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The One That Matters
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The Story Unfolds...

Season Three, Episode Twenty Three..

 The One That Matters  

Debut Launch: July 1st, 2005.

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**************************************************
From: Jeff Seltun <finiterider@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Jul 13, 2005  2:10 pm
Subject: Tiny Little Bundles..


The scents of sizzling bacon and frying eggs were already thick in
the air when Johnny Gage finally dragged himself out of the shower.
He scrubbed a white towel over his head to begin drying his hair and
staggered by feel back to his bunk to where had already laid out a fresh
uniform and pair of shoes. "You know, Roy, I think I should just buckle down
and sign up to get another set of shirts or something. It's not even nine yet
and already I've burned through two of the four of the bunch I already have.."
he complained.  

"That's funny. In the eight years I've been working on the department, I've
never gone through all my shirts during the course of any work shift.
Guess I'm just neat enough to make it through one without ever using them up."

Johnny threw his hair towel onto the wall in a clever flick
and he began combing fingers through his unruly black hair to tame it.
"It's tough some days, Roy. If I don't total em from a messy auto rescue,
I lose em to cleanup fire grime. I don't know how you manage to stay clean."
He eased his towel covered rear down onto the foot of his bed.

A hostile snap of teeth and a fierce pygmy growl immediately arrested
him in the process and he shot back up onto his bare feet. He almost
lost his balance on the water dripped floor as he danced off his painful
splinted toe. "What the h-?!"

Roy raised his eyebrows at the sight of little Bonnie, the station Boston
Yorkie, crouched with flattened ears, on the pile of paramedic clothes near
Johnny's pillow. "Wow. I don't get it. You weren't anywhere near enough on
your end to make her think you were going to sit on her.."
he said in absolute stunned amazement.

Bonnie continued to watch the two paramedics warily from her tight protective
ball. She never stopped baring her teeth. She emitted a growl or two when
Gage finally sat back down carefully onto his bunk to finish dressing. "Think
Chet forgot to feed her again?"

"Unlikely.." DeSoto said mildly. "He knows Cap'll get on his case if she
gets cranky past the usual around him." DeSoto answered.

"Maybe she just got out of the wrong side of bed this morning."
Johnny said, still frowning at the posturing ball of fur.

"You mean, kinda like how you did a couple of hours ago for that trash
fire call? How's that toe ya stubbed?" asked Roy, leaning on the wall with a
section of newspaper in his hands.

"It's fine. You can see I taped it to the one next to it.
I don't think it's broken."

"Good. Last thing you need is more injured days off. You've already
max'd out for the month."

"Thanks, mom.." Gage said with mild sting. "You sound like Cap did a few
hours ago."

Roy didn't get offended, but he apologized by changing the subject.
"I only came in here to tell you that breakfast's almost ready."

"I appreciate it, Roy. But the aroma's already beaten you to it by a
good five minutes or so." chuckled Gage.

"I can't tell. My allergies are kicking in." Roy admitted.

"I told you to take some benadryl tablets last night. I even told you the ragweed
pollen counts were on the rise."

"I know. I know. I've just been so doggoned tired after the week we've had,
that it completely slipped my mind to take my prescription."

"I'll remember to leave the bottle on your pillowcase tonight." chided Johnny as
he zipped up his pants over his boxers. He blindly reached back for his balled
up socks.

Bonnie lunged forward in a viscious bluff, charging over the top of them until
they were under her furry belly and hidden from sight. Her punishing teeth
clicked shut just a hairsbreath away from Johnny's fingers and he jerked his
hand back in shock at the attack. Then he got mad. "Hey, you little piece
of mop scrap. Now cut that out!  Do you really want me to be late for my next
rescue call? You think you're mad, just wait until I catch it from Cap for being
slow and then I promise to come back later looking for something else to
dump out my frustrations on and you'll be it!" he said, stabbing a guarded index
finger in Bonnie's direction.

Bonnie was unimpressed. She even went so far as to stuff the oversized ball
of black socks into her mouth and went on glaring at the two men standing
above her. Her soft growls became only slightly diminished.

Gage sighed hugely. "Now what am I going to do? My others are still hanging
over the shower rod."

"I'll go get a pair of mine you can have." Roy said, puzzling over Bonnie's
odd behavior. "I don't get it. She's not hungry..and she's definitely not sick."

Gage agreed empathetically. "Not with that kind of energy. She could drive off
our mail carrier with that act."

"Hmmm. That's females for ya. I married one...but I can't say I understand
em completely yet. I'll be right back with your socks."

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Johnny didn't even see him leave. He went right on staring strangely at
Bonnie and she went right on glaring back and salivating angrily. Until
Gage couldn't take it any more. "Hey Cap?! Guys! Get in here ASAP!
I need ya!" he hollered loudly.

The gang came in on the run. Some of them still chewing food.

Hank started up. "What's the problem?" he said in immediate concern.
"Is somebody hurt at the side door?" he said, looking up at the one they
never used exiting the bunk room.

"No, it's nothing like that. It's Bonnie, Cap. Watch this. And Chet, if you start
laughing, I'll kill ya and I won't let Roy get anywhere near ya enough
to bring you back."

Kelly's bushy smile spread into one of mischief anyway. "I won't know if
I'll do that until we all get brought up to speed on exactly what the problem
is here, Johnny.." he said deadpan in tone, but his face was already deep
in gonna getcha mode.

"Cut to the chase, John. My eggs are getting cold." Hank ordered.

"Sorry, Cap. Here.. Watch what she does.." And he wrapped his hand protectively
in one of his shower towels before he brought it  down towards where Bonnie was
guarding the sock bundle.

Bonnie immediately let loose and latched on like a tiger in a fierce bite. Then
she scrambled back to pick up the pair of socks into her mouth again. The others
leaped back in surprise. All but one.

Chet started laughing.."Nothing mysterious here, Gage. I'm utterly surprised at
you. I mean with you being a paramedic and all." he grinned.

Gage's face fell into a frown, not liking that he was being baited, once
again by Chet, who knew something he didn't.

Roy returned into the room and handed Johnny his loaner pair. "So you had
to drag the others in here to witness our poor dog who's just having a bad
day?"

"Kind of?! Roy, she's an absolute menace!" Johnny said, taking the socks and
putting them on where he stood. He winced when he had to pull the first over
his sore toe.

"No she's not." Chet said quietly, still smiling. "She's being broody."

"Broody? I know she's crabby. We can all see that."

"Not that definition of broody, Johnny, the other one." said Kelly smugly.
"She's growling for another reason because it's the season, man,
...for lovvvee." he crooned.


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The other firemen started chuckling and they left the room. Chet
stayed behind to enjoy the fallout. Everyone but Gage, had understood
him.

"Quit using twenty dollar words at me, Chet, and speak plain language
already." Johnny flickered, rubbing his chilling arms.

"Ok, I'll spell it out for ya. My uncle's dog used to do this all the time when
it was her time each month. She's adopted your socks in lieu of the puppies that
she now wants to conceive or already has conceived." he said knowingly.
"Her mother's instinct is roaring to the foreground and in that state, she'll guard
the first thing handy. In this case, it's your bunk and socks, Johnny."

Roy stayed quiet and waited for the punchline while that last digested inside
of his damp partner's brain. Then it came out, wholly satisfying.

"No way. She's not pregnant. She can't be! She--" then he broke off, remembering.
"Oh, no... Roy, I thought it was odd that Boot came back to the station away from
his favorite laddertruck at sixteen's. Remember two months ago?" Johnny asked.

Roy started frowning. "Yeah.. He didn't take a nap under the engine like he always
does, waiting for Stoker to come out and feed him. He went right for the b--"

Chet completed his thought gleefully. "The bunk room." he said, nodding
eagerly. "Uh, huh. It's making sense now, isn't it?"

DeSoto's face fell, figuring it out finally.
"I thought that was kinda odd behavior, even for him."

Johnny's mouth flopped open. "But how could he? I mean, how could
they-- He's three times her size, guys.."

Kelly stopped laughing and headed for the door, his mouth quirked in
mirth. "Where there's a will, there's a way, fellas, and that's all there is to it.
Hey Gage, looks like you're just gonna have to face the facts. Your
little Bonnie here's about to become.... a mother."

"On my bed?!"

"Looks like it now.." remarked Roy speculatively.

"Oh, Roy..."

"Oh, Roy, nothing." said DeSoto. "Sheets are replaceable."

"I'm not thinking about that, I'm thinking about the size difference here."

"Johnny, that's sick."

"No, I mean the puppies....not what... happened earlier between them." he
said clearing his throat uncomfortably. "What if they're too big for her
to deliver naturally? It could explain why she's so mad. She might be in a lot
of pain here." Johnny said in a new light.

On cue, Bonnie folded up onto her right side and moaned pitfully.
The ball of socks rolled out of her mouth limply.

Roy's whole demeanor completely changed.

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Gage started to anse nervously. "Hey guys! Get back in here. I think we've got
a real problem now and I'm not kidding this time! Stoker, bring the gear and the
O2 apparatus on the double!"

Cap ran in irritably. "Now what? Gage, if this is some stunt to get back at
Chet I'll--" he broke off when he saw Bonnie, seeming to strain and pant.
"You mean this broody stuff of hers is the latter case?" he guessed.

"Uh, huh... and she's probably already laboring, too." Roy said, trying to
get near the now distressed dog. Bonnie was so deep in her misery that
she finally allowed Roy to touch her. He took a fast leg pulse and respiration
count.

Stoker and Marco came dashing in with everything. "Not the defibrillator
and the biophone you dorks.. We can't use those!" Gage snapped.

"You know,.. 'Bring the gear' 's pretty vague there, Johnny." said Marco.
"What's up?"

Chet's forehead was wrinkled in concern. "Bonnie's actually having...puppies?!"
he said licking his lips. He had said that like he didn't believe it himself.

"What?!" said Hank. "I didn't even know she was pregnant."

"Who could have known under all that fur.." said Stoker. "Cap, permission to--"

Cap sighed. "Yeah,...go ahead. We can grab another tank from the closet
to replace this one."

Mike Stoker got to work and fitted a peds oxygen mask to the regulator
and laid the flowing mask on the pillow near Bonnie's lolling tongue.

Johnny was able to feel her tensing muscles and the bulging shapes
moving there. "I think I feel three very large puppies, Roy. And one of
them seems to be stuck head and shoulders down inside of her."

That got Chet thinking. "She's having em now?! Where did her water break then?"
he said, looking across the shiny floor.

"Probably in the yard, Chet." said Cap, stroking Bonnie's head, murmuring
reassurances to her. "She was out there alot this morning sniffing around."

"Yeah, but now what are we gonna do? It's Saturday. Our vet office's closed."
Roy asked. "I don't know much about dog deliveries but I've heard that
C-sections are common in tiny dogs like Bonnie."

Bonnie gave out a cry of pain that cut through everyone and her tail
arched into the air and trembled.

The gang immediately fell to soothing her and carefully positioning her
body so that she could breathe in the easiest possible way.

Cap didn't even hesitate. He picked up the mic from the bedside radio console
and thumbed the trigger. "L.A., this is Station 51. .."

##Go ahead, 51.## said the dispatcher's voice. It was the very familiar Sam
Lanier on duty for them and for that Cap was eternally grateful. It would make his
next request only that much easier.

"L.A. we need a patch over to Rampart Hospital on a personal medical call over
to the emergency desk. This is not a still alarm. Can you put us through?" Cap
asked.

##Stand by, 51.##

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A few seconds later, the phone rang on the table. Cap picked it up. "Hiya Dix,
listen, I know you're puzzling over why I had the fire dispatch connect you to
through this radio. This is why. Bonnie's pregnant. Not only is she pregnant,
she's very pregnant and having extreme difficulty giving birth. ......I know this
sounds crazy but none of us even knew she was expecting.. Can you help out
at all here?"

Amazingly, Dixie could.  And soon she outlined her plan. ##I'm off duty in five minutes.
Mike Morton is, too. I'll swing him by with a full animal OB kit from the lab. Captain,
keep her on her left side. That much I know about dogs. It'll take the pressure off
her heart and lungs if you do at least that. She should stop panting. At least that
worked when my dog was having her puppies last year. Try that and we'll be over
in fifteen minutes. Keep trying to reach an on-call vet, too. Morton was only a vet
candidate when he gave it up to intern here. He might not be able to do much
for her on his own. ##

"Will do, Dix. Thanks for the suggestion and the aid. I'll have the boys get the
rear garage door open for ya." And Cap closed the connection on the radio mic.
He didn't even have to jerk his thumb to get Marco to crack open the station.
"Gage, Dix says to put her onto her left side. She's coming with Morton."

Roy got busy with a stethoscope. "Don't know if knowing this'll matter but
I'll try to pinpoint how many heartbeats there are. Johnny, you said three puppies?"

"Yeah, the stuck one's stopped moving a few seconds ago. Stoker, turn that liter
flow a little higher would ya?" Johnny said. "Maybe it's just keeping still
to protect itself. Better safe than sorry."

Cap stood back and said, "I'll get water boiling."

Chet looked up with an worried expression. "What for?"

"Don't know, they do that in the movies, don't they?" Hank said.

"We could use it for clean up later.." Gage shrugged as he shifted a limp
and moaning Bonnie onto her back and to the proper side.

Her gasping eased off just a bit. And the first obvious contraction that the gang
could see twisted her body in waves. Bonnie gave a pitiful shriek, trying to
suppress it. "Easy girl.. that's ok.. You're doing fine, we're just trying to help ya."
soothed Chet, as he stroked her head. "Are you seeing anything?" he asked
Gage.

Gage looked. "No, not so much as a single foot." he admitted.

"That can't be good.." Kelly said.

"This whole situation's not good, Chet. Do you know how hard it's gonna be to
find a vet to treat her on a weekend?!" Johnny said rubbing his face in utter
frustration. He still had one bare foot getting cold on the tiles.

"Could get even harder if we get another run to go on." said Cap seriously.

"That's probably why Dixie and Morton agreed to head over here." Johnny
nodded. "Roy, what do you think? I.V. with saline? Or Ringer's? We could keep
it TKO."

"Make it saline. I don't know what a dog's electrolyte hemostasis level is..."
DeSoto admitted.

"250 of normal saline. Ah,.. there's a cephalic vein right here. Chet, can you
shave her leg bare using your razor. She'll hate the sound but we'll hold her
down."

"My razor? Why are we using my r-- I'll be right back." he amended after he
got a glare from everyone else.

Cap issued another order. "Marco, take over for Stoker. Mike, go make sure
all the food's off the stove. And see if you can call around for a nearby vet.
We'll notify animal control to take her there if we have to."

"Isn't Les and Dave in our area today?" Chet asked.

"Yeah. Yeah! I think so. I think they have all the city pound duty
assigned for our neighborhood." Gage said, looking up from
Bonnie's belly.

Roy smiled, "Then there's our standby doggy ambulance."

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"Great idea, Kelly. That's using your noggin. Mike, why don't
we call em sooner rather than later." said Cap to Stoker.

Stoker left the room at a run.

Roy frowned and took the stethoscope out of his ears. "There's
not much more we can do until everyone gets here. That
third puppy's heartrate's sinking fast. And Bonnie's is rising."

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Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 10:13:23
From: "Roxy Dee" <laterrapincabesa@yahoo.com>  
Subject:  The Other Rescue Squad..

Across town, towards the heart of L.A., the phone rang on the desk
of Sandy, at the Animal Shelter. "L.A. County Pound. Doc Coolidge's
office..." she stated after picking it up.

##Hey, Sandy. How's my favorite dispatcher doing?## said a deep
saxophony voice into the receiver.

"Dave Gordon, don't tell me you're bored already. You and Les
just got to Carson City on patrol half an hour ago.." she said with
her hands on her hips. Then her face blossomed into an eager smile.
"So tell me, how do you guys like the new truck? It's not everyday the
state commissioner commissions one for us. And not everyday that
we put one into service for the first time."

For fun, Dave hit the speaker phone button on their brand new white
and green squad's radio panel so Les could hear the whole
conversation.

## We're liking it real fine.## Gordon said, flashing white teeth
from his ebony face in the sun at his tanned blonde haired partner
sitting next to him. ##You know, maybe we should scrounge up
another tiger like the one we rounded up for the fire department
at that meat market last year. Seems the publicity has done
us nothing but good. Just look at our new wheels, man.## he said
throwing his palms up in celebration.

Sandy was a firm counter to his jubilation.
"Don't push your luck, Dave. You're forgetting the fines we almost
got for conducting surgery over the radio for the baby goat that
that same fire station rescue squad pair brought in to that
human's hospital."

##We brought William in, Sandy, remember? Those paramedics had
done everything they could for him, even over the ire of their medical
director. I know. I watched them use their defibrillator to get a heart reading.
So if you want to blame someone for that stunt. Blame us. They were
completely innocent of the crime.## spouted Les.

Dave agreed wholeheartedly. "Yeah, How could we have refused a
handicapped little girl in need? Those paramedics sure couldn't.##

Sandy softened, even audibly, over the airwaves. "That was one
expense the Doc was happy to pay, eagerly. He compensated
Kel Brackett for the anesthesia and medical supplies we used up in
William the goat's care."

Les's face melted into genuine dismay. ##You never told us that. Why that
inhuman human doctor! Didn't he understand the meaning of the word
humanitarian back then?##

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"Les. Les..." chided Sandy. "Now before you go charging off to Rampart
to confront that heart surgeon, let me let you in on a little secret. Dr. Brackett
had to account for the missing supplies somehow for insurance purposes, or
it would've meant his license if it was ever found out that he used them for
an unauthorized surgery, kapeesh? I know that hospital administrator they
have upstairs on the ninth floor, and he's a real task master! Kel put his job
on the line or at the very least, his reputation, I'll have you know!"

That quieted down the passionate flaxen haired animal control officer.
##Oh. Well that's different, then.##

"Thought you might think that." said the vet office secretary. "Now, what's
on the agenda for today?"

##Not much.## said Les Taylor. ##We just completed our first rescue call.##

"Would that have been one of the mewling kind?"

##No. We didn't have to rescue any kittens from any attic today. Not yet,
anyway.  We had to relocate a gila monster from a public swimming pool
back to the foothills before he bit someone.## said the African American man.

"Now that's exciting! Makes me wish I could join you sometime. But," Sandy
sighed. "..someone's gotta man the phone calls. I can't see any of you guys
or the Doc, as having enough patience to sit through some of the more irritating
ones."

##For all your years of passionate service and dedication, our hats are off to
you, Sandy. ## said Les, smiling widely in mock exaggeration.

"They always are when you're patrolling, fellas! But,..thanks for the tribute. I'll
keep you posted if anything really good comes in today. The Doc should be
in by three."

##You do that, 240-Sierra, out.## said Gordon, thumbing off the microphone
connecting them to the animal shelter.

Les grinned at Dave as he rounded the turn leading into the industrial section
of Carson City by the Arco refinery plant. "Well, another day, another dollar,
partner."

"Yeah, but in such luxury? Feel that blissfully cool air conditioning!" said Gordon.

"Believe me, I am. I wonder if the fire boys have that ability in any of their trucks..."
said Les as he saw that they were driving by a fire station on their left. He couldn't
read the number on it but he recognized it as being one of their county's.

"Nah, they're probably used to the heat from working all those fires, man." said
Dave. "Skin tough as nails, remember?"

"Yeah, you're probably right." said Les, looking away from the brick station
receding behind them.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mike Stoker set down the receiver after getting just rings at six animal hospitals
that were near by the station. He decided to ignore proximity and time factors
and abandoned the phone book. Instead, he dialed the Los Angeles County
Animal Shelter and he finally got a pleasant sounding woman named Sandy
as his last resort. After all, it had been Cap's orders to call in a team from there
if nothing else worked.

Mike reiterated his situation.

Sandy spoke carefully. "A Yorkshire Terrier in advanced labor? I'll let them
know. I've got a med vet truck patrolling very close to you. Expect their ETA
in just minutes.."

"Tell them to come into the yard in the back. The door's open.." said Stoker.

"I will. Station 51, right?"

"That's right."

"Watch for them. They're driving a white and green truck fitted with
yellow flashers."

"Like a hawk."

"Oh, there's one thing you should know, mister. Our vet won't be in
until three. He's attending a veterinary conference in Anaheim and
won't get back until then."

"That's okay. We've got a doctor of our own with some vet experience on the way.
He'll be handling Bonnie long enough to make sure it isn't dangerous to move
her. And a nurse, too."

"That wouldn't be a Rampart physician and one of his top ER nurses coming
over, would it?"

"Why, yes.. How did you know?"

"Let's just say I've experienced some of the compassion that particular hospital
staff seems to hand out by the ton indirectly and let's leave it at that. It's nice to
know that Kel Brackett rubs off on his juniors occasionally when not rubbing them
the wrong way."

"You haven't met Mike Morton, then. He's still a little rough on the edges."

"Huh?"

"Nothing. Never mind. " said Stoker. A shouting from the bunk room got his
attention. "Sandy, I've got to go. Something's happening.."

"Sure. I'm hanging up right now. I'll have the treatment bed waiting for
Bonnie and any of her puppies A.S.A.P once all this sorts itself out ! "  

Click.

Mike left the kitchen at a run for the bunkroom.

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He skidded to a halt when he spotted a street clothed Dr. Morton and
Dixie rushing into the garage from the backyard searching around the Ward
LaFrance for the rest of the gang. "She's on a bunk in there!" he shouted.

Then the phone rang again. This time, on the wall by the large county map.
Stoker jogged over to answer it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

##240-Sierra. 240-Sierra. Come in.##

"Go ahead, Shelter Base.." said Les Taylor, picking up his microphone.

"More business already? That was fast.." said Dave Gordon.

Les shrugged.

Sandy's voice returned to give them the call assignment. ##19 over to Station
51 at ...2049 E. 223rd Street just east of Wilmington. They've a b*tch in
severe birthing difficulty. She might be a small dog C-section for the Doc.##

Les startled. "Hey, didn't we just pass them? They're three blocks behind us."

Dave gripped the wheel. "Hang on.." and he flicked on the lights and tapped his
horn as he did a u-wee in the avenue. Dave took over the microphone so his partner
could drive. "Ok, Sandy. We got it. We'll bring in the vet box with us."

##Good going. Let me know updates when you know them, okay? You know how
I feel about new puppy calls. They've got some human doctor and nurse arriving,
too. So be nice.##

"We will. 240-Sierra out." Dave replied and he hung up the receiver onto its spigot.

"Man, speak of the devil. We were just talking about firefighters." Les shivered.

"Try not to get too weirded out over it, partner. Relax and try to remember that
we are all working for the same goal. We both save lives when we can."

"I know. I know. But what two departments are farther apart than we are under
the county's jurisdiction? Still feels awkward when we get together. I feel
a bond better with a cop than I do a firefighter." Taylor frowned.

"That's just you. To me, we are all on the same team. Here we go......" said Dave
as the animal squad straightened out to turn into the fire station's side drive.

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Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 15:00:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Sam Iam" <lafddispatcher@yahoo.com>
Subject:  Reaching Out..


Mike Stoker picked up the phone receiver.  "L.A. County Fire
Department, this is fireman engineer Mike Stoker speaking..."

The person on the other end of the line never started talking.

But Mike heard the sound of an open line, and some soft
brassy wind chimes moving faintly in the background. A
male canary was singing joyfully over it.

"Hello?" Mike said again more loudly. "Is this a wrong number?"

Thinking that one of Marco's family was calling to chat, but was
taken aback by getting another english speaking firefighter,
he repeated the question in broken, halting spanish.

The phone clicked dead a few seconds later and the dial tone
buzzed harshly in his ear. "Huh..." he shrugged, hanging up the
black phone.

Glancing up, Stoker returned to the bunkroom detouring only
long enough to grab a stack of folded bathroom towels from
the locker room.

==========================================================

The scramble around Johnny's bed, and Bonnie, was noisy.

Dr. Morton and Dixie were already in vet gloves that Les
and Dave had given them eagerly.

"Just how do you check a blood pressure on a dog?" Johnny
said, shining a utility torch down on Bonnie's tail end, so Dr. Morton
could see what he was doing in his exam.

"Doc, I got the I.V. in and taped the line up around her leg so she
can't pull it out..." supplied Roy at the same time. "Set it at
the drip you want.."

Les and Dave piped up even before DeSoto finished his thought.

"Doctor, do you want us to transport her to the shelter? Our V.M.'s
not in yet. Coolidge comes at three." said Dave.

"Dave, she's breathing awfully fast, I think that it's already too late to
transport." said Les. "Just look at how close those contractions
are together... It must be less than ten seconds in between each one."

Dixie placed soft hands on either side of Bonnie's panting face
and crooned. "There, girl. Easy. We'll find out what's wrong.
Stay down. Stay. It's ok to be scared. I would be, too, if I had three
babies one sixth my body size working their way out of me."

Morton surfed calmly through all the chatter. "Everybody pipe down.
Thanks, Roy. Don't need one, Johnny. No, Dave, it's too late to move
her. I see that, too, Les. That's right, Dix, distract her. There's a problem
down here."

Image of mortonatstationclose.jpg Image of gangovercatonbunk.jpg

"What did you find?" Johnny asked quietly, all professional.

"She's pushing out two puppies at the same time..." Carefully, he lifted
her tail at the height of a contraction and they all could see a
pair of birthing sac bulges peeking out briefly before they slipped back
inside of her. "Probably a leg and a snout.." Morton said, palpating
the area gingerly. "What kind of heart sounds did you get?"

Roy answered, passing off the stethoscope to Morton as soon as
he remembered that it was still framing his neck. "I don't know what
normal is on a dog. But Bonnie's heart rate is much faster than it was
just a few minutes ago and one of the puppy's sounds slow and
depressed..."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Closeby, Cap leaned into Stoker. "Who was on the phone?"

"Don't know, Cap. I got a hangup before I could find out anything."

Hank sighed. "Figures. Why don't people have the common courtesy
enough to apologize when they do that?"

"Because of some embarrassment?" Stoker suggested.

"Only in the very young or very very old. I think that people are just
getting sloppy nowadays and get rude without meaning to."

Mike mumbled to himself with a half smirk. "That was the nicest rude
canary I've ever heard..."

"Huh?"

"Nothing, Cap. Just thinking to myself."

The two fell to listening to the huddle around Bonnie again.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Marco, tip her head back a little more. Dixie, let's slide her to
the middle of the bed." ordered Morton.

"Got it.." said Dixie.

Morton frowned. "I'm a bit out of my element here. It's been years since
I worked in a vet clinic. And even then, I was just a technician."

"But can you help her out?" asked Chet.

Mike pulled his hands away from Bonnie's heaving stomach
and started to examine Bonnie's eyes with the penlight that he had deftly
snatched out of Gage's shirt pocket. "I'll do the best I can, but I
can't guarantee anything boys. She's in a real bad way.. I think.."
he amended. "She's not yet shocky but I don't want to risk a Cesarean
section under these unsterile conditions. The resulting infection would
only kill her later on."

Marco moved the oxygen mask closer to Bonnie's mouth and nose on
the pillow case. "Poor girl. I know it hurts. Hang on.. The doc's gonna
figure out something.."

Mike Morton shot him a sharp look, feeling uncomfortable with the
confidence the others were giving him to solve the situation. Then his
features settled into resolve. "Dixie, your hands are smaller. I want
you to do this next part. I'm going to try to turn these pups in utero.
I want you to hold back this one's head in the birth canal while I twist
this second one's hind paws right out of her. It may return the endangered one's
umbilical circulation flow to normal before his heart stops completely.
Then I'll figure out how I'm going to free the first for delivery.
Fellas, I'm not going to rupture either placenta at all until we've got just
one puppy into position. We need the cushioning in there to safeguard
the third still waiting inside. If these suddenly burst, all the cords will start
shunting blood into all the puppies. And that may bloat them too big to
pass through Bonnie's pelvic arch. Each sac is supposed to break
only when its attached pup's nose and head is pushed outside into the
air."

Hank blathered. "W-What ever you say, doc. You're the expert."

"Far from.. I'm on one hundred percent guessing ground territory here.
Don't get your hopes up.." Mike grunted. "I'm afraid this dog might still
die before we're through if things don't start moving along a little faster."

Dixie smiled quickly to soften Mike's bluntness. "We'll do everything
we can to save her guys to the best of our abilities. I promise." she said,
kissing Bonnie's nose affectionately.

The gang was still uncomfortable. So were Les Taylor and Dave Gordon.
"I hate getting calls like this. D*mned if you do, d*mned if you don't. And
none too fun for the pups."

Image of bonniepushing2sacs.jpg Image of dixatstation.jpg

"Got any sage advise for me?" Morton asked the two shelter officers
uncharacteristically.

"Yeah, start praying." said Les.

Dave, was more thoughtful. He rubbed his chin. "I remember one time
when the doc had a mother straining like she is with some large pups."

"Oh, yeah..?" Mike said, still working feverishly with Dixie to unknot the
two glistening twin bulges peeking out under Bonnie's writhing tail.
"What did he do to help her?"

"He got her warmed up. To relax the worst contractions long enough for
him to right the pups positioning to normal. Worked better than any drug
I've ever seen.." said the sweating African American man.

Gage flew into action. "Roy, how about a burn pack from the squad.
We can fill it with hot towels straight out of the shower.."

"Sounds like a plan.." said DeSoto.

"Here." said Mike Stoker, passing off his stack to the two paramedics
who rushed to soak them. He handed them a plastic wrapped yellow
bundle as well. "No need to run for this. I already got a burn pack. I
thought we'd be needing it for a stretcher."

Right then, the tones went off..

"Oh  noo.." Chet fretted angrily. "Not now.."

##Station 51, unknown type rescue. At the high school. 1701 Western
Ave. 1701 Western Ave. Cross street Lincoln. Time out 0940.##

Hank Stanley fumbled with the bunkroom radio mic until he got
a good grip on it. "Uh,, 10-4, L.A.. Station 51 is responding, KMG 365."

Gage reluctantly tossed the towel bundle to the two animal control
officers. "Les, Dave.. could you?"

"We're on it. The showers are where?"

All the gang told them eagerly and nervously, talking over each
other.

Image of capstandinginalcove.jpg Image of chetintentworriedstation.jpg

Dave held up his hands. "I got it. We'll radio on Tach Two with news
when we can. The doc here can fill us in as soon as he's able to."

"Appreciate it.." Hank said as he and the others ambivalently retreated
for the fire vehicles. They shoved into one another like a comedy act
before finally pulling themselves together emotionally and physically
for the run.

Soon, the county animal team and Rampart's team were left alone
to deal with Bonnie's ineffective labor.

***************************************************************************
From: CONSTANTINOS BOURAS <kb9ora@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Jul 22, 2005  1:42 am
Subject: The Story continues  kb9ora
 

As the Engine and Squad sped out the door, Morton
placed the warmed towels around Bonnie to help her get
warmed up after Dave returned with them from the
bathroom.

---------------------------------------------------------

Back at the shelter, Sandy's phone rang and she
answered it "L.A. County Animal Shelter, can I help
you?"

"Sandy, it's me, Doc Coolidge, calling in to check my
messages. Anything important?"

"No. No calls. But Dave and Les are on a call at L.A.
County F.D. Station 51, for their female Yorkshire
Terrier that's in labor and having a difficult
delivery. I understand Rampart also has a doctor and
nurse on scene also." Sandy replied.

"Oh, great! And I'm still three hours away by vehicle.
Do you have a phone number to reach them at ? Maybe
I can call them and help by phone." Doc Coolidge
answered.

"Sure it's (310) 830-3170." Sandy told him <--- <yes. That's the real phone #. ETL Hosts>
as she passed the number from her directory.                                                                    

"Thanks." as he hangs up his phone, then places a call
to the station.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, at Rampart General Hospital, Doctor Brackett
asks Dr. Early if he has seen either Dr. Mike Morton or
Dixie.

"No Kel, sorry." Dr. Early replied as Dr. Brackett
walked away searching for his missing nurse and
doctor.

------------------------------------------------------------


Image of brackettandsharonnurse.jpg Image of joeonofficephonesitkelstand.jpg

*************************************************
From :  Cassidy Meyers <killashandrarey@hotmail.com>
Sent :  Monday, July 25, 2005 4:35 AM
Subject :  Eye to eye...

Kel made his way over to the nurse's desk in emergency in
a last ditch effort to find his head nurse and youngest resident
doctor. He saw Carol's retreating back as she guided a father
carrying his son with a pillow cocooned broken arm into treatment
room five and trailed by Joe so he squashed the plan to ask
her their whereabouts.

Frowning, he turned to Sharon Walters, the large dark eyed
lip gloss oiled brunette in a blue nursing student smock, working
on resupplying the drug cabinet behind the main desk.
"Miss Walters, have you seen either Dixie or Mike in the last half
hour?"

"Yes, doctor." she replied. "They both had their coats on and both
said that they had an urgent errand to run. They told me to give you the
Greggerson chart that they finished up together for you." And
Sharon handed Doctor Brackett a steel chart holder opened to the
prescription ordering page along with the blue pen that she had been
chewing on thoughtfully while she worked.

Dr. Brackett took the lip gloss smothered, tooth dented pen politely
after only a short, half smiling hesitation. "Thanks. I WAS looking to add a
med to this. How'd you know?" he asked changing the subject to get
his mind off the masticated pen.

Sharon shrugged. "I saw that Mrs. Greggerson's w.b.c. count was high
enough to get an antibiotic order since that wasn't started by the paramedics
who brought her in. Then I saw that your name was on the base
station log as having dealt with their call.. The rest was pretty
easy to figure out."

Brackett gave her a rueful grin. "That's Dixie rubbing off on you,..
all over." Then he threw back his head and laughed. "Sharon, you're
turning into the epitome of efficiency around here. " he quipped.

"Thank you, Dr. Brackett. I have a good mentor in Miss McCall.
Second only to you."

Brackett was good enough to blush with the compliment.
But then he frowned again. "I wonder why Dix and Dr. Morton left so
soon.. Their ER rotation doesn't end until six o'clock this evening."

Sharon just blinked her shy, mascara heavy eyes at him.
"It's Thursday already, Dr. Brackett. Doesn't time fly when you've
been having fun working all night?"

Dr. Brackett looked as if a sudden realization leaped up
and bit him in the pants and he sighed expansively in unpleasant
discovery."Oh,.... it's ......Really?"

Sharon went on apologetically nodding her head yes.
"Today makes it their payday "friday." And on fridays, both Dixie
and Dr. Morton get off by nine fifteen in the morning for their..."

"...their subjective weekends. That's right.  I still feel like it's Wednesday.
Did I ever tell you how much I hate the graveshift effect?"

Sharon batted her eyes with a shiny smile. "Frequently, doctor."

"I do?"

"About as much as you used to yell at me for making a mistake."
she said.

"Well, let me compliment you again on your foresight to start offsetting
that past negative balance..." Kel grinned, hefting the patient chart
for which he had been looking so intently.  "I can be an ogre but
that's..."

"...that's what helps shape unconfident students into confident nurses.."
she echoed along with him and she started laughing. "I know. Dixie says
that's one of your personal mantras that you'll never sway from in practice.
Brackett mantra number thirty seven."

"Thirty seven?!" Kel said starting to boil with a lit wick. "I know Dixie likes to
psycho analyze me to death, but spreading around what she discovers
about me on you nurses is ...is...taking things a little too far into personal
territory!"

"Doctor.."

"What?!"

"Please don't yell, I think the people over there in the waiting room can
hear you..." Sharon said, without ruffling. "Besides, it's all been for a good
cause, doctor."

Fuming, Brackett just turned redder the more he tried to whisper angrily.
"Oh yeah?! Well how do you figure that?"

"Well,..there hasn't been a student nurse quitting because of one of your famous
tantrums in over three months.." she said honestly. "Because Dixie's deflated the
fear in practically everyone in my nursing class by continually reciting these
B mantras she attributes to you to each of them over coffee. Including me."

Kel was struck speechless. He just handed back the order scribbled chart he had
just finished penning without a word, gummed the air a few times, and walked away
with all the dignity he could muster, until he reached his office across the hall.
::I'm gonna have a long talk with my supposed head nurse. I can't believe she's made
good on her threat to make things go softer on all the nurses during training. If she keeps
that up, pretty soon they'll all start questioning doctor's orders as soon as they get them
for thinking that they know it all fresh out of nursing school!:: he thought vehemently.


Soon, he had the hospital operator spill the beans on the latest base station call
that Dixie had last recorded in an attempt to find out where she had gone.
He was told about the land line call from Station 51. Soon, he was on his
own landline to her, directly.

"Dixie..Come on now! Spreading ANY kind of rumor or grapevine about
me is just short of insubordination in my book and you know it.."

##Uh huh! Brackett mantra number nineteen, DOCTOR. And I don't
care what you think about what effect MY nurse training methods are
having. I never tell you how to do heart surgery!##

"Touche, Dix." Kel just had to smile at her verbal ire even through his
own stung ego."Thirty seven, Sharon said... I have that many?"

Image of dixhenryjohnnyfullcouch.jpg Image of kelgoodofficeclose.jpg

##No, Kel. You have thirteen MORE. Just call them the fifty deadly vices of Kelly
Brackett and be done with it. I had my reasons. And I have an even bigger one to
hang up on you because Bonnie's about to become a mother in just about five minutes.
And I'm not there to help Mike out with her because I'm tied up on the phone ..
arguing....with you!  We'll talk about this on Saturday when I'm not busy doing
something that's really none of your concern right now that's on my own personal
time!##

Click!

Dr. Brackett's ears stung with the reverberation. "Oh, for Pete's sake.
Who the h*ll is Bonnie?!" he said, hanging up the phone grumpily. He pegged
a guess in the wrong direction about that name and his little reputation problem.
"Next thing you know, they'll be hiring female firefighters to go along with the
female paramedics already filing through! It's gonna be ..pure matriarchy
for sure. Between them and all my nurses! And a living h*ll for every doctor
who'll ever hope to train with me at Rampart for the next decade!"

Kel drowned out his sorrows in a cold bottle of spring water from his office
frig and tried very hard not to think about the word ...'mantra.'

=============================================================

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