sighed quite normally, and
all 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
proof of her now open lungs. "That's my girl.
Hi there. It's ok.." he said softly as she began
to cry. "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 and
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.

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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
promise, you'll wake up in a nice big, comfortable
bed later tonight in a place a whole lot better
than this nasty old root knotted lawn here in
the ball park, ok?"

The siren of the approaching ambulance
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
for good."

"Coach?" She sobbed. "I- is that you?" she
said, peering up in confusion at Mike's
wrapped eyes.

"Yeah, you're not dreaming."


"Shh, rest. Don't talk. My answer is,
Yeah, I'll watch your mitt for you. Got
it right here." and he held it up.

"Scout's honor?"

"Scout's honor.."

"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
to ear, with a glowing vitals set for Kel

##I saw the improvement. Glad the one
dose protocol did the trick. Now get her in here
ASAP.## he grumbled happily.

"10-4, Rampart.." Roy replied, waving
a "Come on!" to the attendants hustling it
across the parking lot.

They 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."
He said moving the EKG, portable 02, drug box,
and the defibrillator to the foot of the cot.

"Easy. " Roy said loudly for Stoker's benefit.
"This one's special."

"Right.." One of the two burly attendants
gently gathered Susan up into his arms without
waking her, blankets and all.

"Is he going in too?" the second attendant asked,
gesturing at Mike with his bandaged wrapped
head.  Stoker was leaning against the tree, reining
in his reactions about the nearly soured rescue
of 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.

Roy tapped his shoulder.
"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
see if I can locate Jeremy and his friends or
even Old Ben's daughter. I want to bend their
ear a 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 out after
DeSoto. "I don't know what I could've done
if she.." and his voice cracked.

"Hey, just relax. She didn't die. Johnny and I make
it a point to never lose any kids on any of our
runs as that would be a gross violation
according to BOTH our personal rule books."

"Thanks just the same, Roy."

Roy stopped and turned back.
"No, thank YOU. Your remote consent
to treat, 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

"See ya."

Soon, ambulance 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
engrossed in the ongoing game he couldn't see,

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Within Sight
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