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  The Shallow Light
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From: Patti Keiper <pattik1@hotmail.com>
Subject: Burger Wars..
Date: Thursday, October 6th, 2005. 08:48 CST USA


Johnny Gage was eating his hamburger as fast as he could
stuff each humongous mouthful into his mouth. He was being
watched uneasily by the owner of Davey's Hotdog stand.

And Roy, ignoring Johnny completely, was watching the diner
owner in very high, almost laughing but silent amusement.
DeSoto leaned closer to his partner. "You think he's wondering
when you're gonna start choking on that?"

"Huh?" Johnny asked Roy, raining a few bun crumbs and wiping a
smear of ketchup off of his chin with a few fingers. He fidgetted
a bit, trying to figure out where to clean them off until Roy handed him
a napkin from the dispenser sitting on the picnic table in front of them.
Then he looked around and pegged whom Roy was talking about.
"Oh. Him. Hasn't he ever seen a firefighter eat before? Man,
that's rude just staring like that." Gage said with both cheeks
stuffed to capacity. He deliberately pushed another hamburger
into his mouth, making a face at the owner while doing it.

"Maybe he doesn't know that I'm a paramedic and can fix a choking
before it'll even have time to drive away all of his other customers."
Roy reasoned.

"Very funny. I'm only hungry. I don't like people staring at me while I
eat. And I don't think that's why he's staring at me." he raised his voice.
"Whatcha staring at over there? Is there a problem?" he asked loudly
at the owner to be heard over the busy afternoon traffic running by them.

The owner of the diner still looked uncomfortable and uneasy and
he tried three different ways to fold his arms across his chest trying
to look nonchalant. But then his face hardened. "I'm trying to figure
out how many burgers you're gonna stuff down that maw of yours
before you choke on it."

"See?" Roy shrugged at Johnny.

Johnny made a face back at DeSoto and turned to set the diner owner
straight. "Listen, Mac, or whatever your name is." he said swallowing
and gulping down half his soda pop. "My partner and I have been
coming here for nigh on six years now, giving you our business and
hard earned cash. I know better than to draw unwanted attention to
folks coming to your stand."

"Oh, really? You mean that big flashy red truck, loud blue shirts, and
shiny silver badges winking in the sun, aren't bad enough to attract
a little attention?" Mac asked. "I just watched five businessmen walk
right on by just now when I know that they usually stop in to get something."

"Now hold on just a dog goned minute here!" Johnny said holding up a
finger, his ire rising.

Beep! Beep! Beep!  hailed the HT in front of the three.
##Squad 51. Child down. 1450 McKenzie Way. 1450 McKenzie Way.
Cross street Reynolds. Time out. 13:09.##

Roy rose, neatly tossing away his empty paper tray and crumpled
napkins. "Come on, partner. Save the showdown until later. Do you
really want to lose the convenience of having such a cheap
food stand located so close to the station?"

Johnny blinked. Twice.

"Thought so." DeSoto said. "I'll let you finish these on the way
without telling Cap you ate in the squad." he said grabbing up
Johnny's remaining two burgers and his soda into one hand.
He answered L.A. with the other. "Squad 51, 10-4. KMG 365."

He had to drag Johnny away from his deadly earnest glare at Mac.
Only the nature of the call and the urgent wail of the sirens tempered
Johnny into civility as they hurried away.

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Gage put on his helmet after taking his food tray from a hand that
Roy had hefted up like a waitron, holding it, while he drove the squad
one handed, deftly, through the heavy lunchtime rush hour. "I was
only trying to prove a point."

"So was he. And I think he would've won that argument. He has you
wrapped around his little finger because of the size of your appetite,
Johnny." Roy smiled as he sped up a little faster.

"Says who?"

"Me. And most likely him, if he were here. Watch yourself Johnny.
Didn't you see the naval "I love mama" tattoo sticking out from
under his sleeve?"

"I was too busy trying to work up an appetite around all that bear
grease of his dripping in his hair.." Gage admitted, eating quickly and
throwing all of his crumbs and stray bits of meat out the squad window.

"He's trying to look dapper and neat for his customers."

"No one greases their hair back anymore, Roy. No one. Not unless
they're sixty years old or something."

"Well, how do you explain Cap then?"

Johnny opened his mouth but nothing came out.
Then he shrugged. "Well... Cap's a different guy. That's all.
Besides, he looks good slicking his hair back."

Roy did a double take in surprise.

"Well, you know what I mean." Gage said, finally finishing his hasty meal.
"Makes me almost wanna do the same thing.  I'm getting sick of my hair
always blowing in my face while on a rescue."

"Cut it short then." Roy said with finality and a straight face. "Like
McConnike is warning ya to." he said, turning around a corner
automatically, without needing to look at the road.

"I will. I will in time. Don't push me." Gage blubbered. "First things
first. I gotta get through my date later this week without making any
drastic changes in myself before going on it so she won't get mad."

"I don't think any amount of drastic change will make her
think any better of ya." Roy mumbled.

"What?" Gage asked, not hearing Roy over a particularly loud
crescendo of the code three sirens.

"I said we're about to make fantasic time here. Five miles in two
minutes? That's gotta be a squad record." Roy said.

"Must be. Here we are. There!  Over there... There's a mother running
out to meet us." Johnny pointed.

Roy pulled the squad over as quickly as he could along the curb of
the affluent surburban neighborhood home and was surprised to find a
police officer already on scene. Fearing the worst, the two paramedics
dragged out all the medical gear, including the resuscitator and the
defibrillator while the frantic mom gave her very panicky story.

She said.....

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From :  Cassidy Meyers <killashandrarey@hotmail.com>
Sent :  Monday, October 10, 2005 12:38 AM
Subject :  Reading the situation..


"Hurry! Please! It's my son! He can't breathe!" Then, in
sheer anger on top of the fear, she stabbed a finger towards
the curb angled squad car and a black uniformed L.A. cop
sitting inside of it, speaking quickly on his radio. "He had
the nerve to say that I was panicking my own kid and...and..and
then his partner just....locked me out of my own house!" yelled
the young mother as she struggled in Johnny's arms, in just that
kind of high panicky state herself.

"Easy, ma'am. Calm down a little. I'm sure there was a very
good reason for what he did." Gage disassembled, pulling
off his helmet. He took advantage of a person's natural
instinct to take whatever's handed to them and shoved it
into the mother's palms. "Here. Hold this while we carry
our medical gear."

The trick, worked like a charm, and Johnny was free to rush
things along.

At the same moment, Vince's partner jogged up
from his squad car and retook possession of the mother's
flailing arms when she threw Johnny's helmet angrily
into the rescue squad to get rid of it. "Sorry, boys."
said Nate.  "I had to call another squad car to
look after the rest of this mother's children. She's beyond
listening as you can see, and yes, I have the whole story. Vince
recognized the child's problem immediately. It's not a choking
in the slightest and she says.." he said throwing a chin down
at the mother.." he's got a history of high fever
along with severe swallowing trouble. Mom said that
he wasn't eating at all or playing with anything in his mouth
when his trouble began.  So far, the kid's still managing to breathe.
Barely. Vince is holding him sitting straight up. And that's
the only thing that keeps him breathing at all. He's calm, only if she's not
within eye or ear shot. The mother's agitation seemed to make
him worse."

"How old?" Roy asked as he hurried in picking up the resuscitator
case and I.V. and drug boxes. Johnny snatched out the EKG monitor
and defibrillator and rushed on ahead to the shut front door.

"Five years or so." replied Nate the officer, grunting as he got a better
hold on mom. "Ma'am. I'll give you another minute to start settling
down!"

"He's four and a half! Let me go!!" fought the mother. "You can't
keep me away from my baby like this! I'm his mother, you horrible
men! My husband Alan's a lawyer! He'll have your badges for this!!" and
she let out a heartrending, blood curdling scream that brought looks
of surprise and suspicion on the part of all the onlooking neighbors
gathering on the sidewalk. A few even started to get angry on behalf
of the mom. Nate immediately changed their minds on interfering, with
a warning touch to his gun holster. The mother even tried to bite Nate. He
stopped it, of course, giving the mom every chance to get a hold of some
of her stupider emotions.

Johnny nodded firmly. "Keep her out here until we've checked him
out. Ma'am, can we treat him?" he shouted over her cries.

"Why the h*ll do you think I called for help in the first place?! Idiot!"

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"Hey!" Nate told her sharply. "Enough of that. Keep your voice down
or I'll arrest you right now for disobeying a police officer and interfering
with a medical call."

It was the wrong thing to say. That set the mother off the deep end verbally
and she began a litany of trucker talk that would put the most veteran
fireman and police officer to shame.

Gage ignored them both and Roy and he went pelting up the sidewalk,
fully laden, until they reached the porch. They set down their gear and
Johnny reached up to knock to be let in, but then thought better of it,
thinking of the child's explained presentation. For a few seconds,
Roy and he were at a loss on how to get to him, after they tried to push
on the expensive brass handle and the door didn't open.

Just then, the calm, soothing baritone of Vince Howard came through the
open screen. "Push the doorbell like button to the left. It's an electronic
lock. Stay quiet as you can. He does a bit better that way. Ditch your badges.
Mine only scared him.." Then they heard a strange comment. "Got the suitcases
mommy wanted for Mikey and me?"

DeSoto, not yet knowing what the problem was that Vince had spotted, went along.
"Yes, the red, white and black ones. We'll bring them in to you.."

From inside the house, the two paramedics started to make out high pitched
squeals and sounds of very tired attempts to breathe by the little boy.
Roy hit the button and the massive carved door buzzed open a crack.

Gage angled a head, listening to the window as he unpinned his fire badge
and put it into a pocket. "No coughing. This definitely isn't croup, Roy. No
seal's bark at all. Drug related? I'm smelling crack cocaine smoke." he
wondered as he watched Roy take off his helmet to leave on the railing.

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"That may be her doing but not his. Not if he's sitting up."
Then the nature of the child's emergency, dawned on Roy the second he
noted the way the boy had arranged himself in Vince's arms. The child
appeared very toxic with flushed skin, leaning forward with his mouth open
and chin extended in an effort to maintain his airway and he was drooling long
unswallowed strings of saliva onto the lush carpeting over his limp, elbow
tripoded knees.

"Epiglottitis.." Johnny said softly to DeSoto, even as he smiled in an
act for the wide eyed, glassy fright barely held at bay by the child. "I'll just set
our luggage behind the couch here, Roy." he said a little louder and very
feigned friendly.

"Okay, Johnny. Then let's meet Mikey here because mommy invited us
in to meet him." he explained to the child.

Vince held very still, holding the boy's forehead and chin in his hands.
"It is what I figured?"

"Classic." DeSoto agreed. "You were definitely right to get mom busy
with the mail outside. Any commotion could have definitely set off
a laryngospasm." then he grinned artificially, keeping just as subdued
and calm as a reader in a library. "Hi there, Mikey. I'm Roy. Can I feel
your skin to see how your fever is before we play with you?" he asked.
"Mommy said you weren't feeling well today.."

The boy's eyes darted everywhere despite his body being totally
drenched and exhausted from his work of breathing. But Mikey didn't
flinch and only blinked when Roy gently looked at his face for the quality
of capillary refill and the extent of cyanosis in the boy's gums through his
gaping mouth. Those tissues were still pink but his tongue was turning
liver purple with every fast exhalation.

::There's the oropharyngeal edema effects compromising his trachea.::
DeSoto thought. "Johnny, almost got our suitcases unpacked over there?"
he asked Gage quietly. "I'm ready to play."

Gage looked up from behind the couch. "Almost. Got some
new toys out that we brought with us." he said for Mikey's benefit. "Here's
the blow up football for Mikey." he said walking over and handing Roy a
disassembled pediatric ambu bag. Mikey allowed it to be placed
in his lap. While he was distracted with that, Johnny placed a laryngoscope,
endotracheal tube, the rest of the ambu's mask portion and a syringed paralytic
agent behind Roy's back, where the boy couldn't see them. He slid them over
until they touched the bottoms of Roy's kneeling feet so that he knew they were
ready in case the child obstructed suddenly at a loud sound they couldn't prevent
fast enough.

"Wow, we sure brought you a nice football, Mikey. Look at that, it's green." Roy
said, pointing to the ambu bag in the child's lap. "I'll let you play with it first."
he said, connecting a running tube of oxygen to it so the flow leaked richly
around them through its open tubed end.

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The child watched but didn't try to pick up the ambu. He was too weak physically
to grasp it even though his eyes were fully anxious on the edge of terror. Vince
had to hold the inflatable between the boy's hands for him so the oxygen stream
coming from it could reach the boy's face.

Glancing over, DeSoto saw Johnny choose to pick up the lamp table's
phone and not the squad biophone line in order to raise Rampart for the call
in another clever way to keep their patient calm until they got their treat
and move orders. He was still staying behind the couch, getting the defibrillator
open and a needle cricothyroidotomy setup the proper size, out of the boy's
line of sight.

Gage hailed the base station on landline. "Operator, this is a Los Angeles County
Fire Department Rescue Squad. I'm Fireman John Gage. I need an immediate
patch to Rampart General Hospital's Emergency Department in Torrance
about a sick child ASAP........Yes, I can give you the proper number."
And he did.

Roy, in the mean time, managed to get a wrist pulse and the child's
belt off for breathing ease. He wrote the rate down on a piece of paper.

Vince, started talking. "So how do you like my two friends, Mikey? I told
you they would bring you some toys you haven't seen before."

Mikey didn't smile. But his painful, rasping stridor didn't get any worse.
Then he tried to say something. Roy quickly shushed him with a finger to his
own smiling lips so the child wouldn't cough and obstruct.

Vince bit his lip realizing what he had almost done. "Sorry." he mouthed
silently. He concentrated on seeing through the lacy curtains of the
living room window and noticed that Nate had finally had enough of being
Mr. Nice Guy. The mother was getting handcuffed against the rescue squad
while the newly arrived backup police unit kept the now just curious
neighbors under a careful watch.

Howard's eyes drifted towards the crack pipe that he had found ignited
on a plate across the room. It had snuffed out nicely under the overturned
clear Cheerios bowl that he had dumped out to use to smother it to rid the
air of its taint. The cereal had been dried out and sitting in days old soured milk.
::The boy hasn't eaten obviously. He'll get a meal in a couple of days in intensive
care.:: thought Vince. ::That's if he makes it that long.::

Gage thought of victim counts and he looked up at Vince, waving a few
fingers to get his attention. "Where are Mikey's siblings?" he mouthed.

"In the bedroom. They're sniffly, but not like Mikey. I turned on Seasame Street
for them." Howard replied.

Johnny nodded and got right back to his phone call as Dr. Brackett gave him
his initial instructions. ##Securing an airway is the overriding priority, 51.
Obtaining vital signs or any other diagnostic procedures are to be considered
completely secondary to that primary concern. Physical examination should be
kept at a minimum with careful attention so as not to increase the child's anxiety.
Skip placing your EKG leads. It may cause him to cry and obstruct.  If you can,
leave him in his mother's arms, it'll keep him calm.##

"Uh, that won't be possible, doc. She's currently a crack addict going off the
deep end." Johnny told him when he caught onto Vince's subtle point to the
tabletop and as his eyes alighted onto the pipe. "But he does tolerate Roy and a
police officer so far. Rampart, would you call us a second ambulance for
the mother through dispatch for us?"

Kel Brackett nodded at Dixie and the trim nurse took the note he
scribbled down. ##It's done, 51. Are you able to get ahead of
his oral cyanosis? I know you told me that he's still conscious and attempting
his own ventilations.##


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"Somewhat." Johnny replied, seeing Vince trying to entice Mikey to keep
the "football" nearer to his mouth and nose. "However, his acute stridor
is continuous with intercostal retractions. There is very abundant drooling,
but only moderate perioral cyanosis."

##Ok. Do not attempt direct visualization of the epiglottis by depressing
the tongue, at all, Johnny, unless he blacks out or he'll tighten up fast.
We'll assume that you've pegged the correct diagnosis until it's ruled out.
This situation's far too volatile for us to add paramedic/doctor frills.
Perform a nasotracheal intubation under controlled conditions, if necessary,
with the patient seated absolutely upright during the procedure to avoid him
sealing off until it's in place. Only attempt orotracheal intubation or a needle
crich in a complete obstructive emergent situation. I've assembled the
necessary personnel on my end, including an anesthesiologist on standby
and an endoscopist in the event of a difficult intubation. Expect a frank
respiratory failure at any time, Johnny. Keep him warm, oxygenated,..
and get in here as soon as possible. We'll worry about the I.V. after we've
guaranteed his airway. Transport non code R and cushion him from all jars
or bumps. Let me know about the mother as soon as you get her lined up
in the second ambulance.##

"Uh, doc. One more thing. The police say there's a few more kids who
are sick here, but not as bad. Want them to ship with me?" Gage asked.
"Or will that be too much of an exposure risk for the boy from
his infectious condition and their potential ability to startle him?"

##Put them with the mother. Hopefully they'll calm her down enough for
all of them to tolerate a transport. I'll check them out after the boy's stabilized.
Is the mother still combative?##

"Verbally. But she's now restrained." Johnny replied when Vince crossed his
wrists together in a gesture to let him know the lay of things with her. "I suspect
our ETA is..... as soon as we get everything and everyone packaged up and
we get over to you. We're about four miles out."

##Bring the boy in first. No delays. Have Roy bring in the mother and siblings
at his own pace as needed. We'll be standing by.##

Johnny and Roy soon reversed their luggage ruse and an afghan soon
snuggled around the boy in Vince's arms. He was hugging the ambu
"football" tightly in his fright, but it was near his face. Roy helped
the boy keep his chin up with a soft firm grip, as the two men slowly walked
outside the house into the sunlight. Soon, Mikey was seated safely in
a quiet Mayfair with Johnny and Vince. Roy gave the mother a quick
once over where she was handcuffed to a stretcher and soon, he
recruited the remaining cruiser officers to round up the other kids to
go along with them.

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"How's Mikey? Don't you take him away from me! The State tried that once,
but I won him back, fair and square.." she challenged. "You just wait,
we'll all be back together before the sun goes down." she told Roy.

"I highly doubt that, ma'am. You see, we found some incriminating evidence
in the house, and signs of child neglect in some rotten food that you left
sitting out." DeSoto told her as an officer sat down on the treatment bench next to
him. The female officer smiled and held up the crack pipe evidence bag
she had gathered.

The frantic, agitated mother, for all of her earlier noise, fell completely
silent for the rest of the trip to the hospital.

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

Dixie met Johnny at the outer doors of Emergency. "Treatment One."
she told him, as Johnny and Vince walked in with the completely head
covered and blanketed boy in their arms. The filled ambu bag and
drape were being used to make an incubator around him.

Just as they rounded the corner by the x-ray machine, the boy's stridor
ceased abruptly.

Gage and Vince, began to run with their burden.

Dr. Brackett saw them coming and he said......

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Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 17:06:24 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Sam Iam" <lafddispatcher@yahoo.com>  
Subject:  Treatment Doubled..


"In here!" Kel motioned for them, holding the door.
"How long ago?" he asked about the change with
the child's lack of effective breathing effort.

Johnny set the small limp boy down on the almost perpendicularly
head raised bed in the brightly lit treatment room that contained
an anesthetist and he tipped back his tiny head gingerly.
"Just now, as we were coming around the corner."

"Help him on that ambu. Long slow ventilations, Johnny.
We'll be set in a moment. Let us know about his responsiveness
level while you're doing it." Dr. Brackett told him as Dixie and
another nurse quickly set up a tray of specialized intubation
equipment for both him and the anesthetist that they had called
to come to Emergency. He nodded to Vince, smiling his thanks,
when the police officer switched the boy's oxygen tubing
from the squad's portable D tank, to a flowing port on the wall.
"Vince, that's right. Set him at fifteen liters. Johnny? Are they working?"

Gage sighed, feeling how the bag sent very careful breaths into the boy
as Dixie cut open the child's shirt so he could see chest movements.
"They're going in well enough, doc. Mikey!..Mikey.. Open your eyes!"
he shouted. "Can you do that for me? Mommy's right outside waiting
for ya!" He tested the boy with a pinch to the back of
his upper arm behind the elbow. The child pulled away a bit in
a normal reflex. Gage shared what he had found with the doctors.
"He feels pain somewhat. He's not responding to verbal.
And...he's offering no more attempts to breathe on his own here.
He's too tired."

Dr. Brackett spoke up.
"Fair enough. Keep maintaining him easy. Everyone, maneuver for
a single portable endolateral neck x-ray, before we even try to directly
visualize for epiglottitis. If he's positive for it on the film, Bob," Kel told
the anesthetist, "..go ahead and anesthetize with your inhalation anesthetic
and take a look at the supralaryngeal area using a bronchoscope. My guess
is that he'll tolerate us going in nasotracheally with a tube for an intubation
before he laryngospasms. His fever's not that bad yet. Dixie, after
he's been airway secured, start an intravenous line of normal saline and
draw blood for a complete culture for Hemophilus influenzae type b and a CBC..
Also get an antibiotic going once you find out from his chart what his
tolerances are. Ceftriaxone, 75-100 mg/kg via his IV every 12-24 hours."

"Right, Kel." answered the frosty haired nurse crispy. She got busy with
her own tray set up to await the moment when the boy was guaranteed
a good airway.

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The x-ray didn't take long. Five lead aprons protected those who had to
stay in the room to aid the critically threatened child. Soon, Bob and
Kel gathered around the image under flourescent light. "And there it is,
Bob. The classic "thumb sign" from Mikey's swollen aryepiglottic folds
and arytenoid cartilages showing a partial marked upper airway obstruction.
I'll just bet you're gonna see cherry red supraglottic structures, including the
epiglottis in a minute, after you tube him."

"No bet." Bob moved immediately to the bed to secure Mikey with an uncuffed
endotracheal tube after a squirt of Hurricane spray once Johnny had hyperventilated
him on oxygen. Kel nodded for the one orderly in the room to start the boy on
mechanical ventilation to free up Gage so he could return to available service.

Kel got a few cultures of the epiglottis and throat from Mikey around the tube
using a laryngoscope and he gave them to a nurse to run down to the lab for
immediate gram negative staining for the illness organism he knew with almost
one hundred percent certainty, that might be making the child sick.

"Let's move him to intensive care, people. Stat." Brackett ordered.

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

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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joe Early had gotten off the phone with Dr. Brackett. He moved
to the bed that contained Mikey's mother where he had just given
her another vitals check from the quick injection he had given her.

The mother's handcuffs were off, but Vince and his partner stayed in
attendance during the whole conversation to assure Joe's safety while
she burned off the crack's influence. Joe stayed a few feet away
from her while he shared his knowlege. "Your son is out of immediate
danger, Mrs. Brown. However, epiglottitis is often a multi-event illness.
During the bacteremic phase of the disease, other foci of
infection are possible. To give him some rest, his artificial ventilation will
be continued and we'll directly visualize his epiglottis on a daily basis
until the edema resolves, generally within 24-48 hours. Systemic antibiotics
will be given to him for approximately 2 weeks to be sure the infection's
completely gone from his bloodstream."

"My boy's on a ventilator?" asked the mother meekily, still bleary eyed
from her smoked drug use. The tension in her manner was growing.

"Yes, but... Peri, being breath supported like that isn't hurting him.
Respiratory isolation for the first 24 hours of antibiotic treatment, is necessary,
so he can recover from whole body exhaustion. His CBC was remarkable for
a leukocytosis with a marked left shift and the rapid latex particle agglutination
we got from his blood serum was positive for H. influenzae or, HIB."

"Is... that a bad germ?" asked Peri Brown, hugging her other two children
nearer to her as they sat on the gurney next to her.

"Only if you're vulnerable, like Mikey was. Epiglottitis caused by HIB has a
unique distribution in that it typically occurs among children aged 2-7 years."

"You mean my other children...might get sick like little Mikey?" she gasped.

The nurse near Peri, touched her arm to calm her. Peri took her hand gratefully.
"Control measures for invasive H. influenzae type b are very important since
asymptomatic carriage in the sinuses of household contacts is quite high.
We can stop this illness from spreading in them and in you if you let us."

Joe wore his best white jacket smile. "Chemoprophylaxis with rifampin given
once daily for 4 days eradicates H. influenzae in approximately 95% of carriers. We
can do nasopharyngeal cultures on all of you before any treatment. But,
chemoprophylaxis should be instituted as soon as possible after diagnosis of H.
influenzae type b is made. It's unfortunate, that this happened to Mikey. But one day,
I believe a vaccine to prevent H. influenzae disease may be developed. But until then,
complications associated with epiglottitis including otitis media, adenitis, meningitis,
pericarditis, and pneumonia, are bound to occur in your other children." Joe admitted,
"..unless we treat everyone with antibiotic therapy now."

"Treat him. And us." she said quickly, growing scared.

Peri began to look frantic, fast, so Joe tempered his lecture by adding more.
"The mortality risk for Mikey now is only about one percent because we have
him airway secured and ventilation supported. And the risk for the rest of you,
now that we know what's going on, is negligible. So relax. Everything's ok."

The oldest boy, Mikey's brother, clinging to his mother to avoid sight of the
policemen he knew was arresting his mother, spoke up. "You mean my brother
really has quinsy?"

Joe knelt down by the boy with a look of amazement. "Quinsy? My, I haven't
heard that term in a long, long time. Hello there." he said, taking the young boy's
hand in a handshake. "Yes, Mikey has quinsy, but he's going to be just fine,
young man. How did you ever come up with that idea for your brother's
breathing illness?"

"I learned it in school. My teacher said that President George Washington
died of it when he got real old and she said that he had sounded like a
squeaky rabbit when he was in trouble. Like Mikey did before the ambulance
people came."

"That was very perceptive of you." said Joe, tickled. He raised significant eyebrows
for Vince and Nate to note that the children had been exposed to regular school
as a point in Peri, the mother's favor. "Only today, we call what your brother
has, as a peritonsillar abscess, or epiglottitis..instead of quinsy."

The child withdrew his hand shyly, still in awe of seeing a real white
coated doctor.

Peri began to tear up. "C-can I see my boy, before.... before the social
workers come for my kids, doctor?"

"Sure. I'll have a nurse show you the way up to intensive care to sign his
admittance papers. Don't worry, Mrs. Brown. Mikey's going to be over
this in less than two days, I promise you." Dr. Early said. "The danger
to his life, is past."

"I trust you, doctor. I-It's just that, I don't know if I can trust myself anymore. These
policemen say that I haven't fed my kids in days because of...." she broke off,
rubbing her nose when it started running from her withdrawal symptoms."..my
smoking habits.." she cried.

She took the kleenix the nurse gave her and used it.

"We can help you with your crack addiction, too. The narcan I gave you
only has a temporary effect holding the drug at bay. It's not too late to make
a change, Peri. I can link you up with counselors and doctors
who can help you break the habit eventually. Would you like that?"
Joe asked.

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Peri Brown nodded and started crying. "Oh, please. Yes.."

"Ok. Let's go see Mikey and afterwards, I'll get you admitted. While
the police get what information they need out of you, I'll also have
Dixie McCall, my head nurse, take your children down to the cafeteria
to get some food."

"I can help with that." volunteered Roy eagerly. "I'm....pretty good with kids."

"Thank you, doctor. Mr. DeSoto. I never meant for my life to get so screwed up.."
Mikey's mother sobbed. "It just sort of happened that way before I even realized
how bad it was going for my kids. " Peri gave them tearful hugs when Dixie
suddenly appeared. "Go with the nice nurse and fireman, Davey, Suzy.
They'll take real good care of you for a while. Mind everything they say.
I'm going to a hospital room upstairs after I see how Mikey's doing so I can
be treated, too, for smoking the pipe daddy left behind."

The two older children went quietly out the door without a fuss.

::Hunger's a good behavior modifier.:: thought Joe sadly. But then his
thoughts brightened. ::There's hope for this family yet. I'll make sure Vince
and Nate know how much this mother tried despite appearances. She
shared a lot with me after she came to.::

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

Image of royfrankgrintreatmentroomgray.jpg Image of vincehospitalclose.jpg

**************************************************
From :  Monster Moofie <monstermoof4me@comcast.net>
Sent :  Friday, October 21, 2005 11:09 AM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] A Grey Cloud of Doom Arrives


Four days later, the ĎAí shift was back on duty again.  Johnny
arrived early, in a terrific mood despite the torrential downpour
outside.  He had taken a long ride in the nearby mountain before
the rain started, and then spent the rest of his days off working in
the barn on his ranch.  The date he had told Roy about last shift
had gone very well, resulting in plans to go riding with the girl the
next nice day off they had.  In addition, he managed to one up the
Phantom at his own game by successfully avoiding a water trap in
his locker and placed a new trap where it was sure to get Chet.  

"Chet must have put this here before he left last shift," Johnny
remarked to the empty room with a huge grin.  "Wonít he be surprised
when he gets in today?!"  Johnny gleefully finished getting dressed
and headed out to the dayroom.  Unfortunately, he met a grey cloud
of doom as he entered the dayroom.  ::Uh oh.:: Johnny thought.  
::There is only one time of year Roy looks like this.  It must be time
for the dreaded mother-in-law's visit.::  

Johnny decided to cheerfully greet Roy anyway.  He hoped maybe
some of his cheerfulness would spread. "Good morning, good morning,
good morning, gentlemen!" Johnny greeted the guys.  

"Good morning?  Youíve got to be kidding, John!"  Roy growled.  "What
on earth is good about this morning?!  It has been raining since noon,
our first day off. Iíve had a very lengthy 'honey, do list' to complete. I had
a flat tire I had to change this morning. I tore my nice jacket in the
process. AND my mother-in-law will be at my house by the time we get
off tomorrow.  I canít think of anything good about today!"  Roy quickly
stalked off to the locker room to change, swinging the door hard in the
process.

Image of gagebayclosehowcome.jpg Image of royclosemadbunkroom.jpg

Captain Stanley, Mike, Marco and Johnny watched the door swing in
shock.  They all knew that Roy got cranky when his mother-in-law was
coming but this was far worse than usual.

"Yikes!"
"Wow!"
"Ouch!" came the simultaneous remarks from Cap, Mike and Marco.  

"Please tell me Iím not THAT bad when my mother-in-law is here!" Cap
added.

"I think weíre all going to be walking on eggshells today," Johnny
said to the guys.

Just then, a disgruntled, "Gaaaaggggeeeee!" was heard from the
locker room.  

Johnny grinned and stated, "I do believe the phantom just got
caught again." He headed over and grabbed the last jelly donut
and a cup of coffee as the rest of the guys erupted in laughter.

"The Phantom will repay his pigeon in triplicate!" a dripping
Chet stated as he entered the room.  He grabbed a cup of coffee,
only to have Captain Stanley call them to roll call.  "Drat!  The
pigeon is REALLY going to pay now!"  Continuing to grumble,
Chet headed into the bay with the rest of the guys.

"No new announcements today," Captain Stanley told them. "Mike,
youíre on kitchen duty, Chet and Marco, hang the hoses; Johnny,
you have the dorm.  Roy, sorry pal, the latrine is all yours today.  
ĎCí shift had a pretty busy night and both vehicles need a good
once over.  Letís get to work!"

Johnny and Roy headed to the squad.  Roy sighed and softly
said to himself, "Figures, latrine duty today, and on a muddy
day no less.  What else could possibly make things worse today?"

Grabbing the equipment out of the squad, the two paramedics
performed the morning inventory and calibrations.  

"We need to make a supply run," Johnny informed Roy. "Weíre short
on D5W and MS."

After informing Captain Stanley that they were headed to Rampart,
the two headed back to the squad.  Johnny couldnít resist.
"Shall I drive today, Roy?"  he asked with a grin.  As he expected,
he was met with an icy glare.  Roy didnít respond verbally at all,
but rather just got into the squad.  Johnny jumped in and Roy drove
off into the downpour.


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